The Wave of Crime in Cuba Claims the Life of a School Custodian in Santa Clara

Celia Sánchez Manduley Elementary School, in Santa Clara, where the victim worked. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 February 2023 — A man was killed early this Sunday morning in the José Martí neighborhood, on the outskirts of Santa Clara, Villa Clara. Activist Jonatan López identified the deceased as Miguel Contino Moro, one of the security guard of the Celia Sánchez elementary school. According to their version, the killers intended to “steal some televisions,” old computers and “even food” from this school.

López, brother-in-law of political prisoner Andy García and exiled in Germany, added that the fact touches him “closely,” since his family still lives in that neighborhood and he studied in primary school where Contino was a security guard. The security guard “lived alone and was everyone’s friend.” The criminals, the activist said, attacked Contino with “a knife.”

Some readers of López’s report on Facebook commented that the Police carried out a “large deployment of military cars” during Sunday morning in the vicinity of the school. The body, they say, was “unrecognizable” by the “viciousness” of the thieves. Other versions have also circulated about the motive of the murder, including that of an alleged settling of accounts by a relative or acquaintance.

Neither the authorities nor the relatives of Contino have spoken out about it, and the Communist Party newspaper in the province — with its website out of service for months — has also not reported the death on its social networks.

López took advantage of his post to denounce the police inaction in the face of violence that is experienced in the peripheries of many cities on the Island. He mentioned some officers of the Police and State Security who reside in the José Martí department and demanded a more active participation in the preservation of tranquility in the neighborhood.

In addition, he recalled that when it came to repressing his family and political prisoner Andy García, officers and whistleblowers of Santa Clara — whom he identified as Yamileth and Leandro Sarduy — acted quickly.

The escalation of violence and the increase in crime in Cuba have not stopped in recent months. The official press and the Ministry of the Interior hide most of the cases and only agree to reveal, with very few details, those crimes that have had wide coverage on social networks and that it is no longer possible for them to ignore.

The murder in Jatibonico of Yanquiel Jiménez, a 19-year-old boy who died after being stabbed in the neck, shocked the province of Sancti Spíritus last week. Only after his case was reported on Facebook did the Police offer an official version in the Escambray newspaper.

In the midst of the increase in crime on the Island, the number of victims of femicide is one of the most alarming. With 14 women killed so far this year, according to several independent platforms, and a government that devotes more resources to the repression of opponents than to the security of the streets, Cubans feel increasingly helpless.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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