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Posted February 10, 2005 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Jose Moreno Cruz, Cubanacán Press | Cubanet.org

Many a morning, when the municipal garbage pickup personnel in my neighborhood just don’t show up, my garbage is the only one in the whole block that is never left at the curb.

I never thought much of this, since every once in a while I had noticed a young man in a bicycle who sped by my house, often at night, and snatched the plastic garbage sack. I had speculated the man perhaps expected to find something useful or marketable among my discards, and let it go.

Until recently, that is. I was at a friend’s home, doing some work, and
I asked my friend’s mother to throw some papers in the garbage for me.
She very nonchalantly replied that she would burn them as she did all
papers since she had seen some character picking up her garbage sack in
front of her house some time past. And that’s when it dawned on me; my
personal garbage man works for the government, but not necessarily for
the municipal waste service.

All of a sudden I remembered the wrinkled documents reproduced in the
book The Dissidents, put out by the government security services over a
year ago to discredit the dissident movement they say barely exists. I
remembered the listening devices placed by the government
telecommunications company, ETECSA, in the home of Laura Pollán and her husband Hector Maseda, now in prison, and the several discovered by human rights activist Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas throughout his home.

Most, not to say all, government opponents and dissidents take it as a
given that their phones are bugged. Recently we had news of a device
called the “Voice DNA machine” installed at phone company central
offices, which can identify 36 distinct parameters of the human voice and
automatically record those it has been programmed to recognize, no matter where the calls originate.

As a journalist, my goal is to disseminate my work to the widest possible audience; what secrets the powers that be expect to find in my discards is beyond me. But maybe they just want to insure my garbage is picked up in a timely fashion lest I expose the deficiencies in municipal services.

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