In the area where I live we have a shopping center called Monaco that in my childhood was an important and pretty place. Even today, in spite of its ugliness and general neglect, it has a certain importance because multiple private merchants that sell even coffins gather there, and all around are establishments like the theater, ice cream shop, a semblance of an amusement park, pizzeria, farmer’s market, bank, bakery, store and several state kiosks that make it a frequented area in this part of Vibora.
In the dollarized store of that complex, where my husband and I sometimes buy groceries and other basic necessities, they stole the mobile phone of the jam seller barely a week ago. The man, between indignant and surprised, did not explain how they had gotten it from under the counter where he is accustomed to putting it, far, as he believed, from the view and reach of the shoppers. “It’s that the end of the year is approaching and things are tight,” he commented.
This December 1, in the same business they surprised a woman categorized as “good looking,” who on exiting they discovered was stealing two packages of chicken and two tubes of hash. That tropical Aladdin with agile hands and bad fortune, spent, possibly, the worst time of her life, because the store workers called the police. My husband and I left without knowing how that ended, but we think they exaggerated in soliciting the presence of the policemen, as everyone imagines how much the people who work in those centers lift daily, like almost all of Cuban society, which is compelled to be on the edge of the law in order to survive.
The last month of the year began and, like every December, thefts are increasing in the capital. There are those who offend because they have chosen that parasitic occupation for obtaining easy money and objects at everyone else’s expense, but there are those who do it because they are tempted by opportunity, generalized poverty, low salaries and the hard currency products displayed like insults in the windows. Also because they are hungry or simply because they want to draw the look of satisfaction that a good lunch brings to the faces of their children or maybe they long to have something to put on the family table on the so-symbolic dates of Christmas and New Year’s. Many of us may celebrate the birth of Jesus or the advent of a new year with some spaghetti or simple bread with ingenuity, but within our families we pray together to strengthen ourselves in faith and honor, which must be two of the fundamental petitions that we believers raise with our pleas on those dates.
Translated by mlk
December 4 2012