The Secret of Correspondence in Cuba
Does Cuban law permit that the means of communication divulge the content of a person’s correspondence without his authorization?
The Constitution of the Cuban Republic is clear in this respect: “Correspondence is inviolable.” Article 57 states that there is an exception, “it can only be taken, opened and examined in cases provided for by law.” And it clarifies this by saying “the privacy of other peoples’ business shall be preserved unless there is some motivation to examine the same.”
What are these cases? According to Article 228 of the Criminal Procedure Act, these actions can only be taken when there exists “sufficient reason such that those proceedings may result in the discovery or proof of a criminal act, in the investigation of or in circumstances important to the same.”
Only the repressive machinery of the State (tribunals, public prosecutors and the police) are authorized, in the case of investigating a crime, to violate the secrecy of mail, and exclusively subject to taking part in the penal process. A possibility that is beyond the reach of the particulars and the means of communication.
There is no legal justification by which the television and the official press of the Cuban government may publish the personal correspondence of its citizens. In May of 2008, however, they broadcast e-mails of a known dissident without his approval. All of this was unconstitutional and a violation of the right to privacy that the government recognizes.
The Constitution and the laws should be the legal boundary within which those who govern and those who are governed must act. That would be normal in a democratic state with rights, but in Cuba the opposite happens.
The government does not respect fundamental rights, and when this is the case, unnecessary interference in the private lives of citizens occurs. But the government doesn’t care, there is no one to stop them from violating their own constitutional principles.
Photo: pietroizzo, Flickr