Broken Dreams / Cubalex
Translator’s note: The references here to the empty offices and the
inability to work relate to a police raid that occurred in September of
last year, during which much of the organization’s equipment was
Cubalex, 20 February 2017 – It is an ordinary November day. Cubalex
members are visiting the headquarters, the emptiness of the offices
hardly bearable, their faces are not the same as before, but they
continue to be united.
“A letter has arrived,” says an assistant. “Read it out loud,” everyone
says. “It is a new case, I don’t recall the name,” she affirms. “But
start reading it,” exclaimed the investigator.
“OK, I’ll start,” she says. “Havana, 16 November 2016, Dear Laritza and
the Cubalex team, I recently wrote to you, another inmate gave me the
address. Today I received an answer from you in which you explained the
process to be able to help me.
“And I felt like the happiest prisoner in the world. I had written to
all the state institutions and none responded to me. I am speaking to
you from my heart, that you have given me back my hope and a desire to
go on living.”
The emotion was visible on everyone’s face, after so many days without
being able to do our work this letter filled the space and all of us
with emotion. It was the first pleasant emotion we had felt after more
than 90 days of anguish.
“A million thanks,” she continued reading, “love and blessings to
you all, a thousand thanks for the help you can offer me, I have no way
to thank you. I once again want to live. In you, I have found different
“I will send you all the documents you asked me for, I am serving a
sentence for a crime I didn’t commit, while the real culprit walks free.
They accused me of the theft and slaughter of cattle, and condemned me
to 12 years* and I swear to you I am innocent.
“Soon I will turn 21, you are my best gift, just by responding to my
letters. I was planning to go on a hunger strike, but I knew of
Cubalex’s existence and the help you have given to many inmates
here. May God always accompany you and thousands of blessings to you,”
she concluded reading.
“He’s just a kid,” said the group’s senior sadly. “Where is it from?”
“From Agüica,” replied the reader, looking at the envelope. “We have to
answer him,” said the psychologist, “even if it’s on a blank sheet and
with a pen. We must explain what happened at our headquarters on
September 23. He has his hopes set on us.”
“I have an envelope, and I saw that they left the stamps on the day of
the [police] operation, you’ll find them in my drawer,” said the
secretary to the assistant.
“Who will answer him?” She asked. “I will,” was the answer that was
heard in chorus. “That’s like pouring a bucket of cold water,” said
secretary said. “It would be better if the psychologist answered.”
The silence was an expression of the anguish captivated them. “Send him
the phone number to call us,” advised the Director. “At least we can
guide him. Let’s keep the letter, to show it to the teacher Julio on the
next visit to the prison. By the way, who is going to make this visit?”
“I am,” replied the social investigator. “Don’t worry, I’ll give it to him.”
*Translator’s note: the penalties for unauthorized slaughter of cattle
in Cuba are very severe, and it is literally true that a person
may serve more time for killing a cow than someone else serves for
killing a person.
Source: Broken Dreams / Cubalex – Translating Cuba –