Murmurs Only from the Nonconformists

17 Nov


Photo:  Luis Felipe Rojas

Alberto Vega Mackensi, who just a few months ago was a bread distributor in Holguin, told me that the sector chief of the National Revolutionary Police, Alfredo Ortiz, has summoned him on various occasions, demanding him to look for work in the construction or agricultural field.  If he fails to do so, the officer has notified him that he could then be accused of social dangerousness.*

Vega commented to me that this time they simply warned him, but that he now only had a few weeks to start searching for employment.  If he fails, then he will have to go before a court.  They have already spoken to him about accusations, and in my country that translates into imprisonment for more than a — and that’s if he is lucky.  Vega then told me that he knows a few young men who have been threatened during the last couple of days by these same police whose sector belongs to the third unit of the city.

Meanwhile, other people, who have asked to remain anonymous, assured me that he Chiefs of the Police Sectors and “Chiefs from the Commission of Social Prevention” have called a meeting with the unemployed people of the labor sector to force them to work, a contradiction which affects many, especially when the government authorities have announced massive lay-offs in sectors like public health, interior trade, the sugar industry, and some administrative dependencies.  They confess that they do not understand such contradictions.

A few days ago, I traveled out of San German.  I left behind the murmurs of the nonconformists, complaining about the news of so many lay-offs, about the monitored meetings to be held in each neighborhood, and the very limited options for future employment.  But in the places I traveled to, I heard no other subject.  Artists from the different theatre, music, and painting groups, along with workers from the House of Culture will all have to go through the difficult process as well, according to what a friend of mine told me.  People who work in offices, cafeterias, education, and a number of health workers also complained.

What I did notice, however, was that no police officer mentioned that they had been laid off, nor a single member of the Communist Party, or the government, which is called here the “Popular Power”.  None of these people mentioned that the situation was “not right”, and that they would have to go work in agriculture, unless they wanted to be considered socially dangerous.


Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

*Translator’s Note: “Social dangerousness” is a crime defined as the potential to commit a crime, and carries a 1 to 4 year prison term.

Translated by Raul G.

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