As 60 years of failed socialist policies increase poverty across Cuba, a flailing Castro dictatorship desperate to stay in power is fueling social unrest.
Crime in socialist Cuba: the economic crisis fuels crime, but it is not the only cause
DIARIO DE CUBA spoke with Cuban lawyers Julio Fernández Estrada and Laritza Diversent, and Mexican professor Vidal Romero.
Why has crime increased in Cuba in recent months? Is it an effect of the increase in poverty? Are the regime’s grip on power and the delay in the democratic transition threatening citizen security? DIARIO DE CUBA talked to two Cuban lawyers and a Mexican professor about these questions.
The first hurdle to analyzing the relationship between the increase in poverty and in crime in Cuba is the lack of official statistics, in addition to the distortion of data. In 2020, DIARIO DE CUBA showed how the Government manipulated reality in a report on the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030, by eliminating the “poverty” indicator and speaking only of “extreme poverty.”
In the absence of official data on the relationship between the increase in poverty and in crime —which the official media initially denied, although the Matanzas Police recently acknowledged the commission of at least 41 crimes per day in that province—, Laritza Diversent, director of the legal consultancy Cubalex, spoked based on her experience as an independent lawyer in Cuba.
“It’s not that there are no statistics, because the courts should have them, but court statistics are classified. There is no public access to that kind of information. But I do remember reading some interim findings by a defense attorney who cited those statistics and made reference to black people being more likely to commit property-related crimes.”
“People of African descent almost always live in peripheral areas of cities, in poor neighborhoods, which do not feature conditions of habitability; unhealthy neighborhoods,” explained Diversent.
“I lived in Arroyo Naranjo, in Havana. It is the fourth most populated municipality in the country, but it was the poorest in the entire capital. Most of the town’s neighborhoods are marginalized neighborhoods, where the Afro-descendant population predominates: La Güinera, Párraga, Mantilla, El Moro. These are neighborhoods where the level of delinquency and marginalization is very high.”
“If you are caught in Arroyo Naranjo with a nail clipper, or a knife, which in other countries is normal to have, it is very likely that you will be prosecuted for illegal possession of weapons and explosives. Several protesters (of 11J) are being charged with this.”
Continue reading HERE.