Cuba's New Constitution Project: Everybody Matters

Havana (PL) After its approval in the first regular session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament), the new Constitution project of the Republic of Cuba will be submitted to popular consultation to collect the people's opinions.

Like this, Cubans will have the opportunity to speak up for or against the articles' content and offer their views on specific issues so that, as Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said, the text reflects the present and future of the Homeland.

The Cuban Parliament agreed on July 22 to hold apopular consultation between August 13 and November 15, and after this process the document will return to the Legislative for its final discussion.

When returning to the Assembly, the project enriched with the citizens' contributions could be approved or not, and on that condition will depend the realization of a referendum.

Gathered at Havana's Convention Center between July 18 and 22, Cuban deputies agreed on the need to provide the island with a modern and present-day constitution, marked by the updating of the socio-economic model.

Based on equity, social justice and against all types of discrimination, the new text ratifies the irrevocability of the socialist system as an unshakable pillar.

In this regard, the parliamentarian Miguel Barnet considered that it is a vanguard document, in which human rights, citizen duties and legal guarantees stand out.

The Constitution project is modern, signed by the times in which we live, said the President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba and author of well-known books such as 'Biography of a Cimarron.'

He also called to support the document and to drive the country towards a future of humanism and prosperity.

It's worth highlighting the aim to bring the entire people the discussion of a text that is in tune with the changes to improve Cuban socialism, said in an interview with Prensa Latina Deputy Jose Angel Portal, recently appointed Minister of Public Health.

According to Portal, the project is on a par with the historical moment of the Revolution, and the most important thing now is the popular consultation.

For her part, the Secretary General of the Federation of Cuban Women, Teresa Amarelle, and the President of the University Student Federation, Raul Alejandro Palmero, told Prensa Latina the need for the country to have a law of laws appropriate to the progress in updating the socio-economic model.

CHANGES IN THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

Undoubtedly, one of the issues that provoked more debate among parliamentarians was the one referring to the changes in the institution of marriage proposed in the text.

The Magna Carta currently in force since 1976 defines marriage as the voluntary union between a man and a woman; nevertheless, the new text gets off that conception and proposes marriage just between two people, explained the Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, when presenting the article.

According to Acosta, in the future the law will establish that concept's development, because when it says 'between two people' it does not specify the sex.

It does not say that it is about equal marriage, just breaks with that barrier so that in the future the idea could be added as an act of justice, equality and humanism, noted the deputy.

We are not the first, nor would be the vanguard in this issue, because there are about 24 countries that have this concept incorporated, and we could not turn this issue away when preparing a new constitutional project, he said.

Acosta explained that after enacting the Constitution, those in charge of detailing the changes in the institution of marriage will have a year to introduce the necessary adjustments.

It is not only about the area of family law, this essentially impacts other rights that have to do with the Civil Code, records and successions (inheritance), the legislator added.

In Deputy Mariela Castro's opinion, the change proposed in the Constitution on marriage represents 'a marvelous revolutionary achievement.'

We hope that in the popular consultation the majority of the population will be able to understand the step taken in the matter of human rights, said the Director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), known for her activism in favor of equal rights and full inclusion of the LGTBI community.

CUBAN REVOLUTION, BASED ON DEMOCRACY

For Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the consultation transcends as an 'exercise of direct participation of the people', which 'acquires the greatest political relevance and will further show that the Revolution is based on the most genuine democracy.'

Each Cuban will be able to freely express his/her opinions and contribute to reach a constitutional text that reflects the present and future of the Homeland, he said when closing the plenary session.

The new Constitution project ratifies Cuba's socialist nature and includes changes in the structure of the State, such as the creation of the offices of President and Vice President of the Republic, and of the Prime Minister.

In the legal field, the text extends the rights of individuals, with issues such as the guarantees of due process, Habeas Corpus, the presumption of innocence and the social reintegration of those deprived of liberty.

It also includes several forms of property, including all the people's socialist, mixed and private properties.

The preservation and study of the legacy of the Cuban Revolution's historical leader, Fidel Castro (1926-2016), occupied several moments of the meeting attended by more than 600 legislators.

