Again, Alberto

18 May

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

Now is when I was able to publish this post which should have been uploaded along with the documentary but I am sure all of you “out there” will understand why it took long to do so.

A year ago I wrote about Alberto Lairo Castro, a young Holguin native who in 2007 was a victim of a “Double Nelson” lock applied onto him by the National Revolutionary Police in order to immobilize him.  This lock is often used by the Police forces to suppress the population.

Alberto was left disabled.  His prolonged hospitalization caused him various sores on his back, while his torturers were freed of charges twice.  Caridad Caballero and Fidel Garcia Roldan took me to him, showed me a recording made with a photo camera, and I then started spreading the story.

One year later I decided to make a short documentary without any other pretensions but to play with real time in a way that my new audiovisual experiment would showcase the story with the actual filthiness of the atmosphere and compress the actual feelings behind those chipped walls of that tiny apartment where Lairo Castro resides.

I recorded it with a Sony-Everio camera which was given to me by Malena, a charitable soul who believes in the maxim of Theresa of Calcutta: “One must give until it hurts”.

The less trained spectator may feel that the sound quality is mediocre, but surely they will establish a connection with Alberto.  The noise which can be heard in the background of “Why do you Beat Me?”is the same noise which annoys this young paralytic all day and night.  He lives just two meters from one of the most central streets of Holguin — Pepe Torres, between Marti and Frexes.

Lastly, I traveled 800 kms between San German and Havana in order to upload this documentary onto the internet.  In Santiago de Cuba it was impossible for me and I spent a fortune on Internet cards in the cybercafe.  In the end, I was not able to complete this in either of the two cities.  The connection was horrible, so I turned to my friend Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and I am infinitely grateful for his collaboration.  OLPL was not able to put it up on my YouTube account, so he put it up on his own and I immediately received a wave of congratulations and gratitude.  Two Holguin natives who now live somewhere in the South of France sent me the link and told me they are willing to spread it around their friends.  That is one of the best ways to help.

I would have never imagined that one of my documentaries would be viewed by hundreds of people after I was banned from the media in my own country.  Now, thanks to the free and wide country that is the internet, through Alberto Lairo Castro I can ask “Why do you Beat Me?”

May 17 2011

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