In my planet we spend our lives pointing out the faults of others, especially if they are our Northern Neighbors.  On TV they talk a lot about the violence in Los Angeles, New York, etc.  Never do they mention anything nasty that occurs in our territory, they only praise the achievements which, I have said repeatedly, are only appreciated by the press and the television.

I have a very young friend whom I love like a daughter.  She left her house about three nights ago in search of cigarettes.  On her way back home she was sending a message through her cell phone (she has no fixed phone) while she noticed a group of young kids, apparently 14 or 15 years of age, on the sidewalk across from her.  She didn’t pay much attention to them.  Suddenly, they were behind her.  She was thrown onto the pavement, her mouth was covered to prevent her from screaming, they checked her, hit her, kicked her, and she overheard one of them say “stick her!”  She was wounded by punches and stabbed, and the bandits left running with her glasses, her cell phone, and her empty wallet, which was all that she was carrying.

All of this occurred out of nowhere, not giving her a chance to react.  This happened almost right in front of her door.  Supposedly, no one heard anything, no one came out to help her.  Luckily, she relies on friends which she contacted and which immediately got the scene to help her.

My friend has a young son who was on his way back from Vedado to his house when he was robbed by three big guys.  They took everything he had on except for his underwear.  He continued walking and found a police car and told them what had happened to him.  He asked them to take him to Nuevo Vedado for his condition was obvious.  The cops responded by telling him that they were sorry but they were not taxi drivers.  He kept walking until he reached his destination with worn out feet.  It was then when his small home seemed like paradise.

My neighbor has two adolescent daughters.  They had just gotten out of the Acapulco theater when one of them pulled out her cell phone to tell their mom that they were going over to a friend’s house.  A group of young men that were following them stopped them in their tracks on 39th street, which, like the majority of streets in my planet, is very dark.  They pointed a gun at their chests and forced them to give them their rings, chains, and cell phones, along with any other of their belongings that had any value.  Luckily, the robbers were novices and upon carrying out the loot they left running and disappeared.

People, remember that this is paradise.

Translated by Raul G.