Of caste and colour


     In North America, the colour of your licence plate helps others know what state or province you are from. In Cuba, it can denote your occupation and status.
   Yellow means you own your vehicle, most likely one of preRevolution vintage. Black discloses that you are a diplomat, red, that you are a visitor driving a rental car (if the plate begins with T, for turisto), or have been granted a provisional licence because your plate has worn out or become lost (lighter red, ends in P).   Blue proclaims that you are allowed to bring your state vehicle home after work. Brown indicates you are an “authorized civil servant,” while white signifies you are a government minister or some other mucky-muck.   Light green is reserved for the army; dark green for the Interior ministry. Finally, orange is issued to religious institutions, non-Cuban journalists and foreign companies and joint venture firms.   The letters on your plate will further identify your place of residence and category of vehicle – here’s a handy cheat sheet.


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