Capitalist Reminiscence? / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

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:

What happened to the “capitalist reminiscence”?

10 February 2014

CUBA IN FOCUS – New Book in English from “Our” Bloggers and Independent Journalists

CUBA IN FOCUS – New book edited by Ted A. Henken, Miriam Celaya, and Dimas Castellanos

Article by Ted Henken, from his blog, El Yuma

Those of you who follow me on Twitter @ElYuma will already know that just over a month ago ABC-CLIO published a new book about Cuba, called Cuba in Focus, that I am proud to have co-edited with Miriam Celaya and Dimas Castellanos. In 2008, I wrote a book entitled Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook, also published by ABC-CLIO.  However, when they approached me three years ago wanting to do a new edition, I responded that I had already said my piece on Cuba but that I would be interested in recruiting and collaborating with a group of Cubans from the island to do a new volume that would give voice to their own analysis of the Cuban Revolution and the heady changes (from above as well as from below) that have taken place there in the last five years.

This volume is the result!

Starting young with Uncle Ted!

We benefitted from the collaboration of a host of perceptive and pioneering authors and activists, most of whom actually live on the island today.  A full list is below in the table of contents, but some of the more notable writers included in the volume are the late Óscar Espinosa Chepe, his wife Miriam Leiva, Yoani Sánchez, her husband Reinaldo Escobar, Armando Chaguaceda, Regina Coyula, Henry Constantín, Marlene Azor Hernández, Rogelio Fabio HurtadoMiguel Iturria Savón, and Wilfredo Vallín.

Of course, Dimas and Miriam did their share of stellar writing as well.

Each of the book’s seven chapters is made much more vivid and memorable by the breathtaking photojournalism of Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, supplemented by photos by Tracey Eaton, Luzbely Escobar, and Uva de Aragón (all provided complementary).

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

You can learn more about the book and purchase your very own copy here and here.

What follows are the book’s PREFACE, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, and TABLE OF CONTENTS.

***

Writing and coediting a comprehensive reference book on a country with such an intricate history and rich culture as Cuba has been both a challenge and a pleasure. Cuba is literally bursting with a diversity of voices and competing perspectives. However, the internal media monopoly and rigid ideological parameters regulating the island’s writers, artists, intellectuals, and scholars often make it difficult for outsiders to hear or make sense of these many voices. Moreover, outside coverage of Cuba often deals in shallow stereotypes and wishful thinking, uninformed by serious, sustained examination of how life is actually lived on the island itself.

Fortunately, this study has been prepared as the island undergoes an unprecedented period of change—coming both from above and below—challenging traditional limits on critical expression and creating more space for independent analysis. In an effort to seize this special moment, the editors of this book (two of whom, Miriam Celaya and Dimas Castellanos, currently live in Cuba) recruited more than a dozen others to give their independent, internal voice to the many topics examined here.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Apart from the three co-editors, the authors include the historian and political scientist Armando Chaguaceda, the late independent economist Óscar Espinosa Chepe, the independent blogger and photographer Henry Constantín, blogger Regina Coyula, Fernando Dámaso, the independent journalist Reinaldo Escobar, Dayrom Gil, the sociologist Marlene Azor Hernández, the historian Maritza de los Ángeles Hidalgo-Gato Lima, the poet Rogelio Fabio Hurtado, the artist César Leal Jiménez, the activist and independent journalist Miriam Leiva, the photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, the blogger and independent journalist Yoani Sánchez, the historian Miguel Iturria Savón, and the lawyer Wilfredo Vallín.

All of these authors are Cuban and nearly all continue to live and work on the island today. Most are also both experts and hands-on practitioners in the fields about which they write, including history, anthropology, law, politics, economics, migration, religion, racial and ethnic relations, class structure, literature, dance and music, theater, film, civil society, human rights, the media, and the Internet.

