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.

  • Published in Cuba

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.

  • Published in Cuba

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

Polling Stations Close in Venezuela Elections

Most polls have shown that the incumbent president and candidate Maduro leads the vote intention.

Voting centers have closed throughout Venezuela Sunday, the country's National Electoral Council (CNE) confirmed Sunday night, after million citizens voted to elect president and members of the regional legislative councils in a festive mood as it has been the case for the past few decades in which more than 20 elections have taken place.

RELATED: What the US Could Learn from Venezuelan Democracy

The polls were due to close at 6:00 p.m. local time but those who are waiting to vote were allowed to continue casting their vote beyond the set time.

President Maduro already cast his vote early Sunday morning in Caracas before giving a speech calling on people to go to vote and rejecting accusations from the United States and its allies that his government is a “dictatorship.”

Henri Falcón, Javier Bertucci and Reinaldo Quijada are the opposition candidates who opted for the democratic way, unlike a faction of the opposition that called for abstention in favor of pushing for more sanctions, a military coup or foreign intervention.

Most polls have shown that the incumbent president and candidate Maduro leads the vote intention. starts with an advantage to win according to the majority of the polls.

Maduro held more than 30 mass events during the electoral campaign in the country’s 23 states where he presented the fundamental lines of the “Plan de la Patria” ot the plan for the homeland 2019-2025, a government project that received thousands of proposals from the Venezuelan people.

In that sense, the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, reiterated that the electoral agency categorically rejects the attempts of interference and sabotage of some governments in the region and assured that the vote will go on in a democratic and fair way.

@telesurenglish As polls open in and people exercise their right to vote within the country, several embassies have already held polls for Venezuelan expats.

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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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The Pride of Our Democracy

They were all waiting anxiously. Students and professors gathered early to welcome the visitors. Some have previously met them in person. Others felt curious to know, via their biographies, the most important aspects of their careers.

Finally, they arrived. The school theater hosts the most significant event of all: the exchange of viewpoints.

There is some shyness at first. But the newcomers break the ice. They are not here as a matter of forms. They are here to remove the perception of a simple photo on a wall. They want to be known not only because of their merits —written in a piece of paper—, but also as common people, no matter the importance of what they do.

Soon the ambiance gets pleasantly informal. They talk now about future goals. Young people want to know everything: their work, the electoral process, the reason why they are not from the municipality, and how many times have they been nominated before.

Answers are given one after another. And questions raises from the other side about future careers, functioning of the school hours, and students’ knowledge on the electoral process, and the number of times they have voted before. It was a crystal-clear chat where there was no “they” or “we”, but “all.”

The words “delegate”, “congressmen”, “political system” are now common to all and assume greater significance. Everything is understood as gestures, smiles, and watchful eyes show. It does not only generate interests, but also a profound conviction of voting as a right and duty.

When the meeting seems to come to an end, a new question raises. “Boys and girls, if you are nominated one day, are you going to accept?”

Some look to each other with surprise. No words to say yet. Doubts are written in some faces. And some says “even though we are 16 years old, we are still too young, and being delegate entails great responsibility.”

Nonetheless, to everyone’s surprise, a young face requested the floor. He has already fulfilled such mission and feels the need to share his experience:

“He is right. It is tough. But it is a school to be better women and men. If you were nominated to represent citizens, then do not hesitate. Take it with courage. You only need three things to reach the goal: will, effort, and human sensibility. And there you have a delegate in Cuba.”

The audience faces show light, a light of a simple and irrefutable truth. The ovation is a sign.

This is not a fictional story. I was there and I am pretty sure there have been other meetings similar to this one. The exchange of our congressmen with citizens is far from what we are used to watch all over the world in electoral campaigns.

This is not about delegates looking for aberrant populism. It is about delegates looking to be closer to citizens without obstacles. No one swaps promises for votes. This is a meeting point to share, talk as equals. There is no discrimination in Cuba. There is only one common cause: to defend the Revolution. This is, no doubt, the true face of what we call with pride Socialist Democracy.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

State Council Appoints Date for the Constitution of Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power

Granma

Starting December 17th, the elected delegates will proceed to constitute the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power for a new mandate of two and a half years.

The State Council, through Agreement signed on December 4th of the running year determined that on December 17th, delegates chosen in the current elections of last November 26th and December 3rd to integrate the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, gathered by their own right, proceed to constitute them for a new mandate of two and a half years.

  • Published in Cuba
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