Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

`Highlights' of 7th ANPP Assembly
Havana Cubavision Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000013023
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL2007171590
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-144          Report Date:    26 Jul 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     8
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       19 Jul 90
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 144


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   `Highlights' of 7th ANPP Assembly

Subheadline:   Part 2

Source Line:   FL2007171590 Havana Cubavision Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 19
Jul 90

Subslug:   [Second part in a series of three on ``highlights'' of the Seventh
Session of the Third National Assembly of the People's Government,
ANPP, held at the Palace of Conventions in Havana from 11 to 13

1.  [Second part in a series of three on ``highlights'' of the Seventh Session
of the Third National Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, held at the
Palace of Conventions in Havana from 11 to 13 July--recorded]

2.  [Excerpts] [passage omitted] [Bartolo Dominguez] I agree in principle with
competition for a position. In the long run this will allow for greater
in-depth activity in the legal field and higher quality work in judges.
However, I am concerned about the way in which the competition will take place.
Are we in a position to demand requirements for all promotions and assignments?

3.  [Castro] How much does a judge earn?

4.  [Dominguez] Excuse me?

5.  [Castro] How much does a judge earn?

6.  [Dominguez] The basic wage is 365 pesos in the provinces.

7.  [Castro] How much does an attorney earn in the collective attorney office?

8.  [Dominguez] Currently there is a free-wage system.  There is no ceiling on
what an attorney can earn.

9.  [Castro] How much can one earn?

10.  [Dominguez] Excuse me?

11.  [Castro] How much?

12.  [Dominguez] Now the wage system is somewhat regulated. They can earn 1,000
pesos or more. Now there is some regulation, and even when the free-wage system
is operating, there is a ceiling of 1,500 pesos. But in reality, the way the
wage system is regulated, it is free; they can earn as much as 2,000.

13.  [Castro] Well, who has to explain this? If that is the way the system
works, I do not believe many people can justify it.

14.  [ANPP President Juan Escalona] Excuse me, commander. Following the

15.  [Castro, interrupting] The old and famous little meetings.

16.  [Escalona] A resolution was adopted to draw up a preliminary plan in some
law offices in the country to free the system so attorneys could earn according
to the result of their work. Two factors worked against this experience. The
shortage of attorneys in collective law offices resulted in a high ratio of
clients to attorneys, an excessive number of cases per attorney. This, in turn,
resulted in a lower level of quality in the work of attorneys because the heavy
load keeps them from spending enough time with clients. They could not visit
the clients in prison. So when an attorney attempts to earn a lot of money by
doing poor-quality work, the board of directors of collective law offices
decided to maintain a ceiling of 1,500 pesos per attorney. This was the subject
of a series of serious discussions held by the collective office. This problem
was discussed passionately.

17.  [Castro] So what is it that he is saying? That not a single voluntary
judge is going to be found in the entire country.

18.  [Escalona] Is Comrade Manresa in the audience? He is chairman of the board

19.  [Castro, interrupting] Chairman of what?

20.  [Escalona] Chairman of the board of the collective office.

21.  [Castro] Oh, well.

22.  [Guillermo Manresa] Comrade Commander in Chief, Comrade Assembly President
and Delegates: This problem is not simply an income issue. For everyone's peace
of mind I can tell you that there are only two out of 562 attorneys who are in
this pay system, out of 1,177 attorneys in the country. The difference between
those who are in that pay system and the total number of attorneys is young
attorneys doing their social service and who receive only 198 pesos a month.
This means that not all attorneys receive that astronomical figure.... 
[changes thought] In other words, in relation to the total number of attorneys
who are in the collective law offices, only 0.16 percent could have had--there
are two cases in the country--with an average income of 1,000 pesos.

23.  [Castro] What is the total number of attorneys in the collective offices?

24.  [Manresa] Commander in Chief, 1,177 practicing attorneys. There are 83
attorneys in the position of director.  The director of an office must be an
attorney also. There is talk about pay without a ceiling. From the economic
point of view the pay has no limits, but from the physical and intellectual
point of view, and in view of the professional and human possibilities of the
individual, there is a limit which we are applying. We have adopted measures
regarding the directors. We have to say that an entire group of factors is
being applied in the law offices.  This is why I was saying that we must not
look into the wage system alone.

25.  There are a series of organizational measures. We have set up work teams
in the offices, with five, six, or seven attorneys. Since there are many young
ones who are new and just starting out in the profession, we set up teams that
evaluate. Quality starts with the attorney himself, including the issue of
professional ethics. Another thing we have tried to strengthen is performance
of the profession based on reinforced ethics. In addition, when the issue of
individual awareness, or ethics, fails, it is the team leader, the collective
that exerts control over the work. It is under the control of the director
whose responsibility, for all practical purposes, has been increased. This
includes nonpayment for a case when a series of basic quality requirements for
a trial have not been fulfilled.

