Law of Cuba

The substantive and procedural laws of Cuba were later based on the Spanish Civil laws and were influenced by the principles of Marxism-Leninism after that philosophy became the guiding force of government.

Principle of equality

Cuban law is dedicated to advancing equality among the Cuban populations.

Substantive and procedural law

Family law

Criminal law

Cuba's criminal code was based on Spanish law until 1956

Controversial portions of Cuba's criminal code include vague provisions providing for the arrest of persons committing anti-revolutionary acts.

Cuban criminal procedure has come under fire from critics for engaging in summary procedures.

Private property

Cuban law regarding private property has been heavily criticized as offering little to no protection to private property.

In 1992, in response to the Special Period, the Cuban constitution was changed to authorize the limited existence of joint ventures and corporations.

Cuba law also permits the collective ownership of agricultural cooperatives.

Economic regulation

Cuba's laws provide for strong government regulation of the economy in almost all of its facets.

History

Pre-1959 Legal History

Cuba was a Colony of Spain until its independence was won in 1899, following military intervention by the United States (known in the United States as the Spanish-American War). Following the defeat of the Spanish, Cuba remained under a US military government until 1902, at which time the US oversaw the creation of a new government.

The influence of both United States and Spanish rule on Cuban Law were present decades into the future. For example, the Spanish Penal Code influenced the 1936 Civil Defense Code of Cuba, which remained in effect until 1979. The Spanish Civil Code of 1889 remained in effect (although modified) until 1987. The influence of the United States appeared in the form of a supreme court of appeals and judicial review.

Revolutionary Period (1959 - Mid 1970s)

Major Laws and Changes

Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1 1959, much of the Constitution of 1940 was reinstated. This did not fulfill the promises in the Manifiesto of Montecristi, however, since Castro's government did not restore the consitution in toto and failed to call elections within the 18 month period that the manifiesto required.

In the aftermath of the Revolution, the Congress was supplanted by a Council of Ministers, consolidating greater power in the hands of the revolutionary government. In the years to follow, the revolutionary government enacted hundreds of laws and decrees with the aim of affecting basic change in Cuba's socio-economic system. Some of the major laws enacted include the First Agrarian Reform Law of May 1959, Urban Reform Law of October 1960, Nationalization Law of October 1960, Nationalization of Education Law of June 1961, and the Second Agrarian Reform Law of October 1963. Furthermore, new institutions, such as the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA), were created to carry out these laws more efficiently.

Changes in the Judiciary

Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the courts gradually lost their role as arbiters of private disputes, being replaced in time by work place councils and local organs of the Communist Party. The judiciary prior to the Cuban Revolution was notorious for corruption and criticized for its inefficiency, and the removal of such elements from the judiciary met with little resistance at first. As the radicalism of the Revolution deepened throughout 1959, many of the liberals who supported the initial removal of members of the judiciary began to oppose the continued radicalization of the judiciary. In 1960, the Supreme Court began to impede the goals of the Revolution by frequently siding with land owners under the Agrarian Reform Law. The Havana Bar Association, too, sided with property interests. This led the revolutionary government to purge the elements of the judiciary who were not loyal to the revolution; 22 of 31 Supreme Court justices were dismissed between November 1960 and February 1961, with similar trends appearing in lower courts. Many judges went into exile, criticizing the new government's lack of respect for the rule of law and human rights. By the end of 1961, the Revolutionary Government declared the judicial system was free of counterrevolutionary judges. Establishing firm control over the judiciary marked the consolidation of the Revolutionary Government's power over the three branches of government.

Revolutionary Courts

In February of 1959, 45 Cuban Air Force officers were tried for genocide in the civilian courts and were acquitted. Their acquittal was publicly denounced by Fidel Castro as a miscarriage of justice. In response to the verdict, the Revolutionary Government established "Revolutionary Courts," whose purpose was to try those accused of collaboration with the deposed Batista regime, especially those accused of torture and assassination, and those engaged in counterrevolutionary activity. These courts were criticized for their summary procedures, which limited a defendant's ability to prepare for trial, as well as procedural safeguards, such as the right to appeal a verdict of guilt. It has been noted the effect of the courts was to produce a fast, certain, and severe result. In all, hundreds of individuals were found guilty in these proceedings and subsequently executed. Hostility toward the Batista regime led to widespread acceptance of these courts by the Cuban people. Supporters of the Revolutionary Courts note that their institution may have prevented "mob justice," as had been seen following other periods of revolution and social unrest.

People's Popular Courts

In the early 1960s, People's Popular Courts were set up, whose goal, according to Fidel Castro, was to correct anti-social behavior "not with sanctions, in the traditional style, but rather with measures that would have a profound educational spirit." First established in the rural areas of the country, there were more than 2,200 such courts by the end of the 1960s. The proceedings of these courts were opened to the public in an effort to maximize their effect. These courts were criticized for overlapping with the jurisdiction of other courts and for their inconsistent application of the law.

