Something that’s Happening in Cuba and Merits Thought

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

At the entrance to Mayari, Holguin. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — I don’t know the exact figures because they haven’t been made public, but here in Mayari, Holguin, several robberies must take place everyday. Usually, just material goods are lost and the crime almost always goes unpunished.

It’s only when it’s something big that’s been taken, or when the State is the one being affected, that a great interest is taken by the authorities to resolve these cases.

I’ve already commented on the terrible things that happen here in the Cuban East with the theft of livestock and the mafias that are on the uprise in a previous article of mine. I talked about the ransom that people were asking to release these animals and how dangerous this trend was becoming. Just a few days ago, a clear example of what is on the horizon and worries people took place.

Robbers attempted to steal some animals at night, and their owners woke up. They tried to defend their property and the robbers killed the man of the house with a knife. They injured his brother who is said to have lost an arm. The police still haven’t found those responsible who are now on the run. Fortunately, they were identified and one of them is even on conditional probation. The neighborhood where this event took place has become famous for the mafias who work in the “business” of illegal beef.

A reflection:

The seed of violence and organized crime has already been planted in Cuba. Not only here in the country’s interior where robberies and trafficking take place; it’s much worse in the capital and in the main cities. In these urban neighborhoods, an emerging drug trade is growing, which is no longer small and sporadic like it used to be a few years ago.

It will only take “the boat to rock” for organized crime and violence to become viral and ruin this country even more; for them to lose their fear that they have of the Government’s repressive power (because even though they don’t do anything, if they wanted to they could, and when they do, nothing will stop them).

It will only take a shift towards a rule of law that protects them from the iron fist; that capitalism allows them to extend their dirty business and launder their money; that will increase the population’s earnings, so that they can sell drugs en masse that alienate people and corrupt them; and if democracy comes, it will corrupt it and pay off politicians, policemen, district attorneys and judges, thereby converting Cuba into a paradise for criminals.

They are here, in position like professional runners, a knee on the ground, waiting for the sound of the gunshot so they can run their race. It’s a huge task that the decent men and women of Cuba have: to protect this precious time of change, when it comes. We shouldn’t be afraid of change because dormant dangers are lurking. These dangers and many others are lying in wait for the opportunity to exploit the evil within our society, when best wishes give room for misgovernment while we rearrange our country.

Caution forces us to know well what they are; to observe other societies and to take in their experiences of change, both positive and negative. The mission our generation has in front of us is gigantic and we will be witness to a very special and transcendental historic moment. It’s our duty to do this well and not let opportunists rob us of what will be our new found freedom and justice.


8 thoughts on “Something that’s Happening in Cuba and Merits Thought

  • August 21, 2016 at 6:57 am
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    In a comment on an article posted in HT, I described some problems related to an owner’s contracting an architect to help with the re-design of her house for use as a restaurant. The problems I saw related to the inability of the owner to expense or capitalize what she paid to the architect, and to the architect’s inability to declare what she paid him as income. This is new ground for me (I’m a U.S. business professor and therefore trained to see the formal economy) as in a micro-moment it shows how the informal economy grows. I really didn’t know how to end my comment. In this writer’s story I see a possible ending:

    “They are here, in position like professional runners, a knee on the ground, waiting for the sound of the gunshot so they can run their race.”

    “They” are the mafia in my country, narcos in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. Beautiful metaphor for a horrible situation in the making. Peaceful economic activity, unaccounted for, builds a space for less peaceful actors to take over and thrive later on. How else to explain the transition of the Soviet economy? What other ways might Cuba transform?

  • August 20, 2016 at 7:25 pm
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    What an ignorant comment

  • August 20, 2016 at 12:25 am
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    The Constitution of the United States of America is not valid elsewhere, and fortunately that includes the second amendment which those resident in other countries find astonishing – as is the number of deaths by shooting per annum consequent to it. The so-called “right to bear arms” is a folly fortunately confined to the US where there appear to be those who seek repetition of the “OK Corral” and to pursue life as urban cowboys.
    Fortunately also the NRA is confined to the US and should remain so – others are too sensible to pursue such crackpot policy!
    You obviously do not understand that the CDR comes under the control of MININT (The Ministry of the Interior) as does the State Police. Both as ‘security’ along with the overseas intelligence services (remember five were caught in the US) are operated under the control of General Alejandro Castro Espin. The last thing that the Castro family communist regime would do would be to allow arms out into the population of Cuba. Where would the local Presidents of the CDR store those weapons?
    The history of the US in Cuba is one of repetitive political stupidity and your proposals would merely add to that. Go and get your kicks on the firing range rather than promoting lunacy.

  • August 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm
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    Lets take the N.R.A. and other reactionaries at their word. If they are in favor of citizens exercising their second amendment rights, then we should; local neighborhood watches and associations, be they in Cuba or the U.S.A., should have the right to bare arms. In Cuba, the C.D.R. would be an armed supplement to the police and provincial militias. In the States, they could counterbalance the trigger-happy, racial-profiling police, and act as a vigorous tonic to the latter’s abuses. As the Beatles once crooned, “happiness is a warm gun!”

  • August 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm
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    Give everyone arms while you are at it, why not? This approach evidently works (not) in the US where 1000s of lives been lost over the years by ‘people power’ not to mention innapropriate use of weapons and excessive violence by the police themselves. You are welcome to your own madness but do not suggest it is appropriate for anywhere else thanks.

  • August 18, 2016 at 6:03 pm
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    The CDR is an arm of MININT and is under the control of General Alejandro Castro Espin and it is MININT that controls the state police. How many of the over 10,000 ‘Presidents’ of the CDR have you actually met? Our one is in his very old age and has no weapon training.
    Over 10,000 unqualified people being provided with ARM(s) is a nutty concept. But suppose it reflects the US mentality and “the right to bear arms”. Similarly the concept of forming US style militias is nutty.
    Machetes are a dime a dozen in Cuba – that’s how they cut the grass along the autopista – have you seen them?
    The statement that “Compared to the surrounding nations including the US, Cuba is relatively safe.” coming from a US citizen living in a country where over 10,000 people year are shot dead, reflects a culture that others don’t need. Less, not more guns are required.
    Your contribution reflects your culture and Cuba doesn’t needv it!

  • August 18, 2016 at 11:32 am
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    Compared to the surrounding nations, including the U.S., Cuba is still relatively safe. Yet the early stages of this plague seems to have arrived. Rather than depending only on the police, the state should ARM the CDR’s and set up a parallel “people’s militia” (just as, here, the Black Panthers, Young Lords, Guardian Angels, etc. should be similarly reactivated and/or reinvigorated and armed; this should be much easier here, as access to guns is not a real problem!)

    Due to increasing break-ins even here in the countryside (I live in a rural New England state), I recently replaced my old Venceremos Brigade machete (circa 1969-70), which was finally falling apart, with a new “Latin American” machete (which is much more intimidating, it is twice the length of the old People’s Republic of China model from almost fifty years ago).

  • August 17, 2016 at 9:18 pm
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    “All it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”
    Edmund Burke

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