Cuba’s new cabinet considering an overhaul of the constitution

World Today

Cuba’s former President Raul Castro, center, applauds during a National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 21, 2018. Cuban lawmakers approved the Cabinet named by new President Miguel Diaz-Canel, keeping most of the ministers from Raul Castro’s government in place. (Abel Padron/Agencia Cubana de Noticias via AP)

Cuba’s lawmakers have put their stamp of approval on a Cabinet named by the new President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Most of the ministers are holdovers from the government of former president Raul Castro. But there may be some major changes ahead as the national assembly is considering a sweeping overhaul of Cuba’s constitution that would reshape the government, courts and economy. CGTN’S Michael Voss has details.

The new constitution is partly aimed at incorporating the market reforms initiated under former President Raul Castro. But it will also alter the way the country is governed in the future. According to the official newspaper, Granma, the new constitution includes recognition of private property, the role of the market, and foreign investment.

This could place the several hundred thousand private businesses on a more secure legal footing along with more guarantees aimed at attracting foreign investment.

But the text also reaffirms the socialist nature of state, the importance of central planning and state owned enterprises, and the leading role of the Communist Party as the island’s sole political force.

Former President Raul Castro had already announced that all top elected officials will be limited to two five year terms and this will be formally written into the Constitution.

But the role of the new president is less clear as the constitution will create the post of Prime Minister – with a separation between the head of government and the head of state. Who the new prime minister is and how much power he will have has yet to be determined.

Once the new constitution is passed by the National Assembly, it will then be sent out for discussion at a grassroots level around the country. This could lead to changes and modifications with the final version to be put to a referendum.