The Long and Winding Road

Francisco Castro

Photo by Ihosvanny

One of the great punishments that Cubans have to suffer is our having to deal with any type of legal matter.  I have no doubt that in other countries the legal systems are also intricate, but in ours we possess —in addition to the sadly celebrated bureaucrat, in charge putting the brakes on whatever kind of paperwork— we also have a figure that successfully emulates that role: the notary.

A few days ago I received a long letter from my mother in my hometown of Santiago de Cuba.  In the correspondence she told me about the progress made in transferring the title of our house into our name, since currently it’s in the name of my deceased grandmother.

The fragment concerning the matter is so illustrative that it needs no other comment.  My mother wrote:

“I’m involved in the adjudicatory steps of transferring the property: papers and more papers.  I’m confronted with all types of problems: stamps that suddenly run out at the post office (which is understandable, since even to put the name of another person in your ration book you need a stamp that costs five pesos); or the long lines of people on the verge of hysteria (I understand them completely).

“What’s more, there are only ten daily appointments made in each notary office in the city, where it’s supposed that five or six notaries work for around eight hours with their respective secretarial staffs.  And to make matters worse, these notaries take more than an hour before calling their first client, which in this case turned out to be me since I spent the dawn sitting on his office doorstep.  He then begins to inspect your papers, with the face of a colonel in the SS.

“There begins a silent duel of stares, with the notary ‘analyzing’ the documents that he requested from you.  From time to time he’ll look up at you and then return to his analysis.  With each look he gives you the impression you’ve committed some crime, but you can only turn to look at the horrible painting that ‘adorns’ his wall and then look back at him, yourself filled with anxiety.  You try to figure out what he’s thinking, what he’ll say and what could be wrong in the official documents – all properly signed and stamped as well as registered with volume and page number by the law office that issued them.

“The duel ends (with you’re being the one shot).  Radiant with joy, the notary exclaims, ‘Everything’s fine, but now it seems you’re missing…’  At that one moment you understand that there was a reason the Beatles made that song you like so much: ‘The Long and Winding Road.’

“Your efforts have been thwarted, so it will be necessary to try yet again, to get up early another time (after sleeping poorly), to deal with more lines and their representatives, to wait for the notary to finish what they need to do before beginning their ‘work day.’

“And if that weren’t enough, you go to that next appointment with the certainty something else will be lacking.  If you make one step forward, you have to take two steps backwards, because this is how ‘legal’ matters are in our country.”

Francisco Castro

Francisco Castro:Everything becomes simpler when one crosses the line of thirty. That does not make it easier, but rather the opposite. There I am on the other side of the line, trying to figure out, what little I know about art, politics, economy ... life, how to move without breaking oaths that seemed essential, how not to give up, how to make the years spent into a beacon to the future.



One thought on “The Long and Winding Road

  • Senor Castro..wipe you eyes and stop whining..Go to amerikkka where i grew up if u want to see a warped legal shitrem that only allows for certain justices..based on color of skin? And then cry..return to Cuba and write about it

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day
Picture 1 of 1

Music Space, Bio Bio, Chile. By Ruber Osoria González (Cuba-Chile). Camera: Sony Slt a58

Submit your pictures to our Photo of the Day section
You don’t have to be a professional photographer, just send an image (in black and white or color), with a photo caption indicating where it was taken (city and country), type of camera or cell you used, and a small description about it.
Note: it is better for our format if you send horizontal orientation pictures. Even square will work but vertical is a problem.
Send your picture with your name and birth country, or where you reside, to this email address: yordaguer@gmail.com