Responsible for Acts of Others (Part II)
The most difficult task for any rational mind is to try to understand the system of the Cuban communists. Their political terms are diffuse and their laws abstract and general. On top of that, they interpret the norms of their laws according to however they feel at the moment. It doesn’t matter that, in their application of these laws, they violate the most elemental rights of their citizens.
Zoraida Magallanes, an elderly 75-year-old lady, was placed in a shelter because the Ministry of Finances and Prices applied Article 4 of the Decree-Law 149 of 1994. Her son, who lives with her, was administratively sanctioned due to improper enrichment.
The norm confiscates the goods of third beneficiaries of patrimonial increments. She is included in this last part. Her real estate was built in 1926 and was remodeled by her descendant.
If Zoraida’s son would have been lawfully processed, his progenitors would have never been accused of the crimes of others. Criminal responsibility is individual. To the disgrace of both, the attorney that attended to the case decided to apply an administrative procedure before running the action first through a tribunal in the commission of crimes.
The Penal Cuban Code, established since 1987, states that “the confiscation of goods does not include…the goods or objects that are indispensable for satisfying the vital necessities of the punished person or his/her family members.” In sum, in a penal process, homes cannot be objects of seizures.
On the other hand, the Decree-Law 149 prevents citizens from appealing to the Tribunals in demand for justice for an act of the Administration which is damaging. The resolution of the Ministry of Finances and Prices providing for the confiscation, cannot be challenged by those affected, according to Article 9 of the same law.
In other words, the administrative procedure for confiscation of property and income is a barrier to the demand for an effective remedy, to which all persons are entitled. Is this the way we protect the vital interests of Cuban society?
These are some of the consequences which the prosecutor applied under Decree-Law 149, before the Penal Code and its Law of Procedure. However, these last dispositions have a normative hierarchy within the regulations of Cuban law. Upon being issued by the National Assembly, these should be applied preferentially to the dispositions of other state bodies.
What happened to the mission of the Attorney General to control and preserve socialist legality? This state body has the constitutional role of watching over the written Constitution, the laws, and other legal dispositions. In addition, it is supposed to control the promotion and exercise of public prosecution as a representative of the State.
The preferable application of Decree-Law 149 is a result of the constitutional subordination of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of the Council of the State. It means that it should first fulfill the instructions of those who run this country before fulfilling the law.
The validity of this decree-law in our judicial order is far from protecting our general interests. In fact, it destroys the trust and security that every legal system should offer. Its application violates all the guarantees that all the criminal laws offer to those who are accused.
Translated by Raul G.