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CUBA

 

Updated 03-2002 with a unique email:

I'm a 42 year old Canadian businessman from Toronto who visited Cuba in December 2000. I had an encounter with the police over a girl(Dora)who was 14 years of age.

I had rented a car for my one week stay and had picked up both Dora and her mother hitchhiking on the outskirts of Havana. She was very pretty and flirty. When asked when said she was 17 yrs old. I assumed everything over 16 yrs was fair game and arranged for a dinner date later that evening. I picked her up in front of Havana City Hall where her mother sees her off and says, "have a nice date!" After dinner one thing leads to another and we are in a industrial park (for privacy) necking in my car half undressed when 2 policemen happen upon us and start asking for ID, passports, car rental documents, etc from both Dora and myself.

After 2 hours of listening to radio calls back and forth from these two cops to their superiors we are asked to follow them in our car to their police station. Once there, I'm separated from Dora and told she is 14! The little sneak with her mother an accomplice, had lied and only the fact no intercourse had taken place, and the fact that the police didn't believe she told the truth saved me from a stay in a Cuban jail (not to mention some embarrassing explanations to my wife and kids!)

At all times the police were professional and didn't ask for a bribe or payoff, and none was given. God knows what would have happened if the police had
discovered us an hour after they did. It well might have turned out a lot different for me.

P.S. when finally released from the police station -a full 5 hours after the first encounter with the police car I noticed Dora's make-up bag under the passenger
seat of my car. When opened 3 condoms fell out.

 

 

Update November 2, 2000.  New Information on Cuba:

I noticed you're looking for info on Cuba. I can provide it here. Cuba's age of consent is 16. Here is a breakdown of some of the laws. This comes directly from Cuba's Penal Code:

Title 11, Chapter one, First Section:

Article 298-Rape 1) Unnatural and forced rape of a woman, someone mentally disabled or unable to resist, 4-10 years in prison

2)When two or more people are involved in the rape, when the person is state employed or in the military, 7-15 years in prison

3)When the victim is under 12 years old, or when the rape causes venereal disease or mortal sickness (AIDS), 8-20 years in prison or death

Second Section, Article 299-1

Pederasty with violence 1) He that commits pederasty actively employing violence or intimidation, 7-15 years in prison

2) If the victim is under 14 years old, or if the act results in disease or mortal sickness, 8-20 years in prison or death.

Article 300 Lascivious Abuse 1) He that commits lascivious abuse whether rape occurs or not, with one or another sex, on top of any charges:  under the rape section part 1 will also receive six months to two years in prison or a fine of 200 to 500 pesos;
2)under part 2, one to three years or a fine of 300 to 1000 pesos;
3)under part 3, two to five years in prison.
4) If the act occurs without rape, the penalty is three months to a year in prison or a fine of 100 to 300 pesos.

Article 301 Any state authority that forces a woman to have sex with blackmail of prison time, or who threatens her into having sex to protect her husband who is in prison, will serve two to five years.

Article 302 Any state authority who demeans a woman in his charge and tries to bribe favors with sex, six months to two years or a fine of 200 to 1500.

(Here is a simple breakdown of the rest)

Public scandal, calling someone a homosexual to smear them or portraying them as a sexual criminal to harm their image, 3 mos-1 year or fine of 100 to 300.

Incest, 2 to 5 years
Having sexual relations with a woman between 12 and 16 years old, 3 mos-1 year in prison

Bigamy, 3 mos-1 year or a fine of 100 to 300

Illegal marriage 3 mos-1 year or a fine of 100 to 300

Corruption of Minors
He that induces a minor under 16 years into prostitution, homosexual acts, or pornography, two to five years in prison. Three months to a year for anyone who has sex in front of anyone under 16 years or knowingly does not inform authorities when a minor is induced.

Three months to a year for anyone who offers pornographic materials to a child under 16 years.

3 mos-1 year for anyone who gets a minor under 16 drunk, and for drugs, 3-8 years.
Parents who use drugs around their kids, 3 mos-1 year.

