Cuba Has a New Constitution, Continuity Wins over Change

As part of the government’s saturation campaign, publicity encouraging a SI vote was even present at polling places, something unheard of in most countries.  Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Cubans have approved a new constitution with almost 87% voting in favor, the country’s National Electoral Commission said Monday, reported dpa news.

Just over 7.8 million voters (84.4%) participated in Sunday’s referendum, with the election authorities saying 6,816,169 million (86.85% voting in favor and 706,400 – 9% – voting against.  They said About 4% submitted blank or spoiled ballots.

In all, around 13% of those going to the polls rejected the massive call from the Communist Party and government to vote SI (Yes).

The current constitution was approved in 1976 by nearly 98% of voters.

The Campaign for the New Constitution

The government carried out a saturation campaign in favor of the SI vote with some of its supporters dubbing those opposed counter-revolutionaries and non-Cubans.

In the government saturation campaign, voting SI was for Cuba and a NO vote or abstention considered unpatriotic.

Only publicity for voting SI was allowed in the State-controlled media, on billboards, public buildings, buses and on the streets. On TV programs to discuss the Constitution up for referendum, only voices in favor were allowed.

Those preferring a NO vote or Abstention were limited to independent websites and the social networks in a country where most citizens are not readily connected due to the relatively high price for Internet use.

There are some changes

The new text acknowledges the right to private property, the existence of markets and the importance of foreign investment. It maintains the State businesses as the favored mainstay of the centralized economy when it comes to public or foreign investment.

Meanwhile, Cubans living on the Island and abroad are not allowed to invest in the more lucrative business opportunities, only open to the foreign investors and the State.

It also introduces the figure of a prime minister and reduces presidential terms to two 5-year terms – previously unlimited for the sake of Fidel Castro.

Significantly, the final version eliminates a formulation which would have paved the way for gay marriage. It was opposed by evangelical churches and conservative communists.

The constitution maintains both socialism as the state ideology and a one-party system. Raul Castro is the leader of the Cuban Communist Party.

2 thoughts on “Cuba Has a New Constitution, Continuity Wins over Change

  • February 25, 2019 at 7:12 pm
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    Viva Kuba!! Viva Simon Bolivar!! Viva!! Viva!! Viva!!!

    Reply
  • February 25, 2019 at 7:31 pm
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    Too bad that gay marriage was a no go; Cuba needs to alter its image if it is to ignite confidence by foreign investors. It may sound like irrelevant but as a finance and business professional, I can tell you that there continues to be a huge push towards the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet and profit. The ‘no gay marriage’ thing this day and age is akin to a flat Earth or voting to continue slavery (and yes it is just as ridiculous as both of those). I’m also surprised because as far as I know the daughter of Raul is gay (but I could be wrong, I forget her name. Not sure how many daughters he has but I’m referring to the one that seems to be in the public sphere)
    I like the bit about private property. Cuba needs to attract foreign AND domestic investment and the horrible reputation they have when it comes to private property does not help one bit. I certainly hope that someday soon, the powers that be realize that the private sector is the economic growth engine of a nation. The Cuban government is still far from taking the necessary approaches to stimulate domestic consumer and investor confidence but I guess this is somewhat of a step forward after decades of private sector strangulation. Cuba and Cubans have been extremely poor for a very long time (even before 1959 as the revolution did not redistribute wealth, unfortunately; it simply redistributed poverty just like every other revolution before it and after it. Eg. Venezuela).
    Cuba and Cubans have a lot of potential and there is no fundamental reason why Cuba cannot be the Switzerland of the Caribbean and Latin America but that will take time and a lot of political will which the older generations still in power lack (those same communists the article says voted against progress on gay marriage)
    Unfortunately, the Cuban economy is structurally broken (and no that has nothing to do with the U.S embargo although it does contribute to some slight degree). There’s nothing wrong with socialism, the evil lies in communism and the crony capitalism of Cuba’s neighbors like D.R, Haiti, and Jamaica.
    I certainly hope the Cuba of tomorrow fulfills its potential so that it can be better than the Cuba of today and pre-revolutionary Cuba. Countries don’t need to be made ‘great again’, they need to be made greater than ever before.

    Reply

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