Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Matter of Law

A Matter of Law / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya
Posted on November 28, 2015

14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 24 November 2015 — The crisis that has
led to a bottleneck of more than 2,000 Cubans on the border between
Costa Rica and Nicaragua these last few days brings to the forefront the
issue of the incessant flow of émigrés from Cuba to the US, creating a
delicate collateral diplomatic situation between the two Central
American nations.

Belatedly, as it is usual for the Cuban government to react to important
situations that they would rather avoid, Cuba's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs has published a statement attributing all the causes for the
exodus to the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot/dry foot" policy
that the U.S. applies to those who flee the Island.

In short, according to the official Cuban version, responsibility for
the growing tide of migration from Cuba to that country belongs entirely
to the US administration, which is jeopardizing the process of
reconciliation and dialogue between the two governments which began in
December, 2014.

Here is a situation where a foreign power applies a law that incites in
Cubans the irrepressible urge to embark on an uncertain and dangerous
adventure. This portrayal, attributed to hundreds of thousands of Cubans
who emigrate to the US, or aspire to do so, depicts them with the
regrettable inability to reason for themselves, and, paradoxically,
calls into question the much-vaunted national sovereignty, since it
assumes that a law established by a foreign power is a necessary and
sufficient condition to cause what is becoming a gradual and constant
emptying of the Island.

Meanwhile, the official press ventriloquists have been ordered to
support their boss, so very astute comments from its analysts have
started to appear on television news programs and in newspapers. For
Castro-style journalism, all resources are valid, starting from the most
rude and cynic comment, offensive to the Cuban people, that mocks the
national misfortune that this never-ending escape represents: from
"Anyone who has $ 15,000 to pay a smuggler is not fleeing from poverty,"
was the comment of Oliver Zamora, a yeomen of the guard, on last
Friday's primetime broadcast of the National Television News; to the
reductionist, untimely and manipulative "opinion" article – "The Cuban
Adjustment Act. From the escape to the stockade" – by Ricardo Ronquillo,
in Sunday's Juventud Rebelde.

Both pawns stick to the Master's script that points to the Cuban
Adjustment Act – enacted and in effect since 1966 – as the cause and
continuation of the problem, and the government's defense is sustained
on that aspect, which motivates the challenge of debating from a legal

Thus, accepting that such a law affects the Cuban exodus to some extent,
and mercifully leaving aside the element that one of its greatest
beneficiaries is precisely the Cuban government, whose coffers swell
each year with the merciless tax it imposes on contributions sent from
emigres to their relatives in Cuba, it is unquestionable that the
resolution of this problem is in the hands of the Cuban authorities, as
well as from a legal perspective, that is, revamping the laws in our

The absolute power of the Cuban regime places it in a privileged
position when it comes to legislating, since the General-President is
not required to consult anyone nor to have the approval of any parallel
power to enact laws at will. If Castro II wants to defeat the formidable
power he attributes to the Cuban Adjustment Act, and if he wants to
avoid the shameful humiliation that a foreign law has greater
convocation capability for the Cuban people than does the Revolutionary
discourse of over half a century, he should make deep legal changes in
favor of the governed, so that they benefit from our laws and not from
the laws of others.

For instance, the Foreign Investment Law could be revised to acknowledge
the rights of Cubans to invest in their own country, given that, as
Oliver Zamora has stated, Cubans are not fleeing poverty, since they
have funds to pay traffickers. It is logical to offer them the
opportunity of a better way to invest their money in their own country.
Incidentally, tax laws could be relaxed to establish soft taxing for
Cuban investors, offer them low-interest, long-term credit, and enact
favorable import tariffs for to improve the performance of their businesses.

The labor codes could also be reviewed to grant Cuban workers the right
to strike, the right to unionize, and the right to enter into contracts;
a new agrarian reform could be enacted that places ownership of the land
in the hands of producers who work it; the period of time that Cubans
can remain abroad without losing the right to return to their home
country when they wish could be declared unlimited; provisions that
establish the loss of citizenship could be repealed and the full right
of all Cubans residing in Cuba or abroad to enter and leave the national
territory and to participate in elections could be recognized.

Other legal issues that are entirely dependent on the will of the Cuban
government and not on that of the U.S. are those concerning the
consecration of those rights intrinsic to democratic societies, such as
freedoms of expression, of opinion and of the press, and the multiparty
system, just to mention the most elementary.

I am convinced that the new scenario that would appear in Cuba from this
revamping would greatly discourage the disorderly stampede of emigrants
to the United States. The suitability of Cuban laws would eventually
defeat the evil power of the Cuban Adjustment Act and acknowledge the
Cuban establishment. It would ultimately become clear that, in effect,
the Cuban emigration problem is only a matter of law.

Source: A Matter of Law / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya | Translating Cuba -

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