Also, as for homosexuality, it IS legal both for men and women. It WAS illegal in the 1970s, but no longer. There is some discrimination, but all the gays I talked to on the island told me that they don't feel discriminated against. However, there are public ordinances about cross-dressing in public. The fine is 50 pesos for the first offense. These ordinances are never enforced in Havana. In a smaller community like Trinidad, they would be enforced, but the gays there know so and
thus you never see cross-dressers in smaller towns. Big taboo.

 

Second Update - November 2, 2000:

You are seeking information on Cuba. I have been to Cuba twice and have been present when top-ranking Cuban government officials, including Ricardo Alarcon and Fidel Castro, have spoken on the topic of homosexuality.

According to them, homosexuality is not a crime and the law prescribes full social equality regardless of sexual orientation. I am not aware of the Cuban age of consent law, but sexual relations between men is NOT illegal. During the period of 1964 to 1966, gays were routinely sent to work and education camps along with prostitutes, but the Cuban government now officially says that was a mistake. Social attitudes have progressed slowly, but there have been substantial changes in this area. They acknowledge the legacy of machismo in Cuba and say that there are mixed views within the Party and society as a whole with regard to homosexuality. My experiences there tended to confirm that. But both Alarcon and Castro verbally gave support the concept of non-discrimination and social equality.

Interestingly, the movie "Strawberry and Chocolate", a film sympathetic to gay acceptance, was funded in large part by the Cuban government. The film is openly critical of the government's stance on gay rights during the 1970's when gays were stigmatized and homosexuality was considered a "bourgeois deformation" (my terminology). But I do not believe male to male sex acts were criminalized at that time or now.

However, attempts to form an NGO of gay people have been cooly received. A group asked for official sanction in 1998(?) and was denied. But there are gay bars in Havana and gay meeting spots. So things are not great, but to the best of my knowledge, male homosexual sex is not criminalized in Cuba.

 

 

EDITOR: We have been unable to locate any sexual related laws of cuba at this time.  This is the only law related article we have found.

 

