Friday, October 14, 2011

Paramilitaries / Yoani Sánchez

Paramilitaries / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

To El Sexto, arbitrarily detained Havana graffiti artist

The tires squeal, the car doors fly open, three men pour out, all
produced by the same mold: strong, military haircuts, cell phones
clipped to their belts. There is no possible escape. No neighbor will
provide refuge, the curious move away, frightened, and potential
witnesses won't want to talk. They force you into the car without
showing you an arrest warrant, nor even an ID showing they belong to the
police. The license place is private so as not to leave any
institutional trace. Nor are the blows accompanied by any stamp or
signature, not so much as an acronym. You have just fallen into the
hands of the Cuban "paramilitaries," those political police who never
wear a uniform, who have the power to break all the laws, to lock you up
in the absence of any crime, and to take you for a "walk" while shouting
their threats and sinking their knees into your abdomen.

More and more often the methods of the mafia are found in the ranks of
State Security. Their impunity even upsets the regular police, who watch
as these guys with aliases fill the cells with detainees never entered
into the station's incident book. The practice of fishing on the margins
of the law has become routine for the restless boys of Section 21, who
feel themselves to be members of a select body who can block anyone from
any place, or forcibly detain them, even inside their own homes. They
are trained not to listen so it's not worth the trouble to fill their
ears with phrases such as, "I am a citizen, I have rights," or "I want
to see a lawyer…" or "What crime am I accused of?" For them, their
victims are not individuals protected by a system of laws, but merely
"worms," simply "vermin"… those whom a despot like Gaddafi, in his time,
called "rats."

And there you are, inside that car that is a black hole swallowing the
Constitution which should save you, encircled by the muscular arm of
someone who calls himself Agent Camilo or Lieutenant Moses. For now,
they are only going to frighten you, but in the future — when you are
more daring — they will be tempted to scratch you with their
fingernails, push your head into a bucket of water, play games with
electric current and your testicles. Because when the government creates
structures that are not accountable to any law, there is no possible
defense for those who oppose it. These paramilitaries of today are the
thugs of tomorrow. These elite forces, who project themselves as
defenders of a dying system, may find their hands don't hesitate to
kill. They have already proved their frenzy by stopping abruptly in the
street and forcing you into a car. The next thing they want to see
running is your blood.

13 October 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment