Ten months after massive protests that shook Cuba, Parliament “unanimously” approved a new Penal Code, forceful dissuasive to the repetition of those facts and guarantee for the current socialist regime.
The new law “classifies as crimes the most serious and harmful acts for society and protects the interests of the State and the people,” said the president of the Supreme Court, Rubén Remigio Ferro, when presenting it to the plenary.
On July 11 and 12, 2021 thousands of people staged in 50 cities the biggest protests against the Communist Party government in 60 yearswhich left one dead, dozens injured and hundreds detained.
According to Ferro, this law also protects the “individual interests of the people as a guarantee of the stability of the nation, legal certainty and citizen tranquility.”
Policemen of a special brigade, in Havana (Cuba). Photo EFE
The new Code replaces that of 1997 and complements the 2019 Constitution, together with the Law for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and the Criminal Enforcement Code, that will be put to the vote in this extraordinary session of the National Assembly, which began on Friday and will run until Monday.
Among its novel aspects are “its application to infractions and illicit acts that affect the radio electric spectrum, the environment and natural heritage,” according to Ferro.
“The most serious violations related to the abusive use of constitutional rightsparticipation in subversive activities and attacks on information and communication technologies,” he added.
For the Cuban jurist Harold Bertod, based in Spain, “the Criminal Code expands the catalog of criminal behaviors related to the constitutional order to confirm a reality of the political system: there is no room for alternatives in the political arena, and the right to demonstrate“.
The right to demonstrate “will only be allowed if it is in a sense of ‘confirmation’ of the state’s policies and never in a ‘contradictory’ way,” he told AFP.
An act in Havana in support of the revolution, last July. AFP Photo
“It is a law that collects, updates, all international concepts, adapting them to the conditions of Cuba,” said Deputy Jorge González, the doctor who in 1997 directed the location and recognition in Bolivia of the remains of the Argentine revolutionary- Cuban Ernesto Che Guevara and his fellow guerrillas.
The new law maintains the death penalty “on an exceptional basis”, in 23 crimes, and suppresses it in four compared to the previous code. It will be able to pronounce basically “in crimes against the security of the State, terrorism, international drug trafficking and murder,” said the prosecutor.
In Cuba, where the “wall” was applied very regularly in the 1960s, a kind of moratorium has been in place since 2000, only broken in 2003, due to the execution of three armed hijackers of a passenger boat.
“We do not agree with the death penalty. We are not convinced from our faith,” said deputy María Yi Reyna, an evangelical minister, in one of the rare discordant criteria in Parliament.
The new Code maintains the requirement of criminal responsibility from the age of 16 and contemplates “multiple provisions for differentiated treatment for those between 16 and 18”, with which “the convention on the rights of the child is strictly complied with “said the prosecutor.
Several of those sentenced to prison for the demonstrations last July are between 16 and 20 years old.
Four of them, under 20, were released this week and will serve their sentences at home, opposition sources reported on Saturday.
The text introduces as new sanctions home confinement and service for the benefit of the community and pre-criminal security measures are abolished, rejected by many sectors of society.