Cuba: Fidel Castro on lawyers after the Revolution
The following aspects of legal practice in Cuba have been reported:
After the revolution, the prestige of lawyers declined and many left the country. Fidel Castro advised young Cubans to study medicine, science and engineering rather than law. This resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of lawyers, who were disparaged as corrupt and useless vestiges of the capitalist class.
Independent legal practice is not permitted.
Lawyers work in Bufetes Colectivos. These are collective law offices. They were established by the Ministry of Justice following the abolition of the private practice of law. Bufetos Colectivos are controlled by the National Organization of Bufetos Colectivos (ONBC). This body is responsible for professional conduct and ethics.
In 2009 there were estimated to be 2000 lawyers in practice in 250 bufetos. They are reported to have large caseloads and to work in difficult conditions.
Lawyers are expected to uphold the principles of socialist legality.
Cuban law reflects the country’s history. Influences on Cuban law include Spanish Codes, American law and Soviet bloc principles.