An Absurd Ban on Traveling to Havana

By Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello  (Café Fuerte)

A copy of the letter sent by Tania de la Torre to Manzanillo’s municipal district attorney.

HAVANA TIMES — The political police in the town of Manzanillo, Granma province, have not allowed dissident Tania de la Torre Montesino to travel to Havana on two occasions since November 27th. She even lost the money of her ticket which cost 250 Cuban pesos, the equivalent of 10 USD, the second time.

Even though we all know that the rule of law doesn’t exist in Cuba, she was advised to make use of the legal channels she has within her reach to report this injustice, given the fact that she hadn’t committed any kind of crime and didn’t have a hearing coming up either. She was advised to present a complaint at the Municipal District Attorney’s Office and insist that individuals and organizations which represent the population in a civil process do so for damages and losses.

On December 14, she went to the District Attorney’s Office with a document she drew up about this situation (handwritten). She handed in a copy of this document which was registered into a book by the secretary, with the No. 4, and was seen by lawyer Ariuska Parra.

District Attorney surprised and evasive

According to Tania’s story, when the District Attorney read the document, she opened her eyes wide and said “wait for me a second.” She left them sitting in the office for about half an hour and when she returned, she told them that she had been told to send the document to the Military Prosecutor, as they wouldn’t have to give any answers. She refused to give the name of the person who told her to do this, and to give them any kind of certifying document saying that they had presented a complaint, and she didn’t want to disclose her second surname even though she was a public servant.  From the moment she returned to the office, she treated Tania very badly. She asked for Tania’s phone number so that she could call her and give her the answer, as the Military Prosecutor was in Bayamo, which is the capital of this province.

With this experience behind her, Tania went to present her complaint at the Legal Office, to ask for the services of a lawyer in order to carry out the second recommendation she had been given, to file a civil complaint. Lawyer Lourdes Torres saw her there and explained that she couldn’t take on the case, because it wasn’t a civil complaint and that Tania would have to go to the Military Prosecutor’s Office.

Tania was turned down legal assistance in spite of what has been established in Resolution No. 142 Law about the exercise of law and the national organization of  Legal Offices which in Article 50 specifies the reasons for which lawyers from can excuse themselves from or not give attention to a given subject; and the fact that this is a civil complaint isn’t even taken into consideration.

Tied by her hands and her feet

We can then draw the conclusion that Tania has had her hands and feet tied, unable to use the so-called “Socialist rule of law,” because State Security has decided to overpower the Cuban’s right to travel freely across the country, in true arbitrary fashion.

It must also be added that in front of her house, during the entire day, there are repressive forces watching her, although there are also people who volunteer to do this, such is the case with citizen Alberto Duruty, who watches and follows her wherever she goes. This man, who is famous for being aggressive, has a pizza business near her home.

While it is true that the government doesn’t comply with the rule of law it established itself, something that can be verified across the country, in towns which aren’t the provincial capital and in smaller rural towns its worse, as everything is subject to how the local authorities interpret the established laws, leaving all citizens helpless.

As you can see from the District Attorney’s attitude as well as from the Legal Assistance Office, the absence of signatures, documents, records, names, etc. is a way for people on the dicatorship’s pay-roll to avoid leaving tracks.

There might be some people who think that we need to use the regime’s legal and police institutions more, but from the experience we’ve had over so many years, we’ve seen that nothing works for those who – according to the dictatorship – are the Empire’s mercenaries, terrorists, sell-outs, etc., etc.. However, to be fair, they don’t work for the rest of the Cuban people either. Cuba has become the kingdom of injustice.

Even though this is the classic case of the fly trapped in a milk glass, if you have any suggestions for Tania de la Torre, you can get in touch with her by phone 023-574953.

She continues to hope that they will let her leave her town one day.

26 thoughts on “An Absurd Ban on Traveling to Havana

  • I’m glad you got a hearty laugh, Moses. Chest-pumping as a self-anointed great American patriot to support a Cuban policy that the rest of the world denounces with a 191-to-0 vote is a beautiful, clandestine tactic {I guess}. In the meantime, as a democracy-loving American, I would prefer that America’s Cuban policy got a 191-to-0 international APPROVAL rating.

