Right to Adequate Housing / Cuban Legal Association

Photo: Miriam Leyva

By: Atty. Veizant Boloy

My grandmother did not think twice when in her early years she could have gone to Spain, home of her ancestors. She chose to believe, like many others, in the promises of the Government to provide decent housing for all. Today after more than five decades, she can only look up to heaven and ask: how was this possible?

Fidel Castro, in a speech on February 20, 1960, stated that: “(…) The Revolution put an end to the exploitation of the housing (…) this is what the revolution did, replace that system of exploitation by a system of justice, where families acquire ownership of the house, when the capital is amortized (…).”

The Cuban State, under the Constitution in Article 9, must work to ensure that no family is without a comfortable home. If we accept the idea of Castro that the Constitution is the daughter of the Revolution, we must assume that breach of this Act is a documented betrayal of people’s expectations.

The housing situation in Cuba is no less painful and absurd. Limitations prevailing until yesterday, coupled with the unwillingness of the state, far from reversing the situation, make it more acute, and blame the economic embargo.

Criticism of the National Housing System is far from being sweet and funny, the sad truth does not lead to questions.

While a share of the population gives more value to the expressed intention of change than to the mistakes we have suffered and criticized for years, time often proves me right. The formula applied to the housing problem has been a failure, and although they do not acknowledge it, it is obvious; an example of this is the reforms being introduced in this regard. New is not always good, and to say that these changes defy the principles of their creators would be naive.

You don’t have to be a prodigy to anticipate where the road can be twisted. We have the power to make changes, they may come from everyone, even the most humble. The state always has mediated in all proceedings of ownership. Those who think it will be different now are fools, we already see how the taxes take their cut.

In short, my grandmother was stripped of her home by the state, in order to build a dam, and after a long, hard struggle of twenty years to get her property, was a victim of the unscrupulous real estate black market, in the absence of Decree Law 288, recently brought into force, concerning one of the basic rights of the owner, to dispose freely of the property.

25 January 2012