In Cuba, professionals can’t work for themselves in the specialty in which they graduate. Legal counseling and consulting are not recognized as self-employed activities, the only actions that a lawyer can perform independently. The few that make this decision have to do it for free.
It’s also difficult to form an autonomous association. The red tape required to legalize a non-profit organization assures that the State has absolute control over it.
To these limitations economic dependence is also added. The lawyer who doesn’t work for the State doesn’t earn anything. In order to survive, in a system where the economic crisis is permanent, independent lawyers collect extra honoraria, even when the regulation on the practice of advocacy, among other causes, considers it a serious shortcoming to receive honoraria that are not established or are better than those officially approved, whether in cash or in kind. A double morality is imposed by these conditions on the practice of advocacy in Cuba, and with it comes total submission to the system.
See Artículo 59.3 inciso c, Resolución No. 142/84 “Regulation on the practice of Advocacy and the National Organization of Collective Law Firms.”
From Jurisconsulto de Cuba, by Laritza Diversent
Translated by Regina Anavy
9 June 2014