Cuba: A dignified death

Cuba: A dignified death
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Warning: This blog contains explicit images.

I saw the lost coffin, laying in the middle of the cemetery. I was literally petrified by the image. I rubbed my eyes thinking I was crazy. But unfortunately, I wasn’t.

“That coffin came from Miami”, the young guy, who was sweating profusely under the blazing sun in my hometown, whispered scarily to me.

Hirania Luzardo

“He went to visit his son in the United States, but he passed away over there… Such terrible luck!. The family sent him back home. People say that the family had paid a fortune for the shipment from Miami to here,” he spoke quickly without letting me ask about the details. I was still perplexed, perturbed for the surreal moment I had just witnessed.

While standing next to the metallic, white, corroded and ramshackle “Miami” coffin, the supposed graveyard worker pointed out to me another drastic scenery across from where we stood.

“These are the Cubans’ coffins. You can see the difference, right?,” he asked sarcastically, and I just shook my head in a surprisingly, horrified state of disbelief.

Hirania Luzardo

Why was I in disbelief?

Because it was something that had always been sacred for Cubans- the cemetery. I am in denial about the idea or the fact that graves with the remains of the loved ones are being vulgarly profaned --according to news reports-- with the purpose of stealing bones for Cuban range or Regla de Palo Monte, another religion with African roots in the Caribbean island.

The Miami Herald, the south Florida newspaper, published an article about the increase in cremations in Cuba because of people’s fears that the grave sites of their relatives could possibly be desecrated by unscrupulous thieves for ritual purposes.

How do we see these acts of vandalism? I don’t know the true story behind the Miami coffin. Regardless of which is the accurate version, the development or ending of this story is disappointing.

Sometimes, there are so many powerful images that leave you speechless. Facts that still leave so many questions unanswered:

Why there? Who? Since when? How did it end up there? Is he alone? Are there no families to claim the coffin?

I rather be in disbelief about what might happen to our people buried in Cuba. It seems that Cuba has lost its identity in the beauty of their ancestral traditions and its true heritage. It creates an emptiness of where we only see smiles yet we feel no happiness.

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