Governor Brewer and My Palestinians*

You already know that I love the news. And these days the news regularly talks to me about the anti-immigrant law approved by the governor of Arizona. I’ve seen the demonstrations against the law, I’ve seen the union leader organizing boycotts, I’ve seen the Latinos, Asians, Afro-Americans and Anglos marching against a law they consider discriminatory and humiliating. And while I was watching all those images, inevitably I remembered how easy it is to see the mote in your neighbor’s eye.

In the capital of all Cubans, you don’t need to be from another country, it’s enough to be suspected of being from another province for some Palestinian police officer (a servant makes the worst master) to ask you for your identity card, and, after confirming your address, it’s off across the borders, as with very little consideration they put you on a transport back to your ancestral home.

I hadn’t had a similar experience, and what’s more I thought it was only with prostitutes (or gigolos), or some other antisocial characters, that inter-provincial deportation was exercised as a punishment. But it happened to the husband of my husband’s niece. They are from Barrancas, a village that doesn’t show up on the maps, and he had come to see a doctor; no explanations sufficed, they just put him on a train. It was a tragicomic experience because my husband’s niece, here in Havana, didn’t know anything about her husband until he called from Bayama, after thirty hours of anguish.

And I’ve only spoken to you about the law; I can’t express to you the envy I feel on seeing a healthy and spontaneous civil society.

(*) Palestinians: In Cuba the word refers to those from other provinces who try to emigrate to Havana in search of better opportunities.

Translated by ricote

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