Laritza Diversent, Translator: Regina Anavy
The new housing regulations in force struck down part of the laws that
prevented Cuban emigrants from disposing of their homes before leaving
the country permanently. But it left in force Law 989 of December 5,
1961, which requires permission to enter and exit, and the confiscation
of property for this reason.
Before the recent measures were approved, it was rumored that this law
would be removed from the Cuban legal system. However, only the rule
that supplemented it was repealed; its application was still permitted.
The National Housing Institute, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry
of the Interior, through Joint Resolution No. 1/2011, repealed the
resolution issued August 22, 1995, which made effective the
implementation of Law 989/1961, and which was intended to prevent
someone from avoiding confiscation and disposal of property before
leaving the country.
Why would they leave in effect a law that has lost all meaning? With the
new changes the State could confiscate a home if the owners have not
disposed of it before emigrating. Nor does it make sense to keep the
law, because it imposes on Cubans the need to get permission to enter
and exit. The current Immigration Act and its regulations impose and
regulate the manner of obtaining such permits.
Nevertheless, rumors continue to spread about the approval of a new
immigration law by the end of this year. If that happens, perhaps Law
989/1961 will be expressly repealed. It's rumored that they might extend
the length of stay abroad for two years. Right now Cuban residence is
lost after one is absent from the country for 11 months and a day.
The more enthusiastic say that where there's smoke there's fire, a
popular saying among the islanders. Personally I am not so optimistic.
It's hard for me to believe that the government would give up its
control over emigration so easily.
On one thing there is no doubt: Law 989/1961 will pass into disuse.
Perhaps it will be repealed tacitly. However, in the Cuban legal system,
a law that is not expressly repealed remains in effect. A law that
governs by tradition.
The problem is a possible backlash. In 1993, the State, with the coming
of the Special Period, allowed the rise of self-employment. In 1997 they
began restricting licenses for self-employment, which were eliminated in
October 2010 with the new regulations for this sector. Uncertainty
refuses to abandon us.
There is also no doubt that the changes that have occurred and those
that are rumored to come are good and hoped for by the Cubans. The
problem is that their adoption and permanence depend solely on the will
of the political class, which is entering into a period of general
elections in 2012.
Perhaps it's nothing more than that, a strategy to increase the level of
acceptance of the Communist Party of Cuba among the population. It's not
by chance that it's happening in the second half of the first term of
the head of state and government, and the First Secretary of the only
recognized political organization governing the country, Raul Castro
Ruz. Maybe it's a simple coincidence, but I don't think so.
Translated by Regina Anavy
November 29 2011