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Cuba[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

It appears that some form of a child protective legal process exists in Cuba.  Article 94 of the Family Code states that parental rights may be suspended on grounds of parental incapacity or absence.[2]  Furthermore, the state acknowledged in a report to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child that it maintains a foster care system to address “the few cases in Cuban society of children who have abandoned or have no family.”[3]  To this end, the state has established a “network of social welfare centres to house and care for minors having no family environment.”[4] 

 

Unfortunately, it is unclear exactly what the child protective process entails.  In particular, Cuban law does not appear to grant children the right to legal representation.  However, the Family Code does state that parents are responsible for representing their children in “all legal proceedings and transactions in which they may have an interest, to supplement their legal personality in matters in which the full capacity to act is required, and to take any timely and proper action which they are entitled to take in order to protect the children's interests and property.”[5] 

 

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child remarked in its latest report on Cuba that the nation's  “measures taken to ensure respect for the views of the child, in the family and social life, as well as in the context of administrative, social welfare and other procedures affecting and applying to them, are insufficient.”[6]  Furthermore, while Cuba ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, it is unclear whether the treaty has any legal force.  The Family Code does not cite or refer to the Convention.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

Original Text

Statutes

Constitución de Cuba de 1976, con las reformas de 1992, Artículo 40. La niñez y la juventud disfrutan de particular protección por parte del Estado y la sociedad. La familia, la escuela, los órganos estatales y las organizaciones de masas y sociales tienen el deber de prestar especial atención a la formación integral de la niñez y la juventud.

 

Código de la Familia, Artículo 85La patria potestad comprende los siguientes derechos y deberes de los padres: 1) tener a sus hijos bajo su guarda y cuidado; es esforzarse para que tengan una habitación estable y una alimentación adecuada; cuidar de su salud y aseo personal; proporcionarle los medios recreativos propios para su edad que estén dentro de sus posibilidades; darles la debida protección; velar por su buena conducta y cooperar con las autoridades correspondientes para superar cualquier situación o medio ambiental que influya o pueda influir desfavorablemente en su formación y desarrollo; 2) atender la educación de sus hijos, inculcarles el amor al estudio; cuidar de su asistencia al centro educacional donde estuvieren matriculados; velar por su adecuada superación técnica, científica y cultural con arreglo a sus aptitudes y vocación y a los requerimientos del desarrollo del país y colaborar con las autoridades educacionales en los planes y actividades escolares; 3) dirigir la formación de sus hijos para la vida social; inculcarles el amor a la patria, el respeto a sus símbolos y la debida estimación a sus valores, el espíritu internacionalista, las normas de la convivencia y de la moral socialista y el respeto a los bienes patrimoniales de la sociedad y a los bienes y derechos personales de los demás; inspirarles con su actitud y con su trato el respeto que les deben y enseñarles a respetar a las autoridades, a sus maestros y a las demás personas;
4) administrar y cuidar los bienes de sus hijos con la mayor diligencia; velar porque sus hijos usen y disfruten adecuadamente los bienes que le pertenezcan; y no enajenar, permutar ni ceder dichos bienes, sino en interés de los propios menores y cumpliendo los requisitos que en este Código se establecen; 5) representar a sus hijos en todos los actos y negocios jurídicos en que tengan interés; completar su personalidad en aquellos para los que se requiera la plena capacidad de obrar; ejercitar oportuna y debidamente las acciones que en derecho correspondan a fin de defender sus intereses y bienes.

 

Código de la Familia, Artículo 94. La patria potestad se suspende por incapacidad o ausencia de los padres, declarada judicialmente.

Código de la Familia , Artículo 97. En las sentencias dictadas por los tribunales de lo civil, por las cuales se prive a ambos padres, o a uno de ellos, de la patria potestad, o se le suspenda su ejercicio, se proveerá, según proceda, sobre la representación legal de los menores, su guarda y cuidado, la pensión alimenticia y régimen de comunicación entre padres e hijos.

El padre afectado o el fiscal podrán instar, mediante incidente en las propias actuaciones, el cese de la suspensión de la patria potestad, así como la modificación de cualquiera otra de las medidas a que se refiere el párrafo anterior, cuando hayan variado las circunstancias que justificaron su adopción.

