I Don’t Want an ID Card

Kabir Vega Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES — I am citizen number 96111609987 – a non-organ donor, male. This is some of the information used to classify me, in much the same way a lifeless product is categorized.

I’ve hated IDs ever since I turned 16. Before that, I used to go out without a care in the world. Now, I have to take that parole document everywhere I go, as though I were a prisoner, for, if a police officer asks me for ID and I don’t have it on me, this can have a whole range of consequences.

Movies, documentaries and other materials have given me a sense of the disadvantages that having an ID entails. To be considered a human being, a person needs to have an ID and a passport (in the event they are in a country that isn’t theirs), even though all countries are on the same planet, no matter how hard one tries to separate them.

In the event an individual loses their ID, or has this document stolen or destroyed for some reason, they immediately cease to be a human being endowed with certain virtues and become an anonymous and grotesque homeless creature.

If a person were physically abused, had things stolen from them or were about to see the light at the end of the tunnel, they could in theory resort to the police, a hospital and other advantages of modern civilization. If they lack an identification document, they are denied all of the above.

If you are an immigrant living in the United States, it doesn’t matter if you work hard or run a business that benefits the State and society as a whole – if you’re not somehow registered under the US State bureaucracy, you are nobody. Your efforts, intentions and integrity mean nothing.

If you commit a crime, a criminal record is appended to these documents, condemning you for life, no matter how much you may have changed thanks to experience. No inner change in you will be able to shed that stigma.

All the while, thousands, millions of people harm others with impunity because many human evils aren’t considered criminal offenses. There are others who can freely commit crimes because of their political position.

Many will say identification documents are a necessary form of organization. I cannot help but ask myself how the universe works so well without the need of files and registries and why some aboriginal cultures who have no bureaucrats or offices appear to live in greater harmony than we do.

What do we gain from submitting ourselves to some pieces of paper on which anything can be written?

8 thoughts on “I Don’t Want an ID Card

  • Without a police-issued photo ID card in Ohio, North Carolina, North Dakota, you won’t even be allowed to vote now, and to obtain such a card, the applicant must bring to the precint station a birth cirtificate, social security card and/or multiple other forms of verification. Many old folks, who don’t get out that often, will have difficulty. Even if you do manage to get a voter ID card in these states, if you are black, American Indian, or reside in any other district that is heavily Democratic, you’ll have to wait in long lines, as the pole workers in these districts have been reduced to guarantee that voters showing up to the polls have to wait hours on end. In any event, in America you can’t get on a train or bus, let alone an airliner, without a photo ID; ditto checking into a hotel. I did read a book a while back about a young man who decided to live without spending any money. He did–but with a little help from his friends!

  • Um, …Dan? There are over 20 million illegal immigrants in the US, that’s twice the population of Cuba, and the current administration doesn’t care much about it. Yes, ICE goes through the motions of arresting a few but it’s a drop in the bucket.

    Don’t imagine for a minute that the Cuban gov’t was unaware you overstayed your visit to Cuba. They’re just happy to see you keep on spending your Yankee dollars.

  • Get a clue Dan. Illegal immigrants are law-breakers. You can debate the morality of current immigration laws but if you are in the US illegally, you are breaking the law. By one day or ten years, it is still against the law. Overstaying a visa in Cuba by a few days or even a week does not trigger State Security. I agree because I have done so myself. But overstay by a year while working a job “on the left” as Cubans say, and you will face a whole different situation. I know this firsthand as I had a Haitian housekeeper in my casa particular in this situation. They locked her up for a month before they deported her.

  • Firstly, I’ve overstayed my visa in Cuba numerous times and never had any problem whatsoever. Overstay a US B-2 by one day and you can and probably will be detained by ICE if noticed. Even if unnoticed, when you turn in your I-94 to ICE at the airport your visa will be voided and you won’t be coming back. Have a greencard and forget to change your address within 10 days with USCIS ? You can be fined, imprisoned and removed for that. I see illegal immigrants ever day. I don’t meet many who feel that they are being valued for their efforts, intentions or integrity. Sounds like typical DOS hype.

  • I am sorry, I do not understand, what’s wrong with having an ID card? Kids in school are given some form of ID (roll numbers), people taking up professional exams or civil services exams are given a unique id, employees are given IDs – so what is wrong with extending that to each and every citizen on a country level? It indeed helps with border security checks, and ensures that if you are employed, you are entitled to pay taxes as much as you are entitled to healthcare services and free education provided by the government. The ID doesn’t determine your self-worth, it merely acknowledges your existence and responsibility of yours towards the country and that of the country towards you. As for the crime record attached to your ID, well, if crime has been committed, then one has no right to complain. And yes, depending on the nature of crime, these are not held forever.

  • This young man writes,”If you are an immigrant living in the United States, it doesn’t matter if you work hard or run a business that benefits the State and society as a whole – if you’re not somehow registered under the US State bureaucracy, you are nobody. Your efforts, intentions and integrity mean nothing.” Please tell me to what country on the planet can you immigrate illegally and be valued solely by your efforts, intentions and integrity? Certainly not in Cuba where you will be imprisoned or deported immediately without the proper tourist or immigration documents. Border control is a reasonable expectation in civilized society.

  • Keep crying a river, you NEED an id everywhere in the world. Is called social security number, social insurance number etc. depending on the country, but is something that identifies you and is linked to your income sources, tax contributions, retirement funds, etc.

    Also, stop being b*tchy, you don’t cease to be considered human for not having a valid id and most countries have valid reasons to keep track of the movement of undocumented if anything for fairness.

    Ask yourself a question: why someone who has never ever contributed anything to that specific country would be entitled to the same benefits that the citizens that have been paying by their noses all their lives?

    Also, your assertion is full of bull… droppings. You can’t be legally employed without an SSN because you employer must notify your income to the IRS an your MUST pay your taxes like everyone else. And if you are explicitly breaking the law, why would the government look to the other side and do nothing? And since when breaking the law has anything to do with “efforts, intentions and integrity”?

    Also, you are been ignorant in many ways: emergency units in the US DO provide care without requiring any identification and criminal records expire after a while depending on the offense.

    Regardless, if you DID commit a crime, why would you expect leniency and forgetfulness? I have some news for you: you are already a grown up as far as the law is concerned; growing up requires learning at heart a single lesson: all your actions have consequences and you are responsible for ever single one of them.

  • I do not blame you You have a birth cert or nation card and there is no need to prove anything else unless you want to leave Cuba..Stand your ground!

Comments are closed.