New Citizenship Law in Cuba: Without a homeland, but without a master

No bureaucrat dictator will have the moral authority to revoke a compatriot's Cuban citizenship.

Votación a mano alzada en la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular © Cubadebate
Raised-hand vote in the National Assembly of People's Power.Photo © Cubadebate.

The Cuban government, so quick to strip citizens of their civil and political rights, will now also be able to deprive them of their citizenship, according to the new draft law presented yesterday by the National Assembly.

The regulation composed of 17 chapters and 114 articles empowers the dictator in office to enact Presidential Decrees, with the express objective of arbitrarily revoking the citizenship of Cubans deemed to fall under legally vague terms.

Article 55.1 grants powers to the President of the Republic to revoke the Cuban citizenship of any person who, from abroad, carries out acts contrary to the high political, economic, and social interests of the Republic of Cuba.

Such a postulate would lack importance if it were not for the fact that in a totalitarian regime lacking a Rule of Law such as the Cuban one, concepts as disparate as State, Government, and Communist Party often go hand in hand when issuing judicial resolutions to criminalize political dissent.

Furthermore, the law also allows for stripping Cuban citizenship from those individuals who maintain effective residency in the country or who do not have another citizenship to fall back on, thus turning these Cubans into true stateless persons by supreme order of a Presidential Decree.

This postulate can be applied whenever the Ministry of the Interior considers that these Cubans cause serious damage to the country in relation to national security, endanger the stability of the State, international relations, or the general health of the population; legally inaccurate terms in a country where walking with a protest sign on a street is considered a threat to national security.

The alarm bells rang when on December 30, 2017, the State Council issued Decree Law No. 352, which prohibited Cubans born abroad whose parents had committed acts or taken actions against the political, social, and economic foundations of the State from acquiring citizenship.

The Cuban regime, overwhelmed today by the economic crisis, the exodus, and the evident political crisis, no longer hides to put on paper what it has been doing in fact for more than six decades. The Communist Party itself coined terms such as "anti-Cubans" or "mercenaries" to refer to all those citizens who did not venerate the Chief Dictator; it stripped them of their political rights, of their properties, and sent them into exile, forbidding their return.

In practical terms, the communist totalitarianism that is currently striving to strip the citizenship status from all Cubans it deems inconvenient has de facto already done so to the entire nation; understanding the condition of "citizen" as that individual with political and social rights based on the principles of equality and political participation.

The decline of what was once the "Cuban Revolution", evidenced in a country immersed in hopelessness and a Communist Party with a widespread leadership crisis, is reason enough for the marathon approval of harmful laws with the sole objective of delaying a change that is already inevitable and looming near.

No bureaucrat dictator will have the moral authority to strip a compatriot of their Cuban status. Those to whom such legal aberration is applied should show with dignity the greatest prize of being Cuban: Not being indifferent to the barbarity in Cuba.

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