Institutionalization (Mid 1970s - Late 1980s)

Need for New Legal System

As the 1960s drew to a close, the most radical phase of the revolution had passed and internal counter-revolution had been suppressed. The Cuban government sought to institutionalize the Revolution. Key to this was the creation of a new legal system.

1973 Reforms

In 1973, the Cuban Council of Ministers approved a structure for the new legal system, abolishing the People's Popular Courts and the Revolutionary Courts. In the place of the old legal system, a court system was established with four levels of jurisdiction: Base, District, Provincial, and National (Supreme Court). The Supreme Court was given appellate jurisdiction over four distinct areas of law: civil/administrative, criminal, state security, and military. The reforms of 1973 also saw the end of private legal practice, and all lawyers who continued to provide legal services were required to join legal collectives, known as bufetes colectivos. Also included in the reforms was the creation of "lay judges," who served on the bench alongside professional judges and kept alive the popular spirit of the People's Courts. These reforms were criticized on the basis that many judges appointed to serve on these courts were incompetent and that the courts were not administered well.

The Constitution of 1976 and Socialist Legality

In 1976, Cuba formally institutionalized the revolution with the adoption of a new Constitution, which provided the legal system be based on the principle of socialist legality. In constructing their legal system, Cuba looked to the countries of the Socialist Bloc for blueprints. The principle of socialist legality, as articulated by Cuban jurists, puts forth that the role of the law in a socialist society is to create social stability while simultaneously furthering the development of the socialist society through change in Cuban political culture. As a guiding principle, socialist legality is explicitly transformative - its stated purpose is to transform society. This transformative principle penetrates to the heart of the law and has guided the development of Cuban Law since the mid-1970s. The explicit transformative principle of socialist legality sets it apart from the civil law and the common law legal systems, whose underlying principles are based on existing statute and custom, respectively.

Subsequent Reforms

Successive reforms were instituted throughout the next 30 years to increase the autonomy of bufetes colectivos and the courts, adapt the courts to changing circumstances in Cuba, and to remedy other administrative problems that plagued the legal system.

Recent Legal History (Late 1980s - Present)

Collapse of the Socialist Bloc

In the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union collapsed, the laws of Cuba changed again to respond to the new conditions of the Special Period. The Constitutional amendments of 1992 recognized forms of non-socialist property (joint ventures, corporations, other economic associations) and provided for non-discrimination based on religious belief (for example, persons with religious belief may now join the Cuban Communist Party, although Cuban Priests have commented this is merely a 'token' gesture, and in reality, the ability of religious persons to join the Party is limited and fraught with difficulty). Popular participation in government was expanded with the direct election of National and Provincial assemblies. It is these changes that signify Cuba's abandonment of the Soviet legal model.

2002 Constitutional Amendments

In 2002, the Constitution was again amended to make the socialist system permanent and irrevocable. This came at a time when the Varela Project called for greater political freedom in Cuba and US President George W. Bush openly criticized Cuba's socialist system and accused Cuba of producing biological weapons. Former US President Jimmy Carter rejected this charge while in Cuba. The Cuban government rejects this charge as well. This charge has not been proven.

See also

References

  • "Law and Society in Contemporary Cuba" (Second Edition), by Debra Evenson. Published by Kluwer Law International; The Hague, Netherlands, 2003. Available for purchase through Aspen Publishers, Inc. (www.aspenpublishers.com)

External links

  • http://www.gacetaoficial.cu/ - The homepage of the Ministry of Justice. Cuban legislation from 2000 onwards is available here in Spanish.
  • http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/ (The webpage for a program dedicated to the study of the Rule of Law in contemporary Cuba. Includes links to the Cuban Penal Code and Cuban Constitution in Spanish. There are many Spanish-language links about dissidents arrested in 2003 crackdown. Some of the documents have been translated to English.)
  • http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FE481 (Informative page on Agrarian Reform in Cuba after 1959)
  • http://www.cubanet.org/ref/dis/const_92_e.htm (Text of current Cuban Constitution. Note: This is the 1992 Version, and is without the 2002 amendment making socialism the permanent form of government).
Motto
Patria y Libertad   (Spanish)
"Patriotism and Liberty" a

Anthem
La Bayamesa  
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Communism
Basic concepts
Marxist philosophy
Class struggle
Proletarian internationalism
Communist party
Ideologies
Marxism  Leninism  Maoism
Trotskyism  Juche
Left  Council
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Special Period in Peacetime (Spanish: Período especial en tiempo de paz ) in Cuba was an extended period of economic crisis that began in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and, by extension, the Comecon.
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Motto
Patria y Libertad   (Spanish)
"Patriotism and Liberty" a

