If the republic doesn’t open its arms to everyone and move forward with everyone, the republic dies. José Martí
Somos+,Lcdo. Adalberto R Mesa Duarte, 22 August 2018 — I believe that if the Cuban people felt consciously free to express what they have kept in for sixty years, Raúl Castro and his “Always Unanimous National Assembly” would resign en masse from such a serious responsibility.
In a real democracy, “cooption” cannot be an option. So I ask: Why keep doing the same thing? … How is it possible that the Constitution of 1940, one of the most advanced legal documents of its time, and whose application could extend to even today, needed to be destroyed in 1976, only to subsequently and repeatedly modify it to the whims of the eternal censor, to the point that its original idea has disappeared?
The answer is very simple: to guarantee that an entire class remain in power! That in the style of the most classic dictators, to dazzle some, and to subdue, arrest, or murder others, only to subdue an entire people in the name of liberty.
The Constitution of 1940, and the democratic system of government that it established, was violated by “Commander Censor” and his Revolution long before his arrival in Havana in 1959. Any debate in this direction turns into a broad and justified questioning of each one of the rules that over time were introduced to the Constitution, and which objectively blinded and made impossible a popular response that could turn back the social unhappiness that hovered over the people and in the end caused the stagnation of the society that we live in.
Six decades have been more than enough for Cuban society to become resigned to sadness, fears, and the inability to carry out by themselves significant contributions to the development of the nation. For example, we can take as a reference socially blameworthy situations, in which the personal interests of the Dictator took precedence above those of the Cuban people, and in those in which it is obvious that the word “PEOPLE” is only used to manipulate and thereby justify absurd ambitions. A total analysis of the constitution’s rules would be interesting, but too extensive for this occasion.
From the Constitution of 1940, Article 10, I cite: “The citizen has the right. Subsection a) To live in his homeland without being an object of discrimination or any kind of extortion, no matter his race, class, ‘political opinions’, or religious beliefs.” End of citation.
In the Constitution of 1976, in Chapter VI Equality, Article 42, I cite: “Discrimination because of race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs, and any other reason prejudicial to human dignity is forbidden and sanctioned by the law.” End of citation.
So, for what reason does the “Censor in Chief” curiously leave out, in the Constitution of 1976, the reason of discrimination for “political opinions?”
I have here one of the answers: In daily practice, it is certain that in Cuba, any person that is discriminated against for reasons of race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs, or any other reason prejudicial to human dignity, is relatively protected by the State, only that the wronged person must have one condition: that the person discriminated against must be a revolutionary, or at least keep a low profile sufficiently in line with revolutionary doctrine! Or rather: keep your head down and don’t protest!
Everyone knows that in any other case, the actions of the district attorney, the courts, and the Ministry of the Interior turn out overwhelmingly differently, because to think and have different opinions in Cuba is an obvious sentence to live in disgrace, submission, and institutional neglect.
Perhaps it’s necessary to keep trusting this government only because it has given “free” education and health to the people? The people also have a right to the fundamental freedoms that were eliminated as of 1959!
I believe that before taking part and voting mechanically to legitimize by referendum the Project of the Constitution proposed by Raúl Castro and his dictatorship, Cuban society must be made aware of the answers to many of the questions that I raise here, otherwise we will continue with the “boot of oppression above our heads.”
In the Constitution of 1940, I repeat, were implemented many of the guarantees that today the Cuban people lack, so they were intentionally eliminated, in order to perpetuate totalitarianism as a fundamental element of direction and social submission, and so it is appropriate now to ask:
- Why does the government of the Republic of Cuba, which boasts of the total support of the people, need to establish and shield the ruling role of the Communist Party at the head of Cuban society, without submitting it to a review, vote, and approval of the people? All told, and so it is well understood: the party is even above the Constitution itself!
- Why was the Court of Constitutional Guarantees abolished? Everyone knows that the district attorney neither guarantees nor respond tos with total transparency the claims of human rights violations on the part of the Ministry of the Interior, including those that are endorsed in the Constitution of 1976 itself and the subsequent reforms.
- What rights, for example, does the citizen have when his property or personal goods are confiscated by the police or the Department of State Security? In the legal framework of 1940, the judicial authority was the entity that determined what would proceed. Today it is carried out by a simple civil servant and on many occasions the act of confiscation isn’t even reflected on the record. And in this case: don’t even ask!
- Why is the principle of the presumption of innocence not observed? In Cuba a citizen is detained… Even for being ugly! …It is enough that the State presumes that a person could commit a crime for him to be imprisoned. He is detained and then they investigate…
- Why are the registries of detained and imprisoned people not public? There are many examples in which this vital information was denied to family members and/or interested parties, even after days have passed. And sometimes the aforementioned information isn’t even offered.
- Why are prisoners and people detained for political motives locked up along with people imprisoned for common crimes? There are many well-documented reports of cases where they have received beatings from “some revolutionary prisoners or detainees”…
- Why are Cubans restricted or prohibited from living in places or territories of the country, and including: why are they exiled inside of their own homeland? Example: In the capital*…
- Why are Cuban citizens denied entry to their own country, or why are they prohibited from leaving without giving reasons to justify themselves?
- Why are citizens with political opinions opposed to the regime objects of repression and censorship? Where is freedom of expression? Why are they even denied the right to work?
- Why is it a crime to associate or gather peacefully without weapons, why is marching or gathering for all the aims of life, without any more restriction than is necessary to guarantee public order, a repressible act?
- Why is any act which would limit or prohibit the citizen from participating in the political life of the nation not made punishable? Why is any form of coercion to force a citizen to affiliate, vote, or demonstrate against his will in any electoral operation not sanctioned?
- Why is the free formation of associations and/or political parties of different ideological tendencies, with adaptation to the laws, not permitted?
- Why is the President of the Republic not elected by means of universal suffrage of the people, by way of a direct and secret vote? And why isn’t he limited to serve for a term of four years with the possibility of a single reelection?
- Why doesn’t the diaspora have the right to vote, while it already totals nearly three million Cubans? These people have even been stripped of the right to live in their own country.
- Why is the man who considers himself the king of this country, and not the citizens of the land, the only one who proposes reforms to the Constitution?
In my modest opinion, the only legal and non-violent way to stop this farce is with the vote of all the people of Cuba, and if the government of Raúl Castro wishes to demonstrate a truly democratic opening, it must observe a tangible transparency, it must go without the accustomed manipulations of public opinion, and additionally it must permit the attendance of international observers, and as is logical, it must include the popular consultation, that is the votes, of all the Cuban exiles. In any other case, it will just be another excluding and biased Constitution.
The Constitution of 1940 was massacred by Fidel and Raúl Castro, and if the majority of its precepts that were eliminated are not restored, Cuban society will continue to be subjugated by resignation, fear, and oppression. Sixty years of this “Royal Monopoly – Revolution” is enough to demonstrate that.
Translator’s note: Cubans are not permitted to live in Havana without legally established residency.