Respect for Constitutional Order

By Erasmo Calzadilla

Centro Havana street. Photo: Caridad

I don’t know many of the particulars about what is happening with Honduras and Zelaya; after so many years of isolation and so many cumulative grudges with the television news here, I cannot catch up on all those events in just a few weeks.

Nonetheless, I have heard the basic details and I believe that this time I agree with the island’s press on two fundamental issues:

1: Zelaya should return to office without conditions.

2: The United States is sending out mixed signals.

However, I’m beginning to feel a bit strange when I hear the Cuban news and journalists speak with such emphasis on “respect for the constitutional order” and see Cuba adding its name the group of nations that demand just that.

Yet the word “constitution” has never been one of the favored ones over these years of ideological bombardment here.  Any matter even remotely associated with it usually has to do with “pro-imperialistic dissident factions” that demand its respect or renewal.

In fact, there was not even a constitution in Cuba until nearly 15 years after the triumph of the Revolution, and even since then little or no effort has been made to make people aware of the laws by which their country is governed.

Contrary to Venezuela, where Chavez saw his constitution approved through a public referendum, the constitution here is a strange sort of creature.  People appear to function in Cuba inspired more by laws inscribed in their subconscious than by conventional, well-established and disclosed norms.

If we are suddenly interested in respect for constitutions, Fidel’s alerts that the Revolution is experiencing a historical moment it doesn’t surprise me.

What I believe quite healthy, after hearing so much about it, is that Cubans are becoming more familiar with that hallowed word and learning how to use it for their own benefit, for the respect of their own constitutional rights.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

One thought on “Respect for Constitutional Order

  • Not true. The Cuban constitution was approved by referendum in 1975. Before the vote there was extensive discussion by the Cuban people. How can Erasmo forget this or be so ignorant about the process by which Cuba’s constitution was adopted?

    It’s also not true to say that there was no constitution during the first 15 years of the revolution. The revolutionary government based itself on the old 1940s constitution, the pre-Batista one, with decree laws (exactly as Chavez has done) when deemed necessary by the revolutionary leaders.

    Marce Cameron, Australia

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