The editors would like to recognize these authors who—each from his or her particular point of view—took the risk of making their knowledge and analyses public. Given that their analyses are often at odds with both the “official story” promoted by the Cuban government and the often ill-informed one coming from abroad, their effort to show this other, often hidden face of Cuba while continuing to reside there is particularly valuable and commendable.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Writing a balanced, accurate, and original overview of this unique and fascinating island-nation has been a daunting task. How does one describe the innumerable ways in which Cubans have embraced and, indeed, internalized much of U.S. culture during the island’s century of independent existence, while at the same time recognizing the fact that the United States has often wielded its power and influence in a manner ultimately harmful to Cuban sovereignty?

Likewise, how does one do justice to the enormous initial popularity and impressive social achievements of the Cuban revolution, without ignoring the suffering endured by the Cuban people both on the island and in exile as a result of the Cuban government’s internal rigidity, intolerance, and paternalism?

As Cubans like to say, No es fácil (It ain’t easy)!

Luzbely Escobar

Although writing and teaching about Cuba can be a political minefi eld of sorts, even for the most enterprising and sensitive of scholars, the country of Cuba, with its unique culture, and the people of Cuba, with their contagious charisma, passionate convictions, and gracious generosity of spirit, make the never-ending task of understanding the country and its people inestimably rewarding and enriching.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

This book is the fruit of more than five years of collaboration among its three coeditors and many authors, often thanks to our strategic use of the Internet and social media to share, edit, and translate the book’s various chapters. Thanks are due to the Swedish, Dutch, and Swiss Embassies in Cuba for opening their doors to the Cuban coeditors, enabling the free flow of uncensored information back and forth between Havana and New York necessary to make this book a reality. We even managed to convince a few brave (and happily anonymous) souls to help us by spiriting author contracts and payments back and forth between Cuban and the United States. We thank them here as well.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The volume provides an up-to-date overview of historical, political, economic, and sociocultural development of Cuba from the pre-Columbian period to the present, with an emphasis on the Cuban revolution, U.S.-Cuban relations, Cuba’s impressive cultural achievements, and the country’s current socioeconomic reality. The book contains seven narrative chapters, on (1) geography, (2) history, (3) politics and government, (4) economy, (5) society, (6) culture, and (7) contemporary issues.

Augmented by a total of 76 brief vignettes on various historical, political, cultural, or biographical topics of special interest or importance such as the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, the Platt Amendment, the U.S. Embargo, the writer Reinaldo Arenas, the film director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, the artist Wifredo Lam, or the human rights activists The Ladies in White. While the history chapter focuses almost exclusively on prerevolutionary Cuba, the bulk of the other chapters are dedicated to chronicling the economic, political, social, and cultural changes that have taken place in Cuban society since 1959 under the revolution.

Tracey Eaton

The editors would like to give special thanks to our two intrepid student translators, Michael Prada Krakow and Natalia Pardo Becerra—both natives of Colombia. With key financial support from Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Mike and Natalia worked together with the book’s lead editor and translator—Ted A. Henken—for over a year rendering the various authors’ original Spanish-language chapters into an English that would preserve the content of their ideas and the beauty of their language. We also thank Regina Anavy for stepping in at a key moment with her own expert, emergency, volunteer translation of a few sections of this book. Its readers will judge how well we succeeded.

The editors would also like to thank Archibald Ritter, Yoani Sánchez, and Reinaldo Escobar who first introduced us to one another physically. We also acknowledge M. J. Porter, Karen Chun, and Aurora Morera, whose intrepid, behind-the-scenes work setting up portals to host their blogs allowed us to more easily collaborate virtually. Baruch College professor and top-flight literary translator Esther Allen also deserves nuestros más sinceros agradecimientos (our most sincere thanks) as she was a key link in the translation chain at an early stage of this project.

El Yuma with El Chagua & OLPL.

The writer, blogger, and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo also deserves our gratitude for graciously allowing us to raid his stunning trove of digital images of today’s Cuba, 15 of which illustrate the book’s pages. Queens-based graphic designer Rolando Pulido assisted with getting these photos camera-ready. Also, journalist Tracey Eaton, poet Uva de Aragón, and Cuban photographer Luzbely Escobar each generously contributed a wonderful photo of their own to the book.

