Havana’s Airport Director is a Counterrevolutionary and Doesn’t Know it

August 11, 2014 | Print Print |

Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno

Terminal 3 of Havana’s Jose Marti Airport.  Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Practically everyone has heard about the new regulation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport which forbids those who accompany travelers to the airport from entering the premises. I know the restriction applies to accompanying persons who are Cuban, and I wonder whether foreigners who arrive at the airport to see off or welcome someone are treated the same way. The fact of the matter is that the airport director himself arrogantly gave statements to the newspapers to “explain” the unpopular measure.

What many, including the airport director in question, have ignored, is that, with his statements, he is confessing to one of the most blatant violations of Cuba’s constitutional legality of recent history. Having a court institute proceedings against him may require something as simple as a citizen approaching a law firm with a copy of the newspaper article.

Well, not only the article. Our hypothetical citizen with civic concerns would also have to take a copy of the Cuban constitution, the one currently in effect, approved in 1976, reformed in the 1990s and revised again in the 2000s. Someone will probably point out the constitution has been abused and violated by the Cuban government itself whenever it saw fit to do so, but perhaps an inattentive court may take it seriously.

The court would then have to be made aware of Article 43, which, clear as day, establishes that “the State enshrines the right, secured by the revolution, of citizens to access, without discriminatory distinctions and in accordance with their merits, all positions and jobs, to be promoted to all positions, to access to all schools and health institutions and to be offered services at all restaurants and other public establishments.”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, within the now restricted area inside the Jose Marti International Airport, there are several eating establishments and souvenir shops that fit the above description – and the airport director has denied Cubans access to these places, without even setting up a side entrance and exit to safeguard this constitutional right. As such, the airport director is an enemy of the State (which has committed to guaranteeing that right) and a counterrevolutionary as well, for he is denying his compatriots rights which the constitution enshrines as achievements of the revolution.

It’s true that whoever denied run-of-the-mill Cubans access to hotels some time ago freely walks the streets today. As I said just now, our hope lies with a court made up of young people who do not remember those days, who still believe that the Constitution (and the rights it enshrines) is one of the things we ought to defend still, be it from imperialism or a local despot who feels they have the power to trample on those blessed rights. Our hope also lies with a larger (albeit slower) court, that of the country’s eleven million Cubans, who will give such despots their due sooner or later.


What's your opinion?

  • Donovan

    There are airports all over the world that don’t allow access to those not actually flying I have just flown out of Manila which is like this.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      If Manila is equally stupid that does not answer the questions I posed. I too have flown from airports around the world and most of them pride themselves on providing service. I don’t know If you know Jose Marti Airport, if you do, you will be aware that providing access to the cafe on the ground floor provides no threat to access to passenger areas. The State needs the revenues from all the cheese and ham sandwiches it can sell!

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    In January 2014, I arranged to hire a car from Cubacar at Jose Marti Airport. Four of us were travelling together. My wife, a Cuban citizen, my daughter and grand-daughter both British citizens and myself, a Canadian citizen. When we tried to collect the car, we were told that it required cleaning but that there wasn’t any water so we would have to wait and the Cubacar representative suggested that we should go to the cafe in the airport (ground level) and wait there. The four of us did so and when there each ordered the sole item on the menu – inevitably a bogodito (sandwich) of ham and cheese each at CUC3.60. One hour later the Cubacar representative arrived to tell us that the car was now ready as they had obtained some water.Whereas the web site had described the car as “VW or similar” we actually recived the worst hire car I have ever experienced. This was a piece of JUNK, named a Geely.
    I suppose that now, we would be refused the luxury described or create an international incident. Where would we wait for Cubacar to obtain water with which to wash the JUNK? Would my daughter and grand-daughter along with myself be allowed the luxury of a Jose Marti bogadito while my wife being Cuban waited outside in the heat? Or would all four of us be declared undesirables and have to wait outside?
    One grows accustomed to the continual stupidity of Cuban regulations, but for those who do not regularly experience it, it only serves to make Cuba and its associated regulations (with varying interpretations) a laughing stock.