Citation: 2020 RLLR 121
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 18, 2020
Panel: Carolyn Rumsey
Counsel for the Claimant(s):
RPD Number: MB9-00025
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000019-000024
BY THE PANEL:
 Your claim number is MB9-00025. You are claiming to be a citizen of Cuba, and you are making a refugee claim pursuant to Section 96 and sub-Section 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. We call it the IRPA. So, because you are a minor, as we discussed during the hearing, you are 17 almost 18. [XXX] (phonetic), who is not a claimant has acted as your designated representative for these proceedings. So, because of your legal status as still being a minor, I have also considered and applied our Chairperson guideline three, which is on child refugee claimants, procedural and evidentiary issues.
 So, my determination. For the reasons that follow, I find that you have established that there is a well-founded fear for yourself in Cuba… or a well-founded fear of persecution, sorry. So, this fear is based on your political opinions, which are against the government in your country of origin. I therefore find that you are a “Convention refugee” pursuant to Section 96 of the IRPA.
 So, just to talk about your allegations, very briefly. Your detailed allegations are contained in your Basis of Claim form, which we also talked about today. So, you have written about and testified as well about the problems that you had had with your father, who has applied pressure on your to go into [XXX], and follow, sort of, in his footsteps, which you have made clear that you don’t wish to do. That’s not the path that you want to follow in your life. Your father is a member of [XXX]. You provided an identity card for his membership of the [XXX] in Cuba. This problem that you have with your father created further tensions because of your antigovernment views in general, your political opinion.
 You also told me about an incident that occurred when you were in school back in Cuba. You say that shortly after the death of Fidel Castro, you were shown a film which was very positive regarding him, and his family, and the government. And, you say you were overheard by your teacher in class discussing this and criticizing the family and the government with your friends. And so, you mentioned that your teacher threatened to send you to the principal’s office, and you spoke quite a bit about your fear of what that could lead to more long term. So, you were afraid that the police could get involved in that sense, and that things could become much more serious for you as a result.
 You also have testified that you have been away from Cuba for quite some time at this point, I believe that’s it’s been about a year and a half, so you fear that this could raise suspicions about you because the government keeps track of the movements of its citizens. And, that people who spend a long time away are often political dissidents, and you fear that this could be something that highlights your presence to them as well. So, you have alleged that you fear being imprisoned or harmed by the State authorities if you were to return to Cuba.
 So, for my analysis, in terms of your identity, I find that your personal and national identity as a citizen of Cuba are established on a balance of probabilities by the documentary evidence on file, in particular a copy of your Cuban passport.
 In terms of your credibility, I found that your testimony was credible today. You testified spontaneously, without hesitation, you answered my questions directly and with lots of detail. There were no significant contradictions, no omissions, no inconsistencies in your testimony, or when compared with your narrative. I found you especially credible when you were talking about your difficult relationship with your father, based on these problems that you have had, your disagreements about your views in general, about the [XXX], about the government and those kinds of things. You testified that your father first started putting pressure on you at the end of your grade nine year in school, which would have been approximately three years ago. And, you spoke about this incident that took place in class. Also, I found you to be credible when you were talking about that. I found also your testimony about your fears of returning to be credible. And, even more convincing for me was your testimony about wanting to become a [XXX] or a [XXX]. So, you clearly stated to me that you could not return to Cuba and be silent about the things that happened there, about the way that your country is run. And, you even said that if you get to stay in Canada, you would like to continue to support those views about Cuba from afar.
 So, when we have claimants come in and talk about feeling persecuted because of their political opinion, sometimes… or often times they have a lot of incidents to speak of. You are 17-years-old. You’ve been here for a year and a half. So, you were quite young when you left your country. I’ve taken that into consideration given that there weren’t a lot of incidents. But I still found that you had a lot to talk about. You had a lot to say about your political opinions. And again, the most important part for me is that you made it clear that you could not return to Cuba and keep silent, which would make you a target for the authorities. In terms of your evidence, you’ve submitted your father’s I.D. car as well as some photos of him in [XXX]. So, to conclude this part of the decision, I found that you are a credible witness. I believe the allegations that you’ve made in support of your claim today. So, based on your credible testimony and the documents that you’ve submitted, I accept what you have alleged to day and in your narrative. I believe that you have established on a balance of probabilities that you would be a target; you would be at risk of being targeted for your political opinions in Cuba.
 So, I took a look at objective evidence as well, and we have a package of information for each of the countries that we received claimants from. For the Cuban package, I find that the evidence is clear about how political opponents are treated in Cuba, and even perceived political opponents, how they are treated by the authorities. So, I’ll just talk about that a little bit. Item 2.1 of the report is the United States Department of State report, it talks about Cuba being an authoritarian State. It’s a one-party system, and the constitution recognizes the Communist party as the only legal party, and the highest political entity of the State. This government participates in unlawful and arbitrary killings, intimidation and physical assault of human rights and pro-democracy activists, political dissidents, other detainees and prisoners. And, they do this with impunity. So, they don’t receive any kind of… they don’t have to account for their actions essentially. The police use laws against public disorder, contempt, lack of respect, aggression, failure to pay minimal or arbitrary fines as ways to detain, threatened and arrest civil society activists. So, they have… they have a lot of things that they can use against… against people who are advocating against the government, basically.
 There’s an Amnesty International report at section 4.3 of the NDP, that talks about President Obama’s visit in the year 2016. And, they refer to dozens of activists and independent journalists being detained including some members of Women in White, the organization that you spoke about, the wives and family members of people who are held in prison in Cuba. Human rights… A human rights organization that is not recognized by the government also reported 762 politically motivated and arbitrary detentions per month between 2014 and 2016. And, finally, the same report states that the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Cuba tenth on the 2015 list of the world’s most censored countries, and it also classified Cuba’s laws on free speech and press freedom as the most restrictive in the Americas. So, that’s the objective evidence that I have. And, I find on a balance of probabilities there is an objective basis for your claim.
 So, we have to look at State protection. But I find that you’re quite clear that the agent of persecution and who you fear is the State itself. So, we could not expect you to have access to adequate State protection in Cuba, because you have an anti-government viewpoint, and the objective basis… the objective evidence shows that the government targets individuals who oppose them. So, based on this evidence, I find that on a balance of probabilities adequate State protection would not be available to you if you were to return to Cuba.
INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE
 And, finally, in deciding refugee claims, we have to look at whether or not you have what’s called an internal flight alternative. So, that means we have to look and see if there is another place in your country where you could be safe. I didn’t even ask you any questions about that today because again I think you’ve been very clear that you fear the State. The State controls the entire country. So, I find that it’s clear that on a balance of probabilities that there would be no safe place for you in Cuba. So, there is no safe internal flight alternative.
 So, finally, based on the totality of all of this evidence, I conclude that you would face a serious possibility of persecution on the basis of your political opinion in Cuba. Therefore, I find you to be a “Convention refugee”. I am accepting your refugee claim under Section 96 of the IRPA.