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.