Kaitlin Ciarmiello, ABC-CLIO’s acquisitions editor for the Geography and World Cultures series was especially instrumental in shepherding what unexpectedly became an unwieldy coedited, dual-language, and multi-author project through various stages of completion. Likewise, both James Dare, the book’s illustrations editor, and Valavil Lydia Shinoj, the book’s project manager were exemplars of resourcefulness and professionalism.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the assistance of Cuban scholars Samuel Farber, Domingo Amuchástegui, and Eusebio Mujal-León, each of whom provided extensive comments on Chapter 3 “Politics and Government.” Likewise, Dafnis Prieto, the virtuoso Cuban percussionist and MacArthur “Genius” grantee, performed a similar service by thoroughly reviewing the section on Cuban music. Arch Ritter kindly did the same for Chapter 4 “Economy.”

We hope the published book reflects some of their extensive knowledge and editorial care. Of course, all errors, omissions, and oversights are our own.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 GEOGRAPHY, Ted A. Henken and Miriam Celaya

2 HISTORY, Dimas Castellanos, Ted A. Henken, and Miriam Celaya

3 POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, Wilfredo Vallín and Ted A. Henken

4 ECONOMY, Óscar Espinosa Chepe and Ted A. Henken

5 SOCIETY
Religion and Thought, by Rogelio Fabio Hurtado and Ted A. Henken
Ethnicity and Race, Class Structure, and Inequality, by Dimas Castellanos and Ted A. Henken
Family, Gender, and Sexuality, by Miriam Celaya and Ted A. Henken
Education, by Miriam Celaya
Migration and Diaspora, by Dimas Castellanos and Ted A. Henken
The Media, by Reinaldo Escobar
Internet, Social Media, and the Cuban Blogosphere, by Yoani Sánchez

6 CULTURE
Language and Literature, by Miguel Iturria Savón and Ted A. Henken
Dance, Music, and Theater, by Regina Coyula and Ted A. Henken
Cinema and Photography, by Henry Constantín and Miriam Celaya
Cuisine, by Maritza de los Ángeles Hidalgo-Gato Lima and Ted A. Henken
Art and Architecture , by César Leal Jiménez
Popular Recreation and Sports, by Rogelio Fabio Hurtado
Popular Culture, Customs, and Traditions, by Regina Coyula and Fernando Dámaso

7 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Raúl Castro’s Reforms: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, by Dimas Castellanos
Agricultural Reforms, by Dimas Castellanos
Political Reforms and Rising Corruption, by Marlene Azor Hernández
Recent Cuban Elections , by Armando Chaguaceda and Dayrom Gil
Cuba’s Demographic Crisis, by Dimas Castellanos
Recent Migration Reforms, by Ted A. Henken
Cuba’s International Relations, by Miriam Leiva
The Catholic Church, Dissidence, Civil Society, and Human Rights, by Dimas Castellanos and Miriam Celaya

Glossary
Facts and Figures
Major Cuban Holidays and Festivals
Country-Related Organizations
Annotated Bibliography
Thematic Index
Index
About the Authors and Contributors

 

We Shall See / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

By Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

Some Cuban citizens came to the Cuban Legal Association (AJC) seeking information and advice regarding a current issue: non-agricultural co-operatives.

It relates to forming a cooperative with a group of compatriots who–until now–have been state workers and would become members in this new modality.

But clearly they do not have the slightest idea what it is and they have not been properly informed about it.

It was nice that this morning we had a hearing in the Supreme Court related to legal recognition of the AJC as an independent NGO. The funny thing is that our counterpart there suggested, among its arguments, that all Cuban workers have at their disposal the information possible and necessary with regards to legal issues that affect that or that they would like to know about. And that was another reason that the AJC doesn’t need to exist.

Obviously there is a serious contradiction between our counterpart and the presence of these people asking us for appropriate advice.

Those living in the city, among other things, need to know

What elements are required for the existence of this form of economics, without which we can be in the presence of something, but not of a true cooperative as it is understood in the world.

What is free contracting and how does it relates to the issue of cooperatives.

What are the inalienable rights of workers in the preparation of documents that create the cooperative and its statutes.

