Important attributions for the State Council to be elected in Cuba

The Parliament of Cuba will elect the President and Vice President of the Republic on October 10, but before that the deputies will vote for the integration and ownership of the Council of State.

It is the collegiate body that represents the National Assembly of Popular Power between sessions, executes its agreements and fulfills other functions that the Constitution and the law attribute to it.

This is stated in the Magna Carta approved in April, whose article 121 provides that the president, vice president and secretary of the National Assembly of Popular Power are in turn the State Council, which cannot be integrated by members of the Council of Ministers nor the highest authorities of the judicial, electoral and state control bodies.

The election, like that of the highest state offices in the nation, was preceded by the approval in July of the new Electoral Law and the bureau of the National Candidacies Commission.

This body developed a consultation process with the deputies of the island between September 18 and 22.

It was an occasion to gather proposals on those legislators who must integrate the candidacy projects and will be submitted to Parliament for consideration this October 10.

Among the powers of the State Council is to ensure compliance with the Constitution and laws, issue decree-laws and agreements, and arrange for extraordinary sessions of Parliament.

Also summon and agree on the date of the elections to renew the National Assembly of Popular Power and municipal assemblies.

The Council of State can suspend presidential decrees, agreements and other provisions that contradict the Constitution and laws.

This body can assume, at the proposal of the President of the Republic, the powers to declare the State of War or War in the event of aggression or peace.

Likewise, among other attributions, ratify and denounce international treaties, approve the modalities of foreign investment that correspond to it and examine and approve, between one and another session of Parliament, the necessary adjustments to the State budget.

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Cuban leaders attend funeral of cardinal who fostered thaw with US

Cuban leaders on Sunday attended the funeral Jaime Ortega, a cardinal who played a key role in improving ties between Havana and Washington during the administration of Barack Obama.

Ortega, who died at the age of 82, worked as an intermediary for Pope Francis in negotiations to ease the bad blood between Cuba and the US after five decades.

The Cold War rivals began normalizing relations in December 2014 and the next year they restored diplomatic ties.

First vice-president Salvador Valdes Mesa, vice-president Roberto Morales and Esteban Lazo, the head of the National Assembly, were at the funeral service at Havana Cathedral, an AFP journalist saw.

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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and former president Raul Castro, who are visiting Venezuela, sent bouquets of flowers.

Born in 1936 in Matanzas, Ortega led the Catholic church in Cuba for 35 years before retiring in 2016.

He submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Havana in 2011 when 75, as Vatican rules required, but his close personal friend the pope refused it then, acquiescing only in 2016.

He was the facilitator in 18 months of secret talks between Cuba and the US that led to a historic thawing of relations, since reversed by President Donald Trump.

Those talks led to a prisoner exchange and Obama's historic visit to the island nation in 2016.

Garcia paid tribute to Ortega's "friendly smile, his clairvoyant intelligence and the testimony of a successful, and often painful, priesthood."

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Session of the Cuban Parliament Considered Historic

Havana, July 13 (Prensa Latina) The National Assembly of People's Power is holding sessions at a special and historic moment, said Saturday the President of the Cuban Parliament, Esteban Lazo.

In the plenary session of the legislature, Lazo recalled that the Third Ordinary Period of the 9th Legislature is held when the United States tightens the economic, financial and commercial blockade against the island.

He pointed out that Cuba is the victim of campaigns of lies unleashed by the administration of President Donald Trump that even denigrate the humanitarian work of doctors, teachers and thousands of other Cubans who provide services in numerous countries. We are meeting just before (July 26) National Rebel Day,' he said, referring to the 1953 attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons in the former Oriente province, headed by Fidel Castro.

Those armed actions are considered in Cuba as the driving force for the Cuban Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959.

In this regard, Esteban Lazo praised the presence in the session of two of those revolutionary attackers: Army General Raul Castro, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and the commander of the Revolution, Ramiro Valdes, both MPs.

During Saturday's day, in which President Miguel Diaz-Canel participates, the Assembly will check the fulfillment of the agreements taken by that legislative body and its permanent commissions.

