HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Constitution dates back to 1976, which was approved during Fidel Castro’s height of popularity in a vote which had a 98% turn-out, with 98% of the population supporting the constitution.
It is tailored to political and economic centralism where it recognizes the Communist Party (PCC) as the only legal party and as the country’s supreme national power as well as Marxism-Leninism as Cuba’s official ideology.
Back in those days when we all had to learn Russian, there was an explicit mention of our “eternal” friendship with the USSR in the Constitution’s preamble.
The most important reform to be made since then was to consign the irrevocable nature of Cuba’s socialist system (2002). This was Fidel’s reaction when thousands of Cubans signed a legal complaint, headed by Oswaldo Paya asking for some reforms. The Party’s political/media/repressive machinery quickly spun into action and nearly everyone in the country signed it, including me.
Now, it has been announced that a committee is being created to change the Constitution, but we don’t know anything about what is going to be reformed. Many people wish, under their breaths of course, that the electoral system is reformed, as Cubans only vote during the first bureaucratic phase of a long pyramid which ends with the election of the country’s President, who is nominated and selected by a small undisputed group.
Right now, we have gotten wind of some things, the most striking being that General Raul Castro will be the president of this 33-legislator committee, all of whom are PCC members and responsible for the new constitution, assisted by President Diaz-Canel, Machado Ventura, the number two man in the Communist Party, and those who head so-called Cuban “civil society”, organizations of farmers, women, students, trade unions and civil surveillance committees, all of which are completely vertical structures and answer to the PCC in a mechanic manner.
Apart from that, the only reforms proposal which has appeared is about the bureaucratic order and that different people (instead of multiple roles for one person) will hold the responsibilities as Presidents of municipal and provincial People Power Assemblies and presidents of Administrative Councils. An absolutely unimportant matter in Cubans’ lives, which implies duplicating bureaucratic personnel at this level.
It seems like Cubans just have to sit and wait to see what they end up doing, like always.