14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, March 5, 2019 — Almost at the end of the definitive text of the new Constitution of the Republic, ratified on February 24, three temporary provisions appear imposing the terms for the enactment of the complementary laws.
Although a date has not been officially mentioned for their definitive publication in the Official Gazette, the deputies have proposed that the effective date for the new Constitution be April 10, 2019 to be implemented that day 150 years from the first Constitution of the Republic in Arms proclaimed in Guáimaro in 1869.
If that date is chosen, the established terms will be calculated from April 10 for each one of the steps planned in the temporary provisions. However, the dates indicated now could be moved up.
October 2019: Approval of a new Electoral Law.
This law was announced by Raúl Castro in February 2015 during the holding of the 10th Plenary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Debate on that topic in official media was fleeting, but in the realm of independent civil society and the political opposition, proposals arose intended to eliminate the Candidacies Commission and to introduce the election of the president of the Republic by popular vote. The new Constitution has established that the president will be chosen by Parliament and for this reason the new electoral legislation will develop bound by that precept.
January 2020: The National Assembly of Peoples Power (ANPP) will choose, from among its deputies, its president, vice-president, and secretary, the other members of the Council of State, and the president and vice-president of the Republic.
If so, February 24, 2020 would be perhaps the moment chosen for the assumption of these offices. There rise several questions. The first is if, in the case that Miguel Díaz-Canel is designated president of the Republic, and if he managed to be chosen again for a second mandate, the regressive count of his time in power will be extended until February 2030. In what count is the year that he governed between 2019 and 2020 included?
April 2020: The president of the Republic proposes to the ANPP the designation of the prime minister, vice-prime ministers, the secretary, and other members of the Council of Ministers.
In the times in which Fidel Castro occupied the position of prime minister (from February 16, 1959 to December 2, 1976) his power didn’t depend on his investiture, but rather the other way around. That position was important because the Supreme Leader occupied it. From the time when he became head of state there was no more a prime minister although Carlos Lage was taken as such when he acted as secretary of the Council of State. Behind the scenes they called him “the administrator of the insane asylum.” Among the candidates to this position the names of Homero Acosta and Mercedes López Acea are put forward.
On that same date the president must propose to the municipal assemblies the choice of provincial governors and vice-governors.
Among the discrepancies with the Constitution project that had greatest resonance during the popular debates is the detail of the election of the provincial governors. A good number of citizens who participated in these discussions suggested that this governmental position be proposed and approved by the vote of their electors.
The ANPP approves its regulations and that of the Council of State.
The ANPP will approve a one-year legislative schedule that complies with the elaboration of the laws that the established precepts in the new Magna Carta develop.
We will see, for example, how the jurists implement Article 4 of the Constitution which institutionalizes intolerance, repudiation rallies, and the repression of dissidents. That provision gives citizens the right to “combat by all means, including armed struggle [. . .], against anything that tries to overthrow the political, social, or economic order established by this Constitution.”
July 2020: The municipal assemblies designate the mayors.
October 2020: The Governing Council of the Supreme People’s Court presents to the ANPP the draft of the Law of the People’s Courts and proposed amendments to the Law of Criminal Procedure and the corresponding procedure of civil, administrative, labor, and economic law.
It would be desirable to include in that law the prohibition against arbitrary arrests, the right of the arrestee to have a lawyer from the beginning of the process, and remedies against undue confiscations, disproportionate sentences, and limitations on travel within and outside the country.
April 2021: The Council of Ministers presents to the ANPP the draft regulations of that agency and the provincial governors.
The ANPP approves the regulation of the municipal assemblies and their board of directors.
The process of popular consultation and referendum on the draft of the Family Code begins, in which the manner of establishing marriage must be included.
Those who placed themselves in opposite barricades with so much passion in order to settle the issue of whether marriage should be defined as between man and woman or between persons disposed to legalize their relationship will have to wait two years, at most. Too much energy, too much time was dedicated to this topic compared to the irrevocability of the system or the single party. But that’s how it happened.
In 2021 will begin a consultation process that presupposes a prolonged clash between the LGBTI community and the evangelical churches that have been so active on this topic. By that time Raul Castro will not longer be first secretary of the Communist Party, and Mariela Castro will lack the symbolic support that genetics gave her.
Matters of greater importance will attract the attention of those who remain at the helm of this ship. Among them, to cite only those of greatest importance, one would have to mention the solution to the acute problem of the dual currency, the elimination of the rationing system, the liberalization of the non-state productive forces, a greater opening of the migration laws that restores all rights to Cubans who live abroad and, of course, the de-criminalization of political differences.
Translated by: Sheilagh Carey and Mary Lou Keel
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