Two Laws in Cuba / Jeovany J. Vega

There are two laws in Cuba: the first, written in ink, the second in frustration and pain. The first, a symbolism that rests on sterile paper, in the Constitution and legal codes, which allegedly belong to all Cubans, without distinctions of any kind, and its romantic spirit, theoretically, we are all equal in powers and rights. This is the one quoted by the army of large, medium, small and tiny leaders, always in tones very momentous as the culmination of the dream of heroes. This is the one of the front page of the newspaper Granma, which extols vibrant speeches that seemed touched by hand from the dais or the bench or from the comfort of the high offices, which vows that “… Every citizen is entitled to lodge complaints and petitions to the authorities and to receive attention or relevant and timely responses appropriate under the law .”(*)

But a second law, unwritten but consistent with reality is one of abuse with impunity and contempt, of the silent complicity of the authorities who pretend not to hear of the atrocities, the law that crushes those who aspire to exercise their rights as they can only be exercised: naturally and without consultation. A law that is not written, but with enough the power that from its summit it frowns, such that all the institutions and momentous leaders fold. But though they fold under the branches of power, the free man resists.

If that happens, then, that for having exercised the right referred to above (*) two physicians are deprived of the right to exercise their profession for something they didn’t do–which they can prove–and then their union betrays them, helping to arm the lie and papering over their own members; if these workers are directed over a dozen times to the Minister without ever receiving a response; if the Attorney General of the Republic turns a blind eye to the obvious inconsistency of the charges that have nothing to do with true facts; if those guilty live happily unpunished: how can the presumed legal system of this country be viewed, other than standing on its head?

The worst thing is that this is not a selective violation, the a cruel point against an obscure official against two workers, because if that were the case we would not have already faced five years of sanctioned affronts. What is truly serious is a State of No Laws persists which is conducive to injustice and impunity, which allows someone to abuse their power against the rights of others with the most absolute audacity anywhere in Cuba, at any time and against any innocent. He who proceeds in this way — whomever is allowed to do it — betrays the legacy of the Founding Fathers, betrays his people and darkens the future of the country.

Everything confirms it: the “official” written law is left at the bottom of dusty file, while the royal law flies over us, and as a sword of Damocles, a grave threat to the people of Cuba.

(*) Article 63 of the Cuban Socialist Constitution now in force.

21 July 2011