Corruption, Impunity and Injustice

According to the most recent speech of the President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, crime and corruption in Cuba are attacking the essence of socialism. How amusing that he would say that, as he himself proposed to the Council of State that they release Juan Aníbal Escalona Reguera from his duties as Attorney General of the Republic, while rumors circulate on the street that he is involved in a corruption scandal.

No one wants to generate suspicion, but the rumors coincided with two terse official notices issued by the Council of State and published in the daily newspaper Granma, with 15 days between one and the other as if not to link them.

In the first, General Rogelio Asevedo Gonzales was removed from his position as President of The Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba. The letter was cold. It did not give any reason, and simply stated that the dismissed would be assigned other work.

The notice of the removal of Escalona, also a Brigadier General and National Deputy from the Province of Pinar del Rio, was different. It explained the motives: health problems, and it also recognized his meritorious service.

On the street they say that the inequality in the treatment of the two dismissed men is due to the fact that the former Attorney General of the Republic was one of the trusted colleagues of the present Head of State and of Government.  Is he owed favors?

I was only a child, but from what is said, Escalona was the key figure for the Castro brothers to dispose of the only witness who could link them to drug smuggling: General Ochoa, shot in 1989.

That’s heavy. It doesn’t seem strange to me to try to protect him, at least we know who is grateful. Unlike his brother, who in an instant turns the canons and aims at anyone who tries to damage his image.

Nevertheless, it is unacceptable that the citizens, the same ones who chose him as their political representative, might comment that Escalona had illegal dealings with foreign firms and properties in Chile, and nothing is clarified. In Cuba we define silence with a wise proverb: silence gives consent.

Never mind that the comments are sufficient cause to investigate and in his case to initiate a process, according to the law of forfeiture of public office, for engaging in acts which are unworthy of public opinion, and displaying conduct incompatible with the honor of being a representative of the people in an organ of the People’s Power.

But in the end, in their capacity of historic leadership, they don’t need to prove anything, nor be held accountable for their actions.  Similarly, the Council of State has the power to decide whether or not to initiate a recall process against a political representative of the Cuban parliament.

Raúl Castro insists that the governed reject “the crimes and diverse manifestations of corruption,” when he, protected by his status as maximum representative of the government, protects from prosecution the members of his cabinet who enriched themselves with impunity at the expense of the sweat of the majority.  Is that not, perhaps, a double standard?

Translated by: Ricote

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