What comparative examples do we have as background to have a broader and more accurate range of information on the matter.

What is the concept of cooperative ownership and the use, enjoyment and disposition that cooperatives have regarding it.

And some more that I will not put here so as to keep this brief.

I want to believe that what happened five years ago will not happen now, when the omnipresent and all-knowing came to tell us that WE COULD NOT EXPLAIN to our compatriots the rights which the Criminal Code of Procedure Act confers unto them.

Are these times any different from any previous ones?

We shall see.

Translated by: Shane J. Cassidy

16 October 2013

Where Does That Leave Us? / Cuban Law Association

Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

I was flipping through a magazine. It’s called Current PC. It has caused me some anxiety about a reality I am just discovering: although the magazine is in Spanish, my native tongue, I can barely understand what it says; I don’t know the meaning of countless technological terms.

The person who gave me the magazine to browse receives it regularly at home. He’s not a computer specialist, but someone who wants to keep abreast of new developments in technology in a form that is accessible and understandable for him.

Some of the arrticles are:

- 10 Super Plug-ins for Google Chrome

- Mastering Evernote Completely

- Move from Windows 7 to New Windows 8

- Mega, 50 gigabytes of memory for free

- Obsessed with online security.

- How to leave Instangram.

- Redecorate your home with Home Designer.

Reading (or rather trying to read) the articles, I can’t avoid a troubling question: Where are we Cubans in relation to all this? As technological development advances at breakneck speed, how long will we Cubans be denied the right to have the internet at home?

To try to explain myseslf with an example, I quote the following small fragment of the article “When the Internet is Everywhere” from this magazine:

The future has a poetic name, the Internet of Things … Health is one of the sectors that can benefit from the Internet of Things. The right technology will make many doctor visits unnecessary. And doctors can know — in real time and from a distance, thanks to sensors that their patients carry — blood sugar, blood pressure or heart rate itself …

The article continues with a description that seems to me more science fiction than science fact and current technology.

And in the face of all this, where does that leave us?

3 September 2013

Analysing What’s Happened / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

By Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

It’s good news. People like Yoani Sánchez, Eliecer Ávila and Berta Soler find themselves abroad enjoying a right which was denied for fifty years

In the Asociación Jurídica Cubana (Cuban Law Association) we are always happy to receive everything which implies more liberty for the Cuban people, without closing our eyes to the problems which continue to be presented by government decisions, especially when there continue to be unclear or arbitrary legal positions.

Let me explain

In the year 2003, 75 people were accused of crimes against the Cuban state. Tried immediately, they were condemned to different and severe prison sentences. During the following seven years they were all freed.

In relation to that something is happening which I would like to share with our readers, but which will require more than one post, and because of that, in this one I want to set out essential introductory elements to help with this analysis

For someone in jail, who hasn’t completed their sentence, there are two ways of waiving the remaining term and going free. They are:

A reprieve

An amnesty

In the case of a reprieve, they extinguish the criminal responsibility and it is construed as pardoning the penalty which was applied to the person. If it is a complete reprieve, they extinguish the prisoner’s entire sentence. If it is a parcial reprieve, part of the prisoner’s penalty disappears or they change it for more minor sanctions.

A reprieve applies to one individual person. In order for it to have effect, it is necessary to have an administrative act and a firm sentence and you don’t necessarily have to extinguish the preceding penalties of the individual in question. Normally the possibility of a reprieve (also known as “The Law of Pardon”) rests in the hands of important representatives of the State.

As far as an amnesty is concerned, it doesn’t refer to the penalty, but to the offence itself. It relates to all those who have committed it, not to particular individuals, it extinguishes total criminal responsibility and eliminates the preceding penalties in removing the criminal status.

In he case of an amnesty, it is necessary to pass a law in order to arrange it, and it extinguishes the antecedent penalties of the individuals involved given that it covers all who committed the crime and not particular individuals.

The amnesty is used above all for political offences and not normal crimes.

With these elements, we are ready for an analysis of what has happened.