26.  Further, I would like to say something about the proportion of the matters
dealt with in the attorneys office.  Everyone thinks of the law office in terms
of crime, of penal matters. We serve 175,000 citizens a year. Of these, 30 or
28 percent are penal matters. The rest are civil cases, such as divorce.

27.  [Castro] How many are divorce cases?

28.  [Manresa] About 35,000 to 37,000 per year.

29.  [Castro] Holy cow! [laughter] Do you get paid for divorce cases? You do.

30.  [Manresa] We have brought our services to isolated municipalities. We
either set up offices there or the lawyer goes there two or three times a week.
We have made it possible for more people to see a lawyer by having evening
hours to make it easier for people not to miss work. We have also adopted other
measures by handling documents for various matters instead of people's having
to go to the registry to look for documents.  To the extent that people have
this service close by, this also makes it possible for those who, for example,
had a parent die and who continued to live at the home. This new situation was
not reported for generations.

31.  The citizens have begun to see that the services to report such matters
have been made easier and a better service is being rendered. This is in spite
of the fact that we still do not have the legal quality we wish, but to the
extent that people see the attorney can solve problems and make things easier,
they will use that service. So, there are a number of factors. There are also
new rules, new legislation.

32.  [Castro] Such as this one.

33.  [Menresa] Yes, all kinds of legislation, such as housing....

34.  [Castro, interrupting] Are you going to ask for more attorneys? Is that
not so? Fewer?

35.  [Manresa] We also have to talk about the appointed defenses under the
responsibility of the organization. No attorney is appointed unless nominated
by an office. The court asks that an office appoint an attorney as a social
service. This situation must be resolved. About 15,000 cases are defended by
appointed attorneys, and at any given moment they are not paid. This service is
identified by many people as a free service.

36.  The comrades who are closer to this matter, the Justice Ministry, the
comrades of state organizations, believe we should find a solution to this. In
our society no one is left unprotected. First of all, if we are talking about a
embezzler, he has enough money to pay a modest fee after he is penalized, if he
ends up being penalized. If not, he works in prison. In reality, about 1.5
million pesos in income is left uncollected. It is not a matter that the
organization does not receive the money for these defense cases by appointment,
but the country does not collect it either. We are talking about some 15,000
pesos per year.

37.  [Castro] This is a good explanation. Now tell us if you think that Comrade
Santiago is correct when he says that no one wants to be a judge.

38.  [Menresa] It is my opinion the type and nature of an attorney's work is
different from that of a judge. I am not saying it has more responsibility.

39.  [Castro] But you are not saying whether or not we are going to have enough

40.  [Menresa] No, I believe that there are many attorneys....  [changes
thought] Regardless of the income and based on personal issues, health,
family.... [changes thought] Many are women. Many lawyers are women, who at one
point in their lives are forced to ....

41.  [Castro, interrupting] Are they forced to be judges or what?

42.  [Menresa] They are restricted to practicing law because of the nature of
the work.

43.  [Castro] Correct. So it is possible that some women can be judges.

44.  [Menresa] Instead of this being an obstacle, I believe that the fact the
position is given by competition will dignify the profession more. A person
will not be a judge just because he was elected. It will be because he competed
for a position, and in addition, was elected. I think there is a series of
measures that will continue to dignify the position of judge. It seems to me
that there are always people who aspire to be a judge, or a prosecutor.

45.  [Escalona] Commander, I am going to request that Comrade Raul Amaro, who
is president of the Supreme People's Tribunal and chief of all of this
country's judges [words indistinct].

46.  [Castro] Who much does the chief of the Supreme Tribunal earn? It is below
40 percent of one of those outstanding attorneys.

47.  [Amaro] Yes, sir.

48.  [Castro] And you would not resign from your post of president of the
Supreme Tribunal to go and work in a collective law office.

49.  [Amaro] No. The assembly would have to remove me.

50.  [Castro] The assembly would have to remove you. All right, we will keep it
in mind to help you, Amaro.  [laughter]

51.  [Amaro] Thanks for the help, but no thanks. Let me stay, as Comrade
Escalona says, in my peaceful tribunal. Look Commander, first of all, when this
competition was first suggested, it was done because everyone who worked in one
way or another on this project felt it would be one step closer to solving the
problem of assessing judges. Over the years and in various reports,
deficiencies in the work were seen.  Many of them were of a technical nature.

