Cuba’s Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process

Elio Delgado Legon

Cuba’s National Assembly in session. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The process of approving reforms to Cuba’s Constitution has sparked different expectations and comments, especially from people who hope that Cuba makes a move backwards towards capitalism, playing into US Imperialism’s game, which has been trying to destroy the Cuban Revolution for 60 years already.

Some of the more ridiculous articles I’ve read suggest that we adopt the 1940 Constitution again, which might have been very progressive back in its day, but time has passed and it has been nearly 80 years since it was written and Cuba is different today: it is a country in revolution, which is something that people who still have neo-annexationist thoughts don’t want to or can’t understand, even after they have seen the disastrous consequences it has brought to countries in the Americas that are still joined to US Imperialism with an umbilical cord.

Other people, who don’t have their heads completely lost in the clouds, but still aspire to reverse Cuba’s revolutionary process, suggest that we eliminate the socialist nature of the Revolution and establish a multi-party state, arguing that not all Cubans are socialists and that the Constitution should be for everyone.

It’s true that not every Cuban is a socialist or revolutionary. Every time there is a progressive revolution, with everyone and for everyone’s wellbeing (like Marti himself wanted), there are a small group of people who are first and foremost selfish and only think about becoming successful capitalists, without caring about the rest of the population’s suffering.

However, the majority of the Cuban people support the socialist Revolution and the autochthonous system we have created ourselves and the fact that the Constitution which is currently in force was voted on during a referendum and approved by over 97% of voters, is proof of this. Would we need to have two constitutions? One for the 97% and and another one for the remaining 3%? This is impossible, so the 3% will have to respect and accept what the 97% of society approved. This is how a democracy works.

One thing I have no doubt about whatsoever is that our constituent process is the most democratic and participatory in the world. First of all because the committee who were in charge of writing the draft of the Constitution included a large number of lawmakers, representing every social sector. Afterwards, it was discussed by the Communist Party’s Politburo and at the Central Committee’s Plenary Session, where a series of amendments were suggested. It was then analyzed and discussed in great length at the National Assembly, where many amendments were also suggested, which will be analyzed and implemented by the Committee and the result will be printed and distributed so that every Cuban can study it and they can put forward their own suggestions, which they consider to be pertinent.

The result of this process, which will be published again so people are aware. It will then be subjected to a vote during a plebiscite which will take place on February 24, 2019. If this isn’t a participatory democracy, what should we call it?

Of course, those who are expecting big changes in our government, moving towards capitalism, a multi-party state and all of this nonsense, will be frustrated because the key pillars of our system won’t change, not now or later. We will continue to build and perfect a socialist, prosperous and sustainable society, where the Communist Party will continue to be society’s highest political power.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.



13 thoughts on “Cuba’s Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process

  • Either Elio Delgado Legon is a puppet for the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba, or he is an old man suffering delusions. Who other would waffle that:
    “We will continue to build and perfect a socialist, prosperous and sustainable society”
    Does Elio really consider that out of the current economic mess some kind of communist phoenix will eventually arise?

    Reply
  • When I visited Cuba recently, a taxi driver commented about how the Cuban government claims to have democratic processes but with only one party even being legal: the communist party? Is this true? If so, that’s like telling people they can decide the color of their house, and then giving them a choice of various shades of one color. It would be a joke. So are other parties allowed in Cuba or not?

    Reply
    • The short factual answer Steve J is NO! Cuba is a one Party State – the Communist Party of Cuba, by law!
      The CPP actually ranks above the State. Criticism of the regime is a crime punishable by jail, those critics are labelled “dissidents”. On every block of every village, town and city, there is a ‘President’ of the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (the CDR). When established by Fidel Castro on September28, 1960 he defined the role of the CDR as:

      “A collective system of revolutionary vigilance so that everybody (ie: the regime) knows who lives on every block, what they do on every block, in what activities are they involved and with whom they meet.”

      The CDR was based upon the infamous East German Stasi.
      If you really want to know about the politics of Cuba and the life of Cubans go to the web and buy ‘Cuba lifting the Veil.’ you can get it from Amazon and others. I’m the author.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the reply. That certainly does not sound even close to democracy. Perhaps it explains the stagnant state of the Cuban economy. When I visited I had every reason to expect that Cuba was not a 3rd world economy but what I saw was on a par with the all the poorest countries of Latin America, if not worse in some respects. But I guess it’s easy to blame it all on the imperialists.

        Reply
        • IF (note a big IF) Cuba is a 3rd world economy, it is only because the Castro regime in it’s pursuit of Stalinist policies, made it into one!
          Cuba was the largest sugar producer in the world and a huge producer of fruits for the international market, other major exports included Bacardi rum and cigars. Cubans built those World Heritage sites which today attract tourists from around the world. Trinidad de Cuba was established 505 years ago! The oldest house in the Americas is in Santiago de Cuba – dating from 1517. Look at the quality of the wonderful buildings in Old Havana. Third World?
          Some will correctly argue that there was much abject poverty – especially in the black population descended from slavery, but that still exists! Today the poor – being by far the majority of the population, have medical and educational services, but even the latter has the defined purpose of indoctrination of the young into communism. Parents for example can be jailed for three years if teaching their own children anything that is contrary to communism. Average earnings PER MONTH, are just over $20 US.
          To understand Cuba, it is necessary to have some understanding of Marxism/Leninism and those who hold it as if a faith. The words democracy and humanity have no place in their thinking. Power and control over the “mass” are key!

