Cuba and its ‘Soviet’ legal system
Along with free elections, the restoration of civil rights, respect for human rights, and the removal of the vile and murderous tyrannical dictatorship of the Castro family, another item that must be added to the long list of real reforms that must take place in Cuba.
Cuba must reform its 'Soviet' legal system
Cuban President Raul Castro's announcement he's begun his last term of office has been hailed by some as a harbinger of change for the island nation.
Raul, 81, made the declaration shortly after Cuba's National Assembly elected him to a second five-year term as president. Frail older brother Fidel, 86, made a rare public appearance for the event.
Raul Castro surprised, and encouraged, Cubans by his stated plan to establish term limits and age caps for political office. He even hinted at broad constitutional changes that would require a referendum.
But in the same breath he nixed any notion the country would abandon its anachronistic brand of socialism.
"I was not chosen to be president to restore capitalism to Cuba," he said. "I was elected to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not destroy it."
Since taking over the presidency from Fidel in 2006, Raul Castro has initiated modest economic and social changes, including expanding private enterprise, legitimizing the real estate market and relaxing travel restrictions. But the country remains, and remains for the foreseeable future, ruled by fiat of the Communist party, a party that brooks no opposition.
Real reform in Cuba must start with overhaul of its legal system, a system that offers no semblance of justice.
Peaceful political organizing, dissent and protest have no legal recognition or protection whatsoever in Cuba's courts. And Raul Castro's reversion to hardline language about the sanctity of socialism is a message from on high that law reform simply isn't in the cards.
Cuba's legal system, though it has Spanish roots, by and large mirrors that of its Cold War sponsor, the former Soviet Union. After coming to power in 1959, Fidel Castro strove to build a Soviet-model system. He succeeded. And that unfortunate model continues, unreformed and unabated, today.
The result: Cuban law, especially where alleged offences against the state are involved, is short on due process, long on summary proceedings and given to unjust decisions.
Critical to a justice system worthy of the name is judicial independence. But judges in the island nation's Marxist-modeled system are state pawns.
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