Federation of Cuban Women: Reasons to Celebrate?
HAVANA, Cuba, August, 2013 www.cubanet.org – At age 16, every girl who is part of an “integrated” and “revolutionary” family, automatically becomes a “federated” woman. Perhaps, like me, the only memory they retain of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) is when a neighbor came by the house to collect the dues.
On August 23rd, the only state organization that “defends” the human rights of women celebrated its 53rd anniversary. At the time, extensive articles in the official press accentuated stories about Heroines of Labor, including a female crane operator, among others.
They stuck to those cases of women who were able to overcome the barriers of sexism, but as usual this is a government strategy to hide those Cuban women who are victims of discrimination and of domestic and institutional violence.
Recently, Cuba was examined by the Committee against Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, for its acronym in English) and the FMC was challenged about the absence of complaints on this issue.
As noted by one of the experts, “the absence of complaints does not always mean the absence of problems; sometimes it’s because of fear and various other reasons that women do not get around to making the complaint.”
In fact, Cuban women do not recognize the House of Guidance to Woman and the Family, nor the FMC, as potential organizations to resolve their problems. This is demonstrated by the low numbers provided by the State regarding assistance to members of the Federation in cases of violence between 2006 to 2008.
Eloísa Ricardo, after a history of mistreatment and abuse by her former husband, a government official, looked in vain to the FMC. On the other hand, Mrs. Regla Bárbara complained to the Federation, and received a response letter sending the case to the Prosecutor’s office, which is standard practice.
The FMC reached this anniversary under the disappointed and concerned gaze of international bodies such as CEDAW, for failing for, so many years, in getting the Parliament to pass a specific law protecting women.
By Yaremis Flores
August, 27, 2013
Translated by: Tomás A.