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Ernesto Carralero: I'm 18, I live in Havana and I firmly believe in the progress of Cuba. I do not understand progress as returning to the past, but being realistic and taking into account our characteristics, evolve into a much more inclusive country with more opportunities than we have today.

Cuba: Where Violence Isn’t News

November 28, 2014 | Print Print |

Ernesto Carralero Burgos

Alamar. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — For some time, the Cuban press has been insinuating that it intends to begin covering crimes and other news that have not commonly been published to date.

Despite this, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of violent crimes that take place in our country on a daily basis aren’t even remotely known by the population at large and are heard of only at the local level, or when they are so disconcerting that they travel further distances.

One needn’t wait long to again hear of a party that ended up in a massive brawl where someone got stabbed, or about robberies and even murders that are so macabre they seem to have been pulled right out of a Stephen King novel.

I believe that the public safety that a large majority of Cubans generally feel proud of would not survive close scrutiny.

Though devoid of the organized crime and ultra-violent gangs common in Central America, Cuba is becoming more and more violent every day.

Not long ago, one of my neighbors was telling me about the most recent crime perpetrated in the neighborhood of Alamar. There, he came across a dead and severely mutilated body in a garbage bin. A few days ago, a pair of hooded men broke and entered into a home as well.

It is said the new District Attorney’s Office being built in Alamar is precisely a response to rising crime in the community. Unfounded rumor or not, this is cause for concern, particularly during this time of the year, when crimes of this nature are more common.

One could well ask whether all of this is actually happening or whether they are mere urban myths or exaggerations. Since the media do not report on such incidents, we are left only with our uncertainty.

Many may prefer to live in ignorance, but that is a dangerous attitude, as ignoring our problems is no way of looking for a solution.

If violent crimes aren’t reported, if they aren’t news, one day we will wake up and find the country in ruins, without having had the opportunity to do anything to prevent it. The police and the use of force are not the only factors that can contain such phenomena.

In fact, I would say that they manage to control it up to a point but that they never eradicate it. Only through open exchange, community work and, most importantly, education, will we be able to overcome the problem. Unfortunately, the first step in this direction still hasn’t been taken.


What's your opinion?

  • tiffiny vanvorken

    right

  • Walter Teague

    First Mr. Ernesto Carralero, I applaud you for showing a social conscience at such a wonderfully young age. But as I read you plea for more public reporting of violent crimes, I was unclear just what you would like to see happen? Growing up in Cuba where you are not subjected to countless hours and crimes of all kinds dominating the news, print and broadcast, I suspect you would not want so much crime reporting, shows and endless prison documentaries to fill your public with such fear and concern about these things, including the most violent police agencies in the world, that there is little room left for anything uplifting or educational.

    But you did suggest that if crimes were not reported regularly in Cuba, one day you could end up with your society “in ruins.” Well, maybe more official reporting and efforts to further reduce crime, including corruption, would be possible without it risking ruin or incitement. I know some argue that reporting too much, tends to glamorize criminals.

    So lets look at what could happen in Cuba. While I support the idea that a better informed and educated society might learn how to further reduce violence, including the less obvious crimes domestic and financial, my personal observation of Cuba is that your country is already one of the least violent among poor countries and much less than my exceedingly violent and over policed society. In the USA we have a giant prison population, prison shows every night, police in fiction and fact who murder with impunity, crimes so vast that we can’t arrest the perpetrators for fear of crashing the whole economy – and you would have to live here to know how little protection is provided by our media’s wall-to-wall obsession with news about violence.

    So please do make socially healthy suggestions, but in my opinion you need to keep in mind that the greatest threat to the peace of your cities is the ruin that could come from another batch of war crimes from the good old US of A.

    • Griffin

      Cuba has a higher homicide rate than the USA. And in Cuba, the same gang of criminals who illegally seized power 5 decades ago (from another gang of criminals who seized power 6 years before that) still hang on to power through criminal acts of violence and repression.

      But you tell him he’s better off than you because the Cuban govt censors keep the facts out of the media.

      • Dan

        ” Cuba has a higher homicide rate than the USA”. Really ? And you know this how ? In a criminal trial, just to stay w/ the law and order theme, you would be impeached under the maxim, Falsius en Uno, Falsius en Omnibus. It means in plain language, if you lie about one thing, you will lie about many things. Certainly seems to ring true regarding your comments about everything Cuban.

        • Griffin

          I know this from reading the data compiled by the UNODC. The homicide rates fluctuate a small amount year by year, however, averaged over the past 10 years, the homicide rate in Cuba was 5.93 per 100,000. For the USA, the homicide rate was 5.45 per 100,000.

          As a comparison, the homicide rate was 1.848 in Canada during the same decade.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate_by_decade#2000s

          I note you called me a liar. Now that I have provided figures and a link to the reference, you are revealed as a fool.

          • Walter Teague

            Griffin, I just went a looked at your source and you apparently don’t read very well. First these statistics don’t match your claim, second, the comparison is specious since the dates and ranges don’t match. Third the sources are insufficiently cites and when you look elsewhere, it becomes clear that crime rates depend on more than officially reported homicide in both countries. This article asks for better reporting in Cuba, and in the US today, thousands of demonstrators are calling for the police to report how many they kill each year. Police are in the US don’t compile or report these figures, so your data is irrelevant to the point that reporting more accurately rather than glorifying crime might help Cuba. You ignored that point in the article.

    • John Goodrich

      Thanks for a healthy comparison between crime in Cuba to the astronomical crime rate and rate of imprisonment in the wealthiest country in the world .
      You will elicit some fantastic nonsense from the counter-revolutionaries for doing so .

      • Informed Consent

        Counter revolutionary and darn proud of it! I mean really…who’s “revolutionary” nowadays anyhow? That’s just something outta the 60’s.

        But seriously john, Police states, where the population is not allowed access to information, prohibited from organizing or attending large “unsanctioned” gatherings, in general tend to have little over all crime. Everyone’s already imprisoned anyways. Not the kinda place I’d like to live.

        ….must be lonely out on that limb.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        I see no comparison given between Luxemburg and Cuba by Mr. Teague. Or did you Mr. Goodrich mean Norway? Mr. Teague made reference to his own country the USA and like many who live there, deplored the violence which daily dominates news from that country.

  • Dan

    Countries where the medias and governments do not glorify violence, where people do not have to worry about completley falling through the cracks, where drugs are not omnipresent in the schools, where the populace is not constantly lured into an unending, unsustainable and unattainable consumerist frenzy tend to have less crime too.