Political Immunity / Laritza Diversent

Raul Castro

Revolutionary justice is extremely rigorous: it punishes illegal exit or plans to hijack a boat. The law also gives a more severe punishment to someone who kills a cow than to someone who commits murder. However, such intransigence is left aside when dealing with misconduct by a government official.

Raúl Castro, in his last speech before the National Assembly, acknowledged that “some comrades, without a fraudulent purpose, provide inaccurate information from their subordinates, without having tested it, and unconsciously fall into the lie. This false information can lead to wrong decisions, with greater or lesser repercussions for the nation,” he argued.

The maximum leader of the Cuban State and Government prefers the resignation of the leaders at any level, when they feel unable to perform their duties fully, rather than dismissing them for not complying with his guidelines. An example of this dominant feature of his administration, one of the most unstable of late, is the dismissal of ministers, mostly for incompetence.

More than 20 cadres were removed from their government posts, including Carlos Lage, Felipe Pérez Roque, Rogelio Acevedo, Juan Escalona, Carlos Valenciaga, Marta Lomas Morales, José Ramón Balaguer, Otto Rivero, Ulises Rosales del Toro, Pedro Sáez Montejo, Yadira García Vera, José Luis Sierra Cruz, etc.

All were put on trial before the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), but no one went before the courts. The Criminal Code, which by reason of the charge is obligated to provide information, conceals and omits information or doesn’t verify it. The penalty is increased if it causes damage to the national economy. It doesn’t matter if the intent had been fraudulent or incompetent.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Even the historic generation, the leader, is outside the reach of the law. No court of justice has the power to question the many recognized errors in the management of the country, despite the results. Today the Cuban economy is on the verge of collapse.

It’s the same law that puts them beyond the reach of justice. It’s logical; they created it. The courts need authorization to investigate and prosecute members of the Politburo of the PCC — the president, vice president and secretary of the National Assembly, members of the Council of State and the Ministry. The Law on Criminal Procedure sets this out.

On the contrary, the historical leaders feel they have a right that gives them “moral authority” to correct the errors committed in “these five decades of building socialism in Cuba.” They enjoy this privilege thanks to the fact that the courts on the island are constitutionally subordinate to a political body, the Council of State.

The fact that justice depends on politics permits the historical leaders to turn their personal beliefs into law, to impose absurd rules of behavior on the citizens and to severely punish those who dare to challenge them. Above all, it assures them political immunity, both for themselves and their clique.

Translated by Regina Anavy

February 5 2011