Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Family Code as a shield for social shock measures in Cuba

Residents of Holguín who cannot work and who receive Social Security pensions were deprived of that help as part of the economic package launched by the government this year, like the austerity patch in the face of the crisis, which is described by many Cubans and foreign neoliberals.

The move, which is not provincial but national, should have an impact on tens of thousands of helpless Cubans. The legal argument justifying the cut is that the new Family Code was approved in a referendum, probably with the consent of the same people who are being hurt now.

“They took my pension, which I had five years ago. Today they said that my daughter should support me because it is written in the new Family Code, but he can’t afford his children. How can he support me if everything is so expensive? I don’t understand; I don’t know if the revolution has fallen or if the saying that nothing can be done is a lie, commented Elena, a 72-year-old woman from Holguín who has been a housewife all her life and has benefited from a Social Security pension.

Something similar happened to Rogelio: “I don’t have a child and I’m sick. I worked until my health allowed, and I tried to retire because of the illness, but they didn’t agree. I lived then by repairing bicycles, but I have been disabled for several years due to arthritis, and I can barely bend down because the cervical pain has knocked me down. So, with all the medical certificates, I am applying for Social Security assistance, and they gave it to me. It’s not because I don’t have a job because it’s very difficult to get.

“Now they just took it from me. The social worker rudely asked me if I voted for the Family Code without reading it. I told him I saw everything in Round Tables explaining that law, and everything they say seems good. I never heard them talk about taking away pensions. If I had seen that, I would not have voted for such a disgrace.”

“Now I’m on board. They say that I have three younger brothers who are of working age and seven nieces and that all relatives are obliged to support me. What do they have to do with me? It seems crazy to me to demand that a brother or nephew support you, and if not, you have to sue them; that’s what they say,” Rogelio was shocked.

Indeed, the new Family Code includes in its articles the principle of family responsibility for people in need of financial assistance, as well as for the state, with almost no commitment to Social Security. This legally allows us to put the burden on the shoulders of citizens, who are mostly burdened by their expenses and low wages.

“My son’s income is almost 5,000 pesos, and, according to the government, that is a high salary… but yes, he couldn’t even buy a pair of shoes. How can it be so long? How can you help me with a little money? “What more do I want, and so does he?” said Inés, an 83-year-old former seamstress.

“I killed myself cooking for the streets so he could be a teacher, and your income is less yield. I believe I have guaranteed his future and I will leave him poorer than if he were illiterate in other countries. “It’s all a fraud.”

“The 1,200 pesos that Social Security gave me until last month (four dollars at the real exchange rate, which is in the informal market) are very little, but at least they help me pay the electricity and run errands. There is no space for food but for something that my daughter gave me, not from her salary but from what her husband ‘grabbed’ at work because he had little income,” continued Inés.

“Now how do I find poor people to pay my bills to? Because they said that the code, which they say is for homosexuals to marry, is also to take our pension. “It’s a trap!” he concluded.

In April 2022, DIARIO DE CUBA journalist Osmel Ramírez Álvarez warned in an article about the debate on the draft law Family Code, which was continued in that legislative proposal, that “the responsibility for maintenance is too high.”. He added that, predictably, it would create “more changes, mainly in a vulnerable age group such as the elderly, because it is unfair and difficult to implement effectively.

The Family Code lists “subjects obliged to provide food” (maintenance) and those who can claim it judicially. It is a long list in which subjects of familiarity are specified: mothers and fathers, uncles and nephews, in addition to other relatives of a closer degree, ascending and descending, such as siblings and de facto emotional relationships. Apart from the traditional logical ones: sons, daughters, and spouses,.

That part of the articles of the code, whose scope is beginning to be seen today, is not at the center of the public debate nor has any form of participation in the national media of the state of specialists and judges who are not involved in the interests of legislators, both the government and the Communist Party.

Now come the first results of debated laws in a non-democratic environment and approval of them, even if it is in a referendum. A vote for Social Security recipients who lose their pensions is a trap where they are accomplices who do not know it, which makes them helpless.

World Nation News Desk
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