Archive for the Translator: Mari Mesa Category

Getting the Run Around Cuban Police Style

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Mari Mesa on February 13, 2010 by Alain Saavedra


During the early hours of Saturday morning, February 6, while I waited for a bus to go home, I was detained by the Cuban police, under the excuse that I did not have papers for my video camera.

They searched me in the middle of the street, I was handcuffed, and I was put in a patrol car like a despicable criminal.  At the police station at Zapata and C, the attendant informed me that the camera would be confiscated. I refused to sign the official document of seizure which  I later received a copy of, according to them, I was advised to leave the station and that way they would return my camera on the following day.

I returned at around 10 in the morning, and I showed the document and they went to look for my camera. An officer came back to inform me that they could not find it and I reminded them that this only happened four hours ago. In the middle of this argument a man dressed in civilian clothes came out and asked what was going on, so I explained it to him, and he took me to the back room and showed me my camera, as beautiful as ever, but a little bored and sad. When I ingenuously tried to grab it, I was reprimanded, and my action was stopped. I came out rather annoyed and told the attendant that the camera was there, and I requested it back, and with a straight and relaxed face he tells me that he cannot return it to me because they did not give it to him with the instructions to return it. He tells me to come back Monday, the day that the person that confiscated it from me would be there, so that he could give it back.

On Monday, I went with Claudio, Ciro and my mother at 11:00 am. When I got there I was informed by another official that I had to see officer Batista. Around 5:00 pm in the afternoon, a captain named Lima came out asking what were we doing there? We explained the incident and he informed us that Batista had not gone to work that day, but that we should be confident that the camera would be returned to us the next day. I told him, “How could I trust you if all of your staff is lying to me?”

The next day, Tuesday, I went back, and as soon as I walked in, they told me that the camera could not be returned because the matter was under investigation until further notice.

This is proof that with the uniform you can do whatever you want, even stealing and how they give you the run around in order to keep the things they want from you.

Translated by: Mari Mesa