Havana, Cuba. – Professor Gloria Llopis Prendes, her daughter Gloria and her 3-year-old granddaughter Amanda, have received an Eviction Notice to vacate their current home located at Avenida 71 Edif. 3, Aprt 10, Zona de Desarrollo, Batabano, Mayabeque province, a community known as Las Casas de los Maestros (Teacher’s House).
How did you become aware of this Eviction Notice?
“On February 20th an official commission showed up at my home to give me an ultimatum, that I had only 15 days to go back to work, otherwise I would be considered an illegal occupant of the premises. Among the local officials were Julio Cesar Martinez, Director of the Ministry of Education (MINED) here in Batabano; Hildo Caballero, general secretary of the Communist Party (PCC) in the municipality; and a lady named Liset, head of the MINED Department of Inspectors in the municipality. I have no choice, if I refuse to vacate the house, all utilities will be cut off, the police will enforce the eviction notice and we’ll be homeless.
What is the basis for this eviction threat?
Our apartment is an asset of Ministry of Education. Once you don’t work for them anymore, you cannot be in possession of such asset. I have been working for the Ministry of Education since January 3, 1983, until two years ago when I was fired for becoming a peaceful dissident, a “crime” sufficient to cause you to lose your job.
Do you know someone who has been given such an ultimatum?
“Yes, Odalys Fernandez Quesada, History professor, received a similar notification from the same Commission. Odalys is member of the NGO Zero Violence Feminine Platform, of which I am the Coordinator, and associated with the NGO Nuevo Pais (New Country) Forum, presided over by Dr. Manuel Cuesta-Morua.
Cuesta-Morua is your husband. What is his legal status?
“Manuel is on probation now. He has to go once a week to a Police Station located at Septima y 62, Miramar, Municipio Playa. He was imprisoned some days before the CELAC Summit in Havana for daring to call a parallel convention which did not take place because the government obstructed it. They charged him with “Disseminating False News against World Peace.”
Do you know any other former employee of Ministry of Education in possession of housing that belongs to the Ministry?
“Yes, many. When the Escuelas en el Campo (schools in the countryside) idea failed, some employees went to work in different fields, others took clerical jobs, others were promoted to political or administrative positions, always keeping the roofs over their heads.
“The same thing happens with all the housing that belongs to any government entity. Officials look the other way, they never review the lease as long as the employee continues working for the government*. Whoever is in possession of an asset is tied for life to government entities. Years ago apartment buildings were built in the countryside for those teachers who were permanently working in middle schools and high schools in those areas.”
Gloria Llopis holds a BA History and Social Sience 1983 and a BA Psychology and Pedagogy 1989
*Translator’s note: Since the vast majority of jobs in Cuba are in State entities, this covers most working people.
Cubanet, 28th of February, 2014 Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen
Translated by: Rafa