Though my regular readers know I don’t usually publish work that I have not written myself, I decided to publish, as an exception, an article from attorney Wilfredo Vallín Almeida, president of the Cuban Law Association (AJC), my friend and traveling companion. The decision reflects the importance of this partnership for its work in support of the rights of Cubans and the unique and valuable efforts of such a meaningful undertaking in a country lacking in freedom and civic-mindedness. The work of this group of lawyers is as necessary to Cubans as it is dangerous to authorities, hence the official interest in sabotaging its work and trying to distort the nature of the organization and the morale of its members.
Readers can get more information about these events in the forums of the Association, where a series of six works by attorney Mr. Vallín will be published starting today.
I urge readers to follow the posts, since the organization is currently awaiting an answer regarding its application for legalization, and it is the only organization that has filed a legal complaint against the ministration of justice in Cuba for that cause, creating a precedent hitherto unheard of in the history of civic resistance in Cuba in half a century of dictatorship.
Thanks and a big hug,
Disrespect and Right of Reply
Wilfredo Vallín Almeida
This past September 12th, two lawyers from the Cuban Law Association (AJC) in the province of Artemisa got a subpoena signed by sub-Lieutenant Javier Rebozo Pérez to appear before him at the Alquízar State Security Department the next day.
The lawyers of the AJC decided to attend though the first violation was already included in said citation, -this is something we’re used to about the political police- and because neither complied with Article 86 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act (they don’t specify the subpoena’s subject), and were, therefore, null and void.
Although they were each “interviewed” separately, the points addressed by the officers in attendance at the meeting can be summarized as follows:
- Reasons for the presence of such persons in the Cuban Law Association.
- Ambiguity regarding the aims pursued by the AJC.
- Counterrevolutionary character of the President of the Organization.
- Attorney Wilfredo Vallín’s relationship with known figures of the opposition to the current Cuban government.
- Source of the economic resources that the AJC seems to have access to.
- Discredit which the Organization will shortly be subjected to through the national media of mass communication.
With the right to reply that any human being should have anywhere and against anything deemed insulting to his dignity, we will answer, one by one, the above points, but in our own way, that is, without hiding our identity behind assumed names, without hiding anything (since there is nothing to hide), and for anyone who wants to know, especially when it comes to our fellow citizens.
We will start with something that was not listed above, but one we consider essential to address. We will respond because, in the face of slander, one cannot remain silent, but –this must be made clear- the Law Association does not recognize that the Cuban State Security Department has any jurisdiction in this matter.
And we don’t recognize its jurisdiction here because:
- From the beginning of its establishment, the AJC took on the task, UNDER THE LAWS THAT DO EXIST IN THIS COUNTRY, THOUGH SOME DON’T LIKE IT, to be respectful observers of the tenets of those laws, and to conduct ourselves ethically before the Registry of Associations, The Ministry of Justice, and the national courts that have to do with the ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS that, ACCORDING TO THE LAW, we have followed to date.
- Up to the time I am writing this, we have not received from any of those involved as counterparties, (those we do recognize as bearing the title of AUTHORITIES, and not the mere agents of the same), any expression, in any form, disqualifying of our actions.
- The decision of the highest organ imparting justice in the country, the Supreme Court, which acts in our power, recognizes the right of citizens (and therefore ours) to peaceful association, provided that the legally required formalities are followed. We find it hard to admit that the State Security Department is ignorant of this.
- In our view, the intervention of the political police in a completely legal process that develops under the laws established by the institutions authorized to do so, in the hands of authorities competent to decide, is, first and foremost, a lack of respect for the nation’s judiciary powers, and the denial of basic citizenship rights we supposedly enjoy.
The shortage of space will result in us having to replicate the rest of the points made at the beginning in the few next AJC blog posts and in those friendly publications that have offered to publish this.
Just one last thing for now: The AJC has a president with a well-known name by those who do not seem to even trust their courts. There is no need to call lesser members. You can call him, and he will be sure to respond without the need for a subpoena.
Translated by Norma Whiting
September 19 2011