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Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

Squatting Isn’t a Crime

June 15, 2012 | Print Print |

Dmitri Prieto

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban TV surprised me again, this time with a report on Spain. It was about people there who sometimes have to commit a crime: the illegal occupation of dwellings.

In that country some splendid buildings are constructed, but they sit empty. These are apartments that are yet to be sold. There’s a crisis.

Members of the organization “Unxs sin-casa” occupy these structures.

In its report, the television repeats that they’re committing a crime.

Are they really committing a crime?

My friend Tato Quiñones has a perfect phrase for this. He says, “It’s not legal, but it’s legitimate.”

A nineteenth century Cuban priest — Felix Varela (who incidentally was elected a deputy before the Spanish Courts and had to flee after being sentenced to death for advocating the overthrow of the King) — came up with an even stronger phrase: “An unjust law is not a law.”

With their televised rigidity, does someone want to make us seem even more like the Spanish government?

 


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    I think I saw the same report on TVE. Has Cuban television no shame. These “squatters” were moving into spanking brand new but as yet unsold high value apartments. The squatters in Cuba doing the same thing are moving into largely uninhabitable (at least for human beings) dwellings and still being evicted. How could Cuban TV, with a straight face, deign to criticize these Spaniards when Cubans are doing the same thing but under deplorable conditiions. Incredible!

    • Paul Greene

      Always good to read Dmitri, if not the comments.