Guillermo cannot live in his mother’s house, because that is not his address. The Office of Address Registration in her municipality will not give him permission to establish his domicile there. The property does not have sufficient square footage as required by law in order for him to live with her.
Legal Directive 217 of 1997, which established the “Internal Migration Regulations for the City of Havana,” prevents him from freely moving to Havana. On three occasions, against his will and under threat of a fine or even imprisonment, the police authorities in the capital put him on a train bound for Santiago de Cuba, his native province.
Similarly, Paulo was refused permission to leave the country by the immigration authorities. José, a Cuban residing in the United States, who left left the country illegally five years ago, was refused permission to re-enter. Manuel, another Cuban who lives in Spain, on a visit to the island, was deported for wanting to return and regain his residence.
Act No. 989 of December 5, 1961 and Act 171 of 1976, on Migration and Immigration, authorize the Ministry of the Interior to regulate permits for citizens to enter and exit the country. Immigration officials are subordinate to this ministry.
Cuba periodically reports to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation within the island. It claims that its legal system guarantees these rights, and cites the rules that develop and complement their constitutional formulation. But it omits the edicts issued by state agencies that run counter to the dictates of the Constitution of the Republic, and violate the rights recognized in it.
Never mind that Cuba is legally in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the territory of a State and to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
The Human Rights Council praised “the significant results achieved by the Cuban people and government in the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone.” An organ which, according to Cuba, must be based on the principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity.
If the human rights situation in Cuba is irrelevant to this United Nations body, then who will care that Guillermo, Paulo, José, Juan, and millions of Cubans suffer the restriction of their freedoms? What shall we say about the right of a group of leaders, who in order to remain in power, restrict and violate the liberties of the governed, or of the rights of millions of people, who every year flee the system by any means? Even risking and losing their lives at sea.
It is a shame, a total hypocrisy, and a double standard, that the majority of States and NGOs involved in the United Nations Human Rights Council recognize the government of Cuba as a defender of human freedoms.
Again I ask: who cares that a 1988 law legalized repression and prohibited freedom of the press? Is it respectful of human dignity to ignore these facts? Is it that “The truth is not silenced,” as boasted by the newspaper Granma, the organ of the Communist Party of Cuba? On the contrary, there is “anti-Cuban manipulation of human rights issues in Geneva.”
Translated by: Tomás A.