52.  I believe that the role of the judge is of such a nature that [words
indistinct] justice affects not only the person involved, for example a penal
case against the accused, a civil suit, etc., but it goes beyond this. It
affects society.  The social effects will be better as the judges' decisions
are more just and of a better quality. We must by all means look for the social
efficiency of the application of law in our country.

53.  How can we say that we are not going to approve the competition system,
which proves the qualifications of an attorney to become judge, because we do
not have judges who want to submit to that? I would think this is because they
do not have the technical qualifications to be judges. It would be better not
to have judges than to have them under these conditions. I believe that we
might think this step is risky, that we are going to have problems, that we are
going to have difficulties in finding them, but I believe it is necessary.

54.  [Castro] You are referring to the technical and moral qualifications.

55.  [Amaro] Yes, that is a given.

56.  [Castro] I even think that with our conditions someone could have less
responsibility and perhaps a better income by being a collective office
attorney than being a judge. You really need to be dedicated to be a judge. 
Someone needs to like the task and ask to judge. The economic incentive is not
there, and it cannot be there.  We cannot give a judge a supersalary like that
of the man earning 1,000 pesos.

57.  What would you do if you were unable to find enough judges?

58.  [Amaro] I would simply have to work with the ones I have. I would rather
work with the ones I have than simply to have people who do not want to be
judges or who are not qualified to be judges. I think it is a matter of honor
and pride that any of us judges in this country are elected by an ANPP to
become judges. That is greater than anything to us. We also have to respond to
the trust placed in us by acting properly. I would tell you that if I was
unable find another judge and the ones I have or the ones our country has are
the current judges, we will have to make do with those until we have judges who
not only have the moral condition and the wish to become a judge, but also the
qualifications so they can properly carry out their responsibilities.

59.  [Olga Lydia Junes] I can assure the ANPP that the economic factor is the
least important one in this transition from attorneys to judges. Ideally, the
collective law office is not the only source for judges. There are legal
advisers in the enterprises who are well-trained. It may be possible that when
the books and programs are published and those people can be trained, they can
aspire to becoming judges.

60.  [Junes] I believe that to look at this problem as a salary problem would
be too simplistic. It involves other things. People should study and aspire to
becoming judges. Within the legal profession, I would say this is the most
honorable occupation and best-recognized from the social viewpoint. It is also
the most important one.

61.  [Castro] More than physicians?

62.  [Junes] More than what?

63.  [Castro] Than physicians.

64.  [Junes] No, Commander. I am comparing the judge with the attorney and the
prosecutor. I would say it is equal to the doctor. A judge that improperly
sends a man to serve six months of imprisonment does the same thing as a doctor
who kills a patient through malpractice. This is why we have to aspire to have
good judges who are capable of ....

65.  [Castro, interrupting] You are saying that the profession of judge has
great social prestige. This is what you are saying.

66.  [Junes] Yes.

67.  [Castro] I agree. I agree that they have social prestige and a very
important responsibility. It can even become greater. I thought that you were
comparing attorneys in general. Attorneys have not gained as much social
prestige as those in other professions. The attorney has always been seen as a
briefless lawyer. This is not the case with our lawyers. I do not have this
opinion of our lawyers. Much less when I have had contacts with law students. I
thought they were very good people. Fine, the point brought up by Bartolo has
been discussed. I do not think we need to discuss it further. We need to submit
this to the sovereign assembly. [passage omitted]

68.  It is not a matter of the thief, the one that broke in and robbed. It is a
matter of managers or workers in the units. Of course, the main responsibility
for whatever happens in one of those places lies with the chief, even when he
supervises only three people. There is always an accomplice in the cases we
know about; there is always a corrupt person, someone who is bribed, or the
person in charge wants to do something.

69.  There can be a case in which nothing is detected as missing, but there is
still theft. If the citizens are supposed to get 50 scoops of ice cream, they
give them 53 and keep the difference. [sentence as heard] All that is possible.

70.  The thing is to look for ideas that can be implemented in a practical way
and with the participation of those involved--I understand that what is
affected most is not the population, but the economy in general. The residents
of the area may not be affected. If someone steals a pound of something from
the warehouse or anyplace, he may not be stealing from a neighbor but he is
stealing from everyone else because he is reducing the country's resources; he
is stealing from the state; he is damaging our society. This is why it is
important to find the answer to these problems.

71.  I believe this is related to what has been said about giving more power to
the delegates, more possibilities, more authority, more participation. This has
been discussed quite a bit during the assembly. [passage omitted]