WORLD FACTBOOK of CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS
Cuba
by
Ray Michalowski
Northern Arizona University
This country report is one of many prepared for
the World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems
under Bureau of Justice Statistics grant no. 90-
BJ-CX-0002 to the State University of New York at
Albany.  The project director was Graeme R.
Newman, but responsibility for the accuracy of the
information contained in each report is that of
the individual author.  The contents of these
reports do not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of the Bureau of Justice Statistics or
the U.S. Department of Justice.
GENERAL OVERVIEW
1. Political System.
     Cuba is a democratic-centralist state
organized according to a Marxist-Leninist model.
The Communist Party of Cuba is the only official
political party. The national government is
divided into executive, legislative and judicial
branches. The executive branch consists of a
Council of State and a Council of Ministers. The
president of the Council of State serves as the
President of Cuba. The national legislative branch
consists of an elected, unicameral body known as
the National Assembly of Peoples Power. The
Supreme Court of Cuba serves as the nation's
highest judicial branch of government. It is also
the court of last resort for all appeals from
convictions in provincial courts.
     Below the national level, Cuba is divided
into 14 provinces, and numerous municipalities.
Each province and municipality has both an elected
Assembly of Peoples Power, and a system of courts.
Provincial courts handle felony-equivalent crimes,
many forms of civil conflict matters such as
divorce, and appeals from municipal courts.
Municipal courts, in turn, are courts of first
instance for lesser crimes and minor civil
matters. In addition to these formal components,
Cuba's political system incorporates a number of
"mass organizations" into its processes, such as
the Communist Party, the Young Communist League,
the Cuban Federation of Women, the Association of
Cuban Workers, and the National Association of
Small Farmers.
2. Legal System.
     The Cuban legal system is a composite of the
three major stages of Cuban history. Reflecting
its past as a Spanish colony, Cuba is a civil law
state that emphasizes written codes rather than
precedent as the source of law, and the
utilization of an inquisitorial system of criminal
procedure similar to that of Spain and France.
Intermingled with this are elements of
Anglo-American law such as habeas corpus, and a
greater separation of courts and prosecutors than
is normally characteristic of Marxist-Leninist
states.
     Finally, thirty years of development guided
by Marxist legal theory, and shaped by close ties
to the former Soviet Union have added a clearly
socialist character to the Cuban legal system.
Key elements of Cuba's "socialist legality" are:
(1) an emphasis on substantive rather than
juridical measures of justice, (2) the use of law
as a pro-active tool for socialist development,
(3) limited use of formal legal mechanisms for the
resolution of private disputes, (4) the use of
informal "social courts" to resolve conflicts such
as housing and labor disputes, (5) direct citizen
involvement in the judicial and crime control
procedures, and (6) a system of state-organized
law collectives to provide low-cost legal services
nationwide.
3. History of the Criminal Justice System.
     The modern history of Cuba began when
Christopher Columbus claimed the island for the
King of Spain in 1492. For the next 400 years
Cuba remained a Spanish colony. In the mid-19th
century, Cuban nationalists began a series of
armed struggles for Cuban independence, which
eventually led to the defeat of the Spaniards in
1899. The United States became involved in the
Cuban war of independence during its last days.
Consequently, through the settlement of the
Spanish-American war, the United States obtained a
peace treaty that effectively transferred
sovereignty over Cuba from Spain to the United
States.
     For the next 60 years U.S. business and
financial interests dominated the Cuban economy.
Several U.S. military incursions in the early part
of the 20th century insured governments hospitable
to these interests, as well as U.S. security
interests. On January 1, 1959, a revolutionary
movement led by Fidel Castro toppled the former
U.S.-supported government of Fulengcio Batista,
beginning a process that led to the transformation
of Cuba into a socialist, planned-economy state.
The post revolutionary era in Cuba can be divided
into four periods. The first period,
extending from 1959 to the early 1970s, was
characterized by revolutionary experimentation
in all areas of social organization, including
government management and control of production
and distribution. The most notable experiment
within the justice system during this time was the
creation of Peoples' Courts (tribunales de base).
These courts emphasized informal procedures, and
utilized ordinary citizens as lay prosecutors, lay
advocates, and lay judges rather than filling
these positions with formally trained jurists.
     The second major period of the revolution
began in the early 1970s, and was characterized
by institutionalization of the new economic and
political order. This included the passage of a
new Cuban constitution, reorganization of most
administrative structures, and replacing the
pre-revolutionary legal system with one more
