Cuba: Where Violence Isn’t News

Ernesto Carralero Burgos

Alamar. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — For some time, the Cuban press has been insinuating that it intends to begin covering crimes and other news that have not commonly been published to date.

Despite this, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of violent crimes that take place in our country on a daily basis aren’t even remotely known by the population at large and are heard of only at the local level, or when they are so disconcerting that they travel further distances.

One needn’t wait long to again hear of a party that ended up in a massive brawl where someone got stabbed, or about robberies and even murders that are so macabre they seem to have been pulled right out of a Stephen King novel.

I believe that the public safety that a large majority of Cubans generally feel proud of would not survive close scrutiny.

Though devoid of the organized crime and ultra-violent gangs common in Central America, Cuba is becoming more and more violent every day.

Not long ago, one of my neighbors was telling me about the most recent crime perpetrated in the neighborhood of Alamar. There, he came across a dead and severely mutilated body in a garbage bin. A few days ago, a pair of hooded men broke and entered into a home as well.

It is said the new District Attorney’s Office being built in Alamar is precisely a response to rising crime in the community. Unfounded rumor or not, this is cause for concern, particularly during this time of the year, when crimes of this nature are more common.

One could well ask whether all of this is actually happening or whether they are mere urban myths or exaggerations. Since the media do not report on such incidents, we are left only with our uncertainty.

Many may prefer to live in ignorance, but that is a dangerous attitude, as ignoring our problems is no way of looking for a solution.

If violent crimes aren’t reported, if they aren’t news, one day we will wake up and find the country in ruins, without having had the opportunity to do anything to prevent it. The police and the use of force are not the only factors that can contain such phenomena.

In fact, I would say that they manage to control it up to a point but that they never eradicate it. Only through open exchange, community work and, most importantly, education, will we be able to overcome the problem. Unfortunately, the first step in this direction still hasn’t been taken.

Ernesto Carralero

Ernesto Carralero: I'm 18, I live in Havana and I firmly believe in the progress of Cuba. I do not understand progress as returning to the past, but being realistic and taking into account our characteristics, evolve into a much more inclusive country with more opportunities than we have today.

10 thoughts on “Cuba: Where Violence Isn’t News

  • December 12, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Griffin, I just went a looked at your source and you apparently don’t read very well. First these statistics don’t match your claim, second, the comparison is specious since the dates and ranges don’t match. Third the sources are insufficiently cites and when you look elsewhere, it becomes clear that crime rates depend on more than officially reported homicide in both countries. This article asks for better reporting in Cuba, and in the US today, thousands of demonstrators are calling for the police to report how many they kill each year. Police are in the US don’t compile or report these figures, so your data is irrelevant to the point that reporting more accurately rather than glorifying crime might help Cuba. You ignored that point in the article.

  • December 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I know this from reading the data compiled by the UNODC. The homicide rates fluctuate a small amount year by year, however, averaged over the past 10 years, the homicide rate in Cuba was 5.93 per 100,000. For the USA, the homicide rate was 5.45 per 100,000.

    As a comparison, the homicide rate was 1.848 in Canada during the same decade.

    I note you called me a liar. Now that I have provided figures and a link to the reference, you are revealed as a fool.

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