Cuba: Verbal and Physical Violence Increases / Ivan Garcia
Posted on September 18, 2013
Any place, public transportation, school, workplace or even in a family
environment is prone to rudeness. Many times start with insults and
finishes like a boxing ring.
People with short fuses are abundant in Cuba. Guys who use body language
and verbal speech as guns. Jose Carlos, 41 years old, thinks that the
smallest thing can trigger a battlefield.
"If you are going to the store you have to be careful with your words
and have patience. The store clerks are always in a bad mood. They look
like jail keepers. The most scary ones are the receptionists. If they
are not painting their nails, they are gossiping on the phone; they tell
you to come back the next day because is lunch time. We are living in an
epidemic of bad manners. Bad manners have nothing to do with the
economic crisis or poverty, I think they are a consequence of the
revolution; and now flourish like a bad weed," says Jose Carlos.
Verbal and physical abuse usually start as young as the day care centers
and progresses from elementary through high school; at least that is
what Hilda, a 72-year-old retired school teacher thinks.
"In the four decades that I worked as a teacher, I realized that the
verbal and physical abuse at the schools had increased during the last
twenty years. Upon the beginning of the "Special Period" around the
early 90's the loss of values, bullying among students, the usage of
dirty words and vulgarities is present in ages as early as 5 to 6 years
old. I saw children whose parents had to transfer them from the schools
because of the bullying and the violence from other children. Usually
kids duplicate the attitudes that they see at home and on occasions
parents can behave worse than the kids. They can act as irrational human
beings. If their kid got punished an earthquake could be unleashed; that
coupled with low salaries are two of the reasons why young people elect
not to be teachers. Nobody wants to work in a place where aside from
making little money it can bring you other issues", says the experienced
The smallest touch in a public transportation vehicle can trigger an
exchange of loud insults; and in the heat of the moment a physical
altercation can occur. Some managers, Arnaldo comments, behave with
their subordinates as feudal bosses. "I work in an food preparation
plant for the tourism business. The superiors treat us as if we are
dogs. When we try to defend our rights they show you the front door. It
is the majority of them who behave as if they are God's chosen or belong
to a different social casts."
A sociologist from Havana made it very clear, "The increase of verbal
and physical abuse is part of a rude language filled with testosterone
which Fidel Castro's government started implementing. Vulgarity became
the watchword. From insults used at public political speeches up to the
jingles massively created around 1962 after the October Crisis. For
example: "Nikita, faggot, what you give you can't take back," or "Ae,
Ae, Ae the lollipop, Nixon doesn't have a mother because a monkey gave
birth to him." Another example was the unethical note published in the
official newspaper Granma the day that Ronald Reagan past away, it said
"Today died one who should have never have been born." This antisocial
and aggressive conduct from the Cuban social leadership, who often have
converted the landscape of diplomacy into a cock fight ring, has been
reproduced among the people for the last 54 years. You can not expect
good manners when the ones in charge do not have them," said the
In some families, eating an egg or a piece of bread that does not belong
to the person can start a small war. In Cuba is not unusual to find
three generations living together. In a home, is not unusual to find
family members that do not talk to each other or cook and maintain their
domestic life separately. The children have as common occurrence the
fights and verbal insults among family members.
Reggaeton music is another source of dirty language and incitement to
violence. A musician from Havana is convinced of that. "The lyrics of
that music style and the bands who play them are "chabacanas" which
means low class and in poor taste. Young people attempt to copy the way
those artists dress; they attempt to copy their "macho" message which
usually propagates violence, frivolity and drugs."
After musical gatherings, either reggaeton or other types of music and
regardless of the police presence, it has become the norm for those
activities to end with fights using knives. At the Red Plaza at La
Vibora, in Diez de Octubre town, at certain Revolutionary marked dates,
they often offer dances and parties.
They erect portable bathrooms made of wood in each corner and until 2 in
the morning the music is blasting with those dirty lyrics that do not
let the neighbors sleep.
At the end of the concerts is when the party really begins. The fights
among the marginal individuals, the stairs and halls are converted into
public bathrooms or people smoking marijuana. Sex is practiced in any
small and dark space; all a spectacle of violence and disrespect.
Translated by LYD
15 September 2013
Source: "Cuba: Verbal and Physical Violence Increases / Ivan Garcia |
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