suited to the ideology and practice of a socialist
political economy.
     In 1973, the Cuban government promulgated a
new Law of Judicial Organization. This law
established a hierarchical and more formal court
system, replaced the private practice of law with
law collectives known as bufetes colectivos, and
strengthened the emphasis on "socialist legality."
This period was also marked by increasingly close
relations with the Soviet Union, and increased
economic dependence on COMECON - the trading bloc
of socialist nations.
     The mid-1980s initiated a period focused on
"rectification" of earlier errors. One component
of this era was passage of a new penal code that
decriminalized a number of political offenses,
reduced penalties for crimes overall, and
instituted a broader range of alternatives to
incarceration. In the early 1990s Cuba's
socialist trading partners disappeared with the
collapse of the Soviet bloc, ushering in an era of
economic contraction termed the "special period"
by the nation's leaders. In an effort to find
alternative routes to continued socialist
development, the Cuban government legalized the
use of foreign currency by citizens and
liberalized laws governing foreign investment.
CRIME
1. Classification of Crime.
* Legal classification. Under Cuban law, an act
is a crime only if it is prohibited by the law and
is socially dangerous or harmful (socialimente
peligrosa). Violations of law that do not rise to
the necessary level of social harm are considered
to be infractions (contravenciones), that is, a
noncriminal citation offense.
     Crimes in Cuba are divided into felony and
misdemeanor offenses. Felony crimes are those
with a potential sentence exceeding one year
imprisonment or a fine of more than 300 cuotas.
(Cuotas are units of a fine that have variable
value.  Thus, one person may be subject to a fine
of 100 cuotas at one peso each while another may 
be subject to the same fine but at a rate of two
pesos per cuota.)  Offenses that meet this
standard are prosecuted in provincial courts. 
Less serious misdemeanor offenses are adjudicated
in municipal courts and carry maximum penalties
below the one-year/300-cuota level.
     Felony-equivalent crimes in Cuba encompass a
standard array of offenses against persons or
property including murder, rape, assault, death or
injury by vehicle, robbery, burglary, larceny,
vehicle theft, arson, and drug trafficking.
Except for murder, rape, and robbery, each of
these offenses also has a less serious,
misdemeanor equivalent.
     In addition to standard crimes against
persons, property and social order, the Cuban
penal code enumerates various offenses against
socialist organization. Central among these are
misuse of employment in a state enterprise for
illegal personal gain (malversacion), obtaining
money or property illegally channeled from some
state economic venture (receptacion), trading in
foreign currency (trafico de divisas), slaughter
and distribution of livestock outside the
socialist distribution system (sacrificio ilegal),
and attempting to leave the country without
complying with formal emigration requirements
(salida ilegal). Rather than being occasional
crimes, these offenses constitute a regular part
of the criminal case load in Cuba.
* Age of criminal responsibility. The age of
criminal responsibility in both municipal and
provincial courts is 16, which corresponds to
the Cuban voting age.
* Drug offenses. Cuba's drug prohibition is broad
and nonspecific. Under Cuban law it is a felony
to produce, sell, or possess with intent to sell
any "toxic drug, or hallucinogenic, hypnotic, or
narcotic substance, or any other substance with a
similar effect." The penalty for this offense is
3 to 8 years of imprisonment. Simple
possession of illegal drugs is punishable by 6
months to 2 years imprisonment.
2. Crime Statistics
     The number and rate for serious crimes are
reported by police investigators to the Office of
the Attorney General in Cuba for 1988. Attempts
are included only where they are crimes in
themselves such as attempted sexual assault. The
rates are based on population projections from the
Attorney General of Cuba, May 1989.
* Murder. Information not obtained.
* Rape. Information not obtained.
* Theft. In 1988, there were 6,531 cases of theft
recorded by police investigators for a rate of 62
per 100,000 population.
* Serious drug offense. Information not
obtained.
* Crime regions. Crime rates in Cuba are
substantially higher in the island's two main
cities, Havana and Santiago de Cuba, than
elsewhere.
VICTIMS
1. Groups Most Victimized by Crime.
     There is little survey data available on
victimization in Cuba. Ethnographic and anecdotal
evidence, however, suggest that there are no clear
patterns of victimization by racial or ethnic
background. Over 500 years of interracial contact
between the descendants of Spanish colonists and
African slaves have produced a relatively
homogeneous Afro-Caribbean society in which social
differentiation stretches along a continuum rather
than being constituted by sharp lines demarcating
races or cultures.
     Despite this homogenization, there is some
over-representation of darker-skinned Cubans in
the lower-income sectors of the society, and some
indication that these Cubans may suffer slightly
higher victimization rates for interpersonal
violence and minor theft. Women in Cuba, as in
many areas around the world, are victims of both
