A reform of the Constitution of Cuba is currently in process. Concerns have arisen about the intentions of the reform, which takes place under the auspices of a single party system, where the heir of president for life, Raul Castro, is the chairman of the commission created to oversee the draft, and composed of 33 members. Of course, this commission takes into consideration neither any kind of electoral results nor the citizen’s will.
Under the customary rules of a republic, where the three powers, executive, legislative and judicial, are separated so that no one branch may unduly dominate the other. In the Cuban system, not only is the executive branch able to impose its will on the legislative branch, but the former president has greater power than his predecessor.
After Raúl Castro, the second in command with regard to the constitutional reform commission is the current Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel. The number two of the Communist Party of Cuba, the historical commander of the Revolution, José Ramón Machado Ventura, also plays an important role. He is currently 87 years old, the same age that Raúl Castro turned on Sunday, June 3, the day he presided over the commission.
“The process of updating the Cuban Constitution commenced this weekend, with the aim of including economic and social reforms implemented in the last decade during the two presidential terms of Raúl Castro, which seek to make the economy and the socialist model of the island sustainable,” reports EFE.
After the approval of the document, citizens will participate in a popular consultation for communities, neighborhoods, student and work centers, military units, as well as for Cubans who work for the state abroad; however, Cuba’s large exile community will not be able to participate.
Cuban citizens who renounced the revolution, seeking freedom in other lands, were denied their rights as Cubans. One of them, Armando de Armas, a writer who secretly escaped from the island in 1994 to avoid going to prison, spoke to us about the impending ‘reforms’:
What do the constitutional reforms involve?
It consists of, as the Cuban press has attempted to emphasize, supporting the survival and the continuity of the revolution as a political project. This, translated into real life, is nothing more than attempting to redeem the image of the repressive machinery of the Cuban dictatorship in the face of the international public opinion.
Where does the reform project currently stand? What has happened, and what will happen?
This is what is unfolding now: General Raúl Castro will preside over the parliamentary commission that will make the detailed changes to the Constitution of Cuba, according to what was announced by current Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel, who was given his authority in the process by Castro during the extraordinary session of the National Assembly.
What will happen? Nothing. More of the same misery and repression of the last sixty years. At the most they will make some adaptation of the pure hardcore Marxism, to the cultural Marxism that dominates today in the western world, something very cosmetic, very politically correct, that obviously does not put in any danger the hegemony of the Communist Party. Something like a rhetorical statement denouncing gender violence and discrimination against homosexuals, which looks good on paper, but does not represent anything in terms of real freedom.
What results have the past reforms left?
The same thing that will happen with these reforms. Cosmetic changes which attempt to fool us into thinking that the same repression as always isn’t continuing.
What do measures being approved unanimously communicate to the world?
It tells us that the whole process is a complete and total farce.
What would be necessary in order for the return of the exiles to a free Cuba?
A single change would be necessary: the defeat of the dictatorship that exiled them.