Translated by GH

24 April 2013

From the Wolf, a Hair* / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

Photo: Marcelo López Bañobre

By Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

Like many compatriots, I sat down to watch the appearance of General of the Army Raul Castro during his recent speech before the National Assembly of People’s Power.

I talked with other lawyers about his words before that forum and, unsurprisingly, some were interested in certain aspects of his speech, while others fixed on different details.

Personally, he caught my attention when he said:

We have to have the Party Congress set the course to update the Cuban economic model and to achieve a sustainable and prosperous socialist society, a less egalitarian but more just society .  . .”

It’s with regards to …”a less egalitarian but more just society”that I want to reflect about. Continue reading

Tabula Rasa / Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

Tomada de Internet

6-vallin_21 Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

On the 160th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, it occurs to me to say something about two of his writings. The first, extremely well-known: the letter that the Apostle* wrote to his friend Manuel Mercado hours before his death in Dos Rios.

In this letter cataloged by some as his political testament, the Maestro* says:

I lived in the monster and I know its entrails and my sling is that of David.

 This phrase has been repeated countless times by all media in Cuba since 1959, in schools and colleges and has been part of countless political texts. Continue reading

Santiesteban: The Fundamentals of Law and Reasonable Doubt / Angel Santiesteban #Cuba

1359244819_6-vallin_21Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

The case of the honored and prize-winning writer Angel Santiesteban Prats has been appealed to the Supreme Court by his defense attorney, using the right to appeal to the highest court in the land.

In a previous post I analyzed the facts that were present in the case and now I will do the same with the law that, in my opinion, is also involved in this controversial issue. Continue reading

End of Year Gift / Wilfredo Vallin Almeida #Cuba

11-AJC

6-vallin_21

Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

One of a country’s most precious things is its traditions They constitute the people’s soul and shape identity and belonging.

And culture and traditions are shaped by the nuances and vicissitudes of popular history over a long period of evolution and development of nationality and personality.

We Cubans have many and they are and very beautiful. For their authenticity, they have remained despite efforts to make them disappear following the dictates of an absurd and dogmatic social engineering.

One of these was the Christmas festivities and, among them, the gifts placed under the tree to be opened on the morning of the birth of baby Jesus, and the pleasant and emotive sound of a Christmas carol.

That was an experience so beautiful as to never be forgotten.

Then there were no more Christmases or New Years, or Three Kings or gifts under the tree or under the bed.

Then came adulthood, after maturity, and it has not crossed my mind that the possibility of a return with a huge cargo of human warmth, familiarity and Cubanness.

However, unexpectedly, they have returned, no less than in these last Christmases, to receive a gift that fills my heart with joy and hope, and it comes from an unexpected place: INTERNET tells us that the Cuban Law Association (AJC) ends 2012 with more than 110,000 visits to its blog.

The fact that a blog of legal issues, often highly technical and difficult to understand, created with much effort as we try to write in an understandable way for those not versed in the law, has reached that impressive figure can only fill us with joy and a sense of accomplishment in a fair fight.

Within Cuba are more than 1,200 entries to the AJC blog. In a country like ours, without INTERNET and where the overwhelming majority of the population does not have a computer, that number is not negligible.

Of course this involves us more, but now, we want to thank from the bottom of our hearts all who come to read to us and give us their comments, which are almost entirely respectful and encouraging.

Thank you all for this delightful, stimulating — and very emotional for us — NEW YEAR’S GIFT.

January 17 2013

Law or Violence / Wilfredo Vallin Almeida #Cuba

19--legalidad o violencia

By Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

I always thought that on the day in which things in Cuba would become as they are today, the people in power would behave with much more good sense and flexibility.

Those of us who now have grey hairs, do not forget the nationalisation without compensation of many properties, the compulsory separation from families who have gone abroad, the persecution for religious belief, the Forced Labor Camps (UMAP), the banning of the Beatles, the notorious “warning” to the intellectuals, the very dangerous installation of nuclear missiles, etc., etc.

All of this, plus the accumulation of five undelivered five-year plans, have worn out the patience of the citizens whom they asked to sacrifice their time and their lives in return for the future of the New Man.

