Cuba, Pensioners and Respect for the Law
May 29, 2017
Jimmy Roque Martinez
HAVANA TIMES — Some people usually sell goods on Tulipan Street, in the
Revolution Square municipality, just like they do in almost every
neighborhood throughout the country. Generally-speaking, these are
industrial and/or craft goods, and the people selling them are people
aged 65 years old and over, many of whom have already retired.
I have seen policemen, along with inspectors, fining these street
vendors on many occasions, and there is almost always a particular
policeman who is tall and imposing in manner.
Not too long ago, I witnessed how this policeman, this time dressed as a
civilian, fined an old lady, with the help of two inspectors. Minutes
later, they took her merchandise to a police truck that was parked nearby.
That's when I made my way towards them and asked where the goods that
had been taken off sellers, who had already received fines, would go.
Of course, the plain clothes policeman asked who I was, before answering
that the goods are kept in inspector warehouses and are then used to
replenish stock at stores or markets, depending on the item in question.
That's when I asked if it would be possible to corroborate the fact that
this mechanism works properly, as it is common knowledge that policemen
and inspectors pocket confiscated goods for themselves a lot of the time.
The plain clothes policeman told me that he wasn't obliged to give me
any explanations, and that he only needs to answer to the Ministry of
Interior and State Security, trying to void my right to question him.
During our conversation, the policeman showed me his identification to
show me that he really was a policeman, while the two women who were
accompanying him did the same and identified themselves as inspectors.
Every public authority should be obliged to give any citizen
explanations and report back whenever a citizen asks them to; but we
already know that talking about rights in Cuba is extremely suspicious.
If Cuba was really a socialist country, if its modes of production
really were the peoples, then they would be compelled to give account
for their management; but because that isn't the case, the only thing
that is promoted here is that corruption spreads and grows in every sector.
It's a well-known fact that salaries here in Cuba aren't enough for
people to live a dignified life and that pensions for civilians are
measly, while the cost of living is becoming more and more expensive.
One of the causes (among many others) is the fact that we are still
keeping an army up and running and such a large police force, without
them having any real work to do, who are used to confiscate lighters and
cigarette packs from old people on the streets of this city because they
have no real military maneuvers to do.
We need to fight for our civil rights and for citizen control so as to
put an end to corruption and the privileges that the Cuban military and
political elite enjoy.
Source: Cuba, Pensioners and Respect for the Law - Havana Times.org -