Rene Gómez Manzano on the Politics of Normalization Within Cuba


René Gómez Manzano is a lawyer and an independent journalist in Cuba who writes original and provocative commentary on issues of interest to those who follow events in Cuba. The following was recently published on on the internal politics of normalization with the United States.  What is interesting is the Cuban perspectives on the management of internal dialogue within Cuba and its outward effects.  While there are strong differences of views, it indicates that on some level there is something of a discussion going on in Cuba with respect to normalization, and that, indeed, for Cuba, this is a critical event, for which the consequences of failure may be quite large.

Gómez Manzano’s essay, Un lamento Cubano, follows:


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Fri, April 10 2015 » Cuba, Latin America, Latino Media » Comments Off



René Gómez Manzano is a lawyer and an independent journalist in Cuba who writes original and provocative commentary on issues of interest to those who follow events in Cuba. The following was recently published on on the electoral law.  It suggests the difficulties of harmonizing the foundational elements of Leninist vanguard party theory with notions of western style elections, and more interestingly, the difficulty of aggregating the two models without a fiorm grounding in theory and a firm consensus on objectives.

This post includes a short essay: Ley electoral: ¿Un cambio político real?


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Thu, March 5 2015 » Cuba, Elections and Voting, Latin America » Comments Off

Assistant Professor Stephen Richardson (Indiana Tech Law): Deportation Protections Halted by Federal Judge

Yesterday, Feb 16, 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling and injunction staying the Department of Homeland Security from implementing the planned Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful permanent Residents. This ruling does not prohibit or affect the base program for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but does prevent its expansion, which was issued in the same memorandum. The court issued a temporary stay, meaning that the program is on hold pending a resolution of the case. The program was not declared unconstitutional or even illegal; the court simply will not permit it to go forward until a decision on its legality can be made. This means that currently the only relief available from President Obama’s immigration actions is the DACA program as it was originally created in 2012.

It should be noted that even with DACA, a person does not obtain legal status. The program only provides “lawful presence,” meaning a person is determined not to be unlawfully present under the Immigration and Nationality Act, but only for the period that they have DACA. It also offers the opportunity to apply for a work permit. DACA does not grant amnesty; it does not grant a visa or lawful status. It only provides “lawful presence.” The expansion of DACA and the creation of DAPA would have expanded those meager benefits to many more people, but they would not have granted anything beyond those rights.

Much of the decision revolved issues of standing, whether the plaintiffs can actually bring suit, and procedural requirements under the APA, the administrative Procedures act. The court determined that the plaintiffs, 26 of the states, would suffer harm in the form of increased costs relating to provision of services such as issuance of driver’s licenses. Further the court ruled that Homeland Security should have used a particular formal procedure for issuing rules rather than implementing the program via a memorandum.

This ruling comes as no surprise, given that Judge Hanen has been highly critical of how the government enforces immigration. His decision in Nava-Martinez has been widely read as an invitation for litigation to prevent DHS from employing prosecutorial discretion in such a manner, and this is probably why the case was filed in that particular location. It is expected that the government will appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over cases from Texas.

The widely criticized move has triggered a fight in Congress to prevent any actions by the President ant to “repeal” DACA by cutting off funding for DHS. However, since most of DHS is considered essential, those functions would still be required and employees would still have to report to work despite not being paid. CIS, which is responsible for the issuance of work permits, would similarly be unaffected as the vast majority of its funding comes from fees, and not congressional disbursements. It is unclear how or if this ruling or possible appeal would affect that debate in Congress.


[1]Texas v. U.S., No. B-14-254, 2015 WL 2015 WL 648579 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 16, 2015).

[1] U.S. v. Nava-Martinez, No. B–13–441–1, 2013 WL 8844097 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 13, 2013).


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Thu, February 19 2015 » immigrants, Immigration Law » Comments Off

René Gómez Manzano on the State of U.S. Cuba Normalization Negotiations–Los Detalles del Diablo

René Gómez Manzano is a lawyer and an independent journalist in Cuba who writes original and provocative commentary on issues of interest to those who follow events in Cuba. The following was recently published on on the state of normalization negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba.  It is an interesting perspective well worth thinking through.



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Mon, February 9 2015 » Cuba, Latin America, Legal Development » Comments Off

New book on Fidel Castro’s Agricultural Policies by Jose Alvarez

Jose Alvarez has produced a new book on Cuban agricultural policy, “Fidel Catro’s Agricultural Follies: Absurdity, Waste and Parasitism.” It is dedicated to G.B. Jerry Hagelberg (1925-2011) whose worked extensively in this field for many years.   Specifics about the work follows:


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Tue, January 13 2015 » Cuba, education » Comments Off

On U.S.–Cuba Normalization

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2015)
The folks over at Opinio Juris were kind to invite me to guest post recently.  The essay–On Cuban Normalization (Jan. 5, 2015)–can be accessed HERE.
Here is the opening paragraph:
On December 17, 2014, the Presidents of the United States of America and of the Republic of Cuba announced an intention to move toward the normalization of relations between their countries. The two statements reflected the quite distinct conceptual frameworks from which they originated, and the aspirations and tastes of the elites whose approvals were a necessary predicate for such action. These frameworks can coexist unchanged only in the abstract, and are well reflected in the Presidential statements. Yet both views are so distorted by their own ideological self-references that each continues to evidence both the self-destructiveness and the irrelevance that has marked the policy of each against the other since the early 1960s.

