Learning About Cuba's Legal System

In addition to isolating Cuba from global markets and other communities, the U.S. embargo has kept U.S. lawyers and legal academics from learning about the island's legal institutions. Elsewhere I have elaborated on these difficulties. Reveling in disregard of plain facts, some in Miami say "there's no law in Cuba." This child-like statement is simply not true.

Those whose professional activities include Latin American legal systems, international law, or comparative study don't have the luxury of ignorance. After D17, it has become easier to close this knowledge gap. Two professional associations, in particular, run excellent legal programs on Cuba's legal system - the Unión de Juristas de Cuba and the Organización Nacional de Bufetes Colectivos.

Each year, the Unión runs several conferences on criminal law and procedure, family law, arbitration, and commercial themes. This week, I presented at the Unión's annual conference on Women, Gender, and the Law, attended by delegates from the United Nations and jurists from across Latin America.

Those interested in the practice of law should consider attending the ONBC's annual Abogacia conference, held in the fall. Last year, I presented there on banking law and learned much about the nitty-gritty of practicing law in Cuba. I have been able to use these insights in class, in my scholarship, and in service activities. If you practice or teach law, please consider doing the same.