Cuba, Revolución, régimen, padre

My dire memories of the triumph of the Revolution

HAVANA, Cuba.- Bitter memories of those first days of January 1959 and the following months still remain in my mind, reluctant to be erased.

An event that I contemplated on January 1, 1959 itself anticipated the magnitude of the horrors that would occur later. I came with my mother from Pinar del Río, in the car of a relative. Upon reaching the La Lisa bridge, the revolutionaries they stopped the vehicles to paint them a 26. There was a driver who refused, they forcibly lowered him and set the car on fire, which was charred. That arbitrary savagery still remains in my memory.

My father, who had been a policeman since 1933, was stripped of his uniform, insignia, and weapon, and was detained for 28 days at the 7th Police Station, to which he belonged, without charge or cause. He observed there how people came to accuse any agent of a violation and they were imprisoned without evidence. But in the case of my father, the residents of the neighborhood who came said: “That’s good people.” Even so, he was kept in custody for 28 days. During that time, he was given the task of training those who, without military training, occupied the police unit.

At the end of that withholding, he was released, but dismissed without any job option, pending his retirement, for which we were left at home with no money to support ourselves. This situation lasted for several months, during which my father had to do small carpentry jobs to barely make ends meet, and my mother had to find a job.

An uncle, who was a pharmacy practitioner at the police hospital, and a cousin who worked in the laboratory, were fired from their positions. My cousin went to live with his family in Arroyo de Mantua in Pinar del Río. There he resumed his profession at the local polyclinic. The director of the center, out of jealousy and spite, accused him of violating the ethical codes of the analysis. This earned him eight years in prison. When he was released from prison, he left for the United States, where he recently died.

In 1959 I was in sixth grade at a modest private school called Colegio Alpízar. In order to pay for my studies, Mom agreed to work as a guide on the school bus in exchange for paying for my classes, which cost 30 pesos a month.

When the State intervened in the school, my mother looked for another occupation: selling coffee on a street vendor through the city. She had to carry three hot thermoses around her waist, and that caused internal burns in her belly, for which they had to operate on her.

Months later, the husband of my father’s cousin showed up at my home in El Cerro, who offered him a job at the then Ministry of Public Works, where he was an architect, and also asked us to come and take care of his home in El Vedado. , since his spouse had recently died.

The apartment was 100 meters from the residence of Fidel Castro and Celia Sánchez, and since my father was not considered a “reliable person” because he had been a police officer, they forced us to move to a smaller house that they gave us, in which we still today I live

After working for almost four years as a carpenter repairing playgrounds, my father’s long-awaited retirement came, but on the condition that he had to give up his job. The pension he received was less than what he was entitled to: 98 pesos, an insufficient amount, even for that time.

My mother began working at the José Antonio Echevarría University City (CUJAE) and later at the Hotel Habana Libre (formerly Hilton), where in the end, due to illness, she obtained her retirement with 63 pesos, after almost 20 years of work.

I have referred only to the case of my family. I could also talk about the executions, the thousands of political prisoners, the closing of churches, the UMAP, compulsory military service, confiscated businesses, the law against vagrancy, the law on dangerousness, etc. The list would be endless.

I do not keep in my memory any positive testimony of these 64 years that have elapsed since January 1, 1959. The things that I have obtained I earned with my own effort and dedication. I have nothing to thank this regime for, at 75, it has only given me bitterness and trouble.

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