Comités de represión

Relentless Persecution

Relentless / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Unstated

There is a new wave of public workers whose job is to visit homes

looking for infestations of the aedes aegyptimosquito. Almost all of

them are older and retired. In many cases they have backgrounds in the

communist party or armed forces, and seem to have taken their task very

seriously. These people can show up at any time from morning to evening,

and get especially upset if someone cannot or will not let them in for

any particular reason. They then ring the doorbell obsessively, pound on

the door frenetically, and even make threats in a loud voice so that

everyone else hears them and takes note.

I have a friend who lives alone and is recuperating from an .

Her apartment is on an upper floor of a beautiful building from the

1950s in Vedado. For two weeks one of these infestation inspectors, as

they call themselves, have been visiting her, insisting that she open

the door and let her in to inspect the apartment. My friend has told her

through the door that she cannot open it because she is alone and has

problems with mobility. This woman nonetheless becomes enraged and has

threatened her with fines. She even had the nerve to come back on more

than one occasion, either alone or with a member from the Committees for

the Defense of the Revolution (), to try to get her to open it. Since

she has not been successful in these attempts, she has filed complaints

with the CDR branch of the building in question. My friend has remained

firm in her decision and, on the advice of people who respect her, has

gone to file a complaint with the medical authorities at the

neighborhood clinic to which she belongs, asking them to respond to

these inspectors.

While I was at home today—I don't open the door for anyone I don't know

when I am alone either—someone was aggressively ringing the doorbell.

Thinking it must be a very close friend, I came out of the bathroom

covered only with a towel and looked across the balcony without being

seen. It turned out it was one of those inspectors, now so common in the

area, who was insistently pressing the doorbell with, let's just say, a

certain fury. He could not see me, but I could see him, so I went back

to finish my interrupted bath while the man in question kept pressing

the doorbell as if he were attached to it.

These scenes are repeatedly continually in any given neighborhood.

Besides being useless exercises, they amount to an unacceptable form of

persecution. The authorities do not realize that illnesses such as

, which used not to exist in our country but which have now been

uncontrollable for three decades, are a result of an unhealthy

environment, urban decay, the accumulation of trash and debris

everywhere, and inadequate or almost non-existent garbage collection,

especially in neighborhoods where there are no trash cans and people

hang their bags of waste from the trees or simply toss them into

corners. Furthermore, since the situation is impacted by the lack of

products to combat epidemics, the inadequate and almost non-existent

control of stray animals, the clogging of sewers and drains, the lack of

cleanliness on city buses and in parks, cafes, farmers markets, and

which steadily worsens all the time.

The state should set an example before being allowed to make demands on

the population. Before persecuting and threatening people with fines, it

should create conditions which promote good hygiene and insure the

health of all the citizenry. Rather than sanctioning and harassing, it

should educate by example and provide the necessary products and means

at reasonable pricescommensuratewith people's salaries. Only in this way

will we be freed from this relentless persecution.

October 15 2012

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