Sex or Robbery?

Jorge Milanes

Havana Bay tunnel. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Yesterday, I saw him at the emergency ward with bandages on his back. When I asked what had happened to him, he told me two men had assaulted him with a knife and stabbed him twice.

I’d always run into him, marauding the area behind the bus stop near the Naval Hospital, on Monumental avenue, a tree-covered place not far from Playa del Chivo, where there are always men desirous of satisfying their sexual urges, men who run the risk of being assaulted, beaten and even stabbed and worse, if they do not meet the “demands” of the assailant(s).

“I couldn’t see the people who attacked me,” he told me. “It was at night. They grabbed me and took my backpack, cell phone and cap. They left only my wallet, with my ID in it. I’m alive because I managed to drag myself to the bus stop and ask for help. One of the stab wounds was near the liver,” he said to me, pointing with his finger. “A man called the ER and they immediately came and brought me here. Thank god the hospital was close by, had it been further away, I would not have made it,” he concluded.

When he told me the assault took place at around 10 at night and that he’d dragged himself to the bus stop, I realized he’d been “in the bushes.”

“What was he doing in that dangerous place that late at night?” I wondered.

Though there’s a shortcut many people take there during the day, I would not dare use it that late. Anyone who passes by the place on a bus during the day can see individuals hiding behind the trees, going at it like mad.

To process these cases, the police require solid evidence of these “assaults.”

Or…can the victims only aspire to get back some of their belongings?

The immense majority of those who suffer these assaults do not report them to the police out of fear or to avoid ridicule from law and order officials. My friend had no choice but to offer a detailed account of what happened, because his life was endangered and both the ER doctors and the police must process the case – a far from isolated case in these areas were men meet for sexual encounters.