Apartheid en Cuba
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    You Can’t Come In

    You Can’t Come In / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez
    Posted on August 28, 2014

    14ymedio, Havana, Rosa Lopez, 27 August 2014 – “You can’t come in,” a
    young doorkeeper emphatically tells a young man, while gesturing for him
    to move away from the door. When the target protests, he receives the
    explanation that in this crowded Havana club, “you can’t enter wearing
    shorts.” A sign posted at the entrance warns that the place, “reserves
    the right of admission.”

    The story is repeated in many other places in Havana. The Charles
    Chaplin Cinema downtown posts a sign with entry restrictions. When you
    ask an employee if the rules are dictated by higher body, she says, “No,
    no. Management is in charge, there’s no law. We are the ones who
    decide.” And she adds, “We don’t allow people without shirts, or wearing
    flipflops, or behaving inappropriately.” It’s not unusual to see,
    however, flexible rules for foreigners. An Italian in short shorts—which
    could be confused with a bathing suit—passed through the lobby without
    being ejected.

    In 2010, the Chaplin Cinema refused entry to a group of people trying to
    attend the premier of the documentary Revolution about the hip-hop group
    Los Aldeanos. Some of these citizens drafted a legal demand against the
    entity, charging that the segregation was based on ideological reasons,
    because they were activists, bloggers and musicians from the dissident
    scene, but it was unsuccessful in court. Years later, the downtown movie
    theater still sports a sign with restrictions on entry.

    Welcome Cubans, but…

    In 2008, one of the first steps taken by Raul Castro on assuming power
    was to allow Cubans access to hotels. According to the General
    President, that decision was meant to avoid the emergence of “new
    inequalities.” Nevertheless, native Cubans still can’t enjoy all the
    recreational areas of the country. The boats that run along the coast,
    the marine enclaves along stretches of the coast, and some keys still do
    not allow Cubans residing on the Island where they were born.

    By the Bay of Cienfuegos a pleasure boat sails which doesn’t allow any
    Cubans to enjoy the excursion.

    By the Bay of Cienfuegos a pleasure boat sails which doesn’t allow any
    Cubans to enjoy the excursion. The reason, according to several dock
    workers, is fear that that the boat could be hijacked in an illegal
    attempt to leave the country. The argument reveals the drama of
    emigration, but also the continuing existence of an apartheid that makes
    those born in this land second-class citizens. The measure also violates
    the Cuban Constitution which guarantees, in Article 43, that all Cubans
    have the right to use, “without segregation, maritime, rail, air and
    road transport.”

    So far, there are no national guidelines that justify such segregation
    procedures, especially in State facilities, where it is established that
    they are projected by law. Outside Pepitos Bar, located on 26th Avenue
    downtown, there is a sign that shows the use and abuse of the right
    admission “They are rules imposed by the administration,” says a worker
    at the center who didn’t want his name revealed.

    The existing Penal Code establishes one to three years imprisonment or a
    300,000 share* fine for an official who arbitrarily exceeds the legal
    limits of his or her competency. However, none of the lawyers consulted
    by this newspaper could remember a trial against any administrator or
    director of a public facility for irregularities in the “right of

    The “house rules” that govern some public sites in Cuba go against even
    the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to its Article 133,
    “Every person as the right to circulate freely,” and Article 27 also
    adds that every citizen “has the right to freely form a part of the
    cultural life of the community.”

    Several State restaurants on Obispo Street prohibit nationals from
    talking with tourists.

    Attorney Wilfredo Vallín, director of the Cuban Law Association,
    published an article on the site Primavera Digital (Digital Spring), in
    which he asserted that “restricting, and at the extreme not permitting,
    access to public places to people who behave correctly, don’t cause
    disturbances, don’t bother anyone, is illegal.”

    Several State restaurants on Obispo Street prohibit nationals from
    talking with tourists. Management claims the right to expel people from
    the premises under the pretext that they are annoying foreign customers.
    However, cases of verbal reprimands or expulsions of tourists for
    annoying a Cuban with their insinuations or proposals are unheard of.
    Having a passport from another country appears to grant carte blanche in
    these situations.

    *Translator’s note: Under Cuban law fines are set as a number of
    “shares”; the value of a single share can then be adjusted, affecting
    all the fines, without having to rewrite every law.

    Source: You Can’t Come In / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez | Translating Cuba -

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