After the experience of a webpage, we decided to return to the popular format of a blog. We will have greater visibility here, but above all, from inside Cuba, the page loads better and faster, and the “cascading” format allows readers to read the published posts even when people haven’t been able to connect to the internet for several days.
14ymedio, Havana, 10 February 2016 – The group that manages the #Otro18 (Another 2018) Civic Platform has convened its first forum in early March in Cuba, under the slogan Citizenship Revisited, Multi-party Voting. Proposals ranging from reforms to the electoral law to a new law on associations will be presented at the meeting. Participants will include representatives from some 45 independent groups involved in the campaign, according to a statement from its organizers.
Participation in the Forum will be free and international experts on electoral and freedom of association issues have been invited as observers, along with representatives of the diplomatic corps. In the next few days a press conference will be held to define the agenda, date and place of the meeting. Since the Cuban government announced its intention to draft a new electoral law, different political and civil society actors have been encouraging the idea of gathering proposals from the public, with all the diversity and plurality of Cuban society.
Cubalex, an organization of independent lawyers, led the initial technical phase of this campaign in collaboration with lawyers from the Cuban Law Association and other institutions.
Political activists of various organizations such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), the United Anti-totalitarian Forum, Somos+ (We Are More), Independent and Democratic Cuba, Cuban Solidarity Liberal Party, Liberal Party of Cuba (Azules), and the Center for Support of the Transition and Progressive Arc, as well as independent journalists, and community, civic and human rights activists, along with independent actors, participated in intense days both within and outside of Cuba.
With this event, #Otro18 completes the initial technical part in the first stage of its project, and initiates the policy and strong social and civic advocacy phase, ahead of the proposed reforms to the electoral law and the law of associations.
School violence is considered an intentional act or omission that is hurtful and practiced among members of the educational community (students, professors, parents, entry-level employees) and that is done within the physical space of school facilities and other spaces directly related to the school (areas surrounding the school or places where extracurricular acitivies are carried out).
An extreme and characteristic form of school violence present among students is school bullying.
Wilfredo Vallín Almeida — On various occasions, I have seen a video depicting a meeting between economist Jose Triana from the Center for Studies of the Cuban Economy and officials from the Interior Ministry.
In the video, Triana explains his point of view regarding the necessity of certain changes that, in his opinion, are indispensable to the country’s ruling political system.
In particular, I liked the material that recognizes and tries to explain the imperative necessity of such transformations. Speaking with others, I have received without a doubt, different assessments of this material: some approve of it, others are critical of it, another third say it is nothing but “more of the same.”
Diverse opinions aside, I believe that, as it relates to an economist, there is something fundamental missing in the explanation which Mr. Triana, in my opinion, does not very successfully avoid, which is none other than the famous and trite cost-benefit analysis to which this important discipline has so often returned since the time of Smith and Richard.
At one moment of his intervention, the speaker says almost literally that the important thing is, despite the errors that may have been committed, (which is to say, without considering the cost), we are here and we will stay here and that is what is important.
Independent of the ways these words can be read, my interpretation is as follows: I agree, there has been a high cost (on occasions exceptionally high because we are talking about the unrepeatable lives of millions of people)… but what has been the benefit for the same millions of people that have paid such a cost?
If the benefit can be calculated obviously in the loss of societal values, in the ruin of our cities, in the demolition of the Cuban sugar industry, in the mass exodus of its citizens, especially the young, in the fraud in educational institutions, in the detention and indictment of judges, prosecutors and lawyers and countless others, of what benefit can we speak?
Who are we apart from the remorse, and should we be content with the way it is?
And, in the case that it was that way, what is very clear is that not everyone is prepared to pay indefinitely some benefit, as satisfactory as this may be…at any price.
A few years ago, some friends encouraged me to taik about travel insurance for tourists coming to Cuba. What they cover, how the guarantee limits work, legal quality and certainty, which provisions are legally and objectively reclaimable.
This subject arose in relation to a retired gentleman, who was ill and as his family in New Jersey were unable to look after him properly for reasons of employment, they arranged things with family members in our country; retired people and student grand-daughter included, in order to make his treatment more effective and human, so that he could recover. They paid his very expensive insurance and additional costs for his stay in Cuba for a period of six months.
The National Assembly of People’s Power quickly passed the economic regulations recently proposed by the Cuban Communist Party Congress and public opinion in the country is mixed. Some believe the economy now will be put back on track while others believe this will be “just one more of the many unfulfilled promises the party has made.”
Among the new regulations was the expansion of self-employment options along with their related tax schedules. Forgotten once again, however, were guarantees that would have allowed self-employed workers to keep all the income that their business skills and personal efforts generated based on the activities carried out and the services or products offered to the public for purchase.
We are talking about the the self-employed workers, who cannot buy anything wholesale. Their only option is to turn to the retail market or, even worse, the underground or black market to find the necessary raw materials. The latter constitutes an illegal activity because merchandise sold there has been stolen from the state’s food service industry, retail outlets or other businesses. This means the product or service is expensive because the cost of production goes up, sometimes exorbitantly.
