Cuban State Remains Silent About Unconstitutional Measures / Laritza Diversent

The government extended authorizations to contract workers, a decision which violates the Constitution and which no tribunal can question.

Laritza Diversent

The Council of Ministers agreed to extend the authorization to hire workers in the 178 authorized activities of self employment. The measure was announced by the Granma Newspaper, the official voice of the Communist Party of Cuba, this past 17th of May during a meeting of the Cuban government in which they intended to update the “Economic Plan of 2011″.

The accord signed by the Council of Ministers violates and disrespects precepts of the State Constitution which acknowledges that Cubans have the right to use and enjoy their own personal goods. It also guarantees property over means and instruments of personal or family work. However, it prohibits contracting salary work.

In fact, other laws from the judicial system are violated as well. Contracting a work force is considered a crime by the penal code, which is punishable by up to 3 years of prison and or a 25,000 peso fine in national currency.

A silenced vital point for sustaining of the” rule of law”. Especially in Cuba, where no court of law can rule on the law’s constitutionality and guide or influence the actions of the legislature and the government.

On the island , the People’s Supreme Court is in charge of the judicial branch, but it is the parliament that decides the constitutionality of the laws enacted by themselves, the laws decreed, decrees, and the rest of the general rules and regulations, and that also revokes the judicial rules that contradict the national supreme law.

The ease with which the measures are adopted, still when it is unconstitutional, and the silence of the government respectively, creates mistrust, because the effectiveness and supremacy of the Cuban Constitution and the exercise of the fundamental rights recognized in it are affected.

A constitutional reform would offer guarantees to citizens who decide to exercise this right, to formally prevent new restrictions about the same things by political free will.

One fears that in the future, the government will rush off to prohibit the hiring of the workforce or they will be interested in putting the brakes on the boom of the sector, as happened in the last few years of the 90s, when they began to freeze the granting of licenses to the self-employed.

According to official statistics, since 1993, when the activity was authorized, until a little before the expansion and liberalization of the self-employed workforce in October 2010, the sector was made up of approximately 87,889 persons, 0.78% of the population. In 6 months, the figure tripled. Currently, 309,728 are self-employed, close to 2.76% of the islanders.

In the middle of the economic restructuring, the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party approved self-employment; it became the only economic activity that can be exercised individually by Cubans within the island.

Also, it constitutes an employment alternative. Since October, self-employment added up to almost 222,000 Cubans, of whom 68% didn’t have labor ties to the only legally recognized employer until October 2010, when self-employed work was expanded and liberalized.

Although the decision represents a benefit for the sector, its legitimacy brings an implicit constitutional and legal reform. The parliament, the organ that supposedly expresses and represents the will of the people, has the responsibility to defend the effectiveness and supremacy of the Cuban Constitution and to guarantee the interests and rights of the cuban people.

Translated by: BW

June 6 2011