Protect Your Own, Steal From Others

At night he watches over the rows planted with malanga and the flock of lambs, with a short homemade shotgun. It is the work of an improvised gunsmith who welded a small diameter piece of pipe to a rustic chamber, with an irregular hammer sticking out. The sound of the ingenious device is enough, in the early hours of the morning, to send running anyone who tries to steal the harvest. When the sow gives birth, he calls his brother who lives in the village, and with this contrivance, created by necessity, they keep watch until sunrise.

Many farmers use illegal weapons that have been purchased or produced in an alternative way. Without them, the fruit of months of labor could end up in the hands of the “predators” of grain, elusive shadows who move in the darkness. Poverty has increased the stealing in the Cuban countryside and forced the villagers to safeguard their own resources. Hence the proliferation of aggressive dogs and manufactured shotguns, particularly on farms where there are cows. The pound of beef that sells for two convertible pesos in the black market feeds the thefts and illegal slaughter, despite the lengthy prison sentences that these crimes entail.

For the guardians of their own property, an official announcement has come as a surprise: …”in exceptional circumstances and only once (…) people native to and residing legally on the island, and who have in their control unlicensed firearms, will be able to obtain the required registration.” There exists, however, the tacit conviction that whomever publicly admits such possession, will find the response to be confiscation. Given this fear, few will confess to keeping the cold metal anywhere in their house, preferring the risk of not having papers to the insecurity of being left without protection. To our alarm, these rustic instruments also serve those who have neither farms nor animals to protect, lying in wait on the other side of the fence, inclined to shoot to take what belongs to others.

65 thoughts on “Protect Your Own, Steal From Others

  1. Les mando una nota de un periodico Americano Todavia no he podido ver ni oir a nadie que hable del tema

    19/08/2009 GMT 1
    Son cubanos mayoría de presos muertos en EEUU bajo custodia de Inmigración, dice hoy The New York Times
    polillabaez @ 19:47
    Artículo original de The New York Times: Officials Say Detainee Fatalities Were Missed
    El Servicio de Inmigración (ICE) la llama “la lista de la muerte”. Incluye los nombres de 104 detenidos que han fallecido en las cárceles de Inmigración desde octubre de 2003. La mayoría de los que han muerto en la custodia de Inmigración son cubanos.
    El New York Times reportó hoy que más del 10 por ciento de los fallecidos en custodia de inmigración durante los últimos seis años no aparecen en la lista oficial de difuntos que Inmigración le entregó al Congreso en marzo de este año.

    El rotativo informa que la admnistración Obama añadió los nombres de 10 víctimas a la lista, más una persona que falleció el viernes pasado.
    Durante el año pasado, más de 407 000 personas pasaron tiempo detenidos bajo la custodia de Inmigración, entidad que ha estado renuente a divulgar información específica sobre el trato de los presos y los nombres de los que han fallecido en estas cárceles.
    “El sistema carcelario de Inmigración es un sistema fallido”, dijo a Cubadebate vía telefónica el abogado de Inmigración José Pertierra, desde Washington. “Es muy difícil obtener información sobre los presos y tenemos que recurrir al lento y engorroso trámite de la Ley de Libre Información (Freedom of Information Act) para destapar los secretos detrás de las paredes carcelarias”, añadió.
    El Jefe del Departamento de Inmigración y Aduanas, John Morton, anunció el sábado que sus oficinas deben divulgar la información de los fallecidos. Sin embargo, muchas de las prisiones donde están los inmigrantes e indocumentados pertenecen a compañías privadas, con sus propias reglas. Algunas no aparecen en los listados de prisiones de inmigración, confirmó The New York Times.
    “Las cárceles deberían ser del Estado, y no de los empresarios”, dijo Pertierra. “Es la única manera de asegurarnos que los carcelarios rindan cuentas por el tratamiento que le dan a los presos”, concluyó. “La meta debiese ser la justicia y20no la ganancia”, concluyó el abogado, especialista en temas migratorios.
    El rotativo no explica la razón por la cual la mayoría de los que aparecen en la lista de la muerte son cubanos

    Hace 21 horas · Borrar publicación

  2. Honestly I think it’s sad how people have to own firearms with out a permit to protect their own land.
    Everything happens for a reason,this reason we may not know yet but sooner or later we will find out.
    Don’t lose any hope. Life will get better no matter what you are/may be going through.

  3. if one doesn’t resort to gun’s & steel bars,then one is left defenseless,if one does, they become part of that image that confirms to you the country is in its worst of times.To give up these arms & pursue peace is out of the question for many,including those here;we must protect ourselves,or die & suffer,it is as if we have no choice… it really makes me wonder where we’re heading as human beings,& as nations

  4. “I am very serious about my statements if within a month the Cuban government does not give us any signal of change we will proceed to request legislators here to take punitive action on exports to Cuba from the US”

    Ah so it was just hot air! Why am I not surprised.