I live in a community with more than sixty buildings. Behind them, as is the case with my home, many residents—at the request of the government itself—began planting fruit trees and banana plants. When the marathon of demolishing everything began, I decided to make an estimate of the economic losses that were indiscriminately carried out by people who came from other cities to destroy what had been so passionately harvested for more than a decade.
To give you an idea, there were about 300 banana plants when demolition started, some 50 new bunches were uprooted and another 130 were cut and thrown in a corner of the building, their remnants remaining there since July 2012. In that same time frame, 50 or 60 bunches had been collected monthly, which means about 660 per year, or about 16,500 pounds that were contributed to urban consumption and that represent about 9,900 pesos taken from the pockets of those citizens to whom no one came to meet their needs.What is more aggravating is that when the Director of Physical Planning visited the town and I gave him that assessment, he told me that it didn’t matter, that many residents reported that they now had more open space. I responded that people can’t live on open space, but they can live on food. He shut up and couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Some landlords from Santa Lucia beach in the Camaguey province find themselves confused before a measure imposed by officials from Immigration and Aliens. Since last year, they have made them sign a document obliging them to be responsible for the cars rented by tourist staying in their homes, in spite of the fact that they sign a rental contract with the agency. As is logical, there is nothing in the law that imposes a responsibility for property that forms no part of the accommodation.
They also have to keep the home’s door wide open, as we say in good Cuban, in order not to obstruct a surprise inspection, abrogating to the inspectors the right to write or cross things out in the rental registry book, in spite of the fact that it is not they but the Municipal Housing Department that is responsible for controlling this document, so it is required that a responsible person not leave the dwelling unattended, even when there are no guests.
The landlords often suffer unexpected visits by police agents who also write in the registry books, conduct illegal searches, take the registry book without any legal process and return it whenever they want.
All that affects the rental activity and consequently their income.
Some time ago, as I began to write a text about my country, I surprised myself with this thought: “… it seems as though a change toward participatory democracy is becoming reality.” That was my inspiration which turned into my written words, but before finishing the text, a friend whom I asked to critique my writing suggested I should eliminate that idea. It was a notorious moment. Although the concept was never devoid of free will, at some point I wanted to convey a very distant but not outlandish hope. Revisiting after seeing the activities for the 55th anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution and hearing the speech of the President of the Council of State and Ministers, it is nonsense.
Juan Miguel Hernández Basulto, Camagüey, was expecting a package sent to his wife from Italy through Globestar agency operated in Havana by Cuban officials enjoying the total confidence of the State for this type of business. Hernandez Basulto was discontented when he received the package. The package was for his daughter’s quinceañera, and it was damaged and stolen before he received it. It hurts more when no one appears to be responsible. He told me that he wanted to make a formal claim for damages, but did not know what was the next step.
When communicating with the Globestar representative in Cuba, Mrs. Martha, she told him that she would take care of the problem. But instead she never gave him an answer to his problem. Will Juan Miguel then demanded from Saverio Cicaroni, the owner of the business in Rome, to explain where the gold articles, footwear, and other contents are, valued more than € 520.
Many events throughout our existence can be forgotten, but others leave a deep memory that does not go away. And these events may have had many demonstrations as they can be taken for granted, a dream, an omission, a sentence, and even a poster.
With the latter two, much relegated to memory, I was suddenly assaulted when I least expected it: while watching a video that a friend had sent me.
The video in question relates to an investigation and several arrests made by the Technical Investigation Department (DTI) of the National Revolutionary Police. The detainees are involved in fraudulent transactions whose amount is a whopping 33 million pesos.
The poster that comes to mind at the moment is one I saw I don’t know how many times over many years. It was a big fence on a broad avenue and on a white background highlighted in red:
The future belongs entirely to socialism.
It’s a sign that I no longer see, but it was present during the youth of Cubans of the generation of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, when it was assumed that the “moribund capitalism” was terminal and that, who could doubt it?, socialism would be victorious.
The other phrase, I also was reminded of by the sign is:
Crime is reminiscence of capitalist society and will disappear to the extent that socialism advances.
I read that phrase many times in textbooks of law and Marxist texts that college students had to study and examine mandatory.
Watching this film, which ends with the words of General President Raul Castro admits theft where in the country is huge, at all levels and at all levels, and as, moreover, I see it now flourishing and vigorous than ever before in the history of Cuba, I then subtracted one question:
As an attorney, to speak in economic terms is a litmus test or a tightrope walk, and which both situations demand respect for a central issue in the lives of other social spheres in which man intervenes.
I will not elaborate further, I will comment as to my views on the new, but limited, economic opening that is being talked of in the country today.
The issue of development in Cuba goes back and forth between dissimilar solutions, between truths and errors, heading toward new labyrinths that contain new and more complex situations difficult to control with a simple decree.
Last year Decrees 305 and 306 were issued in order to establish as a source of law a rule which itself shelters disadvantages with exclusive principles of new forms of non-agricultural cooperatives.
Recently I was consulted about a case in an action which seems to form part of the working style of those who are, one way or another, employed in the law. I am referring specifically to the office of the Port of Cuba.