I Defend My Lawyer / Rene Gomez Manzano
Posted on February 28, 2014
Havana, Cuba, February 2014 – Last week disturbing news circulated
throughout the Cuban dissident community: The top permanent body of the
National Organization of Collective Law Firms (ONBC) suspended Amelia
Rodríguez Cala—the great defender of accused opponents of the
regime—from practicing law for a period of six months.
As the days passed, additional details about the clumsy maneuver
surfaced. It became clear that, although they invoked other reasons,
what is at the heart of this new hoax is the aim of punishing this
learned woman because of her upright stand in the exercise of her
As usual, other pretexts are deployed. They initiated disciplinary
proceedings against Amelia based on alleged complaints from two clients.
At this point, it is reasonable to suspect that at least one of them is
a provocateur in the service of the regime. In any case, a cursory
examination of the two complaints demonstrates the weakness of the
In the case of Caridad Chacón Feraudy, it is claimed that the attorney
did not submit her evidence in time. Never mind that a technical
assistant breached her obligation of notifying and informing the lawyer
about the matter. Nor that Amelia ultimately won the case, as the
evidence was presented to better purpose, and accepted and used by the
For her part, Regla Capote Alayo claims that there was no notification
to the firm to report the judgment in her case. In this regard, the same
lawyer exhibits the documents showing she met with that woman no less
than ten times, without the woman giving her the courtesy of bringing
Anyone examining the matter impartially would conclude that Dr.
Rodríguez Cala should be exonerated. But the outcome was otherwise, and
to ask for objectivity from the ONBC leaders is like expecting mangoes
from a pine tree. What has now been decided against Amelia is just the
latest link in a long chain of constant acts of harassment against her.
We know of the constant harassment that the leaders of the Carlos III
Collective Law Firm have maintained against the jurist. In this, the
unit director, Ileana Sandoval Roldán, and the team leader Franklyn
Menéndez Tamayo, have distinguished themselves.
They have made her life impossible. In haphazard fashion they constantly
question her about supposed deficiencies in her work. This has been
repeated in the presence of several different clients, who can attest to
the despotic and abusive way that the leaders of that law firm treat the
attorney. This is no accident.
Rodríguez Cala has defended over a hundred dissidents. At the time she
was excluded from her professional practice, she was representing almost
all the independent personalities who are today involved in court cases:
Berta Soler, Martha Beatriz Roque, Sonia Garro, Ramón Muñoz, Ángel
Santiesteban, Marcelino Abreu Bonora, Reinier Mulet, Miguel Ulloa
Guinart Angel Yunier Remon, Gorki Águila.
This reality is what arouses the hatred and ferocity of the mediocre,
for whom the barrister’s robe is nothing more than another kind of
uniform. In their lawlessness, the repressors from the collective law
firms have even exceeded their powers. Decree-Law 81, which regulates
the practice of law, empowers them to apply to a member of the
organization, among other sanctions, that of “transfer to another
position of inferior category or, after proper coordination, to another
The disjunctive conjunction indicates that they can choose between the
two penalties: either give you a lower position, or transfer you to
another firm (implying, to work there as a lawyer). In this case, in
violation of the law, both measures were applied. As for “nearby,” you
only have to realize that they sent her to the distant town of La Lisa.
This week, the attorney plans to fulfill her unjust sanction. In her new
position she will earn 300 Cuban pesos per month, just over $12. They
want to silence her voice, but her honesty and pure love for the
profession place her far above all these dirty tricks. Will she be able
to work in La Lisa without difficulties, or should we expect more
provocations and acts of harassment against her?
We’re waiting on the outcome of her situation. Also that of the
political prisoners, whose defense, it seems, the regime wants now to be
assumed by the docile lawyers that these same “leaders” of the firm have
chosen. As for Amelia, I’ll keep myself informed, not only because she
is a colleague who has worn the robe with dignity, but also—and now on a
more personal level—because she was my advocate during my second
Cubanet, 25 February 2014, René Gómez Manzano
Translated by Tomás A. and José S.
Source: I Defend My Lawyer / Rene Gomez Manzano | Translating Cuba –