rape and domestic violence. The recorded
frequency of such offenses in Cuba, however,
appears to be lower than for both the United
States and Latin America.
2. Victims' Assistance Agencies.
     The primary institutions for assisting
victims of crimes are the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution (CDRs). The CDRs are
block-level neighborhood associations that
offer various forms of social support to
neighborhood residents, in addition to engaging in
crime prevention and political vigilance. Victims
of crime can obtain medical care, social welfare
assistance, and/or counseling services from one of
Cuba's nationwide system of neighborhood
"polyclinics."
3. Role of Victim in Prosecution and Sentencing.
      There are no special roles for victims
during prosecution or sentencing, other than
providing evidence and testimony during
adjudication.
4. Victims' Rights Legislation.
     There is no specific victims' rights
legislation in Cuba.
POLICE
1. Administration.
     Policing in Cuba is organized under the
auspices of the Ministry of the Interior (MINIT),
which is directly responsible to the Council of
State. The MINIT is divided into three
directorates: Security, Technical Operations, and
Internal Order and Crime Prevention. The Internal
Order and Crime Prevention Section is subdivided
into subdirectorates for corrections, fire
protection, and policing.
     The subdirectorate for policing is
responsible for the National Revolutionary Police
(PNR). The PNR encompasses uniform policing,
criminal investigation, crime prevention, juvenile
delinquency, and traffic control. The PNR is
divided into municipal divisions, each with its
own police chief. These local police agencies are
responsible to the national directorate of the
PNR, through a hierarchical structure that
incorporates provincial levels of oversight.
     The Security division of MINIT is responsible
for policing crimes such as espionage, sabotage
and other offenses against the state security.
The Ministry of the Interior and the National
Revolutionary Police have been closely integrated
with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) since
the revolutionary victory of 1959.
     In addition to formal policing by the PNR,
the Cuban system of control utilizes the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR)
as auxiliary eyes and ears of the police.
The CDR maintains nightly neighborhood watches
known as la guardia to prevent crime. They deal
with juvenile deviance and assist crime victims.
The CDR is also responsible for promoting
compliance with a variety of non-criminal
requirements such as water and electricity
conservation, pet inoculation, and public health
requirements. Active CDR members (cederistas) may
also provide the police or MINIT with information
about activities they consider suspicious or
deviant.
2. Resources.
* Expenditures. Information not obtained.
* Number of police. Information not obtained.
3. Technology.
* Availability of police automobiles. Police in
major cities patrol both in cars and on foot. In
larger cities such as Havana there is a fairly
high prevalence of police cars.
* Electronic equipment. Cuban police utilize radio
communications for dispatch, but computerized
dispatching and computerized record keeping are
still in the development stages.
* Weapons. Cuban police are typically armed with
a semi-automatic pistol and a baton. Other
weapons such as assault rifles, shotguns and other
anti-personnel ordnance are not available.
4. Training and Qualifications. Information not
obtained.
5. Discretion.
* Use of force. Police may use necessary force to
apprehend suspects and to defend their person or
that of any other citizen.
* Stop/apprehend a suspect. Cuban law places few
formal limits on police discretion to stop or
interrogate citizens. This reflects Cuba's
character as a civil law state with an
inquisitorial judicial system. A central
juridical assumption of this system is that no
criminal case exists until an initial
investigation (fase preparatoria) has demonstrated
that a crime has been committed, and that a
particular person is the probable offender.
Consequently, because there is no formal criminal
case, the argument claims that citizens have
little need for procedural protection at this
stage of the investigative process.
     A planned revision of the Cuban law of penal
procedure will permit attorneys to enter cases as
soon as an individual has been arrested or is
the target of an investigation. This change will
constitute a significant move away from a pure
inquisitorial criminal process.
* Decision to arrest. Because arrests are usually
part of the pre-case, investigative stage, the
warrant procedure characteristic of Anglo-American
legal systems is not part of the Cuban penal
process.
* Search and seizure. The Cuban constitution
requires that warrants be obtained from a court in
order to conduct a home search. Warrants must
specify the place to be searched and the nature of
the material being sought.
     A warrant is not necessary, however, if a
domicile is also the scene of the crime. In this
case, procedural law permits investigators to
search the premises and to remove any items deemed
as evidence.
* Confessions. Cuban procedural law prohibits
violence or force in obtaining a confession, and
specifies that no one is required to testify
against him or herself. Suspects can make whatever
formal statements they wish regarding the charges
