With access to the Internet heavily restricted and monitored by the Cuban Communist Party and its appendage, the Ministry of the Interior; blogging in Cuba is not an easy thing to do. Finding a lawyer and blawger is even more of a challenge, but there are a few. A colleague recently recommended Laritza Diversent’s blawg, Laritza’s Laws & Cuban Legal Advisor.
Ms. Diversent is a child of the revolution, born and raised in the Communist state; yet her favorite writer is a pre-revolutionary and banned author, Cuban poet Jose Angel Buesa. Her posts are tempered, but she takes direct jabs at the failed system in Cuba. Using the laws the regime is supposed to be following but, as she details, never does, she is slowly building a legal jigsaw puzzle the exposes the Cuban revolutionary canard.
On the recent decree by General Raul Castro promising business reform, she pens how the state will deal with “unsuitable” workers and how “self-employment” still, under Cuban laws and recent decrees, means that you will still work for the state.
Obama Administration officials, hell bent on negotiating with regime officials, should read her human rights post detailing how the government is using human rights law and diplomacy to buy time and political space. There is much more there, including how Cuban laws favor state arbitrariness.
With regards to her regulatory and administrative remedies, she pens that “the procedure is virtually obsolete on the island, resulting in part from the legal ignorance that Cubans suffer from, and because few lawyers dare to pursue a lawsuit against a government representative.”
Laritza is risking her personal freedom, and I would add her life. She has already had at least two shipments from the U.S. seized by Cuban authorities pursuant to some bizarre law that allow Customs officials to seize “any object whose content is considered contrary to morals and good customs or which go against the general interest of the nation”.
Cuban Customs and other regulatory agencies routinely confiscate humanitarian shipments to independent journalists and opposition leaders. Yet rather than sit tight, she challenged Customs authorities to have her packages delivered. She did not get her packages, but she challenged the state – and that is what matters most.
The translators have done an excellent job keeping the English site current. If you want to get a sense of what it means to live as a lawyer in Cuba, Laritza’s blawg is well worth a visit. Groups such as the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society should use their considerable clout in Washington, DC and lend a hand to Cuban lawyers such as Laritza.