Cuban lawyers denounce link between ETECSA and State Security

(Photo Periódico Guerrillero)

MIAMI, United States. – According to Radio y Televisión Martí, several Cuban jurists rejected Thursday the continuous interventions of the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) in the privacy of the island’s users.

On this occasion, the lawyers have denounced the flagrant violations of contract and constitutional faults incurred by the state monopoly when it interrupts the service of its clients by orders of the State Security.

“As they usually do, they cut my phone and my wife’s, and when I went to complain to ETECSA, the person in the office put my number on the computer and the phone miraculously resurrected,” lawyer and independent journalist Alberto Méndez Castelló told Radio Martí.

In this sense, the jurist points out that it is the current Constitution itself (1976) that, in its article 57, defends the right to communication, a maxim that was endorsed in article 50 of the new Magna Carta.

Likewise, Méndez Castelló also points out that article 289 of the Cuban Penal Code penalizes this procedure, carried out by the commissioners of the political police.

Código penal de Cuba Penal Code of Cuba (Screenshot)

“Anyone who, without being authorized, opens a letter, telegram, dispatch or any correspondence belonging to another is punished with a deprivation of liberty of three months to one year or a fine of one hundred to three hundred quotas”, the aforementioned article states, adding that if the crime is committed by a public official or employee, with abuse of office, the sanction is deprivation of liberty of six months to two years or a fine of two hundred to five hundred quotas.

“No state has the right to penetrate, to know – if not by a court order, and duly substantiated – communications, because they are part of people’s private lives,” explained also lawyer and independent journalist Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces.

ETECSA’s repeated failure to respect users’ privacy and guarantee the quality of services has also been denounced by the Cuban Human Rights Observatory, based in Madrid.

For this reason, the organization requested the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, Joseph Cannataci, to intervene on “illegal actions that violate the right to privacy and inviolability of communications” in Cuba.