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Cuba Politics

State and politics

GOVERNMENT

According to the constitution, the country is a socialist state, led by the Communist Party, and the socialist system unchangeable. The country's first constitution after the revolution was adopted in 1976 and stated that the planning economy with state monopoly on all business activities was the basis for economic development.

Political System of Cuba

In February 2019, a new constitution was adopted through a referendum. The biggest changes in the new constitution were the abolition of the state's economic monopoly and a gradual opening to private ownership. The state still owns the strategic means of production, but the constitution opens for private ownership as a complement, which also includes foreign players. The media sector remains closed to private interests.

Power derives from the "working people" and is delegated to popular assemblies (Poderes Populares), which are found at both central and regional and local levels. The candidates do not need to be members of the Communist Party but are judged on their "social and revolutionary merits" and elected by the neighborhood councils (Comites de Defensa de la Revolución, CDR) that exist throughout the country. The lists of candidates must then be approved by the regional authorities and thereafter general elections will be made to the local, regional and national parishes.

The National Assembly holds the legislative power and elects from among its members the president as well as the members of the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers. The National Assembly's 605 members are elected in direct elections every five years and formally have overall responsibility for the country's politics and long-term planning. Since the 1959 revolution, all decisions in the Assembly have been taken in complete unity.

The Cabinet, which consists of 31 members and is chaired by the president, takes over the legislative power of the National Assembly between its two annual sessions (which take place for a few days in June and December).

The president is the country's head of state. The new constitution limits how long a president can hold his office to a maximum of two terms of office in five years. At the same time, a rule was introduced that the person selected must not be more than 60 years.

The Council of Ministers, which is the country's government, is the country's highest executive and administrative body. It is headed by the Prime Minister, who is elected by the National Assembly on a proposal from the President. The Prime Minister's post was introduced in the new constitution.

Policy

In practice, the political life of the country is completely dominated by the Communist Party and its support organizations (Communist youth, trade unions central organization, Cuban women's union, various student organizations, etc.). See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how CU can stand for Cuba.

The party, which was formed in 1961 under the name Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas (ORI), adopted in 1965 its current name, Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC). Its first congress was held as late as 1975.

During the 1960s, the party pursued a fairly distinct and independent policy. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, there was a consistent pro-Soviet line of military support for ideologically related regimes in Angola and Ethiopia.

The Communist Party is governed by the Politburo (23 members) and a Secretariat (twelve members with the President as First Secretary). These are elected by the Central Committee (150 members), which in turn is elected by the party congress (225 members).

No organized opposition is allowed in Cuba itself, but dissident groups exist and are tolerated to some extent by the government. An entirely different situation prevails within the large exile group, anchored primarily in Miami. However, the exile position is fairly fragmented and contains everything from terrorist organizations to compromising groups.

Fidel Castro was both head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief as first secretary of the Communist Party, and in practice held dictatorial power until he fell ill in 2006. His brother Raúl Castro, who until then was vice president, first deputy head of government and defense minister, then took over as acting president and commander-in-chief. In February 2008, Fidel Castro announced that he did not intend to stand as a candidate for the presidential post for another term. Shortly thereafter, Raúl Castro was appointed President of the National Assembly. Fidel Castro passed away November 26, 2016.

In April 2018, Raúl Castro was succeeded by former Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who was appointed new President of the Council of State. Diaz-Canel thus became Cuba's first president outside the Castro family since the 1959 revolution.

See also History.

Judiciary

The revolution has not broken the legal continuity, but a number of pre-revolutionary laws still apply, including the code of trade, Código de comercio, introduced by the Spaniards already during the colonial period. The legal tradition is generally of a continental European type, let alone that it has been heavily influenced by Soviet legal thinking after the revolution.

Some of the legal system cornerstones of civil law book Civil Code of 1987, family law Código de Familia in 1975, and the Criminal Code Código Penal of 1987. The judiciary consists mainly of local people's courts, Tribunales Municipales Populares, the judge of first instance, appellate courts at the provincial level, Tribunales Provinciales populares, and the Supreme People's Court, the Tribunal supremo popular. Both professional judges and board members are elected. The death penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.

Human Rights

The communist revolution and the authoritarian rule initiated by Fidel Castro in 1959 (see History) are very much alive in the politics of the Cuban regime. Social justice is still the goal of the economic and political system (see Social Conditions), while Cuba maintains its position as the only country in Latin America that prevents virtually all forms of political dissent.

Arbitrary detention, travel restrictions, and abuse of political opponents exist, and trying to leave Cuba illegally can result in imprisonment or fines.

The government controls all media in Cuba and restricts access to information from abroad, which seriously violates freedom of expression. Due to the high cost of internet connection, only a small fraction of Cubans have the opportunity to read independent media. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Cuba is ranked 169 out of 180 countries surveyed.

The Cuban Constitution provides for the same rights for women and men and the legislation is generally complied with in practice as well. Women are found in several technical professions that have traditionally been male-dominated. Unlike many of the Central American neighboring countries, the Catholic Church has no major role in Cuba, although it is increasing in influence, and women's sexual and reproductive health is generally respected.

According to reports, crimes related to domestic violence are not always investigated, although Cuban law prohibits all forms of harassment and violence against women, including domestic violence and domestic violence. According to independent human rights organizations, violence against women is still a problem.

National legislation specifically provides for the protection of children and adolescents and no reports on child labor exist. The extent of sexual commercial exploitation of children is unknown due to the lack of reliable statistics but such have been reported in connection with increased tourism, as well as prostitution.

The situation for LGBTQ people has changed dramatically since the first decades of the revolution when they were subjected to systematic discrimination and oppression. In 1979, same-sex relationships were decriminalized, and although social norms still permeate society, LGBT issues can now be debated publicly. Since 2008, Cubans have a legal right to state-funded gender swaps.

The Cuban Constitution guarantees a social safety net for people with disabilities in the form of therapy, rehabilitation, special education and employment. However, access to transport systems and public spaces is generally poor and, with a few exceptions, not adapted to people with disabilities.

Presidents

1902-06 Tomás Estrada
1906-09 occupied by the United States
1909-13 José Miguel Gómez
1913-21 Mario García Menocal
1921-25 Alfredo Zayas
1925-33 Gerardo Machado
1933 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
1933-34 Ramón Grau San Martín
1934 Carlos Hevía
1934-35 Carlos Mendieta
1935-36 José A. The child and Vinageras
1936 Miguel Mariano Gómez
1936-40 Federico Laredo Bru
1940-44 Fulgencio Batista
1944-48 Ramón Grau San Martín
1948-52 Carlos Prío Socarrás
1952-59 Fulgencio Batista
1959 Manuel Urrutia
1959-76 Osvaldo Dórticos
1976-2008 Fidel Castro
2008-18 Raúl Castro
2018- Miguel Díaz-Canel
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