against them, including confessions of guilt.
These statements are made orally, and then
presented in writing to the suspect for signature.
Minors under the age of 16 can only make these
statements in the presence of parents or other
legal guardians.
     While criminal suspects can confess guilt,
they cannot be convicted solely on the basis of a
confession. Rather, Cuban law requires that all
criminal cases be proven at trial utilizing
evidence beyond the suspect's statement of guilt.
6. Accountability.
     There are no formal "watchdog" or
citizen-review bodies devoted specifically to
overseeing police in Cuba.
PROSECUTORIAL AND JUDICIAL PROCESS
1. Rights of the Accused.
* Accused persons have the right to a trial by a
judicial panel. For felony-equivalent cases heard 
in provincial courts, these panels consist of five
judges, three of whom are trained jurists with law
degrees, and two of whom are citizens chosen to 
serve as lay judges. Less serious criminal 
offenses are adjudicated by municipal court panels
consisting of one jurist and two lay judges.
* Assistance to the accused. Cuban defendants
have the right to a defense counsel. A nationwide
system of law collectives (bufetes colectivos) are
designed to provide public access to legal counsel
at state-set fees.
2. Procedures.
* Preparatory procedures for bringing a suspect to
trial. During the fase preparatoria, police
investigators and/or prosecutors assemble a body
of evidence and witnesses. If this evidence is
deemed sufficient, the prosecutor issues the
equivalent of a bill of indictment (conclusiones
provisionales). This document is sent to the
court of first instance and to the accused's
defense attorney, if one has been identified at
that time.
* Official who conducts prosecution. If a case is
a felony equivalent the prosecution normally will
be represented by a prosecutor (fiscal) from the
provincial office of the attorney-general during
trial. If it is a misdemeanor-equivalent offense,
prosecution is most often represented by a police
investigator.
* Alternatives to trial. At this time there are
no alternatives, such as plea bargaining, to the
requirement that all crimes be adjudicated at
trial.
* Proportion of prosecuted cases going to trial.
All crimes must be adjudicated at trial.
* Pre-trial incarceration conditions.  Cuban
procedural law specifies that police cannot detain
a suspect longer than 24 hours without submitting
the case to an investigator. The investigator in
turn must submit the case to the scrutiny of a
prosecutor within 3 working days. The
prosecutor's office then has a maximum of 3
working days within which to either release
the suspect or submit to judicial review the plan
to keep the suspect in custody until trial. This
review must be made by the court that will
adjudicate the case.  The court is required to
either approve detention or order release within
3 days, and its decision is final.
     According to law, in felony cases, pre-trial
incarceration (prision provisional) is supposed to
be limited to those who have committed crimes that
caused public fear (murder, rape, robbery), who 
are suspected of multiple offenses, or who may
flee prosecution. Pretrial incarceration is
deemed inappropriate in all misdemeanor cases
unless the person has produced false
identification or given indications of imminent
flight from prosecution.
* Bail Procedure. Defendants may be released
on bail pending trial to the oversight of a work
place, a union, or other recognized social
organization, or on their own recognizance.
* Proportion of pre-trial offenders incarcerated.
A 1988 study of 982 defendants served by a law
collective in Havana revealed that 35% were
incarcerated at the time of indictment. (Crime
specific rates of detention ranged from 61% for 
felony property crimes to 33% for felony offenses 
against state security and 19% for traffic
offenses leading to death or injury.  Felony
crimes against the economy had a pre-trial
detention rate of 40%.)
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
1. Administration.
     The Cuban court system consists of a Supreme
Court, Provincial Courts, Municipal Courts, and
Military Courts. The Supreme Court is subdivided
into areas of responsibility (salas) for penal,
civil and administrative, labor, state security,
and military cases. Provincial courts are
similarly divided, with the exclusion of a
military sala. There is no formal division of
Municipal Courts into jurisdictional areas,
although larger municipal courts may subdivide
into sections with specific responsibilities.
2. Special Courts.
     There are no special courts other than the
divisions described above. All family matters
such as divorce, custody, and child support are
handled in the general civil sala of provincial
courts. Juvenile problems that are not crimes are
handled outside the formal court structure.
3. Judges.
* Number of judges. Information not obtained.
* Appointment and qualifications. Information not
obtained.
PENALTIES AND SENTENCING
1. Sentencing Process.
* Who determines the sentence?  Sentences are
determined by the same judicial panel that heard
testimony and determined guilt.
* Is there a special sentencing hearing?  In
municipal courts, sentences are almost always
dictated at the time of trial. Sentences for
felony offenses adjudicated in provincial courts
may be dictated at the time of the trial, but are
more often issued several weeks after the trial.
