Some Traps in Cuba’s New Constitution

By Antonio Recio

Studying the new draft Cuban Constitution. Photo Dunia Palacios,

HAVANA TIMES – There are major changes that appear in the new draft Constitution (now in its popular consultation phase), which make it seem modern, keeping up with changes in Cuban society and other expressions to hide what it really is.

In fact, using same-sex marriage, the recognition of private property and the disappearance of the word “Communism” is nothing but a trap; hiding their intention to keep Cuban citizens subjected to a single political option, the Communist Party.

Article 40, which refers to the right to be treated equally, now includes factors such as “gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic origin and disability” which bans discrimination based on any of these as well as those that already exist in Article 42 such as discrimination based on race, color of the skin, sex, national origin, religious creeds. However, there is still no ban on discrimination for political reasons, which leads us to think that it will continue to be a reason for discrimination on the island, now and in the future.

Hidden behind this air of “modernity and tolerance” that the new draft Constitution wants to give off, which is currently being debated and which the Government hopes to pass, there are three big traps.

(1) The Cuban Communist Party (PCC) is the only party, thereby leaving only one political option for everything; (2) The eternal permanence of socialism as Cuba’s form of government and (3) Criminalizing everyone who thinks differently to the PCC.

In order to ensure the first point, we have to realize that the Party remains outside of the Constitution’s legal limits, unlike other countries in the world where it should also be subject to the supreme power the Constitution should hold.

The PCC is not only outside of the Constitution’s scope as a law, the Party doesn’t even owe obedience to the Armed Forces, as its powers appear completely outside of the Constitution. I would even dare to say, above it, when it declares itself the eternal guide of Cuban society, a role that really corresponds to the Constitution.

The second trap is guaranteed by the idea that socialism no longer means what its founders (Marx and Engels) defined it to be in the beginning: a system to stop men from exploiting men and to develop a system to satisfy the population’s growing needs.

Now, in the new Constitution, there is a new definition of “Cuban socialism” which doesn’t even recognize it as the path towards Communism, which is something that they have been teaching every generation of Cubans post-1960.

The third trap has laid out the most serious crime of treason to the “Socialist Homeland”, which now includes anyone who dares to suggest something different or do something differently from the PCC’s ideas. A comprehensive mechanism of government repression will exist to ensure this, such as police threats to people close to those who think differently, immediate response brigades, hate mobs, blackmail and other atrocities which increase and manipulate the hatred of others.

And in Article 3, which states the Irrevocable Nature of Socialism, phrases such as “Treason against one’s country as the most serious of crimes” appear. For that matter, citizens have the right to fight, using all means, allegedly including armed struggle, against the slightest manifestation of disobedience, rebellious behavior or difference in ideas to Cuban Socialism.

All of the points I’ve mentioned above reinforce the entire “Cuban Revolution’s” greatest attribute: intolerance. However, this time it’s being turned up to the extreme.

And to finish things off, Article 224 states that declarations about the irrevocable nature of socialism and the political system “will not be subject to reform in any case.” This is the way of stopping any attempt to reform the system in case the Cuban people so desire. This is how the government is taking control of its greatest strengths: establishing the irrevocable nature of the system, being the only political option available and criminalizing everything that differs from their interests.

10 thoughts on “Some Traps in Cuba’s New Constitution

  • I note Curt that even you recognize that the worst in the US equates with the norm in Cuba. My concern writing here in Havana Times, is with regard to Cuba and the imposed totalitarian dictatorship which its people suffer. Your concern appears to be trying to justify the Castro regimes policies and actions by comparison with the worst, not average, of those in the US.

  • Take a walk in some of the worst inner city ghettos in the U.S. You will see the same or worse dilapidated housing, understaffed medical facilities, and rundown schools where teachers spend more time creating order in the classroom than teaching. Take a random sample of kids from any U.S ghetto and typical Cuban students. Give them both the same achievement test and see who does better. I think we both know the answer to that question.

