Cuban par­lia­ment to draft new con­sti­tu­tion on up­dated law

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - World -

HA­VANA — Cuba’s Na­tional Assem­bly of Peo­ple’s Power on Satur­day be­gan draft­ing a new con­sti­tu­tion that will pro­vide an up­dated le­gal frame­work for the on­go­ing eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in the is­land na­tion.

At a spe­cial ses­sion held at Ha­vana’s con­ven­tion cen­ter, 572 law­mak­ers voted to be­gin the process and ap­pointed a 33-mem­ber com­mis­sion to draft the doc­u­ment.

For­mer Pres­i­dent and First Sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of Cuba Raul Cas­tro heads the com­mis­sion, while Pres­i­dent Miguel Diaz-Canel serves as its deputy head.

Once the con­sti­tu­tional draft is ready, it is slated to be dis­cussed first by the par­lia­ment and then by the broader pop­u­la­tion, be­fore be­ing sub­mit­ted to a ref­er­en­dum.

The com­mis­sion will take into con­sid­er­a­tion the “humanist and so­cial jus­tice prin­ci­ples of the rev­o­lu­tion”, as well as the “ir­re­versibil­ity of the so­cial­ist process, na­tional unity and the role of the Com­mu­nist Party as the coun­try’s lead­ing force”, said the pres­i­dent.

“Let’s work to achieve a con­sti­tu­tional norm that re­flects the dura­bil­ity of a sov­er­eign, in­de­pen­dent, so­cial­ist, demo­cratic, pros­per­ous and sus­tain­able na­tion,” he said.

Diaz-Canel called on the com­mis­sion, made up of law­mak­ers and of­fi­cials rep­re­sent­ing dif­fer­ent sec­tors of so­ci­ety, to draft a doc­u­ment that is in­clu­sive and strength­ens the role of the state.

“To mod­ify the cur­rent text it will be nec­es­sary to eval­u­ate the ex­pe­ri­ences of our so­cial­ism, study con­sti­tu­tional pro­cesses car­ried out in other coun­tries, and as­pects of our his­tory and con­sti­tu­tional tra­di­tion,” added Cuba’s head of state.

“What is com­ing is an ‘up­date’ of Cuba’s con­sti­tu­tion, not the pro­logue to a ‘tran­si­tion’ or an other­wise dra­matic break,” said Michael Bus­ta­mante, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of Latin Amer­i­can his­tory at Flor­ida In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity.

The cur­rent con­sti­tu­tion, adopted in 1976 and amended in 1978, 1992 and 2002, does not ad­e­quately re­spond to cir­cum­stances that have changed over time, said Di­azCanel.

Since 2010, Cuba has launched nu­mer­ous re­forms aimed at mod­ern­iz­ing the na­tional econ­omy while pre­serv­ing its so­cial­ist ideals.

A small pri­vate sec­tor has flour­ished, af­ter ex­ten­sive state con­trol over al­most all eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity was re­laxed. A new law rec­og­niz­ing medium and small pri­vate busi­nesses is ex­pected to be ap­proved.

The draft, which could take months to com­plete, will be put to a ref­er­en­dum, in which more than 9 mil­lion Cubans will be able to par­tic­i­pate.


Cuban Pres­i­dent Miguel Diaz Canel (left) shakes hands with for­mer Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro (cen­ter) at the start of the first ex­tra­or­di­nary ses­sion of the ninth leg­is­la­ture of the Cuban par­lia­ment at the Con­ven­tion Palace in Ha­vana, on Satur­day.

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