Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno
HAVANA TIMES — Practically everyone has heard about the new regulation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport which forbids those who accompany travelers to the airport from entering the premises. I know the restriction applies to accompanying persons who are Cuban, and I wonder whether foreigners who arrive at the airport to see off or welcome someone are treated the same way. The fact of the matter is that the airport director himself arrogantly gave statements to the newspapers to “explain” the unpopular measure.
What many, including the airport director in question, have ignored, is that, with his statements, he is confessing to one of the most blatant violations of Cuba’s constitutional legality of recent history. Having a court institute proceedings against him may require something as simple as a citizen approaching a law firm with a copy of the newspaper article.
Well, not only the article. Our hypothetical citizen with civic concerns would also have to take a copy of the Cuban constitution, the one currently in effect, approved in 1976, reformed in the 1990s and revised again in the 2000s. Someone will probably point out the constitution has been abused and violated by the Cuban government itself whenever it saw fit to do so, but perhaps an inattentive court may take it seriously.
The court would then have to be made aware of Article 43, which, clear as day, establishes that “the State enshrines the right, secured by the revolution, of citizens to access, without discriminatory distinctions and in accordance with their merits, all positions and jobs, to be promoted to all positions, to access to all schools and health institutions and to be offered services at all restaurants and other public establishments.”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, within the now restricted area inside the Jose Marti International Airport, there are several eating establishments and souvenir shops that fit the above description – and the airport director has denied Cubans access to these places, without even setting up a side entrance and exit to safeguard this constitutional right. As such, the airport director is an enemy of the State (which has committed to guaranteeing that right) and a counterrevolutionary as well, for he is denying his compatriots rights which the constitution enshrines as achievements of the revolution.
It’s true that whoever denied run-of-the-mill Cubans access to hotels some time ago freely walks the streets today. As I said just now, our hope lies with a court made up of young people who do not remember those days, who still believe that the Constitution (and the rights it enshrines) is one of the things we ought to defend still, be it from imperialism or a local despot who feels they have the power to trample on those blessed rights. Our hope also lies with a larger (albeit slower) court, that of the country’s eleven million Cubans, who will give such despots their due sooner or later.