Violating Private Correspondence: Routine At Correos de Cuba

The envelope sent by the Anaya publishing house was opened and reached its recipient this Monday morning. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 13 July 2020 — The envelope was placed over our apartment’s mailbox. The postman never rang the bell, no one alerted us that there was a letter to collect, but there it was. My first feeling was surprise, and then relief that, finally, and after months without receiving even a telegram, some correspondence could reach the “cursed” address where I live.

However, the joy was short-lived. The envelope was opened roughly and the papers inside were visibly wrinkled. The letter had traveled from distant Madrid and the sender is the publisher Anaya, with whom I have published several books on the WordPress content manager, but not even the “innocent” letterhead of a publishing house nor the distance traveled by the shipment had deterred someone from violating my correspondence.

It is nothing new. Disrespect for privacy has become the norm of life on this island, where the institutions themselves violate the intimate space of citizens and the State postal service, Correos de Cuba, is one of the many scrutinizing eyes of State Security and the political police. It would be strange if the envelope had reached my hands intact, respected and on time.

It matters little that the Constitution establishes that “correspondence is inviolable. It can only be seized, opened and examined in the cases provided by law.” We all know and intuit that in this country, the right to privacy is held almost as an immoral and petty-bourgeois act. Those who opened the envelope that should have come to my hands sealed do not accept the intimate space and fear any individual zone that they cannot access.

These are the same people who condemned me during my adolescence to board at a pre-university where dozens of students had to bathe in showers without doors or curtains; those who confiscated school notebooks to read the verses that we scribbled on the last page and those who have fueled the hundreds of thousands of eyes throughout the country dedicated to monitoring every block through the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

Today, an opened envelope that arrived at my door suddenly reminded me of all that.


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