Código de la Familia, Artículo 98Cuando a ambos padres o a uno de ellos se les hubiere privado de la patria potestad, o se les hubiere suspendido en su ejercicio, por sentencia dictada por los tribunales de lo penal, el otro padre, en su caso, o el fiscal, promoverá el procedimiento correspondiente en los tribunales de lo civil para resolver los extremos a que se refiere el primer párrafo del artículo anterior.

Translation[7]

 

Statutes

 

Cuban Constitution of 1976 with reforms made in 1992, Article 40. The state and society shall give special protection to children and young people. It is the duty of the family, the schools, the state agencies and the social and mass organizations to pay special attention to the integral development of children and youth.

 

Family Code, Article 85.  Parental authority comprises the following rights and responsibilities of parents: 1) to keep their children under protection and in their care; to strengthen them so that they have a stable home and adequate nourishment; to care for their health and personal hygiene; appropriate proper means of recreation according to their age within their capabilities; to give them proper protection; to keep watch over their good conduct, and to cooperate with the corresponding authorities to overcome whatever situation or environmental factor that unfavorably influences or could influence their upbringing and development; to pay attention to the education of their children, to inculcate love for the country, respect for its symbols, and the proper respect to its values, the international spirit, the norms of coexistence, and socialist morals, and the respect for the capital assets of the society, and for the property and the personal rights of the rest; to inspire them with their attitudes and with by treating them with the respect that they deserve, and to show them to respect the authorities, their teachers, and all others; 4) to administer and care for the property of their children with the utmost diligence; to keep watch over their children so that they adequately use and enjoy the property that pertains to them; and not to alienate them, to exchange nor transfer their goods if it is not in the interest of the minor and completing the requisites established by this Code;  5) to represent their children in all legal proceedings and transactions in which they may have an interest, to supplement their legal personality in matters in which the full capacity to act is required, and to take any timely and proper action which they are entitled to take in order to protect the children's interests and property.

 

Family Code, Article 94.  Parental authority may be suspended on account of parental incapacity or absence, as declared judicially. 

 

Family Code, Article 97. Civil judgments by which one or both parents are deprived of parental rights, or when these rights are suspended, according to the process, the parents will be apprised of their minor children legal representation, their care, safety, and nutrition and about communication rules between parents and children. 

 

The affected parent(s) or counsel can, based on incidents derived from their actions, solicit that the parental rights suspension be lifted, or ask for any modifications to the measures referred to in the above paragraph, if the circumstances that justified them in the first place change.

 

Family Code, Article 98.  When both parents, or one of them, lose their parental rights, or when these rights are suspended, by the courts, the other parent, or counsel, would proceed with the appropriate process in civil court to resolve the points that are referred to in the first paragraph in the previous article.

 

Research Path

 

I researched Cuban law by reading the Cuba Constitution (available cuba_constitution) and searching for all family laws on an online Cuban legislation database (available at http://www.informatica-juridica.com/legislacion/Cuba_Codigo_Familia.asp).  In addition, I performed various searches on www.google.com on the Cuban child welfare system. 

 

I also read all reports to and by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, including:

-         “Initial reports of States parties due in 1993: Cuba.” Cuba State Party report, February 15, 1996, available as .pdf Document.

-          “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Cuba,” U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, June 18, 1997, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

-         Summary records of the 374th, 375th, and 376th meetings by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Cuba, respectively available at http://www.bayefsky.com/summary/cuba_crc_c_sr.3741997.php, http://www.bayefsky.com/summary/cuba_crc_c_sr.3751997.php, and http://www.bayefsky.com/summary/cuba_crc_c_sr.3761997.php.

-         “List of Issues: Cuba,” U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, 1996”, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

I also read the following materials:

-         “Cuban State and the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Coalition of Cuban-American Women, 1998, available as .pdf Document.

-         “CIA World Factbook: Cuba” available at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/cu.html

-         International Team Project: Cuba Research Checklist., available at http://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawlibrary/research/foreign/cuba.htm#articleslegal

 

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Código de la Familia, Artículo 94 [Family Code, Article 94] available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[3] “Initial reports of States parties due in 1993: Cuba.” Cuba State Party report, February 15, 1996, available as .pdf Document.

[4] Id.

[5] Código de la Familia, Artículo 85 [Family Code, Article 85] available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[6] “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Cuba,” U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, June 18, 1997 available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] All translations are unofficial.

 

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