World upside down – Why are there so many police on the beach in Cuba?
World upside down: Why are there so many police on the beach in Cuba?
July 15, 2014
What was your eye-opening travel experience? VPRO Abroad received in reply to this appeal many beautiful photos and stories. Liesbeth Eugelink from Nijmegen was in Cuba.
Cigars, rum, cocktails, salsa music, vintage cars, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Ernest Hemingway and Buena Vista Social Club – that’s the image that exists about a Cuban holiday in the Netherlands. It hides the real life in this dictatorship. So we discovered when we sat in our beach chairs in Playa del Este.
Every ten meters is a wooden watchtower housing policemen in blue-gray dress with binoculars to spy on the people on the beach. Just before our seats a young soldier regularly shuffles by with a belt strapped around his skinny waist to hold up his pants. He is slumped, staring into the distance, tapping mindlessly with his gray truncheon on his thigh. Young men in swimwear walk back and forth, from acquaintances to policemen and back; slowly we are surrounded by an invisible network of messages.
As the day progresses, the pressure rises. The sea water from the Gulf of Mexico offers barely any refreshment. When at the end of the afternoon we leave the beach, there is a crowd. A young woman is crying while watching her husband in bathing trunks, being arrested. Unceremoniously one of the policemen pushes him backwards into the bus and slams the door with a bang. Bystanders watch silent, as if the scene she by now has become familiar.