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New Constitution defended by the majority

Constitucion CubaTwo years ago, Cuba gave itself a new Magna Carta, reflecting of all our achievements and more than of a few aspirations, when a new Constitution, was approved in a popular referendum by the majority of Cubans on February 24, 2019, consolidating all that has been achieved and more of what is longed for.

Exactly 6,816,169 voters, 86.85% of all those who cast a ballot, selected YES and, thus, chose an emancipatory, inclusive law of laws, socialist to the core, renewed and, at the same time, safeguarding the irrevocable, the well-armored of the matter, that which could be called a question of “Homeland or Death.”

Voting NO were 706,400 Cubans, 9% of those who exercised their right to vote, a minority, apparent from the beginning of debates held during the drafting process, prior to ratification at the ballot box. But the YES vote was resounding.

On that February 24, consensus “rained” on all differences among Cubans, a consensus built one opinion at a time, in the form of articles and discussions, without undermining even one of the essential principles. Quite simply, the voice of the people prevailed, as has happened with every major national decision in more than 60 years.

In this constitutional game, Cuba executed a tremendous plan including history, symbol and reason, nothing was fortuitous. The popular consultation was opened on August 13, as a tribute to Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz; the approval vote took place precisely 124 years after Cuba’s national liberation struggle was re-launched; and the Constitution was proclaimed on another April 10 of rebirth. Its implementation is now underway, as a compass for today and years to come.

From its first article, the 2019 Magna Carta emerged superior, defining Cuba as a “socialist state of law and social justice, democratic, independent and sovereign, organized with all and for the good of all…”

And three articles later is No. 4, worth remembering these days as opinions are being floated regarding the “irrevocable nature of the socialist system,” established here.

In terms of rights, the Cuban supreme law also expanded its reach, concentrating some statements and incorporating others, in line with various international conventions and protocols ratified by Cuba, which strengthened the legal basis protecting citizens’ freedoms.

The fact that the first article opening this section recognizes human dignity as “the supreme value that sustains the recognition and exercise of duties and rights enshrined in the Constitution” demonstrates the intention of each postulate.

The protection of women was also strengthened; the right to equality was expanded by incorporating, among others, non-discrimination based on gender identity, ethnic origin and disability; a chapter devoted to families was added; and new principles were added in terms of justice and due process in courts of law.

At the same time, limits were set, as in all areas of life; limits protecting the rights of others, collective security, general welfare, respect for public order, the Constitution and the law; limits that should not be ignored by those who launch every “struggle or demand” with a call to respect their rights.

Our economic foundations were also renewed on the basis of planning and socialist ownership by the people of the fundamental means of production, with the addition of recognition of the role of the market and new forms of non-state ownership, including private property.

Novel aspects of state structure brought, perhaps, the most significant transformations, under the maxim, which became a constitutional mandate, of strengthening the nation’s institutionality and moving toward greater order, at all levels.

Likewise, as one of the Magna Carta’s transitional provisions, the thirteenth was also born, specifically, the approval of a legislative schedule to draft laws to fully implement constitutional postulates, Policy Guidelines approved at the Seventh Congress of the Party and regulatory proposals for state bodies to ensure the fulfillment of their functions.

Based on this schedule, established in December of 2019, the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power approved six laws in 2020, of the 14 projected, due to the impact of COVID-19, while the Council of State, issued 25 decree-laws.

During the time remaining in the current legislature’s term (2021-2022), 26 laws must be submitted to the National Assembly of People’s Power and 29 decree-laws must be approved by the Council of State, for a total of 55 provisions.

The Constitution is becoming a reality in strict compliance with the rules established for its development, faithfully adhering to the letter and spirit of the supreme law, respecting all principles enshrined therein and, above all, moving forward, toward all that remains on the plane of aspirations.

With two Februaries behind us, this landmark text continues to challenge us as a nation, to greater efforts in pursuit of all possible justice.

(Taken from Granma)

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