Cuba to Publish Electoral List for Referendum

The list of voters who will participate the February 24 referendum on Cuba's new Constitution will be released as of January 16, local radio reported on Monday.

It is important that each person verifies registration and data, and if necessary, proceed to correct, modify or update them with the corresponding constituency authorities.

The list of voters is the public document that includes identification and residence data of the citizens eligible to active vote, registered in the Electoral Registration.

Legally protected by Decree Law 248/2007, the Electoral Registration is public and permanent, and all citizens with legal capacity to vote are registered on it, Radio Rebelde station recalls.

Correos de Cuba company put the Constitution of the Republic at the Cuban inhabitants' disposal.

The Parliament recalled during a press release that the Constitution that will replace the one in force since 1976 was approved on December 22 in the Assembly, during the second ordinary period of the 9th Legislature.

The 16-page tabloid is already available in all provinces, and its price is one Cuban peso, the document said.

Cubans have already accessed the document through media and the Internet, for a referendum in which more than eight million citizens are convened.

The new Constitution is the result of a broad popular consultation, held from August 13 to November 15, with the participation of almost nine million people in 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and workplaces and schools.

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Main Changes in Cuba's Draft Constitution

The popular referendum held in Cuba from August 13 to November 15 generated more than 700 changes in the Draft Constitution, which is being analyzed in detail by the lawmakers of the People''s Power National Assembly (Parliament).

The document, enriched with the opinions submitted in neighborhoods and work places and educational centers, as well as by Cubans on missions or who reside abroad, contains 229 articles (five more than the previous version) grouped in 11 chapters.

The preface to the proposed Magna Carta, which in order to come into force and replace the Constitution in force since 1976 must be approved by the Assembly and in a popular referendum, extends recognition of Cubans who for centuries have fought for 'a free, independent, sovereign, democratic motherland with social justice and human solidarity.'

Regarding the Fundamental Principles of the Nation, it reflects in Article 9 that 'Strictly complying with socialist legality is an obligation of all,' while Article 11 adds to the elements on which the State exercises its sovereignty and jurisdiction, the continental platform and the adjoining zone.

In the chapter related to the Economic Foundations, articles were added from the contribution of citizens, such as Article 20 on the recognition of workers' participation in the processes of planning, regulation, management and control of the economy.

Likewise, it establishes in Article 21 that the State promotes the promotes science, technology and innovation as essential elements for socioeconomic development.

In the case of the several forms of property, including the socialist property of the entire people, the mixed property, cooperatives and private property, it defines that those exercised over the means of production interact under similar conditions, and the State regulates and controls the way they contribute to the country's development.

The Draft Constitution extends the rights, duties and guarantees, and in this regard it adds Article 40, which states, 'Human dignity is the supreme value that underpins the recognition and exercise of the rights and duties enshrined (...).'

Similarly, it states that the expropriation of property is authorized only for reasons of public use or social interest, with due compensation.

Families have a particular recognition in the document, which endorses the right of every person to found a family.

'The State recognizes and protects families, whatever their form of organization (...),' it adds.

Regarding marriage, it defines it as 'a social and legal institution. It is one of the forms of organization of families,' so Article 68 of the previous version of the Draft Constitution was eliminated, which described marriage as 'the union voluntarily arranged between two persons with legal capacity to do so.'

It also emphasizes the protection of children and adolescents against all types of violence and guarantees the active participation of young people in society.

Another aspect with new articles in the Draft Constitution is the one related to the guarantees of rights, highlighting that people can access the judicial bodies in order to obtain effective protection of their rights and legitimate interests.

In addition, Article 93 recognizes the right to resolve disputes using alternative methods of dispute resolution.

With regard to legal security, Article 94 provides for the enjoyment of equal opportunities in all processes involving persons as parties, and the right to provide the relevant evidence and to request the exclusion of those obtained by violating what was established.

The article itself also reflects the right to a process without undue delay and to compensation for material and moral damages.

With respect to the President of the Republic, a leading figure that would be created if the Constitution is approved in the referendum, it adds to its faculties: to propose to the delegates of the municipal assemblies the election or revocation of the governors and vice governors.

With regard to the governor, Article 175 indicates that the governor is elected by the delegates to the municipal assemblies, a modification from the previous Draft Constitution, which established his/her appointment.

