Cuba: Videos that Reach Us

Nonardo Perea

Galiano St. Photo: Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES — “Protest on Galiano Street”: that is the title of a video that reached me this week, and not as part of Cuba’s well-known weekly package, which abstains from divulging materials of a political nature (or films with explicit sexuality, or pornography, to be more precise), so as to avoid problems. As we know, anything smelling of politics and running counter to the revolution is not welcome in our neck of the woods (neither is pornography, though, as many people ought to know, those who rent out illegal cable services switch to channels that show these diabolical materials in the early morning).

This post will not focus on that but on how misinformed we Cubans are, and on how little our journalists do, as evidenced by the fact no one knew about this horrible incident that took place recently, apparently. A man, his wife and four small children blocked Galiano Street to demand justice, after having been evicted from their home. Because of this, the children have been without a home and out of school for eight months, or so the distraught father yelled before the large crowd that surrounded them.

From what I could surmise, it is family that moved to Havana from the countryside and lived in the newly-formed province of Mayabeque illegally for some time. They had been having problems since 2010. According to the father, State Security agents went to get them and forced them out of the town of San Jose de las Lajas, putting them on a bus that took them to the bridge in Cotorro, leaving them there to their own resources, without any kind of help.

Before, the family had written a letter addressed to Raul Castro, hoping he could help them overcome this problem. Receiving no answer, after two months they approached different institutions and claim to have spoken directly with Maria del Carmen, the head of the pertinent Council of State department, but no one listened there either.

In the video, the wife clutches a bag holding her few belongings and disconsolately yells that she is tired. Yelling, the two demand schooling for their children and the right to live where they see fit, for this is the country of their birth. They say that the only thing they want is for people to help them. They don’t want a big house. They would be content with a ranch where they can live like human beings, with being able to work and having their children attend school and lead decorous lives.

Pulling out a slip of paper from his pocket, the man read out a text, mentioning the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), which works to guarantee human rights such as child development, and ensures that all children around the world have the right to education.

The police didn’t take long to arrive and take him away. Many people in the crowd yelled things in support of the man and against the police. The video ends with a crowd of people running down the boulevard on Galiano Street.

No one knows what became of this family. The video left me feeling sad, because I have no more information about this at the moment.

I wonder what’s become of the parents and the children, who didn’t know what was happening and were also crying. I only hope the video makes it around the world, so that people know that our marvelous country, the land of Jose Marti, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, is capable of such injustices, and that no one can do anything about them.

Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

24 thoughts on “Cuba: Videos that Reach Us

  • June 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

    fact is the world bank reports that there are few malnourished children in cuba and it has the best education system in all of latin america. also there are no homeless children roaming the streets as there are all over latin america.

  • January 1, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Wow? Your baseline is dying from hunger? If you measure success along those lines, then Cuba works. The annual UN vote has resulted in what sanctions, loss of business opportunities, or reduced lifestyle for the American people? That toothless tiger scares no one. At the very least, anti-US hypocrites like you have far better reasons to criticize the US while enjoying the freedoms and privileges of living here. The Castros’ style of socialism has not resolved the issue of inequality either. The solution the Castros forced upon the Cuban people was to make everyone poor (except themselves, of course). How did that work out?

  • January 1, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I will take that bet. Pro-freedom groups like the brave Ladies in White will have more international visibility with the arrival of a US Ambassador. That translates into more financial support from abroad, not less. The fight for freedom in Cuba did not end with Obama’s announcement. The goal is the same, the strategy has changed.

  • January 1, 2015 at 9:56 am

    You are like the man who is drowning, water entering his lungs and still screams “I am ok I am ok…..” Happy New Year with a sovereign Cuba without US intervention of ex-cubans….I bet the damas blancso will dissapear into the hrorizon now they might not get money…maybe it will stop their internal squabbles..

  • January 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Yes, the issue of inequality is relevant since you consider it a icon of democracy. This is true for the top 10 per cnet in the US. Nobody dies of hunger in Cuba, some die because you right wing ex-Cubans bore them to death with your tirades against the Cuban revolution. Do you know you are a tiny minority? More than 180 nations of the world voted to support the end of the embargo, only US and Israel (which gets billions from the US) voted against the resolution. As to the taxes in Social Democratic nations at least they get something in return, cheap education, good health care, subsidies for families and in the US? We get militarized cops killing young black and brown men.

  • December 31, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Attempting to deflect with remarks not relevant to the post don’t fool anyone. Poverty in Cuba is real and increasing.

  • December 31, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Cuban puff piece. The Castros have filled a niche that was and remains underserved. They pay slave wages to their doctors so it makes it economically feasible to sell their medical services abroad. Everybody wins. Carter is correct, among THIRD WORLD countries, Cuba’s population is one of the healthiest. But so what? If the US paid crap to our doctors we could revolutionize our medical system too. Personally, I am glad my doctor makes a lot of money. He earned it and I want him focused on helping me and not thinking about what he can afford to buy for dinner the way Cuban doctors think.

  • December 31, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I won some money because I knew you would come back with this non sequitur…stay in the bubble while the world passes around you…as to Carter and Paul Farmer, watch and weep some more! On film!

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