     Cuban law requires that all criminal cases
be completed within 6 months after the initial
indictment is issued.  One study found that
although about 20% of cases exceed this limit
to some degree, over 90% of all cases were
completed within 8 months of indictment.
     Cuban judicial procedure does not separate
assessment of the facts of a case from
consideration of the character of the accused.
Trial and pre-trial documents as well as in-court
testimony normally incorporate information
concerning the social character, work history,
personal associations, and prior criminal record
of the defendant, which judges then incorporate
into their sentencing decisions. Consequently,
there are no special sentencing hearings, and no
formal procedures for gathering pre-sentencing
information beyond what is revealed at trial.
* Which persons have input into the sentencing
process?  Information not obtained.
2. Types of Penalties.
* Range of penalties. In 1988, the Cuban Penal
Code delineated the following range of sentences:
execution, incarceration, correctional labor with
confinement to the work site, correctional labor
without confinement, probation, fines, and
public chastisement (la amonestacion).
     Prison sentences for serious crimes range
from 15 to 20 years for first degree murder to 2 
to 5 years for offenses such as trafficking in
foreign currency and burglary of an uninhabited
dwelling. The sentences for some misdemeanor
crimes can extend beyond the maximum one year
incarceration that distinguishes them from felony
offenses. For instance, simple possession of
illegal drugs or second degree theft can carry a
penalty of 6 months to 2 years of incarceration.
The jurisdictional level in these cases is
determined by the level of the penalty sought by
the prosecutor.
* Death penalty. The death penalty is reserved
for "heinous" crimes such as multiple murders,
murder of a child, murder associated with torture,
or for treason. Execution is by firing squad.
Persons who were under the age of 20 or pregnant
at the time of the offense or at the time of
sentencing cannot be subject to the death penalty.
PRISON
1. Description.
* Number of prisons and type. The Cuban penal
system consists of prisons and granjas. Prisons
are fenced and sometimes walled facilities,
especially in the case of older prisons. Granjas
are open farms without gates or fences. Granjas
house offenders convicted of relatively minor
offenses, while prisons are reserved largely for
felony-equivalent violators. Separate school-like
facilities are maintained for delinquents under
the age of 16.
* Number of prison beds. Information not
obtained.
* Number of annual admissions. Information not
obtained.
* Average daily population/number of prisoners.
By 1990, the prison population in Cuba had dropped
to around 19,000 as a result of the liberalized
penal code that went into effect in 1988. This
number yields a rate of imprisonment of
approximately 190 per 100,000 population.
* Actual or estimated proportions of inmates
incarcerated. Information not obtained.
2. Administration.
* Administration. Cuban prisons are administered
nationwide through the Penal Directorate of the
Ministry of Justice.
* Number of prison guards. Information not
obtained.
* Training and qualifications. Information not
obtained.
* Expenditure on prison system. Information not
obtained. 
3. Prison Conditions.
* Remissions. Information not obtained.
* Work/education. Cuban inmates are expected to
complete the equivalent of a high school degree if
they do not have one. If they do not have a trade,
they are expected to learn one.
     Inmates not involved in an educational
program are expected to work. Prisoners are paid
the same wage for their work in prison that they
would receive on the outside. They are expected
to contribute one-third of this income to their
upkeep in prison, the remainder is devoted to
supporting any dependents, and for assorted
purchases in prison.
* Amenities/privileges. Cuban inmates receive
medical care comparable to that outside the
prison. Both male and female prisoners are
permitted conjugal visits from formal or
common-law spouses approximately every 2 months.
The actual number of visits may be increased or
decreased according to conduct.
EXTRADITION AND TREATIES
* Extradition. Cuban citizens cannot be
extradited for crimes committed in other
countries. Non-Cubans can be extradited for
crimes committed in other countries in accordance
with bi-lateral extradition treaties.
* Exchange and transfer of prisoners. Information
not obtained.  
* Specified conditions. As an expression of
Cuba's socialist and "anti-imperialist" ideology,
Cuban law specifies that anyone sought for an
offense related to "fighting imperialism,
colonialism, neo-colonialism, fascism, racism or
for defending the democratic principles or rights
of working people" cannot be extradited.
In 1993, Cuba returned two drug traffickers
caught in Cuban waters to the United States to
stand trial. This was viewed by many as marking a
new era of cooperation between the United States
and Cuba in the war against drug traffic in the
Caribbean.
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Ray Michalowski
Professor and Chair
Department of Criminal Justice
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 15005
Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5005
United States
Tel: 602-523-9519



 

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