Marambio: Accused or Witness / Laritza Diversent

The subpoena and indictment prepared by the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) against the 63-year-old Chilean businessman, Max Marambio, has raised innumerable questions. The first of these is what would happen if the close friend of the eldest of the Castros decided to return to the island.

The chances that the authorities would put him in jail, as a preventive measure, are high. The criminal proceeding against him is in its preparatory phase, when the investigation occurs, the legal facts are described, and so on.

They also want to assure that the defendants show up for the day of the trail. Given that “The Fat Man,” as Marambio is known in Cuba, lives outside the country, provisional detention would be the most effective assurance.

Another question is whether Marambio’s attorneys can travel to Cuba and represent him in the investigation being carried out against him. In order to be named as a defense attorney, under the Cuban system, the individual must be part of the process.

This would start when the person is the object of a preventive measure (pre-trial detention, bail, etc.). It means that you must first appear before the instructor (similar to a district attorney) as required and testify regarding the facts alleged against you. After this your attorney is appointed.

The Chilean courts returned the warrant to Cuba, citing errors that prevented their compliance with it. For example, the lack of clarity regarding Marambio’s situation, and whether he is a witness or a defendant.

The note published by MININT in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba, however, expressly lists Max Marambio as the “accused” for the crimes of Bribery, Acts Detrimental to Economic Activity, or of Procurement, Embezzlement, and Falsification of Bank and Trade Documents, and Fraud.

There is no doubt, the businessman is called as a defendant. It’s worth mentioning that Cuban law does not provide for the presence of a lawyer during questioning, nor in the obligation to instruct him in his rights. For example, there is no duty to declare the charges against him, which can be done at any time or as many times as desired.

September 6, 2010