Cuba's President Describes Parliamentary Session as Historic

The president of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, described on Monday as historic the third ordinary session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly, during which new laws are expected to be passed.

In this assembly we must approve three laws, which will give coherence with what we have been saying with respect to broadening the legislative exercise to support the new Constitution, Diaz-Canel affirmed in the Convention Palace of Havana, where the commissions of the Parliament are meeting.

According to the President, the session takes on greater prominence because it is the first to be held after the approval of the new constitution, backed by the majority of Cubans in a popular referendum.

In particularizing on the bills, Diaz-Canel said the Electoral project will have great significance for the country, while the Fisheries includes new economic players who have emerged in the process of updating the Cuban model as the private sector.

He considered necessary the law on National Symbols 'in the current moments in which we face a fierce battle of ideas from all the colonizing platforms that want to impose us destroying our identity.' The bills will be submitted to next Saturday's plenary for analysis and subsequent approval.

From this Monday until Wednesday, the 10 commissions of the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament) are in session.

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Cuban Economy Will Go for More, President Says

President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday stated that the Cuban economy is going for more despite a difficult international environment and the worsening of the US blockade against the island.

The president participated in discussions of the Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the third ordinary period of sessions of its 9th Legislature that opened on Monday.

Diaz-Canel announced about this issue that the economy grew more than expected in 2018 and the purpose is to achieve a modest increase despite the Washington-applied economic, financial and commercial siege 'that has not allowed us to deploy in full force.'

In his speech, he said that foreign investment projects are under way for several billion dollars and there are other projects aimed at reducing imports.

He urged to invest more in the Agriculture and Food industries and increase the quantity of cultivable land under irrigation, which is currently insufficient for national needs.

The head of State referred to measures for economic boost that include wage increase to the public sector and reiterated that 'popular wisdom,' was taken into account. It was expressed in direct contact with the population and in forums such as the Congress of the Cuban Workers' Union, bringing together all unions in the country.

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Diaz-Canel Recognizes Impact of Fishing Law for Cuban Development

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has acknowledged on Monday the benefits for the country''s socioeconomic development of the Fisheries Law analyzed by deputies and that must be soon passed in the Parliament.

When intervening in the debate on this bill, the Cuban President pointed out that it includes the new economic actors emerging from the process of updating Cuba's economic model, such as the non-state sector.

The law-to-be regulates proper fishing ordering, management and control, enhances the rescue of aquaculture, marine species farming and links research and sustainability with environment, Diaz-Canel stated.

At the Havana International Conference Center, where commissions of the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP) are meeting, Diaz-Canel uttered that debating on this specific regulation was a democratic consultation exercise with deputies and members of fishing communities in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Food-Producing Industry, Iris Quiñones, on the other hand, stressed that the new Fishing Law is in line with international standards and regulations and recognizes that such an entity as the leading one for this economic activity.

The regulations set down fishing methods, have the bases for fishing management and splits sport fishing from recreational fishing, among other issues.

Food-farming and Constitutional and Legal Affairs commissions of the Cuban Parliament consulted 462 deputies and 863 guests to draft the bill.

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Raul Castro and Diaz-Canel Attending Key Session of Parliament

Havana, 21 Dec (PL) The first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro, and President Miguel Diaz-Canel are attending on Friday a session of the National Assembly where the draft of the country's new Constitution is presented and will be submitted to plenary vote.

The beginning of the second ordinary period of the 9th Legislature at the Convention Center in Havana hosts the last legislative discussion of the draft that was enriched by opinions and proposals from the popular consultation held from August 13 to November 15, with the participation of almost nine million Cubans who made more than 780,000 suggestions.

Raul Castro headed the 33 representatives' commission in charge of drafting the Magna Carta to be supported in plenary by the parliamentarians in this ordinary period, which will continue Saturday, leading to a referendum -scheduled for February- so that the people can decide by direct and secret vote whether to approve it or not.

The draft Constitution consulted with Cubans living on and off the island underwent important changes, more than 750, based on citizens' criteria.

