Property and human rights in Cuba

Via Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Property and human rights in Cuba

Without human rights the “right” to buy and sell property is a right to expropriate the poor.


Newsrooms around the world are reporting with great excitement that Cubans will be able for the first time in half a century to buy and sell property. It is being hailed as an expansion of economic freedom. The reality is much more somber. Human rights are non-existent in Cuba. There is a powerful elite known as the nomenklatura that has the power, in practice, to do whatever it wants regardless of the “law.” Property rights are human rights. Human rights are non-existent in Cuba. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to the dictatorship, is a subversive document to be cited in court proceedings after being confiscated from the home of a dissident not something to to be taught in schools.

Human rights and the rule of law exist in order to protect those without power from the abuse of the powerful. Even in the United States this concept has been eroded with the 2005 Supreme Court decision Kelo vs. City of London which ratified the right of using government power to condemn private homes to benefit a property developer. However, in a communist state where the rule of law and human rights are not existent such as China for example Beijing has been described by Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University as “Kelo-on-steroids: neighborhoods are ripped down as skyscrapers go up.”

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