Citizens in Mayari, Cuba Protest Police Brutality against Street Vendor

By Confesor Verdecia Ellcok

Neighbors who witnessed the incident of police brutality againat a poor street vendor.

HAVANA TIMES – Thanks to the swift and overwhelming intervention by neighbors on 10 de Octubre Street in Mayari, street seller Sergio Morales, better known on the street as “pancakes”  (as they call the sweet-bread, the only thing he sells), was released, without charges.

According to witnesses, a policeman called out to him to buy some pancakes but the street seller pretended not to hear him. Then, the policeman figured that it was likely he didn’t have a license and ran after the bike, grabbing the box of product to try and stop him. In this attempt, the law enforcement officer lost his balance and fell to the ground. But, the box also broke and all of the pancakes scattered out onto the street.

The scared street seller continued on to the end of the road, while the policeman called for backup, bothered by his fall. It seems that patrol car no. 485 was in the neighborhood and it arrived on the scene in no time. According to testimonies, “they charged at the young man and beat him up like he was a criminal,” but he didn’t resist. He was immediately transferred to the Police Station.

“The officer entered the alleyway at full speed, where kids were playing, and he just missed us”; “it was like a movie, they really exaggerate, if only they did the same to criminals, not the poor people who are trying to get by as best they can”; “now they can’t say that the young man did something to the police, they were the ones who beat him up,” were some of the comments neighbors made about the episode.

I got there a few minutes later, and people were still out on the street, upset by the injustice and police brutality. So much so they they lost their fear of being filmed for a moment and agreed to have their reports filmed. Somebody suggested they go down to the police station to support the young pancake seller and that’s exactly what they did. “Before he’s charged with a made-up crime,” they said.

According to sources close to the victim, who were afraid to disclose their identity, “the police wanted to charge him with an attack on authority because of the policeman’s fall. But, everything changed when they saw people crowded out in front of the police station, asking for them not to abuse the young man because he was a victim of the police.” They stopped treating him badly and began to resolve the matter by the book.

Plus, it was discovered that at least two MININT “informants” in the neighborhood, the kind people call “snitches”, called the police to warn them about the general sentiment out on the street. They also told them that recorded statements had been given.

In reality, the street seller didn’t have a license, that’s why he pretended not to hear the policeman when he was called. As a peaceful gesture, in an attempt to calm people down after this act of police brutality, it was decided that he only be given a 30 peso public disorder fine and not the 2000 peso fine for carrying out an unauthorized commercial activity, which would have prevented him from applying for a license for a long time, in keeping with the new Self-Employment Law.

The vendors “pancakes” scattered on the street.

Recently, Mayari’s police force have a record of practising extreme and excessive violence against the people. There have been several cases in the last few months alone. For example, a young man called Maikel, from the Emergencia neighborhood, was brutally beaten by four policemen because he was traveling in a small cart after 6 PM, which is the curfew for these kinds of animal-drawn vehicles in Mayari. It turns out he was a Party member and the son of a People’s Power Council’s president.

Another two teenagers were also mercilessly beaten by the police, generating great popular indignation. However, the pancake seller’s case proved that if the population reacts and loses its fear of standing up to the authorities, the latter are obliged to respect the people.

At least this young man was spared being charged with an “attack against an authority” which he didn’t commit. Although, you can’t bring uniformed attackers to justice, for many reasons, and repressors walk scot-free once again.

3 thoughts on “Citizens in Mayari, Cuba Protest Police Brutality against Street Vendor

  • May 9, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    The Cuban regime has no support anymore from the population. It’s time to stand up and deliver on Jose Marti’s dream of a free and self determined Cuba. Cuba wasn’t Batista’s/the Americans, nor the Castro’s playground that can be exploited. Not does it belong to the Miami Maffi. Fidel was a trait of, the guy had a private island for god’s sake! A push and a shove and the country will be again of those who own it. The ordinary, free Cuban people! The “Revolution” is a farce, a facade for a military dictatorship unconvincely hinding behind a “socialist” mask.

  • May 9, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    MININT has a policy of using state police goons from other parts of the country thus ensuring no personal relationships between the local populace and the goons. Secondly, they construct good housing for the goons and their families, in separate divisions. A perfect example can be seen at Artemisa following its elevation to being a provincial capital. Entering that city on the Carretera Central from the east, the first housing project is as described, and the very large MININT semi-military facility is close by – all very cosy for the goons and intended to intimidate dissenters.
    To respond to Alvis Jenkins:
    Cuba cannot be inflitrated by neighbours, being an island where the only means of entry is by by passport with visa, checked by the Aduana. The defined purpose of the CDR is to detect who is meeting with who and to ensure that dissenters are jailed. You Alvis are obviously accustomed to the freedoms of the capitalist world rather than the repression of a totalitarian state. John F. Kennedy in his agreement with Nikita Khrushchev, committed to no military intervention in Cuba – and the Castro regime knows that.
    Green and Orange revolutions have demonstrated the power of demonstration by the mass of the people and in consequence the Castro regime has developed a system of ensuring that no such demonstrations are possible. Only those organized and permitted by the regime occur.
    Your view that “The Cuban people……… can overthrow the corrupt government.” is sadly just wishful thinking.

  • May 9, 2019 at 9:13 am

    The Cuban people when united together, can overthrow the corrupt government. When soldiers of any nation go to war, it is to secure their freedom in their home country and they place their lives on the line. If the Cuban people would do this by the masses, the corrupt Cuban Government could be overthrown. If the Government of Cuba was successful in deterring the opposition by using lethal forces, it would have fewer slaves to carry on the support of the government. There is super power in the masses of unity. The Cuban people who are slaves to communism are great people and only have a desire to live a good life and they deserve independence. Why infiltrate a country in South America to overthrow comminism? It has to be because of an intrinsic value of that country, namely oil. Cuba has no intrinsic value and that must be the reason it is not being infiltrated to end communism.
    My heart goes out to the Cuban people for their hopes of the good life.

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