News and Facts about Cuba

Deportees in Their Own Country

Deportees in Their Own Country / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano
Posted on May 18, 2015

Cuban Apartheid, suffered by families who abandoned their homes and went
to Havana in search of a new life, Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen, Havana, 15 May 2015 – Rodolfo
Castro, from Santiago de Cuba, met with three other young men detained
at the Guanabo station east of Havana. Driven to the Central
Terminal in a patrol car – so that they could not escape – they
were put on the train and to their provinces, following
imposition of a fine of a thousand Cuban pesos – some 50 dollars – each.
So says Osmany Matos, of Guanabo, for a traffic offense who
witnessed the incident.

The “Palestinians” (as they ironically call those who come from the
eastern provinces) Yordanis Reina, Maikel Cabellero and Edilberto
Ledesma, from the rural area El Parnaso; and Amaury Sera, from the
Manati township, all in the Las Tunas province, explained to Graciela
Orues Mena, independent trade unionist:

We went to work at Guira de Melena in Mayabeque province, because here
either we don’t work or they pay a pittance, always hired by a farmer.
One afternoon we were walking through the city with work clothes covered
in red dirt, when two police officers asked us for identification. We
were arrested and deported for the crime of ‘being .’ They put us
on the train with the warning that if we came back we would wind up in
the courts. They didn’t let us collect our pay for the time we worked or
change clothes or get our belongings. We spent so many hours hungry on
the train, without money. An abuse.”

The Crime? Not having a registered address in Havana.

Independent lawyer Rene Lopez Benitez, resident of Arroyo Arenas in
Havana, explains: “The Law Decree 217 of April 22, 1997, Internal
Migratory Regulations for the City of Havana and its Contraventions,
better known as the Internal Immigration Law, tries to control
immigration to Havana (also to the capitals of the western provinces).
They justify its application because of the dire situation,
difficulty getting work, crisis, the supply of
water, drainage, electricity, domestic fuel, sanitation, the low level
of quality in the provision of other services, which put great pressure
on the capital’s infrastructure. The Decree arranges for the eradication
of illegal persons and settlements in Havana and the other provincial
capitals with work of the Interior Ministry and the National Housing
Institute. They have carried out thousands of deportations, forced
evictions. Appeals to the Government and the Communist Party for legal
protection are a waste of time. The evictions seriously undermine the
integrity of entire families, including children and elderly people, who
had achieved labor, social and personal stability.”

Slums surround the country’s western cities. There are onslaughts of
demolitions “in the name of urban order and discipline in the charge of
the Institute of Physical Planning, whose director is the Division
General Samuel Rodiles, which intends to eradicate the slum areas that
have emerged in the face of the government’s construction paralysis. Now
– with the failure of the state initiative – they are trying to increase
housing construction through their own efforts and a policy of bank
credits and subsidies,” adds Lopez.

Acts of rebellion across the island against the evictions have managed
to paralyze some removals and building collapses.

Resolution 267 of Internal Immigration is at odds with recent laws
related to self-employment and Housing. Says Lopez:

“On October 7 of 2010 the Minister of Employment and Social Security
issued Resolution 32-2010 arranging for the Regulation of the Practice
of Self-Employment by which the restrictions of Law Decree 217 – among
other reasons because of lack of work – do not have justification. Many
go to the capital to work for themselves in the most varied trades to
provide services in construction, plumbing, house cleaning, child care,
care, , trade, agricultural supplies, farming. Also
the essential requirement of proving legality in housing in order to get
a license to work is facilitated through Law Decree 288 from the October
28, 2011, Modifications to Law 65, General Law of Housing, in reference
to the conveyance of property by buying and selling, inheritance and
gift; and it supports the leasing of dwellings, rooms and spaces. All of
which, in fact, would annul the restrictions of migration to the capital
and decrease the record ‘floating population’ of almost half a million,
according to the Housing and Population Census of September 2012.”

The most important thing would be to eliminate, above all, the inhumane
deportation. People and even whole families abandoned their homes in
order to work, study and try to move forward, but then they were
deported like pariahs.

The Internal Immigration Law denies Article 13, Paragraph 1 of the
Universal Declaration of (1948): “All people have the right
to freely move and to choose their place of residence within the borders
of a nation.”

The construction industry, prosperous until 1958, was in rapid decline
thereafter. Internal deportation for political reasons was used by the
colonial Spanish government in the 19th century. Carlos Manuel de
Cespedes (1819-1874), Founding Father, was banished to Contramaestre,
near Bayamo, his hometown.

Source: Deportees in Their Own Country / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano |
Translating Cuba –

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