The Kidnapping of Laura

Osmel Almaguer

Across from Havana's Capitolio building.

Marina is a friend of mine who’s almost twice my age.  I know that she is a good person because she’s demonstrated these to me on more than one occasion, but she also has a very youthful character.

When we talk, I feel so comfortable that I sometimes forget that this is someone who has grandchildren.

Speaking of grandchildren, her youngest has just gone through an experience worthy of the wildest action movie.  She was kidnapped by her father —who’s Italian— and who almost ended up taking the child to Italy.  If the police had delayed a few more minutes it would have been too late.

Seven years ago, Marina’s daughter (Alina) married an Italian (Carlo) and began living with him.  The marriage, like almost all of them these days, was fine for the first two years and then began to deteriorate.

I’m not saying that the fact that Carlo was an older man (almost 70) had an influence, but Alina is still young and beautiful.  Her cinnamon-colored skin is much admired in Italy, from what I’ve been told, so it could have been that the age difference was what led to a growing gap between the two of them.

In any case, they had Laura, a biracial baby who was a mixture between the white of her father and the coffee color of her mother.  In fact, the child helped the marriage – at least for a few more years.

Recently the family came to Cuba for a visit.  Though both were almost in agreement that the best course would be a separation, what Alina didn’t know was that Carlo had secretly prepared the divorce.  It was arranged so that she would have to stay in Cuba and could not demand her legal rights to community property in Italy, which by the way were significant.

Alina realized Carlo’s trick at once, but though she got unnerved, she agreed to sign the divorce petition, apparently out of the desire to distance herself from him.  As for Carlo, he simply went to the hotel, picked up the suitcases with the belongings of Alina and Laura and took them in his car.

However —unsatisfied with having freed himself from his wife without having to fork over a dime to her— then he went to Marina’s house, snatched up Laura in his arms, and abducted her with the intention of flying her to Italy.

He made a huge scene that involved crying and arguing, but the man achieved what he had wanted.   When he left, Marina then called the police, who went after Carlo in hot pursuit.  They spent the whole day searching for him at every turn, until just before night they caught him about to board an airplane.

Another scene was created there when he accused Alina of being a prostitute who had sold herself for an air conditioner.  He claimed that he was taking the daughter so that she wouldn’t have to experience that misery here.

The police told him that if it was discovered that he had threatened Alina, he could wind up spending a lot more time in Cuba.  Alina only lowered her head and hid the fact that he had threatened to kill her if she ever returned to Italy.

In the trial everything worked out.  Laura would receive cost-of-living payments of 1,300 euros monthly and remain with her mother, while Carlos would return to Italy.  Marina was quite relaxed while telling me this story, though the experience must have been a little traumatic for her.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

3 thoughts on “The Kidnapping of Laura

  • It seems to me that this guy was looking at Cuba as being essentially just another “Third World” country in which a well-off foreigner could take advantage of the locals. I’m happy to read that he was quickly disabused of this notion.

  • Wow, what a story! And yes, traumatic for the child. I think it does have elements particular to Cuba. Since the two were not actually already divorced at the time, I think it would be difficult to get the police of most countries involved. I mean, what would happen if you called the cops in texas for example and said, “my Mexican husband just picked up our child and is going to take her with him to Mexico and I don’t approve.” Most likely you’ll get no response. Technically no crime has been committed if your still married.

  • I am reading this and I think this would be traumatic for a child; however, I am missing the intent of your story.. am I right to assume there is a belief that this is related specifically to Cuba? Sorry not understanding…

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