Violence Doesn’t Kill Violence

Rosa Martinez

May Day in Guantanamo City. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — In Cuba, May 1st is a national holiday, and one of the celebrations that belong to ordinary Cuban people, who stay in the street after the parade to celebrate International Workers’ Day with music and beer.

Cubans have always been like this, cheerful even in the most difficult times in our lives, that’s why we were able to survive the tough years during the Special Period and the economic crisis that has lingered ever since.

However, in addition to the Cuban people’s cheerfulness and playfulness, there is another inherent trait which we are said to possess ever since primitive times, rebelliousness, which sometimes translates into excessive violence among ourselves.

Beforehand, anybody used to argue loudly, both men and women, but it never went beyond verbal insults, if the worst came to the worst, maybe a few blows. It’s not like that anymore. Today, disagreements between neighbors, family members or strangers are resolved with knives and machetes as if we had gone back in time to the era of the Mambises.

That’s why there were several bloody events in my city on this year’s May Day, the most well-known being the murder of a son and his father in South Guantanamo.

Stories prove that these events mostly occur between young people aged 14-30, who are used to walking around with sharp cutting objects, and in the face of any confrontation, well it’s kill before you’re killed…

A lot of people believe that while the law doesn’t deliver the death penalty to those who murder, these cases won’t stop, because as people say here, at least what the murderers say, “you get out of jail, but you don’t get out of the cemetery.”

I don’t have the slightest idea about what can be done in Guantanamo or in the country to reduce the number of violent and bloody incidents. Even though I am against the death penalty, there’s no doubt that the authorities should be dealing with this issue, because, from what it looks like, families can only protect their own, and we already know that violence only gives way to more violence.