A referendum was held on Sunday in Cuba proposing a new constitution. The referendum has seen widespread criticism from proponents of liberty in the region and even abroad. The new constitution would make many changes that some call progress, but the truth is far from this. Every time there is a possible protest, the Castro regime proposes a (what is often rigged) referendum who’s constitution provides only the illusion of change.
The constitution would continue the same single-party Government that nullifies much of what is promised, such as the promise to return the Presumption of Innocence to the courts. This comes off as progress, but the Presumption of Innocence only helps you if the courts aren’t partisan or corrupt. A corrupt court can still declare you guilty at their leisure. Proponents claim the new constitution will recognize private property, but this is akin to allowing people one single pistol but no ammo for it and then calling that ‘full-blown gun rights.’
The most important, and often undiscussed, feature of the new constitution is that it gives the Government the right to disarm, and possibly arrest, anyone who opposes the ruling Communist Party. The ability to disarm opponents of the Socialist party tells us a lot about the new constitution would recognize property rights.
The draft for the new constitution says the following in Article 4:
“Betrayal of the homeland is the most serious of crimes, and those who commit it are subject to the most severe sanctions. Socialism and the revolutionary political and social system, established by this Constitution, are irrevocable.”
Whereas the old constitution revoked the right of free speech from those who oppose the Communist Party, the new constitution declares them traitors. Article 5 and 6 continues:
“The Communist Party of Cuba, as the only party, Marti disciples, Fidelista-7 and Marxist-Leninists, the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, based on its democratic character and permanent ties with the people, is the highest leading force in society and the State.
It organizes and guides common efforts towards the construction of socialism. It works to preserve and strengthen the patriotic unity of Cubans and to develop ethical, moral and civic values.
The Young Communist League, a vanguard organization of Cuban youth, is recognized and encouraged by the State and contributes to the formation of young people in the principles of the Revolution.”
The constitution establishes a one-party system adamantly. There is no room for the Libertarian Party of Cuba or any other party for that matter. Furthermore, the draft heavily regulates private property as seen in Article 21 section f and Article 22:
“The State regulates that there shall be no concentration of property in natural or juridical non-state persons, in order to preserve the limits compatible with the socialist values of equity and social justice.
The law establishes the regulations that guarantee its effective fulfillment.”
Article 21 section F allows the Government to set limits on the concentration of property and wealth, but only for “non-state persons.” This means politicians are allowed to gain wealth and large concentrations of property.
Protestors took to the street in opposition to the referendum, which acts as a catch-22 for the people. They either vote NO and the Government tells the world that “we gave them freedom to choose, and they choose us,” or they vote YES and legitimize a new, significantly worse Government. Leading the charge against the referendum are artists, who fear that the new constitution would force ALL forms of art or art exhibition to require Government permission before existing.
What isn’t being talked about it the role the Libertarian Party of Cuba plays in all of this. Currently, the Libertarian Party of Cuba is under lockdown. According to a member of the party, the LP Headquarters in Havana is currently surrounded by police and one member’s home is under constant surveillance by an officer in disguise.
This is the literal end game for the party. If the new constitution is passed, all members of the Libertarian Party of Cuba will likely be declared traitors under Article 4. The member of the Cuban LP I talked with said this, “They’ve deployed the counter-terrorism police against our member’s before. And if the referendum passes, we are all legally traitors.”
Members of the Cuban LP are already in jail on false charges, such as Lianet Guerra Peńa, who was arrested on false allegations of prostitution, and Ubaldo Herrera, who has as of now been in a labor prison camp called Melena del Su for 2 years. If the constitution passes, it’s very likely every member of the Cuban LP will face the same fate or worse on charges of treason. This is not an obstacle for our sister movement; it is literally the end of the road for them. The constitution will make the existence of other parties illegal, and opposing the Communist Party an act of treason.
As of right now, the Party is still under lockdown so that they can’t influence the population, and the vote is being counted.