They Wanted to be Like Che… and They Are / Luis Felipe Rojas

Members of the Rapid Response Brigade monitoring the national headquarters of the Ladies in White in the Lawton neighborhood of Havana. Photo: A Moya. From MartiNoticias.

Luis Felipe Rojas, 31 August 2016 — Abusers, they beat women in the street, participate in acts of repudiation, and monitor those who think differently. They are the kids of the feared Rapid Response Brigade.

Now they are thirty-somethings. They graduated from Cuban universities, but before they were wearing red bandanas in school, raising their hands to say “We will be like Che”… and they are.

The Honorary Officials (OH) of State Security are a wildcard of repression in the service of the Castro tyranny. They started by betraying their classmates for making a politically tinted joke, or the neighbor who sold rice in the black market, and now they recycle themselves in monitoring posts in the neighborhoods where dissidents and opponents of the Havana regime live.

When the military whistle sounds they turn to kicking women and men who have no more defense than their shouts of “Freedom for the political prisoners! Down with Fidel! Laura Pollan lives!”

They wear tight shirts, cheap knock-off gold-colored watches made in China, and they always wear a frown. This is how they appear in the photos of the most well-known press agencies in the world, such as AP, EFE and REUTERS, but no one can hold them to account. The majority of the western democracies are too focused on picking up the crumbs that let them get a foothold with those who grant permission in Cuba: to site a hotel chain, operate flights, whatever it might be, a little corner of the cake raffled off by the honchos of the Cuban Revolution…

They have traveled the world not precisely to make war like the assassin Che Guevara, but to say they are persecuted politicians, to get a visa to stay or work, and to return with a handful of bills to show off to their fellow countrymen.

They are the sons of communism. Their prize is to sit themselves down in the first little neighborhood joint and raise a national beer, a plate with half a pound of pork and in some cases rent a third-hand car.

They wanted to be like Che… and they are. The shamelessness of the human being has no limits.