Havana is Not the Capital of All Cubans

Carlos Fraguela

The Round Table program. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — I heard that the panelists of Cuban television’s Round Table program have been speaking in defense of the rights of immigrants to the United States for years, as they have the rights of African immigrants in Europe. Shouldn’t they begin by speaking in defense of those Cubans living in Havana who are arbitrarily deported and sent back to their provinces of origin by the police?

I also defend the rights of immigrants around the world who look for a better life in more developed countries. Cuban laws, however, call for the repatriation of Cubans who leave the country illegally. In the past, such individuals were imprisoned. Today, they merely return them to their place of origin.

I have a friend who does not dare offer an immigrant from Camaguey a temporary residence permit, even though he wants to, because such a permit gives this person additional rights and, as he foresees a rather difficult future in Cuba, he fears he will be forced to give him part of the house by law.

To put an end to migration within the country, legislators came up with this trap, which entitles the person given a permit to reside somewhere rights over that property. This makes it next to impossible for people to agree to such permits and turns domestic migrants into illegal immigrants… in their own country.

I say that the rights of these Cubans should be defended. We should not be so prone to point out the mote in another’s eye, not with the beam in our own. Cubans should have the right to travel and settle anywhere in the country, even if many people in Havana had adopted the shameful habit of rejecting those who are not from the capital.

Cubans ought to say nothing about emigration while there are laws that restrict the movement of nationals in their own country, when someone from a province in Cuba’s east cannot enter, leave or remain in the capital without being harassed by the police, who can accuse you of being an illegal immigrant in your own country.

To call Havana the “capital of all Cubans” is hypocritical propaganda. Whoever uses such a phrase is not deceiving those who are the victims of these policies. Havana is inhospitable, particularly for most Cubans – as nearly all of Cuba is.

Carlos Fraguela

Carlos Fraguela: I am a lover of freedom, nature, decorative arts, music, technology and humans. I can’t stand human stupidity, although I understand that it exists as part of an imperfect everything. I reject abusers and parasites. I like to dive and share with my friends. I work in restoration and the only time I've ever been bored is when I have been admitted to a hospital. Sex and friendship are my only Gods.

12 thoughts on “Havana is Not the Capital of All Cubans

  • Cuba is one of the very few places on earth that still safe to travel. Prostitución is no tolerated by local authorities. Should there be a corruption, it is on a much lower scale. Please keep in mind that every human regardless of their color, ethnicity or, social strata has the potential for exhibiting a criminal behavior. Do not throw stones to other people or societies without cleaning your house first.

  • Your constant concern about prostitution when the article under discussion is about Cubans not having the right of movement within their own country concerns me. It is the world’s oldest profession, practised around the world wih so-called Johns in abundance everywhere. Americans are no different in that respect than others. Prostitution existed in Cuba prior to the revoluion and has continued since the revolution. It serves a purpose for the State Police in that they can stop people going about their lawful business on the pretext that they are “cracking down” on prostitution. Or, are they guarding the turf for their own activities?

  • cuba is strict on prostitution compared to the rest of latin america and places like the philippines and thailand. child prostitution is taken very seriously. i have never been to a latin american country that is so strict in trying to crack down on prostitution. cuba was a paradise for americans seeking prostitutes before 1959. after that, no more. americans now go to costa rica and the dominican republic in order to avoid harassment if they seek prostitutes.

  • You are correct in saying that a Cuban woman walking in the street with a foreigner (or a man of different skin colour)is likely to be stopped in the street by the police. It is not necessary to be a prostitute, the victim may be a profesora accompanying her husband. The purpose is harassment and to demonstrate the power of a police state.

  • Where are the Cuba Solidarity Movements of this world when real flesh and blood Cubans need solidarity? Fast asleep I would say.

  • This report from the Toronto Star, (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/16/canadians_are_major_customers_in_cubas_child_sex_market.html) describes the problem of child prostitution in Cuba. While describing Canadians as the major customers (to our national shame), the report also reveals that Cuban authorities are reluctant to crack down on the trade for fear of driving away the much needed tourist dollars.

    It’s a tragic tale of exploration in which there are few good guys.

  • well known by whom? maybe a few do but the authorities are tough on prostitutes. in fact there are no other places in latin america as tough on prostitution as cuba. a cuban woman walking in the street with a foreigner is likely to be stopped and even arrested.

  • Crack down? You mean shake down. It is well known the Cuban authorities routinely take a cut from prostitutes, either in cash or services rendered.

  • sad story. guess there is a down side to the efforts of cuba’s government to crack down on prostitution.

  • How about Cubans born living abroad that have to ask for visas to enter back to “paradise”?

  • Immigrants in the US have a wide range of rights and freedoms, including the right to move to any state or city in the union, the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, employment rights, the right to join independent labor unions, religious freedom, freedom from unlawful searches and seizures, freedom from unlawful arrest, the right to be represented by an attorney, and the right to remain silent.

    Which of these rights do the people of Cuba have? Which of those rights are routinely violated by the authorities?


  • Cuban hypocrisy is legendary. I once stayed in a casa particular where the owner maintained a very strict policy of not allowing prostitutes to spend the night with tourists in her home, which is her right. When my niece and her best friend came to Cuba to visit me, I of course, allowed them to spend the night with me in my one bedroom apartment. My plan was to sleep on the couch in the livingroom for the three nights that my college-age niece planned to spend in Havana. The owner, who initially even struggled to believe that I wasn’t Cuban, was convinced that the two pretty young mulattas who stood in my doorway also had to be Cuban and therefore prostitutes. Her hypocrisy was that she was able to afford ‘purchasing’ this property many years before because of her former Italian husband whom she met while SHE was a working girl in the 1980’s. Needless to say, as soon as my niece and her friend left for Santiago, I found another casa particular.

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