From communism, to socialism: A new kind of revolution could be coming to Cuba. The National Assembly is considering a new constitution, with radical changes once considered unimaginable.
CGTN’s Michael Voss reports from Havana.
As Cuba enters its post-Castro era with Miguel Diaz-Canel as President, this new constitution is aimed at reflecting these changing times. Among the changes is the recognition of private property, once vilified as a capitalist concept.
“We have to recognize this objectively,” Council of State Secretary Homero Acosta said. “As Raul Castro once said, leave behind euphemisms, because this is reality.”
Under the market reforms initiated by former president Raul Castro, almost 600,000 Cubans work in the private sector. The new constitution should help place their small businesses on a more legal footing.
Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro ruled the island for almost half a century; his brother Raul served just two five-year terms. But now, limits are written into the constitution, and new leaders must be younger than 60 when they start.
In the early days of the Cuban revolution, many homosexuals were persecuted and sent to correctional labor camps. But with Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela championing LGBT rights, the new constitution bans discrimination based on gender issues, while opening the door to gay marriage.
“The principles of equality, justice, and humanism in our project is reinforced with the possibility of marriage between two people,” Acosta said.
There are also moves to a more collective leadership with the creation of a new post of Prime Minister alongside the President. There is not, however, any word on who will fill the role or how power will be shared with the President.
One change that took some deputies by surprise was the dropping of 1976 Soviet-era constitution’s reference to creating a communist society, and talks of building a sustainable socialist society instead.
On the street, many people feel it is time to have a 21st-century constitution.
“Sixty years have passed and we have not been able to advance socialism,” one man said. “So trying to aspire to a communist society in the short term is an impossible dream.”
“In lots of countries, they have gay marriage. Why not here in Cuba?” a woman asked. “Everyone is their own person and has their own feelings.”
The draft constitution will now go out for consultation around the country. The final version will then be put to a referendum.
Peter Hakim discusses Cuba’s new draft constitution
Cuba’s National Assembly is considering a draft constitution which removes Communism as the stated goal for Cuban society, formalizes the status of private property, and opens the possibility for the recognition of same-sex marriage. Peter Hakim, President Emeritus at the Inter-American Dialogue, discusses Cuba’s draft constitution, discusses with CGTN’s Wang Guan.