Cuba Aims to Build Socialism, Not Communism, in Draft Constitution

Manila Bulletin, July 22, 2018 | Go to article overview

Cuba Aims to Build Socialism, Not Communism, in Draft Constitution


By Reuters

HAVANA - A draft of Cuba's new constitution keeps the Communist Party as its leading political force but states as its aim the construction of socialism rather than communism, reflecting changing times, top officials told lawmakers this weekend.

Cuba is replacing its Soviet-era constitution with a new constitution to reflect and implement political and economic changes designed to make its one-party socialist system - one of the last in the world - sustainable.

The constitution will for example recognize private property, something long stigmatized by the Communist Party as a vestige of capitalism, the secretary of the council of state, Homero Acosta, told lawmakers on Saturday.

This should give greater legal recognition to the micro businesses that have flourished in the wake of market reforms. Cuba's current 1976 constitution only recognizes state, cooperative, farmer, personal and joint venture property.

The draft also appears to strengthen political institutions and create a more collective leadership structure, after nearly 60 years of rule by late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul Castro.

Castro, then 86, handed over the presidency in April to his mentee Miguel Diaz-Canel although he remains head of the Communist Party until 2021. He also heads the constitutional reform commission.

Under the new constitution, the president will no longer be the head of the council of state and council of ministers, according to Acosta. Instead it creates the position of prime minister and designates the president of the assembly also as head of the council of state, Cuba's highest executive body.

People walk in front of Cuba's Capitol, or El Capitolio, in Havana, Cuba, July 21, 2018. REUTERS/ Stringer

The draft also sets an age and term limits for presidents, stating they must be under 60 when they first take office and can carry out no more than two consecutive five-year terms.

The draft omits a clause in the current constitution on aiming to build a "communist society".

Instead, it simply talks about building socialism, reflecting the fact Cuba has moved into a different era following the fall of the Soviet Union, according to the president of the National Assembly Esteban Lazo. …

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