Tell Me Who Your Friends Are… / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

Amid boredom and curiosity, I started to ponder on my personal relationships during the last few years. The geography of my good friends had considerably changed. When I count all those friends who crossed the sea, the oceans, and other frontiers and who are no longer by my side, I also realize that some undesirable relationships have patrolled my existence.

Although they are not my friends, every once in a while I have to deal with my police interrogators, the neighborhood snitches, and other people who make a living out of something so wrong due to their ideological difference with others. This is the chain of oppressors which, during recent times, I have spoken to more than my uncles and cousins who reside on the other end of the island.

Lieutenant Saul Vega, Major Charles, Captain and Penal Instructor Luis Quesada, Major Roilan Cruz Ojeda, officer Caneyes, and the military prosecutor captain Juan Carlos Laborde, all of whom are from Holguin. In Guantanamo, there is Lieutenant Colonel Caraballo, in Baracoa there are Majors Diesel Castro Pelegrin and Gerneidis Romero Matos (the latter who is the chief of the State Security Confrontation Unit in Villa Primada), and the one with whom I lived the most deceptive moment, Captain Ariuska from the G2 (Operations) unit in Guantanamo.

Ariuska is an olive-green lady who promised me, while nearly trampling the constitution she claims to defend, that the “Cuban government holds the ultimate power to decide who goes and who does not go from one province to another.” Similarly, I recall the day when the above mentioned Captain Laborde, after communicating with the military prosecutors, rejected my denouncement against the security officials while he leaned over the table and assured me that he ran a reception office which catered to the needs of the people, and that although I was from that town because I was born there, I did not have access to certain benefits since I had “attempted against the powers of the socialist state.”

These are dangerous relationships provoked by the special circumstances of living under a dictatorship and in a closed society.

Translated by: Raul G

March 21 2011