Liberation or Exile? (II)

To speak of liberation — in this case of the release of prisoners — through a third-party also has advantages. Mainly because neither the Catholic Church in Cuba nor the representative of the Spanish state have the power to say anything about the legal means for implementing it.

Analyzing the current situation, the criminal responsibility of prisoners of conscience, according to the criminal law, could be extinguished by amnesty, pardon, or acquittal in review proceedings.

If they really intended to liberate, the Council of State would issue an official note, at the proposal of its President, who is in turn the Head of State and Government of the Republic of Cuba, pardoning all prisoners arrested and prosecuted in 2003.

The National Assembly could also do its part. The supreme organ of the Cuban State could declare at its meeting to be convened on August 1st a general amnesty for all political prisoners. This power is recognized by the Constitution of the Republic.

Both state bodies could do even more. The parliament can declare the 1999 Law No. 88 (“On protection of national independence and the economy,” also known as the “Gag Law”) unconstitutional. This is the legal provision under which the group of 75 dissidents was prosecuted, which violates and restricts the right of expression, opinion and information.

The Council of State also has the power to order the Supreme Court to undertake a special review procedure and acquit those accused in the “Black Spring” of 2003. Constitutionally it has the power to issue instructions to that judicial body.

The analysis leads to one conclusion: the fact that they talk about liberation, but not about the actions through which it must be legally formalized, suggests that the Cuban government intends to cover up the forced exit from the country of the 52 political prisoners – an illegitimate act and a violation of the rights of these people.

No government action has legal sanction to force a citizen to leave the country. Cubans cannot be exiled from their own land.

Laritza Diversent

Translated by: Tomás A.