Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES – On the evening of October 23rd, after a month and a half of waiting, news finally came from ETECSA (Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications company) about my stolen credit in September.
“From ARLIET: 1- ETECSA Alamar, complaint made by Kabir Mustelier. Movements in August and September were checked and credit from transfers were not missing.
“From ARLIET: 2- ETECSA Almar, top-ups were received and used in connections made at internet rooms.”
In other words, the investigation states that I am a liar and that I am wasting my time by making baseless complaints for my own amusement. The response made me extremely angry but it didn’t surprise me. It’s clear from my last article, in which I reported this situation, that I wasn’t expecting anything different to happen.
Experience teaches you to only expect the possible. As well as universal knowledge which says that if you fall down, you are at gravity’s mercy, and Cubans know exactly how much they are worth to the State as a social being. They know that they are worth nothing and that not even institutions, companies or any other state-controlled body will ever support them when they file a complaint for poor service or because they have been a victim of theft or fraud.
However, this doesn’t only happen to Cubans living on the island, but to people abroad who also use Cubacel services.
My maternal grandfather, a US citizen who lives in New York, regularly top-ups my aunt’s cellphone credit. One time though, my aunt only received 6 out of the 10 top-ups he made, each of which were 20 CUC (=USD). When my grandfather complained to Cubacel, they told him, without thinking twice, that: “Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.” That’s to say, the missing 80 USD should be considered the result of a voluntary bet in a game of chance.
Once again, the Cuban State has proved that it doesn’t give its citizens any rights. It’s the word of the almighty power against the word of a poor individual.
Where will these frequent “disappeared” top-ups end up? In the personal accounts of employees who process these top-ups?
ETECSA didn’t give me any information about the investigation, nor about the records they consulted. I just don’t trust that they did their work perfectly and I won’t accept that I committed perjury. I’m also supposed to accept that my grandfather had a bad day at the gambling table, that it isn’t their responsibility if their services mysteriously divert credit purchased by honest citizens, both here and abroad.