14ymedio, Havana, 10 July 2017 – The driver of a private taxi was arrested after being accused of racial discrimination by Yanay Aguirre Calderín, according to a report Monday in the weekly paper Trabajadores (Workers). The event has generated numerous articles in the official press which is making an example of the case.
On 2 July, the same weekly published an article by Calderín, a law student who is black, where she related how she engaged the taxi and was treated aggressively by the drive due to the color of her skin.
According to prosecutor Rafael Ángel Soler López, head of the Office of Attention to the Citizenry of the Attorney General’s Office, “We cannot yet anticipate what the end of the process will be,” since they are now “investigating to be able to prove the criminal act before the courts.”
The Cuban Penal Code establishes a penalty of between six months and two years of deprivation of liberty, or a fine of between 200 and 500 CUP, to anyone who denies “on the grounds of sex, race, color or national origin the exercise or enjoyment of the rights of equality established in the Constitution.”
Aguirre Calderín, who does not specify the exact date of the events, took the private car on Avenida 41, in the Marianao municipality, but when she wanted to change her destination, the driver reacted “very upset” and “very violently.” The young woman explains that at that moment the driver shouted that “every time there is a black person in his car it’s the same” and that for that reason “he could not stand them.”
Calderín then rebuked the driver, whom she accused of offending her, to which the taxi driver responded by asking the passenger to get out of the car before arriving at the place initially designated by her. At that moment the complainant took a photograph of the car with her cell phone and noted the number of the license plate, which facilitated the arrest of the driver by the police.