A week ago I was in Cuba. It was a fascinating trip to a place frozen in the 1950s. I was fortunate to have been included in a small legal research group to investigate Cuban law. Cuba has been a Communist police state since Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries overthrew the government of President Batista in the late '50s, but I felt no danger even in the outer provinces far from Havana. The greatest danger seemed to be from a potential wreck in one of the ancient taxis, which in combination with ox carts and wagons, are still main conveyances in Cuba. The old cars, many from the late 1940s and early to mid-'50s, had no seat belts or padded dashboards.
Although Cuba has a constitution that provides for a national assembly, something like our Congress but consisting of only one house instead of our two, all power is really vested in one person, the president. Due to declining health, Fidel gave up the presidency a couple years ago, and now his brother, Raul, is president.
Private ownership of property under Cuba's strict communist doctrine has been impossible, but Raul has made some gradual reforms in the law. A limited number of houses can be bought from the Cuban government and owned by individuals. Selling them is another matter. They can't be sold unless the sale is back to the state itself. Upon death, a house passes to the owner's heirs.
Wage and hour laws to protect workers are nearly non-existent today, but some small positive changes are occurring. At the present, an average monthly wage is $30. Yes, $30 a month. Overtime is not paid. Taxi drivers are forced to limit their hours of work to accommodate other drivers who want to earn money. Employment discrimination is not supposed to be possible, but the law is not enforced.
In Cuba, the rule of law has not yet developed. In this beautiful country, change is occurring in that direction under Raul but very slowly. The law is constrained by the iron boundaries of Communism, but I will share some of its nuances and more interesting aspects with you soon.