Cuba Has Good People but also Shitheads

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – I’ve known him for years. He’s from my town and it still feels like I see him there, playing soccer with other kids in the neighborhood, in an improvised field on a bit of land next to the polytechnic university. That’s where he graduated as a medium-level technician without a future. 

To tell you the truth, there’s no future for almost any graduate in Cuba, whether they’ve studied a medium-level course or further education, they’re still limited.

He was a slim young man back then, almost scrawny, and very tall.

He used to be pretty blank in his expressions. He liked to talk about what is called the most universal of sports: soccer. About Messi, Cristiano, Barca, the Champions League, as if he spent his whole life in it.

He was the typical millennial who only knows how to talk about soccer, reggaeton or videogames. 

Well, he joined the Ministry of Interior a while back. He passed some courses, it seems he did some weightlifting by his new athletic build. Over time he became a lieutenant, head of a Unit in a nearby town.

I’ve seen him now and again and we always greet each other politely. Now, he has a more arrogant air to him, as if his new position has turned him into a man of status.

I ran into him one of these days. We were traveling in a car with other people, all from the same town. There, he boasted about the respect he got with his new job. Especially the vast number of fines he has imposed now during lockdown.

“When I’m bored, I get on my motorbike and go to X place and give 6 or 7 fines,” he says while smiling, as if he had done something heroic.

I was surprised by his nerve when he admitted that he had fined an old woman 2000 pesos. According to his account, it was noon. The old lady had explained that she had lowered her mask to drink a soft drink, because she is diabetic, was hungry and had been standing in line at the pharmacy.

I pretended like I wasn’t listening, but at that point I had bite my tongue so as not to spurt something out like, “Why are you such a shithead?” In the end, it seemed that his listeners laughed along.

We are being attacked by a highly infectious disease, which has caused the loss of human lives, as well as consequences for the rest of the infected. So governments have had to take measures in order to control the scourge, some of which tough and restrictive, but necessary.

However, extremism and relishing in other people’s pain isn’t fair. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of this recently.

This young man is just one of many who are fulfilling their role of executioner down to the T, a role they’ve been given. It seems they have no way of thinking for themselves. They are the hounds described by George Orwell in his 1945 book “Animal Farm”. They are the ones who won’t hesitate and massacre their own when the time comes.

It’s also worth adding that Cuban police courses involve brainwashing and indoctrination, which are key to their training.

I wrote about good people in Cuba a few months back… well, let’s be clear, there’s also a lot of shitheads out there.

Read more from Pedro Pablo Morejon’s diary here.

2 thoughts on “Cuba Has Good People but also Shitheads

  • Policing in Cuba is vastly different from policing in Canada on many different levels. Pedro in his article comments on how Cuban police are trained: “It’s also worth adding that Cuban police courses involve brainwashing and indoctrination, which are key to their training.”

    In a communist country like Cuba one cannot expect anything different. The loyalty of the police and para-military forces patrolling the streets are to the state and officers abide by the protocols indoctrinated into their beliefs and behaviors whether on the job or off. Any recruit no doubt must swear allegiance to the communist ideology in their courses and policing behavior. If that involves humiliating Cuban residents on the streets who are not obeying the strict letter of the law, a police officer must act whether that is with consideration, humiliation, or with force; act they must.

    In Canada, specifically referring to the Ontario Provincial Police, a provincial law enforcement organization, their training has radically changed from bygone days. In the past the police officer, as the current Cuban police, had his fists, his gun/baton, and his ability to communicate as “weapons” to administer the law. In the past many only used their fists, the baton, and more often than not, the gun.

    However, today, in 2021 for all Canadian police enforcement and training, things have changed to some degree. “Today’s police must understand that fulfilling their role in society requires nuance and consideration of sensitivities, which is a core plank of university policing and criminology programs.” (History of Policing in Canada, Wilfred Laurier University, Online). Most policing recruits have been trained in a community college in a Police Foundation program and/or a university degree program specializing in policing before they are hired by a police department who then sends them to “Police College” where they learn the appropriate mechanics of policing – how not to use their fists, or egos, but communication.

    Is there indoctrination taking place in Canadian police training? Yes. Are there “rogue” or “ shitheads”, as Pedro pronounces, in police departments in Canada? Of course there are. However, if a Canadian police officer mistreats a citizen, that citizen can file a complaint outside police jurisdiction, or if an altercation is very serious hire a lawyer, in either case the police officer will have a court date to answer to his alleged inappropriate policing action. Individual rights trump state misbehavior.

    In a communist state the police, being an arm of the government, work to maintain and enhance communist ideology so if a citizen has a legitimate complaint hiring a lawyer may not help their situation because the Cuban lawyer also, first and foremost, works for the state. So any rogue officer can continue being a “shithead” with impunity. Sad.

    Pedro appropriately refers to George Orwell in his 1945 book “Animal Farm” whereby Orwell clearly understood the disastrous possibilities that can very easily manifest themselves when living under totalitarianism ideology where the state has complete control and those employed by the state, for the state, – police officers in this case – will do what is necessary whether it is ethically or morally correct.

  • es un agujero de mierda del cuarto mundo. El 98 por ciento de la población no tiene más remedio que ser cabezas de mierda para sobrevivir.

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