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The New Constitution to Represents All Cubans, MP Says

The new Constitution will represent all Cubans, because it stems from the criteria compiled in the country's neighborhoods and houses, MP Nelson Dominguez said Thursday.

The renowned plastic artist told Prensa Latina at the Convention Palace in Havana on the second day of the National Assembly dedicated to debate changes to the initial draft constitution. It has been enriched by opinions and proposals made by the people during the consultations held from August 13 to November 15.

We are now seeing a different document (compared to the one approved by Parliament in July), with transformations, which has to do with Cuban culture and freedom, he said.

The 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and centers of work and study generated some 780,000 proposals, which during the processing of these criteria were classified into nearly 9,600 sample opinions, half of which were incorporated in one way or another into the draft to add 760 changes. The Cuban parliamentarians began Wednesday the new draft analysis, which will be submitted for the National Assembly members' approval during the second ordinary period of its 9th Legislature, scheduled for Friday.

If MPs pass it, the decision on whether or not to implement the constitution will be taken by Cuban residents in a referendum scheduled for February.


The New Constitution to Represents All Cubans, MP Says

The new Constitution will represent all Cubans, because it stems from the criteria compiled in the country''s neighborhoods and houses, MP Nelson Dominguez said Thursday.

The renowned plastic artist told Prensa Latina at the Convention Palace in Havana on the second day of the National Assembly dedicated to debate changes to the initial draft constitution. It has been enriched by opinions and proposals made by the people during the consultations held from August 13 to November 15.

We are now seeing a different document (compared to the one approved by Parliament in July), with transformations, which has to do with Cuban culture and freedom, he said.

The 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and centers of work and study generated some 780,000 proposals, which during the processing of these criteria were classified into nearly 9,600 sample opinions, half of which were incorporated in one way or another into the draft to add 760 changes. The Cuban parliamentarians began Wednesday the new draft analysis, which will be submitted for the National Assembly members' approval during the second ordinary period of its 9th Legislature, scheduled for Friday.

If MPs pass it, the decision on whether or not to implement the constitution will be taken by Cuban residents in a referendum scheduled for February.

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As Brazil shifts right, its leftists search for a way forward

After defining Brazilian politics for much of the past two decades, the party is still ruled by its imprisoned 73-year-old founder, threatened by internal divisions and concentrated in a region far from the center of economic power.

The damage goes beyond the drubbing voters delivered to the party’s presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, who lost by a 10-percentage-point margin in Sunday’s election.

For millions of Brazilians, the PT, as the Workers Party is known, has become synonymous with corruption and mismanagement. PT governments in recent years presided over the biggest bribery scandal in the nation’s history and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Street crime has also exploded.

The backlash has been severe. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - whom Barack Obama once dubbed “the most popular politician on Earth” - sits in a prison cell, serving a 12-year sentence for graft and money laundering. Lula’s hand-picked successor, former President Dilma Rousseff, was impeached for fudging public accounts.

Angry voters responded by throwing their support to Bolsonaro, including sizeable numbers of low-income workers, Afro-Brazilians and university students who were long the PT’s core supporters. The bombastic former Army captain tapped into their fury, vowing to crack down on criminals, be they in the streets or in the halls of Congress.

Even some voters nervous about Bolsonaro - who has urged police to shoot to kill and vowed to jail or drive his political foes out of the country - chose him as an insurance policy to keep the PT from returning to power.

Brazilian hip-hop icon Mano Brown chastised party leadership as being out of touch with voters at a star-studded concert and PT rally in Rio de Janeiro just days before Sunday’s wipeout.

“There is no reason for us to celebrate,” Brown told the crowd as stunned dignitaries, including Haddad and famed singer-songwriters Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque, looked on. “If you can’t speak the people’s language, you’re going to lose big.”

‘PROJECT FOR POWER’

Corruption in Brazilian politics existed long before the PT was formed in 1980 to unite union workers, artists and intellectuals to help end Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.

All of the country’s major political parties, not just the PT, are implicated in the so-called Operation Car Wash investigation that ensnared Lula. PT loyalists say he and Rousseff were the victims of a right-wing “coup” that sought to discredit their leadership and undo social programs that lifted millions from poverty and gave minorities a seat at the table.

But even some PT stalwarts admit its rise from an opposition party to a governing one caused it to lose touch with its roots. Horse trading in the capital Brasilia became paramount for the party to stay on top, said Carlos Alberto Libanio Christo, a Roman Catholic priest and founding member of the PT who is known in Brazil as Frei Betto.

