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Yanelys Nuñez Leyva: I’m a college student from the generation born in the early ‘90s. We’re the ones who suffered many disastrous experiments implemented in Cuban education that profoundly marked our development as thinking social beings. That aside, I believe in the power of knowledge and the force of artistic creations to defend rights and principles. My hope is to share my concerns and experiences from a position of respect and dialogue, while at the same time seeking greater inner peace.

Havana’s Rough Children

December 2, 2013 | Print Print |
Monte St. in Havana.  Foto: Irina Echarry

Monte St. in Havana. Foto: Irina Echarry

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — It was 10 at night and Havana’s Monte street was practically empty. Though there was still a fair bit of traffic on the street, I would see only the occasional passerby from my balcony.

It was then that two children between 10 and 12 began yelling, calling a girl who lives in one of the neighboring buildings.

While waiting for the girl to answer, they mocked some of the people who walked by (those who looked harmless to them, of course).

One of them – a transvestite – didn’t allow himself to get worked up by their taunts (accustomed, perhaps, to such discriminatory and ill-intentioned comments) and continued on his way.

The incident that made me worry a bit involved a clearly inebriated man who was zigzagging his way down the street, whom the kids approached like two delinquents on the prowl.

The man, drunk but not completely unaware of his surroundings, assumed a defensive position on sensing the kids’ proximity.

The kids, laughing, would go up to him and hit him, while the man tried to defend himself as he could (his condition wasn’t the most favorable).

Plastic bag seller on Monte Street, Havana.  Photo: Irina Echarry

One of them followed him a fair distance until he managed to hit him on the head, in the middle of the busy avenue.

The two pre-teens ran away from the man, smiling and proud of their feat.

A few minutes later, a woman told them that the girl they were looking for wasn’t home, so they left.

This is not the first incident of this nature I see in this neighborhood, known as Jesus Maria.

For many kids, slapping people who sleep out in the street or who are frequently inebriated is a fun game.

I wonder what education at home and at school in this neighborhood has stooped to when children do not appear to know the true meaning of the words violence, mistreatment, prejudice, offense, abuse, intimidation and insensitivity.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    I see the Knock Out Game, currently all the rage in certain parts of the US, is also popular among a similar caste of youngsters in Cuba. How does society produce such amoral, uncaring, anti-social youth?

    • Moses Patterson

      Griffin, I believe the question better asked is what role is society NOT playing that produces the youth you describe. It is from the lack of supervision and sound parenting that these little beasts are spawned.