High-level Cuban parliamentary delegation visits Serbia

Ana Maria Mari Machado, vice president of the Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power and Council of State, arrived in Belgrade leading her country's delegation to the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The delegation is made up of lawmaker Yolanda Ferrer, president of the International Relations Committee of the Cuban Parliament and member of the IPU Executive Committee representing Latin America.

Lawmakers Estela Cristina Luna Morales, president of the Health and Sports Committee, and Miguel Enrique Charbonet Martell, as well as official Jesus Rafael Mora Gonzalez, are also on the list.

Cuba's Ambassador to Serbia Gustavo Trista del Todo received the delegation on Saturday evening at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport.

Mari Machado and her accompanying delegation paid tribute early Sunday to former president Marshal Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980), and laid a floral wreath on the white marble tomb that holds his remains at the House of Flowers, part of the Museum of the History of Yugoslavia.

Immediately, the members of the Cuban delegation joined the preliminary work of the IPU meeting, whose solemn opening ceremony will be held tonight, with the attendance of representatives of the parliaments of 178 States and 12 regional legislative assemblies.

The IPU, founded on June 30, 1889, in Paris, is headquartered in Geneva and has permanent observer status at the United Nations since 2002 due to its important role.

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Cuban parliamentarians ready to comply with the Constitution

The President of Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP), Esteban Lazo, today expressed the willingness of Council of State members to comply with and enforce the country's new Constitution and laws.

After being ratified as head of the legislative body, in a free, direct and secret parliamentary vote, Lazo assured that they will carry out their tasks with the patriotic commitment and personal sacrifice of those who fought for the independence of the Caribbean nation.

He ratified that the work of Assembly members will be guided by the ideas of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, as well as his ingenuity, lessons and achievements in defense of the work built for the benefit of the people amidst US threats and aggressions.

He added that they also follow the example and experience of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, Raul Castro, who is attending today's parliamentary session.

Lazo affirmed that the leadership of the Cuban parliament and the Council of State have an intense task ahead to implement the provisions of the country's new Constitution.

The leader of the legislature pointed out that in view of this situation, it is imperative to work on the basis of guaranteeing unity, the preparation for the defense of the country and the fulfillment of the economic objectives for development.

According to the new Constitution, as well as the President, Vice President and Secretary of the ANPP, today Cuban Assembly members will also vote for the President and Vice President of the Republic.

Once elected, the President will have three months to propose a Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Provincial Governors, all of which are new posts created according to the Constitution approved by the Cuban people in February of this year.

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Candidacy for Parliament and Council of State of Cuba today presented

The National Candidacy Commission of Cuba today presented the nomination of the positions of president, vice president and secretary of the National Assembly of Popular Power (ANPP) and of the Council of State.

Esteban Lazo, Ana María Mari Machado and Homero Acosta, who respectively occupy those responsibilities in the ANPP were the candidates presented by María Consuelo Baeza, president of the referred commission.

Such candidacies were the result of consultations with 99.6 percent of the deputies that make up the Cuban Parliament.

Only two legislators who completed work missions abroad were not consulted, Baeza explained.

For the first time in more than four decades the Council of State is not chaired by the head of state. Such redistribution of functions is contemplated in the Constitution approved in April.

Today the candidacy for the rest of the members of the State Council was also presented, which will be composed of 21 members.

None of them may be a member of the Ministerial Council, or head of the Supreme Court of Justice, of the Attorney General's Office or of the Comptroller's Office, according to another modification of the new Magna Carta.

The Cuban deputies will exercise the direct and secret vote on those nominations in a day in which the president and vice president of the Republic will also be elected.

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Cuban parliament condemns US blockade against the island

Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament, ANPP) condemned this Wednesday the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba, and urged an end to this hostile policy.

Through a statement, the Commission on International Relations of the ANPP reaffirmed the rejection of any policy contrary to the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

It invited the United States Congress to address the majority feeling of broad sectors of American society advocating the end of that policy against Cuba.

The text also urged parliamentarians of the world to reinforce the international claim against the blockade and back their respective foreign ministries in support of the draft resolution on this issue that Cuba will present again before the General Assembly (UNGA) on November 6, 2019.

Cuban parliament's statement describes the blockade as a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of Cuba's people and the main obstacle to its development.

Likewise, it slows the implementation of the National Economic and Social Development Plan, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, it states.

In the vote on that issue in 2018, UNGA approved the Cuban document with 189 votes in favor and only two against, that of the United States and its ally Israel, which ratifies the world condemnation of such US policy.

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Members of Cuba's National Candidacy Commission take office

The members of the National Candidacy Commission took office this Tuesday, as established by the new Law that regulates electoral processes in Cuba.

