Few things are as loud as the shrieks and howls emitted by the communist elite when they are not offered deferential service and instead are treated like the proletariat. In the case of Cuban songwriter and Castro apparatchik Amaury Perez, the shrieks from the Havana airport could be heard all the way in Miami.
Amaury Pérez and Envy at Customs
Amaury Pérez Vidal, songwriter, singer and the host of a television show, returned to Havana, where he lives, after a trip to the United States. A dream trip, according to a text posted on his wife’s Facebook profile. And, in the same text, he reported having been humiliated “by the staff at the Havana Airport’s Customs Office, in a way that is in indescribable.”
On other occasions he had been treated in the same way, he said, but had preferred to remain silent. “Until now,” he wrote, with many exclamation marks.
Humiliation is common at Cuban Customs. Many travellers have suffered it first-hand. The singular thing about this case is that not even a well-known public figure was exempt from it. Not even Amaury Pérez Vidal, who has proclaimed himself a son of Fidel Castro, is immune from Customs’ abuse.
The most curious thing, however, were certain reactions to the text in which Pérez Vidal complained. Violeta Rodríguez, a soap opera actress and daughter of singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, explains what happened, putting it down to envy. She says of the Customs officers: “Let’s remember that these are people who have traveled, at most, from the province to the capital.”
According to her, the envy that these officials feel when dealing with those who are able to travel leads them to try to humiliate them. “Oh, and if you’re an artist, and you’re on TV, even worse!” se says.
Another actor, creator of the popular television personality Pánfilo, Luis Silva, is of the same opinion: “I’d like to get off the plane, and go straight to the street, so that I don’t have to witness their sour faces, their aversion to their work, their indolence and bad manners. But, it’s understandable. Because none of those people travel. It bothers them that you come with little things that you have bought. With suitcases full of everything that is needed in Cuba (that is, everything).”
Amaury Pérez Vidal, Violeta Rodríguez and Luis Silva acknowledge having been victims of Customs staff. The situation, as explained by the last two, will not change until the crucial difference between those who travel abroad and those who travel only to other provinces, if at all, is resolved. Those who return from abroad will always be vulnerable to the moods of whomever attends to them at the airport. And, depending on the resentment of whomever receives them, there will be humiliation.
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