“Gradually, the PT traded its project for Brazil in favor of a project for power,” said Frei Betto, who spent four years imprisoned during the dictatorship. “The party disappeared from the countryside and the poor urban outskirts.”

Another major challenge is that the PT is dwarfed by the towering presence of Lula, who still runs the show from jail.

Barred from running for another term due to his felony convictions, Lula tapped Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo, as his stand-in, a gambit that failed miserably.

Lula loyalists, including Washington Quaquá, the head of the PT in Rio de Janeiro state, are sticking with Haddad despite his resounding defeat.

“Haddad came out of this election a great leader,” Quaquá said. “He emerged with the stature needed to be our national leader.”

But a militant faction of the PT is pushing for more aggressive leadership. Some grouse that Haddad, a mild-mannered political science professor at the elite University of Sao Paulo, is not tough enough to take on Bolsonaro.

Gleisi Hoffman, currently the president of the party, had resisted putting Haddad at the top of the ticket until Lula told her to fall in line, according to party members familiar with the internal debate.

SEEKING SALVATION

The news for the PT is not entirely dismal.

The party won the most seats in the lower house on Sunday. It also took four governorships, more than any other party, although all were concentrated in Brazil’s poor northeast, a traditional PT stronghold.

After the shock of Bolsonaro’s big win dissipates, the PT will unify and embrace its role as the resistance, with Haddad at the helm, predicted Alberto Almeida, the founder of Brasilis, a political and social analysis firm in Sao Paulo.

“After all, he did win 45 million votes,” Almeida said.

He said the PT’s mission will be to confront a challenge not seen since Brazil’s return to democracy three decades ago: combating an “extreme-right leader.”

“In that way, the PT’s role is similar to what the Democrats in the U.S. are facing with Trump,” Almeida said.

Haddad signaled as much in his concession speech in Sao Paulo, issuing a rallying cry to a movement in disarray.

“All of us here, who helped build one of the world’s largest democracies, must maintain it in the face of provocations and threats,” Haddad said. “Have courage. The key to life is courage.”

 

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Counting on all Cubans

All Cuban citizens living abroad have the opportunity to participate in the discussion of the proposed new Constitution of the Republic, an unprecedented step that reflects the government’s determination to take into consideration the opinions of all Cubans, both in and outside the country.

The decision was reported in a press conference offered by Ernesto Soberón Guzmán, director for Consular Affairs and Cubans Residing Abroad (Daccre), at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex), and is a reflection of the country’s policy of strengthening ties between the Revolution and Cubans who are outside the country.

To organize the process, he said, taken into account were the growing numbers of Cubans living abroad – some1.4 million according to Minrex records, in more than 120 nations, but especially the United States.

“In an effort to guarantee the participation of all, a section on the Minrex “Nación y Emigración” wesite will be activated (www.nacionyemigracion.cu), through which Cubans resident abroad will have access to the draft Constitution and an online form on which they can insert their comments or proposals for modifications.”

Given the technical requirements this entails, including a set-up to confirm the citizen’s identity, among others, the section will be available the first week of September, Soberón Guzmán said, giving those interested some time to study the proposal.

He emphasized that once the section is operative, there will be no limitation on the number of times citizens can sign on to convey opinions, all of which will be processed in a manner similar to those gathered within the country.

He clarified that this option is for Cubans who are living abroad for personal reasons, since those serving on an official mission will have other ways to join the discussion of our future Constitution.

According to Ernesto Soberón, embassy consulates will be involved in the process, in an effort to promote active participation among Cubans living in other countries, as an opportunity to construct, all together, a more inclusive, democratic, and humanist national project “with all and for the good of all.”

In his opinion, the decision is consistent with policies adopted which have allowed for the development of more extensive ties between Cubans abroad and a variety of projects in Cuba, be they of a collaborative, cultural, sports, scientific, or other nature. He likewise noted that migratory regulations implemented over the last few years have facilitated travel abroad by Cubans for personal reasons.

Referring to the inclusion within the draft of the term “effective citizenship,” Ernesto Soberón emphasized, first of all, that this is a legal principle, not a law, and it therefore needs to be included in the country’s Constitution, so that the concept can later be codified in law.

What fundamental changes to the Constitution are proposed?

- Acquisition of citizenship in another country does not imply loss of Cuban citizenship.

