Havana Scenes (II)

Yenisel Rodriguez

My uncle and a friend were waiting to be served coffee at the Café Habana.

As the waiter was serving them a man in a plaid shirt and with a bag hanging from his shoulder suddenly picked up the two cups of coffee and claimed them for his own.  My uncle started arguing but the man simply responded saying that the coffees were now his.

Still upset, my uncle confronted the man and waited for his reaction.  But the man in the plaid shirt remained silent, so my uncle walked away.  Again the waiter served coffee to my uncle and his friend, while a few seconds later a police officer entered Café Havana.

The white man in the plaid shirt and with a bag hanging from his shoulder immediately ordered the policeman saying: “Have them give you their documents.  They tried to disrespect me.”

The beat cop obeyed.  Though my uncle and his friend protested, the policeman didn’t listen.  He forced them to hand over their IDs.

“Come with me,” the officer demanded.

But they refused and tried to explain to him what had happened.  Nonetheless, the officer only ordered them to shut up.  Now obligated, they went with him.  The man in the plaid shirt caught up to them and pulled out a card.

“You’re going to see who I am now,” he said.

He was a plainclothes police officer, though he threatened my uncle saying: “You’re going to have to pay for what you said to me.  I’m the man – get it!  He ended up threatening both of them with his fist.

Faced with such a disgraceful scene, my uncle decided to let himself fall to the ground in an act of protest.  “I can’t walk anymore,” he wailed.

Furious, the police tried to get him to his feet, but he resisted by going limp.  They then proceeded to put him in handcuffs, as the plainclothes cop in the plaid shirt continued threatening him.  Minutes later my uncle was given a few elbows by the plainclothesman but then released.

A few days later a friend of my uncle —and who had witnessed the mistreatment— ran into the man with the plaid shirt.  In a sarcastic tone, the plainclothesman asked him, “Hey, how’s your friend.”

My uncle’s friend looked him in the eyes belligerently and responded, “Are you making fun of me?”

The man in the plaid shirt dropped his head and continued on his way.  Perhaps he left in defeat, or maybe he was optimistically expecting the appearance of another cop to back up his courage to impose his will by force.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.



One thought on “Havana Scenes (II)

  • Oh well..maybe your uncles should have thouight twice?

    Reply

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