My Neighbor, My Neighbors / Regina Coyula

My neighbor Alejandro is the ideal neighbor. Nothing about him is annoying. He never plays loud music. There is never any shouting in his house. His daughters are polite, well-educated girls. Alejandro is one of those who gets up at dawn or from the television on Sunday to take a neighbor to the hospital. Alejandro never missed guard duty, a meeting or voluntary work for the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. His attendance at sessions of the Assembly of People’s Power or at political events was always discreet but assured.

For the neighbors like me who did not see it, we later found out that day before yesterday, very early in morning, Alejandro’s house was the object of a huge political sting operation. There were four patrol cars as well as numerous unmarked cars and a van. From my neighbor’s house they took the washing machine, two computers, musical equipment, microwaves and other household electrical appliances. And they took Alejandro too. The neighbors noted that they left the refrigerator on account of the girls.

My neighbor had accumulated merit points over the years, the type of merits that perhaps helped him get approved by a state employment agency to work in a foreign-owned firm. Now a high-ranking official from the Ministry of Agriculture, who has been detained for months as the subject of a corruption investigation, says he received a kickback from Alejandro to benefit his firm just as a purchasing decision was about to be made.

That is the story in the neighborhood. I also found out that they were in a big hurry, that the police did not even wait until his oldest daughter had left for school before making the arrest. I asked if anyone intervened, but was told Alejandro’s next door neighbors watched from a window or the sidewalk.

September 14 2012