Nobody knows how he got it into the country, with so many customs restrictions and government paranoia, but Miguel has a drone. Tiny, like a kid’s toy, and with a camera. In his spare time, this forty-something Havanan dedicates himself to using his new amusement to explore the nearby patios and rooftops of his neighbors. It’s so tiny that it’s barely noticeable when flying over the neighborhood, while it transmits images and videos to a screen in the home of its proud owner.
Right now it’s a prank, but if one day Miguel is discovered with his diversion, at best he could show up on official TV as a “CIA agent.” Who knows. An uncle of his was arrested on the street in the seventies for carrying a tape recorder that belonged to the government newspaper where he worked. He spent long hours at a police station, until the director of the publication himself had to intercede for him. Time has flown and now the “fearful” objects are other things, but the reprisals are usually the same.
In any event, beyond the presumed punishment, Miguel has now learned some valuable things. He has seen the pool hidden behind his neighbor the Colonel’s high fence, the satellite antenna a former minister has on the roof of his house, and even the bowl overflowing with meat for the rottweiler belonging to the painter who lives on the corner. He has also observed, with the device’s night vision, the man who, in the early hours of the morning, dives into the dumpster and emerges with his “treasures” under his arm, and the watchman who spends time opening the warehouse containers to steal from them, without leaving any traces on the security seals. Early one morning he even captured the president of his local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) trafficking in the alcohol from a nearby hospital.
Through the eyes of his drone, Miguel has been looking at Cuba from the air, and what he is seeing is a country divided into pieces that don’t fit.
Yoani Sánchez, Havana | 30 May 2014