CUBA NEWS
July 21, 2003

FROM CUBA
Bureaucratic snafus cloud housing titles in Cuba

HAVANA, July 17 (www.cubanet.org) - Dr. Melba Zaldívar was recently declared an illegal occupant of the apartment that had been assigned to her as the neurosurgeon in residence at the Holguín provincial hospital.

Her tale is familiar to many here, who say they are the victims of bureaucratic inefficiency and incompetence in processing the voluminous amounts of paperwork involved in common transactions.

To award the right to living quarters assigned to hospital personnel, as in Dr. Zaldívar's example, a commission if formed under the direction of the labor union having jurisdiction. That commission has the responsibility of filling out all the required paperwork to legalize tenancy, but often they leave loose ends dangling which come back to haunt the occupants. In Dr. Zaldívar's case, the union now disavows any responsibility for the situation.

Others have similar stories to tell. Armando Martínez, Bismarck González, Israel Jerez, Magdalena Dorticós, Ibis Hernández, and José Martínez all joined construction microbrigades in 1989 at their places of employment. The idea behind the microbrigades is that people who join them build houses without pay after performing their regular duties in whatever job they hold, and in return eventually receive the right to a dwelling, usually an apartment.

Martínez and the others were assigned apartments five years ago, after waiting 9 years. Now, they are told they appear as illegal occupants of those apartments.

Besides having to fight to keep their homes, Dr. Zaldívar and the others have other problems. Since all the documents attesting to their current addresses are not in order, they have not been able to process their ration cards, gas service, and such everyday necessities.


Versión original en español

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