boxeo, pelea, Santiago de Cuba

Cuban boxing: fighting its cassava from the base

Havana Cuba. – Aggravated, sustained and irreversible poverty cannot have positive consequences. Cubans have been trapped in this loop for 63 years, but since 2019 specifically, deprivation has escalated to the point that we only need one war for the nation to disappear. There are places in Cuba so devastated, people so starving and ragged, that it is difficult to explain to anyone looking from the outside that no bombs have fallen here nor have there been concentration camps since the UMAP (1965-1968).

When the worst of the pandemic was unleashed on the “medical force”, and putting a price on life became a daily practice, many Cubans suffered the shock of recognizing themselves in the mirror of human misery. Existence became a violent scenario, from the self-flagellation of seeing a loved one die in your arms without the ambulance showing up to take him to the hospital, to the outbursts of anger against the medical personnel, the police or the bureaucrats who dedicated themselves to count and falsify the daily number of deaths from COVID-19.

Everything has been violence in Cuba since 1959. During the crisis of the 90s It was thought that the height of social degradation had been reached with the boom in horsemanship, pimping, crime and even child prostitution.

The years followed their path and with them ways of making money illegally emerged, or increased, at the expense of the suffering and death of others. Dog fights, cockfighting, motorcycle races, paid beatings, garroteros who make a killing extorting relatives of drug addicts and people who borrow to undertake the migratory route, are phenomena that occur in full view and with the knowledge of everyone. the police, who pocket hefty bribes in exchange for allowing, or warning if raids are coming.

Many Cubans, in their misery, encourage and participate in violence for a couple of bills, some food or just for fun. Added to the aforementioned practices are now “clandestine” boxing fights between adolescents who come from an environment where poverty forces them to survive at the cost of a broken bone.

What is documented in the above video occurred recently in Santiago de Cuba, in a scenario almost identical to that of dogfights. Two boys face each other like dogs, surrounded by a crowd that urges them on: “Kill him!”, “There, there!”, “Don’t be afraid, daddy!” Two adolescent “boxers” who fight each other in front of a group of barefoot and poorly dressed black people, the pitiful image of the most disadvantaged strata of Cuban society.

About the video there are more questions than information, although it is not difficult to imagine that the idea could have arisen as a challenge between braggarts, and then someone mentioned the possibility of placing bets, and someone else stressed that they have nothing to lose by a couple of blows who does not even have shoes to wear, but much to gain in case of winning.

And when we say “a lot” it could be 1000 pesos, which for a boy who eats once a day must be a fortune. That is what his body is worth to the camajanes who organize, bribe, dose violence and promote new tournaments.

It could be worse. At least he did not shed blood, although the “Purry” (black pants) received a couple of blows that left him half fainted. Would Purry have had breakfast in this Cuba where you can’t even get a piece of bread? With the famine that is spreading in the eastern provinces, it is most likely that both fighters have entered the ring with an empty stomach, or with a glass of sugar water.

Both guys are likely to be into boxing. Perhaps, when they think about their future, they cling to the possibility of a contract abroad, after having endured and dealt enough blows, of course. Getting out of the hole in which they live is the goal; but right now, with the crisis worsening, the priority is to eat.

It has always been said that Cuba is a quarry for boxers. Numerous Olympic medals and world championships attest to this. However, while the glories arrive, the talent seeks to earn a living with the only thing it has, and incidentally it is acquiring the notion that money is very important, very important; especially when you have to endure so many blows to achieve it.

The only good thing that comes from these secret fights where the public boo and expect to see a broken septum, a bloody eyebrow or a knock out of a movie, is that no one will be able to tell these adolescents, tomorrow, that they owe something to the Revolution. They have lived in shit since they were little, conquering the jama with loud mouths.

If one day they become professional boxers, there will be no slogans or banners that can convince them to leave INDER more than half of the income fought, literally, in high-level competitions, while managers fatten buttocks and bellies in offices with air conditioned.

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