Before Fidel: The Cuba I Remember

By Francisco José Moreno | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Their guns were drawn, pointing at us, and there were four or five or maybe six of them, it was hard to tell, and as their guns came out, they yelled at us to get up and keep our hands where they could be seen, and to stand against the wall. Everyone else in the restaurant sat frozen in their seats, their faces betraying the same confusion and fear I felt, and they stared at us with a commiseration that was more disturbing than the policemen’s guns.

Earlier in the evening I had run into Juanito and Ramón Papiol, acquaintances from the Partido Ortodoxo, who were with Carlos Olivares whom I knew from the University, and with a couple of other people I knew vaguely from Ortodoxo gatherings, and they invited me to join in a little celebration of Ramón’s release, two days earlier, from the army intelligence detention center. So we went to eat and have something to drink, and as we ate and drank, and as Ramón recounted his experience with the repressive military unit, the undercover plainclothes cops burst into the restaurant.

They handcuffed and dragged us from the restaurant into the cars waiting outside, and after a short drive we found ourselves being marched through a back entrance into the dreaded Buró de Investigaciones, the headquarters of the secret police, the same building where the unlucky owner of the Víbora house had been thrown out the window. Once inside, we were led straight down into a dank and dimly lit basement, our handcuffs removed as we were ordered into a large, dark cell with only the faint white outline of a toilet visible in contrast to the blackness of the back wall—and the door slammed shut behind us with the clattering resonance of metal.

-161-

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