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Cuba: Doubts about Cuba’s New Constitution

On June 2nd 2018, a special session of the National Assembly of People’s Power was held, with 35 members absent, which is a lot for their first meeting. On that day, important agendas for Cuba’s present and future were passed without any kind of discussion.

When the only contribution to the administrative experiment (which has been developed in the Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces since 2011) was presented, the National Assembly’s plenary session approved the separation of duties between the presidency of Local People’s Power Assemblies and the presidency of their respective Administrative Councils; and as a result, the need to modify an article in the Constitution.

The Decree-Law of the Council of Ministers, which regulates the key points of the Artemisa and Mayabeque experiment, didn’t only refer to this separation of duties. Now, a huge doubt lingers about the rest of the matters they were trying out in these new western provinces. The idea was to fine-tune administrative duties, to make it work autonomously in everyday life, leaving People’s Power Assemblies with the tasks of governing, projecting and controlling.

The experiment originally had some omissions like the role of People Councils, which were blurred in the Decree-Law, and the new ways people could participate, which weren’t outlined anywhere, because it wasn’t one of the experiment’s priorities.

In reality, it was proven time and time again that the local population in Artemisa and Mayabeque had no knowledge about the experiment, they didn’t have any information about its objectives and the motives for its creation, and they formed no part of this transformative adventure.

In the heart of Artemisa city, I heard a resident talk about two new governments in his province. Using their ancestral knowledge, people had read that the only change here was an additional government headquarters, which wasn’t anything more than an office for the president of the administrative council (now Head), which doesn’t mean that there are two governments at all, but that nobody explained how this new order works to the population and, therefore, none of the population have consciously taken part in this new structure.

The duration of the experiment indicates that its results were confusing to say the least and now they are suddenly telling us that the duties of heads of local assemblies and the administrative council will be separated elsewhere in the country, but not a single thing has been said about how this experiment worked, what indicators improved, what benefits came from this abovementioned separation or what problems weren’t ever resolved.

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