  • I defend Cuban children from being punished decade after decade by people hiding behind the skirts of the U. S. government and the U. S. Congress, all in the guise of “hurting or overthrowing Castro” while enriching and empowering themselves. I submit to you, Griffin, that such tactics have kept the Castros, even after the death of 90-year-old Fidel Castro, in power for over half-a-century. Assassination attempts, the Bay of Pigs attack, the embargo, the terrorist bombing of Cubana Flight 455, etc., worked wonderfully to bring about a regime change in Cuba, didn’t they, Griffin?

  • Mr P, It ain’t anti US.
    And it ain’t hyperbole.
    It’s just plain ol’ history.
    I’m British.
    We are guilty of some awful brutality and way too much ‘ruling’ during our long history.
    I would never try to deny it.
    Why bother?
    I would venture to say that your country has had some truly fine chapters in it’s history.
    Not least Chapter 1:
    The USA’s surge for independence and it’s inception as a sovereign entity.
    If you prefer to deny some of the less pleasant chapters, that’s entirely up to you.
    President Obama (for whom I have a good deal of respect despite his flaws that all these leaders surely have – most more than him) made some remark in his final presidential speech today about people arguing with strangers on the Internet….
    Perhaps he had a point?

  • Don’t think that being a Canadian will protect you. If you cross the line, the Castro regime will toss you in jail like they have other Canadians. And don’t expect Justin Trudeau to bail you out. He’s too busy kissing Castro’s butt to lift a finger for some trouble-maker.

  • Apples and oranges. ‘Tis a noble cause to bring light (democracy) to darkness (Cuba). It’s truly meddlesome to try to change the working light bulb (the US presidential election) just to get a President you can manipulate more easily (Trump).

  • Or one could perhaps say:
    If it wasn’t for the meddlesome Russians, the USA would be democracy??
    I shall leave out the ha ha ha because it ain’t funny.
    It’s just a damn shame.

  • Brutal US rule in Latin America? Turn the volume down on your anti-US hyperbole a bit. We did some dirty deeds, but the US never “ruled” anybody in Latin America.

  • I would have to think inside out and around the block to connect the dots between the annual UN vote and an article about the failed Castro dictatorship’s effort to keep one woman from exercised he inalienable right to freedom of assembly.

  • Let me get this straight….did you write that you believe it is the US that has “postponed the advent of democracy on the island”? In other words, if it wasn’t for the meddlesome US, Cuba would be a democracy?


  • In every post you write you defend the Castro regime, excuse its brutality and justify their acts of political repression based on a shopworn criticism of the US. No matter how you try to deny it, you are indeed a Castro sycophant.

    You condemn the US embargo which used to prevent US citizens from travelling to Cuba, but you defend the Castro regime’s ban on internal travel for many Cubans.

  • One aspect of your imperialist reasoning is correct, Moses. The U. S. has 6800 nuclear warheads, slightly less than Russia but the U. S. also has the best land-air-and-sea delivery systems. Therefore, it seems, you always use the unique superpower status of the U. S. to belittle a worldwide 191-to-0 denunciation of your Cuban promotions of foreign control of Cuba. That, Moses, is reminiscent of a bully. I believe, as do democracy-lovers worldwide, that Cubans on the island should control their lives and their political course. Such U.S.-based Cuban realities as the brutal Batista-Mafia dictatorship, the Bay of Pigs attack, the terrorist bombing of a child-laden Cuban civilian airplane, 638 failed assassination attempts against Fidel Castro {according to the Guinness Book of World Records}, etc., etc., have, I believe, postponed the advent of democracy on the island, but within five years, I believe, it will at least tentatively arise because it is clear the important young-adult generation on the island has set that goal and only outside forces…i. e. Miami or Congress…will prevent it from happening.

  • I would say it probably has a lot to do with this thread in an indirect way.
    You just gotta think laterally perhaps?

  • #1…That once rich and powerful group of Cuban exiles have considerably less influence in Washington DC and markedly less influence in Miami. What you consider “harm” is another man’s help, depending upon your political world view. This group of right-wingers, however, have one advantage over you and I. They have lived under Castro tyranny and have “skin in the game”. #2….Given the leadership role that the US has played in world issues since WWII, I submit that are far greater pluses and minuses one can use to measure the image of the US. US Cuba policy is small potatoes. The best evidence of this is the UN resolution itself. Despite its nearly unanimous vote, it remains a toothless tiger with no sanctions. Even the US representative abstained to vote this year.

