Residents of Alamar, Havana: Guilty or Innocent?

Regina Cano

Alamar. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — “What are they building over there?” he asked, referring to a leveled, arid terrain he made out through the window of the bus we were on. “That’s going to be a District Attorney’s Office or a court” his travel companion replied. After a pause, he added: “Instead of building a disco or the hospital Alamar needs so much.” He went on to say: “Now they have the nerve to build a place where they can better enforce the law here…”

These people are probably not the only ones who, like me, wonder about this place, for half of the neighborhood’s residents pass through that spot on their way to or from work or school.

Perhaps, owing to one of the changed premises of our social system, they consider us guilty beforehand or guiltier than what we really are or how guilty we believe we are.

I believe that, to begin with, the justice system must consider us innocent (I don’t mean naive, of course) and then set out to prove that we are guilty of having committed a crime, before treating us like criminals.

Cubans, and people in Havana particularly, have many unmet daily needs. While tourist resorts, aquatic theme parks, golf courses, maritime ports and other things that do not immediately improve the lives of the average citizen are built elsewhere on the island, local governments do not mobilize their resources to build hospitals.

How many residents of Alamar have arrived dead to the closest hospital, such as the Naval hospital (which only accepts emergencies from our neighborhood). For all other medical concerns, we must go to the Calixto Garcia, a hospital located across the bay in Vedado.

Alamar is located about 10 kilometers from the city center. It is one of the most heavily populated localities of the Habana del Este municipality. A mere three polyclinics offer services to the many tens of thousands of individuals residing there.

This neighborhood, to be sure, is not the only one suffering such a shortage of health facilities.

Habana del Este is one of the largest municipalities in Havana. Only people living in Cojimar and Camilo Cienfuegos are entitled to receive treatment at the Naval, but there are plenty other neighborhoods in the area that need these: Bahia, Guanabo, Campo Florido, Barreras, Brisas del Mar, Alamar and others.

It may be that local governments are restrained to their locality in terms of jurisdiction and perhaps building a hospital is something beyond their financial possibilities, but that also strikes me as a facile pretext, leaving us in the unjust position of being considered unworthy of such attention.

Bearing in mind that a hospital will always benefit a greater number of people than those that become involved in crime or break the law in a given neighborhood and municipality, it seems to me that what they are telling us with this measure is that, to them, the majority of the population here is involved in crime.

The other suggestion made by the person in the bus, building a disco, should not be discarded, for the stress and the label of “bedroom-city” Alamar has earned for itself is already quite a burden.

Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

4 thoughts on “Residents of Alamar, Havana: Guilty or Innocent?

  • June 4, 2014 at 9:59 am
    Permalink

    Why don’t the people ban together and organize a recall election of the community leaders who made the decision to build a court instead of a hospital? What is that you say? NOT PERMITTED. Ok, then why don’t those who oppose this facility simply organize a petition campaign to demand that the community/city/state or country build a hospital as well? Say again? NOT PERMITTED. Well, at the very least, citizens should organize a march to the construction site and start a sit-in vigil that prevents construction equipment from crossing the picket line. No me digas eso! NOT PERMITTED. So what is it with the Castro regime that the people CAN do?

    Reply
    • June 5, 2014 at 8:42 am
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      …the people can shut up and take what they get.

      Reply
      • June 5, 2014 at 9:36 am
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        There is a saying in Cuba that translates to…”All that is not mandatory is prohibited”.

        Reply
        • June 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm
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          How curious. A friend of mine likes to point out that the current political opinion among US liberals is “that which I like is mandatory, that which I don’t like is banned.”

          Same mentality, if not quite as extreme as in Cuba.

          Yet.

          Reply

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