The initiative ratifies the Cuban socialist character and the governing role of the Communist Party in its society, modifies the structure of the State, broadens individual rights and recognizes various forms of property, including private property.

This Friday's plenary session will also address the results of the economy and projections for 2019 in terms of budget and economic plan.

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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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Cuba Inaugurates Parliament with Wide Diversity

Cuba is inaugurating Wednesday the 9th Legislature of its National Parliament, a body of 605 members representing diverse sectors of society and being 53.2 percent of it women.

The new MPs are meeting Wednesday and Thursday at Havana Convention Center after being elected last March 11, an election day in which over 7,400,000 voters casted their ballots for an 86 percent turnout.

The Parliament's seats will be occupied by workers, farmers, teachers, doctors, scientists, writers, artists, religious leaders, students, political leaders, businesspeople, sportsmen, military and workers from the private sectors.

Furthermore, the legislative house is made up of 40.5 percent black and colored people, 13,2 MPs under 35 years, 86 percent university graduates and a average age of 49 years.

A relevant fact is that 47.4 percent of the legislators was elected in neighborhood meetings and that women make up 53.2 percent of its membership makes the Cuban Parliament the second in the world with most women sitting second only to Rwanda (61.3).

Prensa Latina spoke with several of the newly-elected lawmakers who will take the oath Wednesday for a five-year term, and they all stressed that a priority is to continue strengthening socialism, following the legacy of the historical leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro and the revolutionary generation of the process that began on January 1, 1959.

Jorge Luis Romero, a cobbler from Lisa municipality, in Havana, said people are aware of the need to preserving the social achievements.

'Just look at me; I'm a cobbler and I'll be sitting at the National Parliament; this only happens in Cuba where every single day I stay undisturbed when my children go to school or when someone in the family gets sick, because we have free quality education and health; this is why people defend the revolution,' said the self-employed cobbler.

After inauguration, the 9th Legislature will elect by secret vote the Assembly's Speaker for the next five years, and the new Council of State that is the highest governmental body.

In doing that, lawmakers will be electing the President who is head of State and Government, the first Vice President and five Vice Presidents, the Council's Secretary and the remaining 23 members of the Council of State, which represents the National Parliament in between its two ordinary periods of sessions a year.

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Parliament Highlights Role of Schools in Community Transformation

Cuban Education Minister, Ena Elsa Velázquez, stressed today at the Parliament''s ninth regular session the importance of turning schools into centers for transforming the community.

Speaking to the Commission on Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly, she called to recognize education as the main element in community work.

The Ministry places community work as a priority, added Velázquez, who assured that about 140,000 people have been contacted as a result of these exchanges with the base.

Having schools with trained teachers, with discipline and students showing appropriate behavior, is an achievement of community work, she noted.

In 2014 we passed a resolution to achieve greater responsibility for the school and its openness to the community, but not everything is achieved, expressed the minister.

In those schools where there is greater participation of the community, we see a better role for our students, she added.

According to the Minister of Education, the Educate Your Child program is an example of such work within the communities. It serves 68 percent of children ages 0 to 5 and prepares families before entering schools.

Chaired by the first Cuban Vice-President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, the aforementioned commission evaluated community cultural work and the impact of the joint work of social actors in the community.

This is Parliament's ninth ordinary session in its eighth parliamentary term.

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Raul Castro Receives US Congressmen

President Raul Castro has received here a delegation from the United States Congress, led by Democrat Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, and Republican Senator from Mississippi, Thad Cochran.

The northern delegation was also comprised of Democratic Senators Thomas Udall (New Mexico) and Michael Bennett (Colorado), Democratic Representatives James McGovern and Seth Moulton (Massachusetts) as well as Charge d'Affaires a.i. Jeffrey DeLaurentis.

During the meeting held yesterday, Raul Castro and the congressmen discussed issues of interest to both countries.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez; Minister for Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca; and the general director of the United States Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal, participated on the Cuban side.

The congressional delegation had been previously received by Ministers Rodriguez and Malmierca, as well as Agriculture Minister, Gustavo Rodriguez.

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