Now we see, for example, the open letter attributed to a group of surgeons from the Calixto Garcia hospital circulated on the internet, where you can read:

The deficiencies in the medical service are so serious … that we cannot provide medical attention which is ethical and which our people deserve, which is our sacred duty.

For how long are we going to be grateful to the centenary generation for having done their duty … while our generation waits to carry out its duty to develop and to give our families and children the life they deserve?

I also never thought that we would be the citizens who use the revolutionary and socialist laws to indicate to those in power (and also to international organisations – why not?); that those who once told us “we are all equal before the law” would put themselves outside the law and allow themselves to disregard it.

It’s what happens when:

- They handcuff and throw in jail a lawyer who has gone to a police station to inquire about the legal position of a prisoner.

- They tell us that “from now on, lawyers will not be allowed into police stations.”

- They tell the activists of the campaign For Another Cuba:

These Agreements are all very nice, but, what you don’t know is that, behind all this is the hand of the enemy who has other aims in mind…

(Please note the implication that Cubans never do anything as a result of their own convictions, but we are always programmed and led by foreign enemies).

- They use violence against people without any basis in law and with the manifest contempt on the part of the political police for peoples’ legal rights as recognised in the nation’s own Magna Carta.

- They send a message to the people which reads:

The only possibility of independence and national sovereignty resides in ourselves. There is absolutely nobody in the 11 million Cubans who has more ability than ourselves to guarantee that sovereignty, as well as the right to stay here all our lives.

Violence only leads to more violence. Many people have already died for that and others have been close to dying for the same reason.

Unfortunately, possibly some more Cubans have to die before this sad story ends. It’s just that those of us who feel love for this country always bet on the first of the two choice in this absurd binomial alternative: law or violence.

Translated by GH

December 30 2012

Santiesteban, the Facts and Reasonable Doubt / Angel Santiesteban, By Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

By Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

The questions mount up in the criminal case of the celebrated writer Ángel Santiesteban leaving the legal officials in Cuba looking very bad in terms of transparency and legal techniques and leaving us with a certain taste of injustice. The case is a good demonstration of that and gives rise to something which in the past used to be unacceptable to legal practitioners; deciding a penalty while doubts persist.

IN DUBIO PRO REO (the accused has the benefit of any doubt) is what they used to say, but this seems to have been excluded from Cuban legal practice.

In criminal law and criminal procedure, the events which give rise to offences normally focus, in terms of process, on two basic aspects:

  1. the facts in themselves (the grounds of fact), and
  2. the relevant legal principles (Articles of Law, Resolutions of the Governing Council of the Supreme Popular Tribunal, legal doctrine, interpretation, etc.)

Let’s start of by indicating some of the irregularities (there are more) in terms of grounds of fact which are evident in this complicated and lengthy business;

The only direct evidence shown in the process is that of his ex-partner, who is the one accusing him. But what we have ended up with is that during the various declarations offered by her in the long-drawn-out preparatory stage, the accusation has repeatedly changed, to such an extent that the Prosecutor had to disregard and ignore some of them on the grounds, as far as we could see, of being ambiguous and hardly able to be taken seriously.

Can you have confidence in the evidence of a person who keeps changing his or her testimony? In the same case, this lady again contradicts herself, this time in terms of the medical certificate she presents, which does not accord with the injuries she claims to have received.

In her testimony, the claimant says that after having been brutally hit, she was raped by the accused. The Prosecutor nevertheless did not take into account this important element in the case.

Prior to this matter, Angel and his ex-partner had been through another case where she accused him of having threatened her. In this case the defendant was found innocent.

The appearance of the teacher and school director of Santiesteban’s son, Eduardo Angel , was important. She testified that the child told her that his mother obliged him to say things against his father. This evidence was also disregarded by the Tribunal.

Obviously, these were not all the issues of fact: I have referred to only some of them – sufficient in my opinion to illustrate to those not well-versed in such matters, what is the meaning of REASONABLE DOUBT.

Translated by GH

December 20 2012

Campaign for Another Cuba: Video #Cuba

This video is less than 4 minutes long.