  5. Juan:
    I have been around long enough to “see” when a discusion is started for the betterment of all & when a discusion is started just to prove who is right & who is wrong.
    Lets be constructive, lets agree to disagree to start with.
    The idea of nitpicking at every single little item to prove a point … come on …
    is that how you solve problems in “your” land? in your life? … pick pick pick?
    Before we talk about the way people looks & eats … lets talk about “your” perception of the Cuban economy & infrastructure.
    There are only 5 or 6 countries who are considered your trading partners, these countries have a limited liability consideration towards the regimes financial responsalbilities.
    The infraestructure in “your” country is in disrepair, actual decay … but nithing is been done …
    The potholes have names, the transportaion for the commun people is terrible …
    Now, are (just a few) these things related?
    Is the state of just a few of these things a consecuence of 50 years of mismanagement? who’s fault is it?
    I presume the people of Cuba, the people that surrounds you, the ones you live with everyday are the lazi ones, the traitors; very few of you are there to do the right thing for the revolution, for your companeros …
    Now if is not the people’s fault … it must be someone elses fault …
    Try & use the old escuse, the 50 year old one … it is the US fault …
    How long are you going to play the same old song?
    Every country that wishes can “do” busines with “your” Cuba … if they expect not to get paid their debt, if they expect to be nickle & dimed for every transaction.
    What happened with your trade pacts with Uruguay & Argentina? what is going to happen to Spain & the accumulated debt that today’s regime has reneged on?
    Your EU partners have economic problems of their own & a partner that does not hold its promises …
    “Your” Cuba is not entitled to a free ride … I didn’t see that clause in any treaty … do you get me boy?

  6. Simba, in regards to your question in #40, I am no expert, but in my trips to Cuba the last two summers, I’d have to agree with Andy (41). Yes, you do see heavy people in Cuba. I think that’s because their diet is very starchy – bread and lots of root vegetables. They have very little protein – meat, eggs, cheese and milk are rare, at least for the rural folks in the west. I’m not a dietitian, but I guess there’s a fair amount of protein in the beans. But, again, it’s not a balanced diet.

    And, FWIW, from one summer to the next, several friends of mine had noticeably lost weight, because even the food they’re “entitled” to with their ration system wasn’t always available.

    Then there are the parasites in their water, from the hurricanes of ’08, which flooded and contaminated their systems. But that’s another topic…

  7. Still waiting a response to this??!! You made such a song and dance about what you were going to do. More hot air?

    AS for my post #53. Why don’t you respond to what I actually said. ANYONE who actually lives/travels in Cuba would testify that homelessness is a very small problem. Once again you write many words but squirm away from the original posts which paint Cuba in a dishonest way.


    Febrero 9th, 2010 at 20:57
    Hey Julio de la Yncera could you please report on the Cuban governmnet’s response to your powerful threat of 10 January 2010?

    Remember your words “I am very serious about my statements if within a month the Cuban government does not give us any signal of change we will proceed to request legislators here to take punitive action on exports to Cuba from the US” and as you say repeated several times?

    So a rapid change to Cuban monetary policy occurred? I must have missed it please post one of your usual useful links to where the news of this cave was announced.

    What is next – I am sure that US legislators are similarly quaking in their boots at the prospect of a ‘request’ from you. je je je je!

    BTW is the foto above of your house in the USA??

  8. Juan you go ahead and write something positive. I have written positive before. Like the quick decision of the regime to allow Americans to fly over Cuba. Like sending doctors to Haiti, like the education I got.


    are you saying there is no homelessness in Cuba?
    Juan you sure have some good filtering eye glasses that color everything rosy when it comes to Cuba for you.

    I am sorry but I see reality. I saw how the regime was selling chocolate for example and candy made by Cubans in dollars when I visited. That was outrageous because not only they are pay very low salaries they are later asked to pay hight prices for the same things they produce!

    Would you not think such a system is similar to slavery?

    Again would you agree with me that at least recognizing problems is a first step to solve them?

    If we hide them. Then there is no need to solve them.

    But the problems in Cuba are so visible that can not be hidden anymore. They are in plain view to everyone that wants to see them.

    Yes I do want the best for Cuba. Why do we have to be happy with only what they have?
    I want them to have what I have.

    Freedom to speak their mind at any time without fear of government persecution.
    Freedom to be as critical as they want about the government and not been afraid of loosing their job or their education.
    Freedom to travel in and out of Cuba at any time.
    Freedom for like minded individuals to joint to get elected and to find solutions to problems of Cuba.
    You see I want the best and I am certain that the regime is not the best for Cuba.
    The problems they have can be solve. But I do not see the desire on the part of the regime to change the status quo. Why change what has kept them in power for 50 years?
    It seems to me is got nothing to do even with ideology. If you ask me.
    I do care for Cuba and I will love to see Cuba be a prosperous country where citizens have the health care and the education but also all the freedoms I was talking about.

  9. Juilo still awaiting a response to #10.
    Interesting how you people slide when confronted with facts.
    One minute starvation, homelessness, lack of clothing are real issues then it is well perhaps that is not true but we should be striving for perfection.Who would argue with that.You people never write anything positive. If you did it might give some credence to your criticisms.

  10. I heard about this blog and its owner on CBC radio in Canada. It makes me very sad that access to the internet is so restricted in Cuba. I visited your country twice in the 1970’s (the era in which you were born–the Y generation) and while there were restrictions I was so impressed by the superior health and education opportunities given Cuban children as compared to those in Mexico. Now, it seems, the restrictions on the internet to average Cubans mean that educational opportunities are severely and intentionally restricted by the same government I had admired for its strength in opposing American hegemony. I encourage you to continue trying to open up this blockade to information so that your youth can move into the 21st century armed with the information that can help them survive–and thrive.

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