Saturday, July 14, 2012


Extractions / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallín Almeida
Cuban Law Association, Translator: Michelle Eddy, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

Soon, a new population and housing census will take place that shall
show how many of us there are and the current living situation in our

Among the many and ever more acute problems, that of housing is one of
the most difficult given all that it implies for the family and
individuals. Extended cohabitation among different generations, many
times with a great deal of overcrowding, leads sometimes to the loss of
values, dehumanization and domestic violence.

The cases of close family members — in a pitched battle for a place to
live — turn out to be dramatic and many times embarrassing.

For some time now the inns where rooms were rented to couples by the
hour — welcome in a country where multi-generational families cram into
small apartments — have been converted to shelters for victims of
hurricanes, fires, building collapses and so on. Today these true
citadels crammed with people in precarious conditions.

Like many things in today's Cuba, this problem remains static, without
any sign of a plan or on the part of the State which, for many years,
did not permit the repair of homes or the construction of new ones
through the sale of building materials to the inhabitants; now it
appears there is no answer to this problem created by State itself over
long long years.

Thus, the death of the owner of a home, often creates a whole conflict
between those who consider they have a legal right to the housing for
one reason or another, because they know: either they make it theirs or
they will have to stay put… where no one wants to go or stay.

Another problem with this harrowing case is that of forced evictions …
sorry, I meant to say "removals".

When a house is abandoned by its inhabitants for any reason whatsoever,
and sealed by the State, is not uncommon for the seal to be broken and
be occupied by people who literally live on the street.

In other cases, there is no housing and people are forced into squats or
one-room tenements, or they may "fabricate" (if this can even be called
a fabrication) something that brings to mind a room but is made from
cardboard, palm fronds, pieces of zink or whatever things that can find…
and show up with wives… and children… sometimes babies.

In many of these opportunities, they end up forcibly evicted … sorry,
(in Cuba there are no evictions), again, I meant to say the "extraction"
which is performed by the security forces, responding to a different
conception of "due obedience ".

And if the UN says in its document, The Practice of Forced Evictions, of
June 1997…

Forced evictions constitute prima facie violations of a wide range of
internationally recognized human rights and can only be carried out
under exceptional circumstances and in full accordance with the present
Guidelines and relevant provisions of international human rights law.

…it says what is wants to say because it doesn't have anything to do
with us since here there are no evictions… there are extractions.

Translated by: Michelle Eddy

July 13 2012

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