Monday, May 9, 2011

The Student

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan
How do I relate the horror? The last image I have of Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia is of him at my side running around under the Santa Clara’s relentless sun. We tried to get permission from the Bishop so that Padre Dominico--who had come halfway around the world to get to Cuba--could go see Guillermo Fariñas in Intensive Care at the scheduled visiting hours. At the church they told us that State Security was in charge of giving out permissions, and at State Security they told us it was the Bishop.

Now I look at the photo in Penultimos Dias of the Student and I don’t recognize him. It must be that I refuse to accept that they beat him to death. It must be that I can’t admit that this time of horror has come to this Island. I must be that I don’t have the ability to look death--murder--in the face. And I ask myself--is it the obvious uncertainty of rationalism--how many Wilfredos have there already been and how many are still to come? While sitting in a park, an incomprehensible crime, the massive weight of half a century of police impunity falling on his body.

Anonymous faces in blue. For a long time people have feared them more than the thieves, scammers and criminals. “Call the police” has become the last card in the deck. Because justice does not come with them. Because they are not here to protect us, but to control us at any price. Because they are corrupt and they are unafraid to dirty their hands, which in any event are almost all already dirty.

What are we going to ask of the National Revolutionary Police now that we have seen them force into a patrol car of the “new” State power the former Minister of Health, “compañero” Balaguer with his line of twenty-six dead of starvation and cold at the psychiatric hospital; now that we have seen the government, on national TV, justify the death of a man on hunger strike? What can we ask of the police except that they not kill us?

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