Tato and Roberto

Tato and Roberto, two messengers from the Cruz Verde neighborhood in Cotorro, City of Havana, are angry with the local police and the inspectors from the Director of Commerce. They took a hand cart from Tato, 69 and now retired, which he used to carry merchandise to his customers. The two wheels could easily be sold to the ambulances of the city, which lack tires.

Roberto, 81, was fined a hundred pesos and they prohibited him from using his little cart, whose wheels could also be used for a bicycle, according to the inspectors. They did not invalidate the license of the old man, who now distributes bread and other merchandise in the “not suspicious cart” of Chungo, another messenger who has seen 85 springs.

The neighbors of Tato and Roberto think that the fines and the expropriation of the vehicles is somewhat absurd, since they don’t contaminate the atmosphere nor throw trash in the streets.  One of the spiteful neighbors remembers that previously two ambulances were surprised by the police upon leaving the textile factory at ten o’clock at night.  They did not carry sick people, but blankets for the black market.  Nobody asked the ambulance drivers if the tires were from the cart of old Tato.

Although under police siege,  they also calculate who is traveling about in bicycles with plastic boxes that supposedly belong to the milk plant of Havana, to the Hatuey Brewery – now “Guido Pérez” – or other productive centers of Cotorro, where state resources are “divided and diverted” in spite of the controls, fines and judgments.

A magistrate affirmed a few days ago that the workers in some local factories act as if they were owners, at least during the nocturnal shifts.  Wheels, blankets, cases of beer, and bundles of cloth, cheese and even shoes are black marketed outside and inside these facilities. The ninjas working there resemble magicians in their ability to put custodians, police officers and directors to sleep.

Suspicion and extreme measures are called for, as are the commentaries about the millions of dollars that General Rogelio Acevedo,  his son and wife supposedly diverted to their personal accounts.  During the time this general sacrificed more than 20 years as the head of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba, they say that his comrades deposited 134 million in three little accounts that were detected by the enemies of the Revolution.  The poor guy is now sitting in his pajamas at home.

Tato and Roberto probably do not know about these things because they don’t have telephones, computers, or internet access.  If they were informed by some neighbor’s cable they might come to think that the rope breaks for the weakest.  Their little carts with the suspicious wheels were taken away, but what will happen to General Acevedo?  Will everything be all right?  Will they judge him? Will they tell “the truth” on The Roundtable TV show?

Translated by ricote

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