Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why So Much Anger in Cuba?

Why So Much Anger in Cuba?
Posted: 8/16/11 12:13 PM ET

"Three boys were stabbed in the Piragua* the other night," "don't go by
Zapata and G where you might be assaulted," "a former policeman killed a
child for stealing mamoncillo fruit," "don't even think of going to
Central Havana after ten." These are some of the phrases that make up
our own alternative red chronicle, part of the flow of information about
violence not reflected in the official media. There is a latent tension
that doesn't explode in a protest at the Plaza of the Revolution, nor in
an encampment in front of the Council of State, but is channeled into
the punch that smashes into the skin during Carnival, or an iron bar
sinking into a shoulder in a riotous brawl. This constant irritation --
attributable not only to the heat -- brings out the blades in the most
unpredictable places, and even makes the little kids who should be
playing peacefully raise their fists.

A few days ago two women were pulling each other's hair as they fought
to get a seat in a shared taxi, a bus inspector took a stick to a rider
who complained of his management, a mother slapped her son because he
smeared ice cream on his shirt, and a Committee for the Defense of the
Revolution member from Santiago beat a regime opponent until he broke
his jaw. What's happening to us? Why this fury that turns one against
another? Why this institutional silence about the facts now inherent in
our everyday lives? I remember having spent a couple of hours in a
police station and being amazed at the number of foreigners who came to
report a robbery. One after another they came and the official in charge
put his hands on his head. "This is too much," I heard him say.

The authorities in our country think that not mentioning these risks
will make them disappear. They think perhaps the absence of a report
about the violence plaguing the city will cause it to decrease. I'm sick
and tired of turning on the TV and seeing only incidents that happen on
the streets of New York or Berlin. I have a son, 16 years old, and I
know the dangers he faces crossing the threshold of our doorway. Enough
already of falsifying statistics, manipulating certificates of injuries,
hiding the results of the rage. We are a society where a blow and a
scream have replaced words, let's admit it and begin to look for
solutions for it.

*Translator's note:
Piragua: A large plaza-type open space along Havana's Malecon overlooked
by the Hotel Nacional.

Tag: CDR

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