As he did in 1976, Raúl Castro Ruz, first Party secretary again had the honor of proclaiming Cuba’s new Constitution in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of People’s Power, yesterday April 10.
Also in attendance were President of the Councils of Ministers and State Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; José Ramón Machado Ventura, Party second secretary; and National Assembly President Esteban Lazo.
In his speech, Raúl emphasized that this Constitution gives continuity to the country’s first revolutionary constitution proclaimed in Guáimaro, exactly 150 years ago, by “preserving the unity of all Cubans, the homeland’s sovereignty and independence, as fundamental pillars.”
We will not renounce any of our principles
While the Raúl commented that the tone used by the United States with respect to Cuba has become increasingly threatening, he reaffirmed that we will never abandon the duty to act in solidarity with Venezuela, or renounce any of our principles.
We have let the U.S. administration know, with clarity, firmness and serenity, through direct diplomatic channels and publicly, that Cuba is not afraid of threats, and that our vocation for peace and understanding is accompanied by the unshakeable determination and sovereign right of Cubans to defend the future of our nation without foreign interference, he insisted.
At the same time, he said we must be aware that additional difficulties may come and that the economic situation could worsen in coming months, although it is not a question of returning to the special period if the 1990s, because today the economy is more diversified.
Cuba has shown that, yes, we could, yes, we can, and will always resist, fight, and triumph, there is no other alternative, Raúl said to concluded his speech, which was followed by applause from deputies and guests who all rose to their feet.
The new Constitution guarantees the Revolution’s continuity and the irrevocability of socialism
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first Party secretary, upon proclaiming the new Constitution, stated that the opportunity constituted an exceptional privilege since this is the second time he has had the responsibility.
"On February 24, 1976, 43 years ago, the Comandante en Jefe, before traveling abroad to fulfill an obligatory commitment, asked me to take his place during the Proclamation event," he recalled.
The chosen date, he said, is not accidental; 150 years ago Cuba’s Mambi freedom fighters, gathered in a Constituent Assembly, and agreed on our first revolutionary Constitution.
That text, he recalled, projected the importance of unity, freedom, independence, and recognition of equality among all Cubans.
This Constitution represents continuity, Raúl said, safeguarding the unity of all Cubans and the independence and sovereignty of the homeland.
Guáimaro, he recalled, was followed by the Constitutions of Jimaguayú and La Yaya, as a continuation of the same process.
It is worth recalling, he said, that despite the Mambi struggle, the desired freedom was not achieved and the victory was cut short by U.S. intervention.
Continuing the historical review, he noted that under U.S. military occupation, the Constitution of 1901 was approved, which included the infamous Platt Amendment.
Next came the Constitution of 1940 that reflected many of the Cuban people’s longings, during a period of struggle that impacted the approval of a text that was ahead of its time, including prohibitions on discrimination and large landholdings. Nonetheless, many of its postulates remained dead letter since no legislative effort to concretize the stated ideals was possible under those conditions.
It remained in effect, Raúl continued, until the 1952 coup by Fulgencio Batista, which catalyzed the revolutionary movement, whose program was synthesized in Fidel’s “History will absolve me” statement, following the Moncada assault.