  • My Brazilian (Indigenous sister complains that Lula is dead. My wife, daughter of Nkrewma Miles.

  • So am I. So are a majority of Americans who bothered to vote this past November 8. What does that have to with this thread?

  • Moses, like Joe McCarthy, Robert Torricelli, etc., you believe you can win any debate by merely accusing anyone who disagrees with you of being a Communist, a Castro sycophant or whatever. I repeat, sir, that is a gutless and cowardly self-anointed crutch. Why not discuss my primary two points: (1) The undeniable harm, decade after after, a mere handful of Fat Cats in the U. S. do to totally innocent Cubans on the island to further their revenge, economic and political nests in America; and {2) the undeniable harm such miscreants do to the image of America and democracy all around the world. I have yet to see you tackle the 191-to-0 UN vote and I assume the reason is that you and your kind pretend it never happened or you pretend it supports your idea of a Cuban policy that, for another 60 years, should follow along the lines of the glorious, wonderful, Mother Teresa-like Batista-Mafia rule of Cuba, a rule backed by right-wingers in the U.S. who usurped the U. S. democracy for their own greed and whims. A second generation of similarly minded right-wingers, I suppose, will evolve into a third generation and a fourth…and SO ON.

  • The ” money”is send because the Cuban dictatorship won’t hire any cuban who publicly had declared opposition to the government and no private business would hire them either afraid of theirs license being suspended so the government use repression to intimidate and hunger to force the opposition to exile. Why ppl like you can’t understand the Cuban people are only pretend they are with the government? Why you think the Castro never had the dignity to hold free elections with international observers ? Why not free press? Think only about this: If the “Revolution” ( after almost 60 years) is so strong and supported by the people of Cuba why the Cuban Government repress the dissidents? Why the acts of repudiate? Think about it and please be honest. This is from a woman that took a boat with two children and preferred to die in the sea that live without freedom. Yes, FREEDOM!

  • Mr Haney,
    You make some very good points sir.

  • ‘Castro sycopant’ ?
    What’s one of them?
    You obviously live in a world which is inhabited by good guys and bad guys.
    Like in one of them good ol’ cowboy movies huh?
    In this case the bad guys are the ‘Castro sycopants’
    And the good guys would therefore be the ‘Anti-Castro sycopants’ such as your own self??
    Mr Haney’s excellent response nails it by throwing some light on the fact that there is no such place as the good guys v bad guys place that you imagine into existence.
    People who either support the Cuban Revolution or those who see it as a mixture of the good, the bad and the in-between are not some homogeneous bunch of ‘Castro sycopants’ as you appear to suggest.
    By the same token, Cuban ‘dissidents’ are not a homogeneous bunch of ‘good guys’.
    I have never met the woman described in this article.
    However I have met a so called ‘dissident’ or ‘human rights activist’ in Cuba who was quite clearly chasing the dollar.
    Now I would not suggest that this individual was ‘wrong’ to be chasing the dollar or lesser still that he was some kind of all round ‘bad guy’.
    He just seemed to be reacting to a circumstance that is an established and absolute fact:
    US taxpayers’ money gets channelled to Cubans who are willing to stand up as ‘dissidents’.
    These funds are forwarded to such people in a thus far, failed attempt to dislodge the Cuban Government.

    Now I’m not going to launch into any criticism of your country Mr Patterson.
    But I will say this:
    I’m on Meryl Streep’s side.
    All day long.
    Now there’s a Lady who has my respect.

  • Thanks Rich. I appreciate your yeoman effort to defend the indefensible but I can’t help but chuckle when anyone who claims to support democracy can also support the Castro dictatorship. The two could not be more diametrically opposed. This article is about ONE woman wanting to travel to Havana. Tania is not a well-funded opposition candidate for high office with strong and well-known anti-Castro ties to foreign powers who is capable of fomenting revolution in the streets, she is just ONE woman who disagrees with her government. In short, you have said the Castros are justified in their paranoia. Do you really support this action by the Castro regime? She is just ONE woman! Unchecked, when does justifiable paranoia morph into simple cowardice? This may be that example.

