LATIN-AMERICA

A reformed constitution for Cuba

HAVANA – Cuba’s constitution is to be reformed as the National Assembly has set up a series of reforms in an extraordinary session on June 2. The changes include recognizing private property, shorter presidential terms, and the potential legalization of same-sex marriage. However, the Communist Party declared that Cuba will remain a socialist state.

Led by former president Raúl Castro, a committee of 33 Cuban deputies has been creating the basis of an important reform to Cuba’s constitution. The project has been under discussion since April, when President Miguel Díaz-Canel took over from Castro. A key item relates to limited presidential terms, which will be reduced to two consecutive 5-year terms.

In addition, power will be divided between the president and the prime minister. Also, the state will recognize private property, giving legal legitimacy to private entrepreneurship. Foreign investors will receive protection from the state. Another measure will be the banning of discrimination of any kind, which is why LGBT organizations hope the government will legalize same-sex marriage.

According to the news site BBC, the aim of the reform is a social opening and improvement of the economy without abandoning socialism as the country’s political system. President Díaz-Canel ensured during his inaugural speech that Cuba will remain a socialist state as he told the national assembly that the nature of socialism won’t change and that “the revolution continues its course.”

The reform will be discussed in the national assembly and its approval is expected for next week. Besides, it will be put to a popular referendum, where citizens get to approve or reject the reform, said state-run news outlet Granma.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are expecting this change to be positive as a mixed economy could help the country to take off and the current severe regulations to control the economy would become less restrictive. Recognizing the private sector as a source of economic development could help Cuba’s economy to stabilize and foster fruitful private investment.

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