The Betrayal of Humboldt 7 or the Legal Art of Looting

Humboldt 7* in Havana, Cuba.

Christmas is a tradition which goes beyond the limits of the Catholic religion. Before the birth of Christ, the Incas used to celebrate the 25th December as their Cápac Raymi (a religious prehispanic celebration in honour of the sun); and also the ancient Romans, with their Natalia Solis Invicti or, “The birth of the unconquerable sun”.

There is agreement between various cultures; it is a celebration of family joining together and happiness. But, this Christmas not everybody received the gift of happiness. My friend, Osvaldo Fructuoso Rodríguez, (son of one of those young people who accompanied José Antonio Echevarría on March 13, 1957 in the attacks on Radio Reloj and the Presidential Palace) had his application to visit his sick mother in Havana turned down by the Cuban authorities.

What was the reason, or caprice, which justified some nobody in denying the legitimate right possessed by Cubans to travel to our country?

Some say that he is not allowed to enter because, in effect, Osvaldo took part in the organisation of the dramatic and almost incredible escape of Alina Fernández Revuelta, daughter of Fidel Castro, in 1993. Others consider that Fructuoso Rodríguez Jr. is simply paying for having close and affectionate ties to the deceased General José Abrantes Fernández, ex Minister of the Interior, who was for years a staunch enemy of the current leader, Raúl Castro.

And obviously, those who like over-hyping things associate the unjustifiable refusal with an article entitled “Humbolt 7 and the man who betrayed my father”,
written by Osvaldo Fructuoso in April 2007, in which he questions certain people linked to the upper echelons of the Cuban military.

I don’t personally share any of these arguments. I don’t believe they are confused; but they are only following an incorrect line of reasoning, since, on the one hand, the ex Minister of MININT died, was killed, or left to die, in January ’91; and Fidel’s rebellious daughter today travels regularly to Havana without being bothered by anyone.

As far as I am concerned, this travel permit refusal has less to do with the past than the present, and with a phenomenon which is growing in dark corners of Cuban society.

The word “theft” is an important noun in the national sound effects, and the Cuban leaders, experts in the art of looting, achieve the loudest notes in a network which functions with the precision of a top of the range Swiss watch, and with the complicity of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, the Ministry of Justice and other institutions.

The business deals with finding people, preferably elderly, and with no family in the country, who are sick or with some kind of mental incapacity. With the help of social workers, hospitals, nursing homes and CDRs, they register them and convert them into targets.

The intention is to take control of the lives of these defenceless and unprotected individuals and rob them of all their possessions, with the support of the law. After identifying them, a select group of lawyers enter into this mean little game with the strategic mission of disinheriting the heirs, altering, changing or falsifying wills, powers of attorney and guardianships, in order to totally sever any legal link between the victims and their families.

This happens every day all over Cuba, and we need to take notice. Sra Marta Jiménez (mother of Osvaldo) is one more victim; alone, with a house in Nuevo Vedado, a house in Varadero, and a significant art collection, which, as you can imagine, featuring among others some important work of the vanguardista painter Servando Cabrera Moreno, became extremely valuable.

The ideological glasses get misted up, this is a major crime, committed in the murky environment of government power where money cannot be tracked and the illegal is made legal.

*Translator’s note: Humbolt 7 refers to a massacre which took place in April 1957 when the National Police killed certain revolutionaries who had survived a failed earlier attack on Batista’s palace as well as the taking of a radio station.)

Translated by GH

6 January 2015