Cuba reinserts goal of ‘advancing toward a communist society’ into new constitution draft after public outcry

Removal of references in first version causes backlash in public consultation 

Nelson Acosta,Sarah Marsh
Friday 21 December 2018 17:14
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Cuba is rewriting its constitution to update a Soviet-era one - for example, by acknowledging private property and allowing the possibility for same-sex marriage
Cuba is rewriting its constitution to update a Soviet-era one - for example, by acknowledging private property and allowing the possibility for same-sex marriage

Cuba has reinserted the goal of “advancing towards a communist society” into the draft of the country’s new constitution after its removal from the first version had sparked concern among thousands of citizens, state-run television said.

The national assembly is debating a revised draft of the constitution, designed to replace a Soviet-era one to better reflect the times, for example acknowledging private property and opening the door to same-sex marriage.

Cuba is one of a handful of countries worldwide still run by the Communist Party and has insisted its one-party socialist system is irrevocable.

Still, the commission writing the new constitution, headed by party chief Raul Castro, took the mention of “communism” out of the first draft that it published in July and put to a nationwide, three-month popular consultation.

Thousands of citizens at community-level meetings then called for it to be re-inserted, according to Cuba’s state broadcaster, and as a result it was re-inserted into the draft now under debate by the national assembly.

“The true revolutionary is the one who always looks to overcome the limits of the possible and that is why we must maintain this aspiration (to communism),” lawmaker Yusuam Palacios told the assembly.

The inclusion of “communism” is one of 760 changes to the first draft made on the back of the popular consultation.

The government has insisted the drafting of the constitution is participatory democracy at its best, while critics point out that the fundamentals of the Cuban system were never up for discussion and say its methodology is questionable.

If this latest draft passes, as expected, a national assembly vote before Christmas, it will go to a nationwide referendum on 24 February 2019.

Reuters

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