In their interventions, the Cuban deputies agreed on the importance of the document prepared by a 33-parliamentarian commission, chaired by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro.

From August 13 to November 15, men and women can issue their opinions in order to improve the draft that will give way to a new Magna Carta of the country.

* Journalist of Prensa Latina News Agency's National Editorial Department.

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Cubans to Look Into Draft of New Constitution

Havana, Jul 31 (Prensa Latina) The draft of the new Constitution will be submitted to popular consultation from August 13 to November 15, a process that would lead to the drawing up of a final text before being voted in a referendum for it approval.

Millions of Cubans from all sectors of the society are expected to issue criteria and proposals on the document, which would return to the National People's Power Assembly (Parliament) for the referendum.

If the project is approved by the population, the current Constitution in force since 1976 would be replaced.

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Cuba's New Constitution Will Recognize Private Property: Report

Ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma published a summary of the new constitution on Saturday, saying a draft it had seen included 224 articles, up from 137 previously.

Cuba will officially recognize private property under a new constitution that also creates the position of prime minister alongside the president, state media reported on Saturday.

RELATED: UN Chief Praises Cuba, ECLAC For Regional Role

Cuba's current constitution only recognizes state, cooperative, farmer, personal and joint-venture property.

But former President Raul Castro's market reforms, aimed at boosting the economy and making socialism more sustainable, prompted hundreds of thousands of Cubans to become self-employed since 2010, in new privately-owned businesses ranging from restaurants to beauty salons.

Ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma published a summary of the new constitution on Saturday, saying a draft it had seen included 224 articles, up from 137 previously.

Granma said it enshrined recognition of both the free market and private property in Cuba's new Magna Carta, Reuters reports.

That could mean enhanced legal protections for Cuba's fledgling entrepreneurs, and foreign investors, even though Granma said the constitution reaffirmed that central planning and state enterprise are the pillars of the economy overall.

It also noted the Communist Party would remain as Cuba's dominant political force.

According to Granma, the government commission revamping the constitution will present its draft to the national assembly when it meets next week. It will then be put to a national referendum, expected later this year.

The commission is headed by Castro, 87, who remains head of the Communist Party. New President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who sits on the commission, is also expected to announce his council of ministers at the assembly meeting.

Apart from introducing the position of prime minister, dividing the roles of head of state and head of government, the new constitution makes the president head of the assembly and imposes a term limit on the presidency of two consecutive five-year periods.

Castro, who together with his late brother Fidel Castro ruled the country for nearly 60 years, had proposed the limit in 2011, as part of a bid to modernize the political system.

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Constitutional Reform in Cuban Parliament's Agenda

Havana, Cuba, Jun 2 (Prensa Latina) The National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament) of Cuba is holding an special session today in which its lawmakers have on its agenda the approval of the constitutional reform process and the activation of the 10 permanent commissions.

The plenary session held by the Council of State, also includes the approval of the parliamentary friendship groups and the analysis of the opinion on the experiment in the western provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque, an initiative aimed at strengthening government management and efficiency.

As announced here, the legislators will approve the commission responsible for drafting and presenting the draft Constitution of the Republic, which would introduce changes to the 1976 Constitution.

Last April, during the installation of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly, the outgoing head of state and first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Raul Castro, pointed out the reform does not imply renouncing the socialist project.

'It is an opportunity to clarify, once again,that we do not intend neither to modify the irrevocable character of socialism in our political and social system, nor the leading role of the Communist Party of Cuba, as an organized vanguard and superior leading force of society and the State', Raul Castro highlighted in a speech.

Regarding the permanent commissions, the following will be agreed: Agrifood, Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Economic Affairs, Childcare and Equal Rights for Women, Services, National Defense, Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Environment, Industry, Construction and Energy, International Relations and Health and Sport.

The 605 MPs elected on March 11 will also meet in plenary session tomorrow, a day dedicated to their preparation, particularly on issues such as the legislative procedure, the powers and functioning of the National Assembly, the Council of State and the permanent working committees.

