Maria Matienzo Puerto
HAVANA TIMES, Jan 8 — It’s no secret to anyone. Whenever I hear conversations of people in the street, I’ll stop if I have to, not to miss any of the details (if the conversation merits it). Yes, I’m a gossip.
At first I would engage in this though I felt a little uncomfortable. Now, as you can read, I even comment about my gossiping. In other words, if at one time I had a small problem with this bad habit of mine, I’ve now gotten over it completely.
Of course, I don’t always hear nice things, and sometimes I find out things that I would have preferred to never know.
The other day, for example, I learned that here in Cuba there’s no law to restrict people who are obsessed with someone else.
Let me explain.
If Joe Blow assaults Ms. So-and-so, and she wants to distance herself from him legally, there’s no way of doing so. That’s what I heard on the street, and it was later confirmed by a lawyer friend of mine.
I’ll continue calling her So-and-so because she was a woman at the bus stop and the guy, Joe Blow, because he wasn’t close by and I also don’t know him.
I saw So-and so leaving a law office (which is just across from the bus stop) here in the Alamar neighborhood. She came over to the stop and starting saying to a friend: “Just think. What can I do now? He’s just been released and he’s going around looking for me. At the police station, they sent me here. But now that I’m here, there’re telling me they can’t do anything.”
Though basically she didn’t say anything, I was struck by the subject and listened.
“Yeah, the police told me that he had already served his time; so now he wants me to be punished too,” she added.
With that, I couldn’t take anymore. Between her anguish-strained voice and my own curiosity, I couldn’t help but to turn and look at her.
She was burned, badly burned. The scars reached all the way to her face.
I couldn’t bear thinking about what she was going through, but I concluded that it was terror and the trauma of having been burned.
Joe Blow was now back on the street after serving…how much time? Four years for good behavior?
I don’t know So-and-so, but I saw her sitting there essentially alone, at a bus stop but on her way down a dead end street.
What can she do? Kill him and then be convicted as a criminal? Or wait to be killed?
Who’s responsible then for exorcising the devil from the lives of battered women?
Although there is no reporting on such crimes, there are thousands of these cases in Cuba. The morgues and hospitals are full of stories like those of So-and-so. But that’s another law that has been put on the back burner.