Client-User Defenselessness / Cuban Law Association, Lic. E. Javier Hernandez H.

Lic. E. Javier Hernández H.

For years there has been a reality in our country that isn’t exposed nor analyzed from all angles as the suffering of citizens deserves to be: it pertains to the defenseless state of Cuban client-user-buyer-consumer-constituents in the face of administrative and governmental requests, particularly when the parameters of quality, efficient operation, or the most basic rights are not fulfilled or respected.

We are observing in a majority of cases that come to our Association, in addition to our becoming a last resort or “lifesaving plank in the vast sea”; we can see inefficiency, laziness and insensitivity. The fundamental causes of our compatriots’ troubles are also the errors or violations committed toward them by entities and officials with impunity, sheltered by the lack of culture and discipline that would allow administrative and judicial proceedings to be correctly appealed and directed for the sake of restoring violated rights.

The ultimate tendency of the Organs of State Administration, as well as their subordinates, is the refusal to respond, be it a quality parameter claim, a complaint, a violation of rights or a breach of contract with the main service providers, be it the Electric Company, ETECSA (mobile phone and landlines), Aguas de la Habana (the water company), Immigration, Customs, among others. Examples abound as water service days are skipped, telephones break or are suspended without compensation, decisions delay or prohibit exit from and entry to the country, and seizures occur at officials’ discretion or interpretation without legal basis; in the end, the common Cuban’s defenseless situations are endless.

The country’s top leaders are carrying out an offensive against corruption—an evil that is difficult to avoid, especially in a country of fundamental weaknesses, as much present in the Basic Food Basket as in other individual liberties—a very valid offensive, since with egalitarianism, paternalism and decontrol, it is nearly impossible to move forward and plan with what little we have; however, as always, we observe how far removed this is from the citizens’ own “offensive.”

Why is it so difficult for the Comptroller to review the Municipal Housing Agencies, where records of exchanges or expropriations get lost?

Why don’t the supervisors of Justice reach the Municipal and Provincial Courts, where they almost always don’t know or don’t want to properly prosecute citizens’ administrative, labor and civil cases against those monopolistic businesses that frequently operate with impunity and contract abuse?

When will the those charged with applying the law of our country’s People’s Courts of Justice recognize their latent responsibility to use their wisdom to support a true equilibrium, between arrogance, impunity, mediocrity, and insensitivity of those “officials” and the defenseless citizens?

When should these same professionals turn to a concept as a guide in their precincts… “to challenge dominant, powerful forces within and beyond the social and national scope…” or also… “defend the values we believe in, at any cost…”

Or also, why not, to feel that our profession has been a marker and an honor in the history of democratic and just society, in the brilliance of public servants like Lincoln, Jefferson, Montesquieu, Agramonte, Céspedes, and Martí.

There is still time to participate judiciously in a new society, where we will lack neither compensation, retribution, certification, nor justice in the shadow of whatever power.

Translated by: Courtney Finkel

August 25 2012