EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 15 May 2022 — On Sunday, Cuba’s National Assembly of the People’s Power (ANPP) approved, in an extraordinary session, Cuba’s new Criminal Code, which includes penalties of up to three years for those who insult senior public officials and prohibits foreign financing for media outlets.
The delegates approved the project in a session attended by Miguel Díaz-Canel, and the country’s former ruler, Raúl Castro (2008-2018).
Activists and opponents believe this reform will silence social protest and independent journalism.
Its proponents, on the other hand, describe it as “providing guarantees” and updated, since the previous version — from 1987 — did not include environmental crimes, cybercrimes or gender-based violence.
Originally, the project should have been voted on by the ANPP in April, but for unknown reasons, its passing in the Legislature was delayed.
The new code, which takes effect 90 days from its publication in the Gaceta Oficial de la República, includes 37 new crimes such as “public disorder” to penalize “disturbances of that nature produced in groups or individually.”
The president of the People’s Supreme Court on the Island, Ruben Remigio Ferro, stressed as he presented the law at the Parliamentary plenary that it strengthens the rigor of the penalties related to corruption.
Thus, he stated that it establishes the maximum penalty of life in prison and maintains the possibility of applying the death penalty, as an exception in 23 types of criminal cases.
It also includes penalties of up to ten years in prison for anyone who, “supports, encourages, finances, provides, receives or has in their possession funds, material or financial resources,” of non governmental organizations or international institutions that could be used to “pay for activities against the State and its constitutional order.”
The new criminal code has not received as much state media coverage as the Family Code, a reform which is also currently being processed in the ANPP after a three-month public consultative process during which the content of the document was explained.
In contrast to the Family Code, this project will not be put to a referendum.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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