Recently Rafe, my husband went to renew his identity card. He had to do because it was expired and he needed to renew it for some other paperwork he was immersed in. He went to the office in charge of this function, patiently waited his turn in the fifty-year-old system of lines, handed over the photos, the five peso regulatory seal, and spent several exhausting hours, his feet hurting from the long wait, and was given the information that he should return the following day to pick it up.
When he appeared once again, they told him they could not give it to him because he was in the country illegally, because in their computers it appears that he stayed in Canada during a mission in 2000; he would have to go to the National Directorate of Immigration and Nationality, located at 3rd and 22nd in Miramar, to resolve his situation.
Of course he protested, because he knows it’s a manufactured error giving the authorities a pretext to destabilize him, which resurfaces every time he’s invited to participate in some event abroad and seeks the ignominious “exit permit.” But this is the first time they have refused him the indispensable document of identity.
Naturally, he refused to put himself in the bureaucratic orbit where they want to spin him. “The mistake is yours, you who are representing the authority and therefore you are called to resolve it. If I emigrated in the year 2000,” he argued to the official, “how is it that this same office handed me the card in the 2002?”
Given this obvious slip, the manager promised he would look into it and would call to report the results of these efforts. And he did a few days later. Today my spouse is already documented, but only to stay within the country. What to do? Who to appeal to? This is another of the abuses, against which they are helpless, that the historical elite of Cuba are subjected to by their leaders. It is inconceivable that there are other people who have the same names and surnames, who were born the same day, and whose parents had the same names. No, it is a way to treat an opponent in the old-fashioned and antiquated totalitarian Cuban model.
This is the real face of the authorities who violate the rights of their fellow citizens and behave viciously toward political dissidents in a dictatorship that allows them, with impunity, to sculpt a no one, or to maliciously and “officially” crush and discredit those who oppose the system.
It is not in Rafa’s hands — nor should it be — to amend “the mistake” that appears in the network of the National Directorate of Migration and Alien Affairs of Cuba,that would trap him in the vain, humiliating and exhausting game they subject him to — perhaps interminably — of the “bureaucratic mischief” of the political police. For now we have only the option of denouncing it, in writing, one more time.
March 22 2012