A country (and a Constitution) with Everyone and for Everyone

The Republic’s first law should be that of respect to the dignity of all its children. In the country we dream and need, there cannot be space for discrimination.

The fact that the new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba explicitly rejects any discrimination is an achievement of all Cubans, regardless their beliefs, age, gender, skin color, skills, sexual orientation…

Without euphemisms, with all the letters, the project that is now reviewed by the citizenship opens a path for the effective reformation of some laws that still hinder (even, without the expressed attempt of doing so) the full exercise of rights.

That should be the nation dreamt by José Martí, of everyone and for everyone’s welfare. We must approach it dialectically. Because to try to arbitrarily compare views from the nineteenth century with those of the XXI century would mean to ignore the contributions of so many years of struggle and debates in all fields: social, political, cultural, economic…

The renovating postulates of this project of Constitution (they are many, although few focus on article 68 that establishes that marriage is the union between two people, without sex specifications), are not anyone’s whim: they are the outcome of deep reflection that has taken into account the demands and just aspirations of the citizenship.

The Constitution, obviously, is not enough to solve all conflicts. But it’s an indispensable rule: the beginning of a path that concerns us all. It’s not, it cannot be, a despotic imposition; it has to be the result of a national, respectful and deep debate, free of prejudices and devious interests.

It’s not worthy to negotiate a right: there are absolute rights. Granting them to those who don't enjoy them doesn't mean to strip them off of those who already have them. The limit of a man’s freedom is the one set by the freedom of another.

Can anyone affirm—speaking of the aforementioned article— that giving the right to two men or two women to get married, takes away that same right from a man and a woman?

There will be conceptual debates (let them be welcomed if they are respectful and well founded); but the right exists.

Education guarantees that the necessary changes can be assumed with fewer traumas, from convincing and not from imposition.

But education has to be a permanent process. There is so much left to educate, and much to discuss. But the Constitution should guarantee the foundation of that education and that discussion: to lay the road.

When the Revolution established laws against skin color or sex discrimination, not the entire population was persuaded of the need of those laws.

Racism and machismo were deep rooted in Cuban society. Does it mean that laws eliminated all manifestations of racism and machismo? Regrettably that was not true. But the law offered shelter to millions of people who were direct or indirectly discriminated against. And it was platform for an educational work that doesn't end, but that has attained unquestionable results.

To conquer all justice: that must be the objective of socialism. In order to achieve this, we must have a modern, functional, effective legal system, in permanent dialogue with the science and the conscience.

We need to learn from the past to build the present; we must take a look back to remember what we’ve done, but it’s imperative to look forward: a country, and a Constitution, where we all fit in.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Marriage may protect against heart disease/stroke and associated risk of death

Marriage may protect against the development of heart disease/stroke as well as influencing who is more likely to die of it, suggests a pooled analysis of the available data, published online in the journal Heart.

The findings prompt the researchers to suggest that marital status should be included as a risk factor for heart disease/stroke and likely survival in its own right.

Most (80%) cardiovascular disease can be attributed to well known risk factors: age; sex; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; smoking; and diabetes. But it's not clear what influences the remaining 20 per cent.

The findings of previous research on the impact of marital status have been somewhat mixed, so in a bid to clarify the issues, the authors trawled research databases for relevant published studies.

They drew on 34 out of a total of 225, all of which had been published between 1963 and 2015, and involved more than 2 million people aged between 42 and 77 from Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Pooled analysis of the data revealed that, compared with people who were married, those who weren't (never married, divorced, widowed) were at heightened risk of developing cardiovascular disease (42%) and coronary artery heart disease (16%).

Not being married was also associated with a heightened risk of dying from both coronary heart disease (42%) and stroke (55%).

When the data were broken down further, the analysis showed that divorce was associated with a 35 per cent higher risk of developing heart disease for both men and women, while widowers of both sexes were 16 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

While there was no difference in the risk of death following a stroke between the married and the unmarried, this was not the case after a heart attack, the risk of which was significantly higher (42%) among those who had never married.

The authors caution that the methods used and adjustments made for potentially influential factors varied considerably across all the studies, which may have affected the results of their analysis.

Similarly, there was no information on same sex partnerships or the quality of marriage, and the potential role of living with someone, as opposed to being married to them, was not explored.

But this is the largest study to date, with the age and ethnicity of the participants strengthening the wider applicability of the findings, the authors point out.

And there are various theories as to why marriage may be protective. These include earlier recognition of, and response to, health problems; better adherence to medication; better financial security; enhanced wellbeing; and better friendship networks.

"Future research should focus around whether marital status is a surrogate marker for other adverse health behaviour or cardiovascular risk profiles that underlies our reported findings or whether marital status should be considered as a risk factor by itself," the authors conclude.

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