Meet Cuba’s new constitution, same as the old constitution: undemocratic

Marion Smith in USA Today:

Cuba’s new constitution is the same as the old one — undemocratic

A sham referendum can’t hide the fact that the Communist Party retains its monopoly on power and the Cuban people remain in chains.

Maybe you heard: Communist Cuba is on the road to freedom.

That’s what Cuba’s rulers want you to think after the Cuban people overwhelmingly approved a new constitution on Sunday. But the opposite is true. Cuba’s rulers have only cemented their control, and the Cuban people are no closer to freedom today.

Just look at the process that created this new constitution, which was anything but democratic. It began last summer when the National Assembly established a commission to draft the text. The Assembly claims to represent the Cuban people, but its most recent election fielded a party-approved candidate in each of its 612 races. The electorate could only vote yes or no. Every Communist candidate won.

As for the commission, it consisted of 33 hardline Communist loyalists, chaired by none other than First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raul Castro. Its only goal was to safeguard the tyrannical one-party state, which it accomplished by drafting a charter that makes socialism in Cuba “irrevocable.”

Ultimately, the new constitution is little more than a public-relations stunt. Like the Soviet constitution of old, it has freedom-friendly language on paper that disappears in reality.

For example, the document ostensibly recognizes private property for the first time. This is a meaningless clause considering the constitution also reiterates the “irrevocable” role of central planning and state control over production and land use. Nor can there be any meaningful protection of private property in a country that refuses to recognize the concept of individual rights.

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