  • From personal experience, I can tell you that she will not be permitted to get in your car. If you persist, you will be forced to leave Cuba.

  • Ok, uh, Moses, let me give it a shot. While I am a democracy sycophant and not a Castro sycophant, let me start by saying that Martha’s article presented only Tania’s side of what just might be, even in Cuba, a two-sided story. It does not take extravagant objectivity within the bowels of a democracy to admit that, since January of 1959, revolutionary Cuba has had ample reason to be quite sensitive about agents clandestinely sent to the island from a foreign nation to do harm to the Cuban people or to the revolutionary government. Additionally, it does not take extravagant objectivity within the bowels of a democracy to admit that, since April of 1961, that congressionally or presidentially mandated tax funds have “legally” FUNDED numerous “regime change” programs with some of the money sent to dissidents on the island to enable them to more earnestly disrupt or help to overthrow the government from within. That is not to say that Tania and those like her are bought-and-paid-for dissidents. But it is to say that there are untold numbers of documentations that PROVE that Cuba, internationally recognized as a sovereign government, has every reason to be quite leery of internal and external dissidents being supported, encouraged and funded by a perennially and fierce anti-Cuban Congressionally connected contingent from a superpower foreign country. All nations, as far as I know, have dissidents and Cuba surely is no exception. But, against imposing odds, the island nation’s revolutionary government has not survived all these decades since 1959 by NOT closely monitoring dissidence, primarily to ascertain foreign connections to it.

    So, there you go, Moses. The above reply to your suggestion is from a democracy sycophant who firmly believes that the Cuban Revolution and Revolutionary Cuba say less about Cuba than they say about a right-wing tangent attached to the U. S. democracy that shames America with its mostly unchallenged Cuban policy, which is extremely cruel because of its targeting of everyday and totally innocent Cubans. That viewpoint, I believe, is shared by democracy lovers around the world who, unlike in the U. S., have not been bombarded for six decades by a Cuban narrative dictated by the extremist elements who, through two generations now, have sought revenge against Revolutionary Cuba while, conveniently, also empowering and enriching their own personal agendas, which I assume include bank accounts. While I, along with the nations of the world who voted 191-to-0 in the UN, have sympathy for everyday Cubans on the island being unjustly punished for six decades by generally unchallenged revenge-and-empowerment seekers from an antagonistic neighboring country, my primary sympathy concerns the damage to the U. S. democracy that an internationally condemned U. S. Cuban policy perpetuates decade after decade. So, Moses, you need to lambast me and millions of Americans like me for being democracy sycophants. I believe the U. S. should treat Cuba with democratic principles and if that brings about a regime change on the island that MOST CUBANS ACCEPT, so be it. But cruel, obscene and self-serving tactics that serve an unsavory minority while harming everyone and everything else is not exactly what is expected of a great democracy. AND AGAIN, I think you and I are poles apart on that score — such as 191 IS QUITE A DISTANCE FROM ZERO. It is not outrageous to believe that the brutal, thieving Batista-Mafia dictatorship needed to be overthrown by a popular, internally based revolution nor is it outrageous to believe that remnants of that ousted regime from the lucrative sanctuaries of a foreign superpower should not have the final say about the kind of government Cuba should have. That should be left up to Cubans on the island, NOT a handful of foreign and imperialist benefactors.

  • Is there anything that I can do to help her on my next trip to Manzanillo? If I ask her to join me on a trip via private car to go to Havana , what will happen ? I am not afraid of the authorities although maybe as a visitor or tourist, they can toss me out of the country for good. Advise me. I have taken the bus and train many times from Camaguey to Havana. Can we drive to Camaguey then train or bus from there? What are my rights as a visitor . I can kick up a storm of protest. I did once before in Havana during some conference with reporters around and let it be known that there was some injustice going on that affected me, a Canadian. I

  • Why don’t the usual cast of Castro sycophants weigh-in on this one? Try to blame this on the embargo. Or the other ever popular tactic, criticize the US. Come on, let’s hear something….

  • It is a demonstration of weakness to not let Tania travel within her own country. The ruling class must be feeling vulnerable these days to show such fear of a lone women with her own opinions.

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