Responsible for the Acts of Others (Part 1)
Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo
Zoraida is an elderly woman, retired, 75 years old. They confiscated her house because of the youngest of her three children, who lived with her. The Ministry of Finance and Prices, through an administrative procedure against him, applied for the penalty of confiscation of property.
Eric, Zoraida’s son, is 35 and works as an iceman in the refrigerator plant located in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo. His rising standard of living caught the attention of the leaders of the Committee of Defense of the Revolution, involved in the fight against illegalities.
Their suspicions were passed on to one of the prosecutors who handles cases of unjust enrichment, by government mandate. He then began an investigation that ended with the filing of a forfeiture case and the subsequent ministerial decision imposing the penalty.
Eric’s purchasing power allowed his mother’s house, built in 1926, to be repaired and remodeled. A fact that placed Zoraida in the category of a third-party beneficiary of the unjust enrichment, as provided in Article 4 of Legal Directive 149 of May 1994. This was the reason that her house was confiscated and she was sent to live in a shelter.
The first “Wherefore” of Legal Decree 149 assumes that an increase in assets without a legitimate reason is “the result of theft, speculation, the diversion of resources belonging to a state agency, . . . involvement in shady dealings, black market activities and other forms of enrichment that injure the most vital interests of our society.”
If the increase in property and income is the result of the commission of crimes, then why didn’t the prosecutor bring the action before a court? In a criminal trial the responsibility is individual. A person can never be held responsible for crimes committed by another. If the prosecutor had initiated proceedings before a court, Zoraida would never have suffered the consequences of her son’s acts.
Archived under Abuse of Power, Confiscation, Social Chronicle, Property Rights, Human Rights, Cuban Stories, Justice, Law of Penal Practice, Laws i Cuba, My Island, About Cuban Law, Violation.
Translated by: Tomás A.