It will also debate and approve the draft Electoral Law, National Symbols, and Fisheries.

The National Electoral Council will also be elected.

The Parliament also plans to analyze the execution of the economy plan in the first semester, and the settlement report of the 2018 budget.

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Electoral Bill Presented in Parliament

Cuban lawmakers on Thursday learned some details of the draft Electoral Law that will be submitted to legislators in territorial meetings from June 21 to 26 in order to encourage debate.

The document proposes new aspects in relation to the current Law No.72 of October 29, 1992, Electoral Law, as of the Electoral Reform and the promulgation of the new Constitution of the Republic this year.

Upon presenting the text, Jose Luis Toledo, president of the Commission on Constitutional and Legal Affairs at the National People's Power Assembly (Parliament), said that the variation in the amount of the State Council members highlights among the new features.

The document will be made up of 21 members, including its leadership, which is a change taking into account that the Council of State is so far composed of 31, the official said.

According to Toledo, during the ceremony in which the National Assembly will be constituted, the President of the Republic takes possession of his post and acts according to what is provided by the parliament.

After the text is presented to legislators and regional authorities by videoconference from the National Capitol in the presence of the president of the Cuban Parliament, Esteban Lazo, the document recognizes two periodic elections: the municipal ones, to elect the delegates to the municipal assemblies of the People's Power, its President and Vice President; and the national ones.

The latter includes the election of legislators to the National Assembly of People's Power, its President, Vice President, Secretary, other members of the Council of State, and the President and Vice President of the Republic, keeping the same principles as those in force for its implementation.

The document also modifies the proportion established in the current law for the election of legislators. One legislator is elected for every 30,000 inhabitants of a municipality or fraction greater than 15,000, and in case the number of inhabitants in that municipality is 45,000 or less than that number, two legislators are always elected.

The new text -which is available since June 19 on the Parliament's website- is made up of 16 titles, 45 chapters, 32 sections, five special provisions, six transitory provisions, two final provisions and 290 articles in total.

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Cuba appreciates HCM City’s development experience

The Cuban leaders spoke highly of Ho Chi Minh City’s development experience while meeting with Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, who visited the Latin American country from May 31 to June 7.

During talks with President of the Commission on International Relations of the Cuban National Assembly Yolanda Ferrer Gomez, Phong introduced his host to the role of HCM City in Vietnam’s development, especially in economy, as well as the city’s special mechanisms and achievements in managemetn of development materials and budget, administration decentralisation and improvement of people’s living standards.

He showed his respect for the Cuban people’s valuable sentiments and wholehearted assistance to Vietnam.

Potential for collaboration between the two countries remains huge, he said, adding that HCM City is the first locality in Vietnam to realise the outcomes of a recent visit to Cuba by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong.

After recalling her impressions on the development of Vietnam during her recent visit, Yolanda Ferrer, who is also President of the Cuba-Vietnam Friendship Association, appreciated the Southeast Asian nation’s experience in developing and operating the National Assembly together with the system of people’s councils and people’s committees at all levels.

She affirmed the Cuban leaders’ determination to make necessary and suitable changes in the pursuit of the supreme goal of building socialism.

At an informal meeting on the sidelines of the talks with the HCM City delegation, President of the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez said Vietnam’s experience in development in general and legislation in particular is useful for the Cuban State and National Assembly to make decisions.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers Ricarddo Cabrisas Ruiz briefed his guest on the recent achievements Cuba has made in its socio-economic model update. The two sides reviewed potential areas for trade and investment collaboration.

The HCM City mayor had a meeting with President of the Havana Assembly of People's Power Reynaldo Garcia Zapata to share development experience. He also presented 50,000 USD to help Havana and other Cuban localities overcome losses caused by recent prolonged floods.

During their stay in Cuba, the HCM City delegation had working sessions with the Department for External Relations of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment and the Ministry of Tourism.

They attended a Vietnam-Cuba investment-trade-tourism promotion conference, visited the Mariel special economic zone, and laid wreaths at the statues of Cuban national hero Jose Marti and President Ho Chi Minh in Havana.

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