  • I only wish Curt that I could take you for a walk around our community to enable you to observe the “suitable housing” many of which are dilapidated hovels, to take you to the local hospital to see the broken windows, missing door handles and cracked walls and floors. to meet those excellent doctors and hear their frustrations at being unable to access a many basic drugs, to visit both a primaria, a basica and a pre-university school and meet the staff to hear their frustrations with Cuban education and disgust with the Communist Party slogans and endless pictures of the cult of the personality figures of Fidel Castro, ‘Che’ Guevara and Raul Castro which plaster the walls of every classroom. Maybe then you would begin to comprehend the reality of Cuba rather than the theoretical preaching of Karl Marx.
    Do you think that government should be beyond criticism?

  • I’ve responded to that accusation previously Curt. I do not hate the Cuban regime – I detest it! Just as you correctly define Communist China as being state capitalist and Russia as (an autocracy) having repression, Cuba is Communist with repression. I detest the imposition of totalitarian dictatorship upon a country and a people, whether it be by the extreme left as in Cuba or the by the extreme right (as it was in Chile by Pinochet). I am not blinded to the reality of life in Cuba for its citizens, I look at it objectively and with concern for those citizens being related to a good number of them and observing their daily plight. Do you have any concern that they should be able to experience the future freedom that they dream about?
    It appears to me that your concerns are based upon dissatisfaction with the US where despite its numerous faults, the citizenry can openly express their views.
    But Curt it takes a long stretch of imagination to suggest that but for the US embargo, the Castro communist dictatorship would have introduced democracy. As I said previously, “Pigs might fly.”

  • For some people in the world, the right to have suitable housing, a quality education, and free healthcare is a more important human right than the right to criticize the government.

  • Most democracies are capitalist but many capitalist countries are not democracies. China which is communist in name only, is now capitalist with repression, along with most African, Middle Eastern, Latin and Asian countries. Russia is a perfect example of capitalism with repression. Carlyle, you are so blinded with hatred against the Cuban government that you are unable to look at it objectively and you come across like a real fool!

  • Wonderful and appropriate response Noman to the nonsensical comment by Curt Bender:

    “If the US didn’t have its embargo and the hostile Cuba policy, maybe they would have become a democracy.”

    Just imagine Raul and Fidel Castro relinquishing their power and control in favour of introducing democratic elections. Pigs might fly!

    Maybe Curt Bender could provide the name of a democratic country which is not capitalist?

  • Dear Curt, what the f** does the US, it’s embargo and capitalism have to do with Cuba becoming a democracy. If there were more parties and free elections the Cubans could CHOOSE what kind of government they want, they can even elect a socialst or communist party to rule their country (altough I sincerely doubt they would) and / or vote against a capitalist system. The current leaders could decide to have a free election and allow more parties, whether the US likes it or not and whether the embargo will be lifted or not. (They could even allow only socialist and communist parties to participate in an election)
    They could have decided to rewrite the constitution in their socialist or communist way with improvements for their population and economy, which are both suffering under the current way the country works, while keeping all the one party restrictions that are in place (a sure way to keep the embargo in place and the relations with the US as they are now). But they CHOSE not to do so!
    Fidel has said “why should I please Bush”, but he could as well have said (and the current leaders are saying) “why should I admit there’s something wrong in the way I (we) lead our country and make the necessary changes to improve things”, regardless if it is socialist, communist or democratic system!

  • Maybe Cuba doesn’t want to be a bootlicker to the U.S and having them tell Cuba what to do. If the U.S didn’t have its embargo and the hostile Cuba policy, maybe they would have become a democracy. By the way Capitalism is not necessarily Democracy. Back in 2003, Fidel gave an interview to Oliver Stone where he said “why should I please Bush”.

  • This “new Constitution” is a glossary of straight Stalinist communism. It is now about nine years since Fidel Castro Ruz writing his daily sermon for ‘Granma’ said that he saw no difference between communism and socialism as both were “Socialismo”.
    The Cuban constitutions – both old and new – are anathema to the democratic socialists of the free world and bear no relationship to their thoughts, the change to replacing “communism” with “socialism” is purely cosmetic and meaningless.
    The views of Raul Castro Ruz as the author of the new constitution have changed not one jot since he first visited the USSR in April, 1953 just one month after Stalin’s death. The fact is that although Marxism/Leninism belongs to antiquity the people of Cuba are to remain subjected to its totalitarian expression. Nothing is to change under the Castro presidential puppet Diaz-Canel Bermudez.
    As the world moves on, Cuba remains wallowing in the mud of imposed 19th century poverty.

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