          Reply
        • You shouldn’t get your information from Carlyle. Since 1992 it has been legal for Cubans to belong to various parties. There are quite a few https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Cuba though the system does make it difficult for them to operate.T Members of these parties can also stand for election though the parties can’t campaign for them. This is also true for the Communist Party which doesn’t campaign for any candidate either. Also the parties also aren’t allowed to receive money from abroad for political purposes. Dissidents have stood for elections on a number of occasions and have received a respectable vote. Though even if they were elected they wouldn’t have much power.

          Reply
          • This is where Dani started to deny that Cuba – as given in its Constitution – is a One Party State.
            He believes that Wikipedia is a better source of knowledge than the Constitution of Cuba. Dani endeavored to mislead Steven J. He did so by saying that: “You shouldn’t get your information from Carlyle.” That because I wrote in response to a question posed by Steven J., that “Cuba is a one Party State – the Communist Party of Cuba by law! The CPP actually ranks above the State.”
            Both are factual statements.

        • As you will now realize Steven, there are regime adherents like Dani, who try to defend the communist dictatorship. You will have noted that he advised you not to get information from me and then endeavored to persuade that Cuba is a multi-party democratic state. The short answer is BALDERDASH. Cuba is a One Party State as declared in its Constitution.
          In his efforts to persuade you to ignore my advice, Dani even resorted to use another Castro supporter one Arnold August as evidence. The value of August’s opinions can be judged by his congratulating the Cuban dictatorship upon the anniversary the 26th July, the annual Communist Party of Cuba celebration. He has written of his support for the regime for many years.
          I won’t bother to try to persuade you of the correctness of what I wrote. I am content to let it speak for itself. the difference between Dani and I is simply that my home, family and friends are in Cuba, and Dani’s are where?

          Reply
  • OK Dani, with your ‘expertise’ do tell us of the names of the other political parties approved under the Constitution Cuban with addresses etc. Don’t bother copying the Wikipedia list, but just how many candidates were they allowed to field in the last Cuban election? Your response is awaited with interest if not bated breath!
    Every single candidate for election in our municipality was a member of the Communist Party of Cuba. Why would the PCC bother to campaign when they can guarantee that 100% of those elected will be members of the PCC? But the PCC does actually campaign by plastering public buildings with posters and descriptions of their so-called candidates. In our community one of the candidates (automatically “re-elected” is a Hero of the Republic, being a much decorated (rows of medals) General. He was first “elected” prior to my wife’s birth, yet although living her life in that community and holding a significant role in education, she not only has never met him, she has never even clapped eyes on him other than on Party and State occasions shown on State TV.
    But other folks, don’t believe me, put your faith in Dani and his interpretation of what he has read in Wikipedia! Be a sucker and see!

    Reply
    • Carlyle. All the information you need is easy to find on the internet. The wikipedia link provides links to the home pages of the various parties. You could also do a search on their names. I’ll give you one clue – Oswaldo and his daughter belonged to one of these. As regards dissidents standing in the elections Yoani Sanchez did a piece in which she describes the experience. There was also a piece in Havana Times fairly recently where two dissidents had stood for election. Their blurbs had been doctored to include negative comments about their “counter-revolutionary” activities but if I remember correctly one of them received 150 votes. It is common knowledge that not all those elected are Communist Party members – go and check this out. You could also check out one of Pedro Campos’s posts where he says that some of the proposals that his opposition group had made had been incorporated into law. Finally I have read about the subject – eg https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cuba-Its-Neighbours-Democracy-Motion/dp/1848138660. Have you?

      Reply
      • “is easy to find on the internet”. Since when have Cubans been able to either access the Internet (unless privileged through being able to afford the hotel rates)? Which political party other than the PCC has fielded candidates in Cuban elections? To suggest that Cuba is a multi-party state is to deny the Constitution (both current and new).

        Reply
      • Dani, why don’t you read the article here in Havana Times headed:

        The Most Significant Changes in the New Cuban Constitution

        You may find it a bit more informative and correct than your gleanings from wikipedia! The Communist Party of Cuba remains the only legal political party in Cuba!

        Reply
      • Tell me Dani, what do Donald J. Trump and Arnold August have in common? I’ll give you a clue!
        Both make brief bogus statements reflecting their different types of political extremism. Those of intelligence believe neither!

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day
Picture 1 of 1

Alfreda at Coffee Time, Pons, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. By Irina Echarry (Cuba). Camera: Nikon D3000

Submit your pictures to our Photo of the Day section
You don’t have to be a professional photographer, just send an image (in black and white or color), with a photo caption indicating where it was taken (city and country), type of camera or cell you used, and a small description about it.
Note: it is better for our format if you send horizontal orientation pictures. Even square will work but vertical is a problem.
Send your picture with your name and birth country, or where you reside, to this email address: [email protected]