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No matter the challenge, we continue to reach for the stars

cartel constituciónA year has gone by, and if it were necessary to define it in a single word there is none more accurate than “transcendental.” Twelve months of unceasing work since more than eight million Cubans supported what has been, since February 24, the supreme law of Cuban society, based on the dream José Martí bequeathed to us of a Republic of exceptional humanism.

The approval of a more advanced constitutional text was not only proof of the continuity that has marked the course of our revolutionary process, but at the same time, the starting point for another stage of intense, challenging work.

The Policy Guidelines, Development Plan through 2030 and Conceptualization of Cuba’s Economic and Social Model, made clear that today’s Cuba required transformations to make our social system more sustainable, developed, proactive, and thus more just and rich in opportunities. To do so, we needed a new Constitution.

Collective consensus for the organizational structure of the Magna Carta, approved by referendum and proclaimed on another historic date, April 10, indicated another path, moving in two crucial directions. On the one hand, the approval of a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework that would allow the Constitution’s content to become a reality; and on the other, the realignment of both state and government structures to become more functional, efficient and objective, in order to reach the ultimate objective – our country’s development on all fronts.

This year, these unavoidable goals were sustained with discipline and order, despite the permanent battle against increasingly obsessive U.S. policy toward Cuba, and the countless tensions it caused.

The legislative work of Cuba’s National Assembly was intense in 2019. Several laws have already been approved by deputies, reflecting stipulations in the Constitution and addressing the need to regulate certain indispensable social and economic processes.

During the first ordinary session, after the new Magna Carta’s proclamation, three new laws of special importance were approved: Act 127 or Electoral Law, Act 128 or Law of National Symbols of the Republic of Cuba, and Act 129 or Fisheries Law, the first law addressing this issue at the national level.

Our current Constitution, of course, reflects important changes in the constitutional order. Its first transitional provision dictates that a new Electoral Law must be approved by the National Assembly within a period of six months of its proclamation, to guarantee the establishment of Electoral Councils at all levels, and the subsequent election of new figures described in the constitutional text that differ from those in the previous law dated October 29, 1992. As to be expected, the new Magna Carta also includes procedures to elect figures already known, including deputies, delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power and their leadership.

The Law of National Symbols, on its part, will allow, as it explains, to solve problems of regulations previously in effect, and also to make use of these symbols, to some extent, more flexible, in line with interests expressed by Cuban citizens.

As for Fisheries Law, its second Whereas makes clear ¨the objective of establishing fishery resource management based on the principles of preservation, sustainable use, a precautionary approach, implementation of scientific-technological criteria and environmental protection as defined in domestic and international norms and principles of food security and sovereignty to guarantee the implementation of Cuban fishery policy in a progressive, flexible and effective manner.¨

Toward the end of 2019, the National Assembly approved, in its last ordinary session, two new laws, important to the improvement of People´s Power bodies: 1- Law of Organization and Operation of Municipal Assemblies and People´s Councils, and, 2- Law of Organization and Operation of this body and the Council of State, which represents the Assembly between sessions.

Remaining to be done is much complex legislative work, as reflected in the agenda approved for this purpose, with a total of 70 regulations including laws and decree-laws through 2023, and 24 regulations that will enter into effect from 2023 to 2028. No doubt, all these regulations are directed toward the optimal organic functioning of the Cuban nation.


January 2020 saw two closely related processes that contributed to not only strengthening state structures, but also affording a leading role to territories in decision-making, in the search for local solutions to problems, moving toward more horizontal processes involving reasoning and assuming strategies in line with the closest reality, as well as progress towards municipal autonomy.

First, delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power nationwide elected Governors and Lieutenant Governors in their respective provinces. They then approved, at the proposal of their respective presidents, the individuals now serving as Superintendents. Each of these elected figures has their respective duties outlined in the Constitution.

However, at this step was preceded by others, entailing changes to the highest levels of the country´s leadership and the National Assembly of People’s Power, the state’s highest governing body which elected its President, Vice President and Secretary, who in turn formed the Council of State.

The main reason for this decision is that the Council of State is the body that represents the National Assembly between sessions, to which it is accountable. Although the Council of State has the authority to approve essential decree-laws for conducting certain processes in the country, these decree-laws must be confirmed by National Assembly in the next session. The Council of State’s powers are clearly defined in the Constitution.

According to the Magna Carta, the National Assembly is also responsible for electing the President and Vice President of the Republic. The President, who must be a National Assembly deputy, is elected to serve a five-year term by a majority vote, and is also accountable to this body for all activity. The Vice President is elected in the same manner, and fulfills duties as delegated or assigned by the President.

Cuba’s Magna Carta clearly defines the structure of the Republic’s government, with the Council of Ministers as its highest executive and administrative body. This council is headed by another new figure identified in the Constitution: the Prime Minister. This individual, who serves as head of the Republic’s government, is nominated by the President of the Republic and must be approved by an absolute majority of deputies.

Although, this article provides a brief summary of separate steps completed to bring constitutional principles to life, the real essence of these steps and impact within society goes far beyond the legal language or terms in a Constitution.

The fact is that everything achieved thus far, and all that is still up for discussion, in no way negligible, has an undisputed leading figure: the people. And with the deep essence of the people, this work has been done. Let us never forget that our deputies represent even the most humble of Cubans, those who live in the most remote areas, those who are still very young, and those who have lived many years.

Let us not forget that approving the Magna Carta by constitutional referendum and enriching it with our opinions in broad popular consultation, implies majority support for the processes that emerge from its chapters and sections.

This has been above all a year of learning, of understanding that transformation is a key principle in the process of developing, growing and expanding the horizons to which we aspire. Everything we do together, with the conviction of “thinking as a country,” is for our benefit, that of our family, of the people we love and have the privilege of living in Cuba.

José Martí, Cuba´s Apostle, showed us with his limitless greatness and the undeniable depth of his language, that the stars are not reached by taking flat roads. We can interpret from this wisdom that if our willpower is the driving force, however rugged the road, the stars are not impossible to reach with the sure guidance of our leaders.


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