- It is specified that, when inside Cuban territory, Cuban citizens are governed as such, and can only make use of this citizenship regardless of others they may hold. (This is the concept of “effective citizenship.)

According to Soberón Guzmán, this means that Cuban traveling to and from Cuba must do so with their Cuban passports.

Other principles related to requirements for Cuban citizenship remain unchanged, along with those regarding its loss or recuperation.

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All Cubans Will Become Constituents

All Cubans will be a constituent in the popular referendum that will begin on Monday on the draft of the constitution of Cuba, said Marcela González, member of the national team for processing the proposals.

This will be a democratic process and of real participation, the specialist told Granma newspaper, who is part of the thousands of members of the group that will collect information derived from the 135 thousand meetings to be held throughout the country until November 15.

Gonzalez explained that the work teams are made up of high-level professionals, university graduates from various careers such as law, teaching, as well as researchers.

He added that engineers graduates of the University of Computer Science, who developed an application on data processing, whose volume was considerable, also participated in it.

This team will work in each municipality and province of the country to ensure that all criteria are properly processed, and reach in full the Commission in charge of Constitutional Reform, according to Gonzalez.

The objective, he emphasized, 'is to produce a document that reflects the thinking of the people.'

The proposed new Constitution includes a preamble and 224 articles, divided into 11 titles, 24 chapters and 16 sections, and maintains the political foundations of the socialist and revolutionary state.

It includes the promotion of sustainable development, the search for equity, respect and attention to the people by the organs of the State and their representatives at the various levels, adherence to International Law, the rejection of terrorism and nuclear weapons, and the fight against climate change.

Likewise, it recognizes new forms of property, in addition to the socialist one, considering the boom in Cuba of the private sector that is made up of more than half a million people.

Also, as a distinctive aspect of its predecessor, in force since 1976, the text elevates to the constitutional rank the principles of foreign policy defended for decades by the Revolution.

After being widely debated in the Cuban Parliament, it will be submitted to the referendum on Monday and then the project will return to the National Assembly for the elaboration of the Constitution that, nourished with the criteria and the contribution of the Cubans, will go to referendum.

If approved in the referendum, Cuba would have a magna carta in tune with the priorities of the international community such as the fight against terrorism and climate change, the defense of human rights and the promotion of multilateralism.

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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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U.S.-Democracy: How does it work?

Nathan Larson is a self-confessed pedophile and white supremacist. And he’s currently running for Congress in Virginia.

Once again facts show how political system works in the United States. Last Tuesday, some sources described it unquestionably.

For example, ahead of the next primary elections that take place in eight states of the country, where the candidates of both parties, as well as alleged independent ones, will be nominated.

A candidate who calls himself independent, Nathan Larson, during an interview with Huffington Post daily said:

“A lot of people are tired of political correctness and being restricted by it. People prefer an outsider who has nothing to lose and is willing to say what’s on a lot of people’s minds.”

Larson, 37, is running for a congressional seat in Virginia.

Ten years ago, he ran for the House of Delegates but failed, and later he was sent to jail in 2009 for threatening to kill the then President Barack Obama.

However, this was not his biggest sin, he, father of a daughter, admitted before the press that he was the main responsible of several events via the Internet geared at advising pedophiles.  

According to the sources, the Virginia congressional candidate considers that the word pedophile is “a tag”, plays down importance to violence and dares to defend the authority of a man to beat his wife.

Another example is that of Don Blankenship, independent too, who is getting into politics now, after serving a year in prison for the death of 29 workers in 2010, because of the explosion of a coal mine, owned by the company that he managed.

Blakenship, self-defined “more Trumpist than Trump”, rejects to have a low profile while running for US Senate from West Virginia and seeks fame with statements that have been deemed disrespectful and even racist.

This controversial candidate, 68, dismissed his interest for joining the Republican Party, when he showed an electoral video accusing Mitch McConnell, its majority leader, of being a cocaine addict and benefiting himself from the money of the “Chinese family” of his wife, Elaine Chao.

Add to this scenario, Rep. Patrick Little, who previously complained of being expelled from the convention of his party held in San Diego (California) for rejecting to “serve the leadership of Israel.”

Little is self-defined as a “defender of white people”, although his possibilities for success are scarce.

This is a tight synthesis on the world of politics in the United States, country that its propaganda sells as the most democratic country on Earth,

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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