Cuban Asylum Claims


96 pages about Cuban asylum claims were released recently by the Asylum HQ Quality Assurance Branch. They are published on the Asylum Officer Materials page of the Louise Trauma Center website, as “Cuba June 2019.” []

The pages apparently were used for training of brand-new asylum officers or CBP workers. The material is rather elementary; however, there are some interesting tidbits.

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The word “manifestation” is used by translators. The speaker probably means “demonstration.” Page 5

In Cuba, the government often requires people to attend “manifestations.” Refusal to attend can lead to problems. Gusano is a Spanish word that can be translated as “worm.” It means a person who does not attend manifestations and therefore is anti-government.

Questions to ask the applicant:

-how would the officials know if you did not attend?

-what did you tell your friends?

-what are the national holidays in Cuba? [some non-Cubans say they are Cuban]

-tell me about people similarly-situated to you

Did you do anything your government does not like?

Do you know anyone personally who was punished by the government?


“Almost all activities are presumed illegal unless the law says otherwise.” Page 47

The law is “highly restrictive, vague and broadly defined.”

Jeje de sector is the neighborhood police chief. Page 50

Every block in every neighborhood is organized.

Everyone lives in a “CDR.” [Comites de Defense de la Revolucion] page 51

The police control each CDR.

Citizens are encouraged to report on each other.

The government maintains files [“ Expedients escloares y laborales”] page 52

on each person. Your record must be acceptable before advancing to new school or position. [page 52] Government holds files on individuals for their entire lives. The files include the person’s political views.

Actos de repudio [acts of repudiation] Page 55

There are citizens who protest in public, but some protests were “likely organized by the government.” Page 55

There is “constant” and “invasive surveillance;” page 56

travel restricted, both international and local.

The government “retains control over all forms of employment.”

Self-employment is highly regulated.

There is pressure to attend meetings and marches

The following are crimes in the penal code: [Page 67]

“Likely to commit crime in the future”

“Is related to persons who are potentially dangerous for society.”

“Dangerousness” page 68

February 2019: there was a referendum on a new Constitution. The government reported that 84% of the people supported it. Page 93

About The Author

David L. Cleveland,a lawyer in Washington, DC, has secured asylum or withholding for people from 48 countries.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.