Anthem
La Bayamesa  
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Motto
"Plus Ultra"   (Latin)
"Further Beyond"
Anthem
"Marcha Real" 1
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The Spanish-American War (Spanish: Guerra Hispano-Estadounidense, desastre del 98, Guerra Hispano-Cubana-Norteamericana or Guerra de Cuba
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January 1 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining. The preceding day is December 31 of the previous year.
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20th century - 21st century
1920s  1930s  1940s  - 1950s -  1960s  1970s  1980s
1956 1957 1958 - 1959 - 1960 1961 1962

Year 1959 (MCMLIX
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The agrarian reform laws of Cuba have sought to break up large landholdings and redistribute them to those who worked them, to cooperatives, and the state. Laws relating to land reform were implemented in the Cuban Constitution of 1940 and in a series of laws passed between 1958
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The agrarian reform laws of Cuba have sought to break up large landholdings and redistribute them to those who worked them, to cooperatives, and the state. Laws relating to land reform were implemented in the Cuban Constitution of 1940 and in a series of laws passed between 1958
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The National Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA) was an agency of the Cuban Government that was formed to institute the Agrarian Reform Law of 1959.

INRA also implemented the Second Agrarian Reform Law of 1963. INRA oversaw the development of the rural infrastructure.
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The National Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA) was an agency of the Cuban Government that was formed to institute the Agrarian Reform Law of 1959.

INRA also implemented the Second Agrarian Reform Law of 1963. INRA oversaw the development of the rural infrastructure.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1957 1958 1959 - 1960 - 1961 1962 1963

Year 1960 (MCMLX
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1958 1959 1960 - 1961 - 1962 1963 1964

Year 1961 (MCMLXI
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Ochlocracy (Greek: οχλοκρατία or ohlokratía; Latin: ochlocratia) is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of constitutional authorities.
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Council of Ministers can refer to any cabinet of ministers in a government. In some countries and organizations there are (or were) official councils of ministers; they include:
  • Council of Ministers of Albania
  • Council of Ministers of Cuba

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Socialist Legality is an idea that forms the basis for a socialist legal system, much like the common law and civil law (or Napoleonic Code).

Socialist Legality postulates that in a socialist society, the law should serve as a tool to promote the development of socialism.
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Eastern Bloc (or Soviet Bloc) was used to refer to the Soviet Union and its allies in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and—until the early 1960s—Albania).
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Socialist Legality is an idea that forms the basis for a socialist legal system, much like the common law and civil law (or Napoleonic Code).

Socialist Legality postulates that in a socialist society, the law should serve as a tool to promote the development of socialism.
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Civil law or Continental law or Romano-Germanic law is the predominant system of law in the world. Civil law as a legal system is often compared with common law.
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In common law legal systems, the law is created and/or refined by judges: a decision in the case currently pending depends on decisions in previous cases and affects the law to be applied in future cases.
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Special Period in Peacetime (Spanish: Período especial en tiempo de paz ) in Cuba was an extended period of economic crisis that began in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and, by extension, the Comecon.
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A joint venture (often abbreviated JV) is an entity formed between two or more parties to undertake economic activity together. The parties agree to create a new entity by both contributing equity, and they then share in the revenues, expenses, and control of the enterprise.
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Business law
Business organizations
Basic forms:
Sole proprietorship
Corporation
Partnership
(General · Limited · LLP)
Cooperative
USA:
Business trust · LLC · LLLP
Delaware corporation
Nevada corporation
UK/Commonwealth:
Limited company
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Discrimination

Major forms
Racism
Sexism
Homophobia
Ageism
Antisemitism
Islamophobia
Ableism

Manifestations
Slavery · Racial profiling
Hate speech · Hate crime
Genocide · Ethnocide · Holocaust
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The Communist Party of Cuba (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Cuba, PCC) is currently the only officially recognized political party in Cuba. It operates on a Marxist-Leninist model.
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The Varela Project (Proyecto Varela in Spanish) is a project that was started by Cuban democracy activists in 1998. It is led by Oswaldo Payá of the Christian Liberation Movement and named after Felix Varela, a Cuban religious leader.
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George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America, originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001. Bush was first elected in the 2000 presidential election, and reelected for a second term in the 2004 presidential election.
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For the use of biological agents by terrorists, see bioterrorism.
Biological warfare (BW), also known as a germ warfare, biological weapons, and bioweapons
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The judicial branch of Cuba is one of three branches of the Cuban government.

Shortly after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban government adopted as its guiding force the ideas of Marxism-Leninism and sought to build a socialist society in accordance with these
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