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Tue, January 6 2015 » Cuba, Latin America » Comments Off

An Astonishing Surprise: U.S. Cuba-Relations

Throughout the media arrived the astonishing news that the United States  and Cuba are seeking talks to normalize relations between both nations.  Check out the news such as today’s Karen DeYoung’s Washington Post article for updates.

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Wed, December 17 2014 » Latinos in the United States » Comments Off

43 Kidnapped Iguala Students Chasing Justice

On September 26, 2014, students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa were kidnapped in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. Throughout the Americas students have long engaged in activism and in many instances have generated changes.  This particular group of students were seeking to join the protests against Mexican government discriminatory practices that purportedly favored the employment of urban teachers over rural based teachers.

On that horrific day local police not only stopped the students from reaching their destination but eye witness accounts reveal the students were turned over to a local criminal syndicate.  The families of the students remain distraught and the news is extremely disturbing as to what caused the students from reaching their destination.  While the specifics over the students whereabouts are unclear the bottom line is that weeks later the students remain missing with some evidence suggesting they were murdered.  One recent discovery of charred remains found at a ”dump” and river in Guerrero is for example suspected of being the remains of the students but DNA confirmation is not yet forthcoming.    Their families are standing strong in the belief that their sons are still alive and loudly declare that: “They took them alive, we want them back alive!”

Additional evidence reveal a broad realm of entanglements between governmental actors and crime lords such as the recent arrest of the Iguala mayor and his wife for allegedly orchestrating the kidnappings.   Further arrests have also followed but the families insist that more needs to be done to expose the entanglements between the criminal sector and the Mexican government.  Supporting the families anguish and revealing the broad nature of their assertions are the multiple reports of “recently discovered” mass graves of murdered individuals.   Newspaper accounts report that since the 2006 more than 20,000 individuals have disappeared and that estimate does not include the 100,000 homicides in the country.   Who those victims were and the circumstances of their deaths underscores the relationship between local police and the drug kings of the region.  The disappearance and deaths of the women near Juarez and the lack of concrete arrests also remind us of the failure of the government to keep its residents safe.   The aggregate of such heinous disregard for the value of human life  not only haunts the local community but underscores the reign of terror that is compelling the recent insurgency seen throughout Mexico and the world.

At a recent  press conference Mexico’s attorney general ended his announcement regarding the discovery of the charred remains with the phrase “Ya me canse” suggesting that he is tired and done with the issue of the missing students.   Immediately and worldwide activists began adding  Ya Me Canse De Tener Miedo (I’m tired of being afraid) with yet additional new word phrased endings protesting against the Mexican policies that fail to stop the disappearances and deaths.  Mexico residents are tired of being afraid and dealing with corrupt politicians and irreconcilable policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the working poor and are not hesitating to demonstrate their anger and frustration.   Since the press conference, the door to the National Palace was set on fire with the growing anguish, indignation and increasing activism seeking change in Mexico.  Protests, music, letters, global actions, vigils, road closing and other actions involving tens of thousands of protestors  are erupting not only in Mexico but across the globe and will not cease until the students return alive to their anxious families.  As one protester reacting to criticism of such protests stated: “we will not give up this fight.”

This post joins those protests.  Student activism is critical and has resulted in changes across the country both in Mexico and the United States.   Their activism show moreover that now more than ever both nations have to facilitate agreements and concretely end the reign of terror and the governmental actions that protect crime/drug lords and gangs at the expense of peaceful people.


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Tue, November 18 2014 » Latinos in the United States, Mexico » Comments Off

René Gómez Manzano: “La Apuesta del New York Times” . . . . on the Cuban 5 and Alan Gross

René Gómez Manzano is a lawyer and an independent journalist in Cuba who writes original and provocative commentary on issues of interest to those who follow events in Cuba. The following was recently published on on the extremely sensitive subject of the imprisonment of the “Cuban 5” by U.S. authorities after conviction on espionage charges and on the imprisonment of Alan Gross by Cuban authorities on espionage and related charges.  It is reproduced in full (in Spanish) below.  Agree or disagree, the essay is worth reading.


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Fri, November 7 2014 » Cuba, Latin America, Latinos in the United States, noteworthy » Comments Off

Undocumented Dreams!

Over 20 years waiting for this day. I never thought I would have to live in limbo for so long. To be quite honest I often questioned if I would be able to endure this bar-less prison, but today is a new day. Today the sun is shining bright, the birds are singing and I’m crying and silently screaming, free at last, free at last, I am finally free, Thank God. No more watching over my shoulders as I drive. No more lying to my friends about why I can’t go with them to the bars.
Now I can finally apply for any job I want, with confidence, knowing I have all the documents they require. No more placing my whole life on hold, it’s time to dream again, to plan for my future. My wings are finally free, I can finally travel across the world as I have always wanted. I finally have the smallest documents that make the biggest difference, a driver’s license and a passport. I no longer have to fear the airport.
Today is undoubtedly the best day of my life, Suddenly, I wake up and with tears in my eyes I realize, it was a dream, it was only a dream.

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Tue, October 14 2014 » Latinos in the United States » 7 Comments