In a solemn ceremony at the Jose Marti Memorial in this capital, the President of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro, delivered the certificates and credentials to the new members.

Made up of seven representatives from several sectors of Cuban society, this Commission aims to prepare and present proposals for pre candidates to lawmakers of the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP, parliament).

Likewise, the Commission presents the candidacies to occupy the positions of president, vice president and secretary of the ANPP, that of the other members of the State Council, and that of the president and vice president of the Republic of Cuba, in the municipal and national electoral processes to be regulated.

Upon taking oath, the President of the National Candidature Commission, Maria Consuelo Baeza, pledged to enforce the Constitution, the Electoral Law and other regulations governing the country's electoral processes.

She also highlighted among her duties to provide timely, transparent and truthful information, as well as guarantee the care and rational use of the means and resources made available to the Commission.

On closing the activity, the Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, congratulated the members of the Commission and recalled that in October an extraordinary session of the ANPP will be held for the election of the main positions of the State.

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Cuban Parliament Maintains Links With Counterparts in 146 countries

The National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba maintains relations with parliaments of 146 countries of the five continents, links focused on the mission of promoting and defending the island’s foreign policy, deputies said here today.

In the first meeting of the Commission of International Relations of the 9th Legislature - installed on April 18 for the period 2018-2023 - the president of that working group, Yolanda Ferrer, said that the levels of interaction with the parliaments of the planet are different.

During the previous term (2013-2018), we developed these links from visits by delegations, inter-parliamentary meetings, and regional and global forums, among other ways, said the deputy, ratified in office last Saturday, in the first extraordinary session of the current period.

According to Ferrer, among the links with homologous entities are those that materialize with 32 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 48 from Africa and the Middle East, and 44 from Europe.

Regarding visits, he explained that in the 8th Legislature 222 delegations were received, 122 of them invited by the National Assembly, while the other 100 took place at the request of various agencies of the country.

According to the president of the International Relations Commission, in the analyzed stage, Cuban parliamentarians made visits to Russia, China, Serbia, Vietnam, Chile, Iran, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan.

Ferrer said that in the 9th Legislature work will continue to strengthen ties with parliaments of the planet, facing the mission of the working group to defend the foreign policy of the Cuban Revolution.

In that sense, on Saturday the National Assembly approved friendship parliamentary groups with 93 countries.

Today will be dedicated to the first meeting of the 10 permanent commissions approved on Saturday.

The 10 working groups are composed of 380 of the 605 deputies of the 9th Legislature, who were elected last March 11 in the general elections 2017-2018.

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Esteban Lazo Re-elected Speaker of Cuban Parliament (+Photos)

Havana, Apr 18 (Prensa Latina) Esteban Lazo has been re-elected Wednesday as Speaker of the 9th Legislature of the Cuban Parliament that was inaugurated today.

Over 99 percent of the 605 lawmakers ratified Lazo by direct and secret voting after the National Candidacy Commission proposed him to continue in the post he assumed for the first time with inauguration of the 8th Legislature.

The incumbent Speaker is a member of the Political Bureau of the island's Communist Party, a legislator since 1981 and has presided over the legislative house during the 8th Legislature.

The National Assembly also ratified Ana Maria Mari Machado as Deputy Speaker and Miriam Brito as Secretary. Both were elected to those posts in the 8th Legislature.

Parliament is also electing the nation's President, the First Vice President, five Vice Presidents and the Council of State that is the hightest government body. They will be elected this Wednesday and the result will be made public tomorrow Thursday.

Of the 605 legislators who represent diverse sectors of society, 338 have been elected for the first time and 148 have served for one term.

More than half of the MPs are women (53.2 percent), black and colored people make up 40.5 percent of the house, while 13.2 percent is under 35 years, 86 percent is university graduate, 77 percent was born after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 and as a whole the average age of the membership is 49 years.


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Raúl Castro Attends Inauguration of the Cuban Parliament

Havana, Apr 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Raul Castro is heading the inauguration session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly of the People's Power (Parliament) at Havana's Convention Center.

This day, the 605 lawmakers elected last March 11 by more than seven million Cubans are being sworn in for a period of five years, as established by the Cuban Constitution.

After the Assembly's inauguration, the legislators will choose by secret and direct vote to the Speaker of Parliament and the 31 members of the Council of State, including the President, the First Vice President and five Vice Presidents. The inauguration of the Ninth Legislature of the National Assembly takes place in the context of the 57th anniversary of the Cuban victory in Bay Pigs over a US-backed and led mercenary force.

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