On Monday, on the last day of sessions, the 10 committees will discuss the results of the work of the 8th Legislature and the directives for the 2018-2023 period.

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New Cuban Parliament will take office on April 19, 2018

Because of the exceptional situation caused by Hurricane Irma, the Cuban Parliament unanimously approved to extend the current period of the VIII Legislature that had to cease its functions on February 24, and the new deputies will take office on April 19, 2018.

At the proposal of the Council of State, the National Assembly of People's Power decided that by virtue of the devastation caused in Cuba by Hurricane Irma and that is established in the Constitution of the Republic, the current Legislature should be extended for two months.

Article 72 stipulates a five-year term for Parliament that "may only be extended by agreement of the Assembly itself in case of war or under other exceptional circumstances that prevent the normal holding of elections and while such circumstances remain."

Deputy Homero Acosta Álvarez, secretary of the Council of State, read the agreement of that entity that assessed the serious effects of the hurricane in the nation and that at the time it was necessary to extend the dates of the first stage of the elections, to extend until March 25 the validity of the current provincial assemblies of Popular Power and for April 19, that of the National.

In the new approved dates the President, Vice President and Secretary of the provincial and National assemblies will be elected, as well as the new members of the Council of State and its presidency.

José Luis Toledo Santander, president of the Parliament's Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, pointed out that the proposal of the Council of State is covered by articles 72 and 111 of the Constitution of the Republic.

The severe effects of Hurricane Irma caused an exceptionality that is reflected in the Magna Carta, he said.

Toledo Santander pointed out that the reasons given become the basis for the need to extend the term of office of the VIII Legislature to complete the schedule drawn up by the National Electoral Commission, without affecting the quality of the process.

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State Council Appoints Date for the Constitution of Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power

Granma

Starting December 17th, the elected delegates will proceed to constitute the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power for a new mandate of two and a half years.

The State Council, through Agreement signed on December 4th of the running year determined that on December 17th, delegates chosen in the current elections of last November 26th and December 3rd to integrate the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, gathered by their own right, proceed to constitute them for a new mandate of two and a half years.

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Pakistan, Cuban NA ink MoU to boost cooperation

The Senate of Pakistan and the National Assembly of the People's Power of Cuba have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for strengthening cooperation on parliamentary affairs.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said that the MoU would further boost the parliamentary cooperation to augment the existing close and friendly relations between the parliaments, governments and people of the two countries, as the parliaments embody the will and aspirations of the people.

The MoU has been signed between the Senate Secretariat and Cuban National Assembly Secretariat General in Havana. Senate Secretary Amjed Pervez Malik and his counterpart Miriam Brito Sarroca signed the MoU in the presence of Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani and president of National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba as well as parliamentarians from both the countries.

Raza Rabbani said that both the countries had inked this cooperation realising the fact that strengthening parliamentary interactions in bilateral and multilateral areas help enhance mutual trust and understanding, expand consensus and promote cooperation.

Desirous of further strengthening of their friendly relations and cooperation, the secretariats of Senate of Pakistan and Cuban National Assembly have agreed to promote exchange of parliamentary delegations, maintain friendship groups within both the parliaments and promote close interaction between the two sides through enhanced exchanges to generate a consensus-based approach on various regional and international issues. Both the secretariats have agreed to benefit from each other's experiences, knowledge and expertise by arranging study visits.

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Summoned the Sixth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Eighth Legislature

On December 29 will take place at the Conventions Palace the Sixth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

Republic of Cuba

National assembly of People’s Power

President

JUAN ESTEBAN LAZO HERNÁNDEZ, President of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

In use of the power invested in me by the Constitution of the Republic in its Article 81, item B,

I SUMMON

For December 29 of this year, at 9:00 a.m., at the Conventions Palace, to hold the Sixth Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

Circulate this memo to all deputies of the National Assembly of People’s Power, as well as to state organizations, as requested, and publish it on the Official Gazette of the Republic, for general knowledge.

GIVEN, in Havana city, on December 9, 2015. "Year 57 of the Revolution."

 

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