Freedom to Decide? (I)

To consent means to express, explicitly or implicitly, agreement with something. A decision that is legally binding, because one assumes rights and obligations. This way, the consent becomes a requirement of the capacity to act.

The capacity to consent is subject to restrictions. Principally, when the consent is given by a non-emancipated minor, a deaf-mute person unable to read or write, or a person who is mentally ill. The consent granted in these cases is not considered to be the result of free will and deliberation.

The Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR) is an organisation which joins together the majority of social groups in the country. Article 7 of its statutes stipulates that “the request to join the organisation is an individual and voluntary act (…).” One of the requirements for entry is to be 14 years of age or older.

In Cuba the age of majority is 18 years and from this moment on a person attains his or her full capacity to act. As an exception to this rule, also considered emancipated are married females older than 14 years and married males of age 16 and above.

Adolescent persons, at 14 years of age, are neither fully responsible for their actions nor are they free to fulfill the requirements for joining the CDR. Much less are they capable of assuming the obligations implied by membership. Do they possess the economic resources to pay for their share in the self-financing model of the organisation?

The case of persons legally declared incompetent is very similar. I am speaking of deaf-mute or mentally ill persons who are registered members of the CDR. Did they consent to agree with the Revolution and to be prepared to defend it? Did they accept the statutes of the organisation? Are they able to behave in accordance with the ethic and the principles of the Revolution?

In Cuba, the mass social organisations register the citizens as members without asking for their consent. This fact is a violation of the individual rights of the people.

Laritza Diversent

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