An Exemplary Constitutional Process

by Andrés Gómez, director of Areitodigital
March 5, 2019

On February 24, 6,816,169 Cuban voters voted in favor of endorsing the new Constitution of the Republic, a figure that represents 86.85% of the voters who voted.

The National Electoral Commission in its final statement on the Constitutional Referendum made known the following: the updated national list consists of 8,705,723 voters. 7,848,343 voters exercised the right to vote for 90.15% of eligible voters. Of the number of votes cast, 7,522,569, which represents 95.85% of them, were declared valid for meeting the requirements established in the Law.

Those 6,816,169 Cubans who voted Yes represent 78.30% of the national total of eligible voters and, as mentioned above, 86.85% of the voters who actually voted.

A total of 706,400 voters voted against ratifying the Constitution, representing 8.11% of the total number of eligible voters and 9% of the voters who actually voted.

There were 25,348 polling stations in 12,635 districts that were open from 7 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. In addition, 195 polling stations were set up in places with a high concentration of people, such as airports, bus and train terminals and hospitals. 122 polling stations were authorized abroad, where Cuban diplomats and Cuban collaborators and scholarship recipients abroad voted specifically.

If the elector was not in his place of residence on the day of the referendum he could exercise his right to vote in any electoral college in the country. 594,580 voters did so that day.

On election day, 200,000 pioneers—primary and secondary students, up to ninth grade—guarded the polls in their student uniforms in all the polling stations, two by two and taking turns every two hours.

It was for all this and more that February 24 was a day of joy for the Cuban people as millions of Cubans were able to exercise their right to vote freely, quietly, in peace. Noble nature added to the national purpose by not providing any rain of consequence throughout the country.

This overwhelming victory that the Cuban people gave to themselves is the result of a profound revolutionary process of sixty years of continuous struggle to establish, against all odds, a better society.

Twelve compañeras and compañeros from the organizations that in Miami are part of the Alianza Martiana coalition can directly testify to the tranquility that prevailed that day during the voting. We were present, all as voters voting for the Yes, in El Cotorro, a town on the outskirts of Havana; in Placetas, located in the province of Villaclara, in the city of Sancti Spíritus, capital of the province of the same name; in the city of Regla, crossing the bay of Havana; in three areas of El Vedado in the capital of the Republic; in the Almendares neighborhood, in the capital’s municipality of Playa. In addition, three of us also drove to one of the areas most affected by the recent tornado in the Regla area, where we saw so many involved in the reconstruction of homes, hospitals and schools, and voting; where we got off and visited an electoral college.

Nobody can tell us stories.

But this has not been a constitutional process of just one exceptional day. On February 24, the day the Sovereign decided, as the title of a recent article on these matters, is the result of years of study and debate on the new Constitution Project, which during the months of lat August to November involved millions of Cubans in their study, debate and modification.

During those three months there were more than 133 thousand meetings in which almost 9 million Cubans discussed the Draft Constitution, which resulted in more than 1,700,000 interventions and more than 783,000 proposals for modifications.

760 changes were made to the original Constitution Project; they were analyzed, explained and approved in the sessions of the National Assembly held last December, convened for that purpose, and broadcast live in full length on national television.

I ask again: is this how the political constitutions were or are approved in the United States, in Colombia, in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Spain, England, France, Estonia, Poland or Germany, to name some of those governments that always dare to give us lessons on democracy and rights?

As expected, because it has always been for the last sixty years, especially after a failed multi-million dollar media campaign and in social networks during the last 9 months, against the Referendum, on February 26 the Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. Michael R. Pompeo – who has not yet proclaimed himself president of Venezuela, nor of the United States or Italy – affirmed in an official statement: “On February 24, the Cuban communist regime led it he called a ‘national referendum’ on revisions to its constitution [sic]. No one should be fooled by this exercise.…The entire process has been marked by carefully managed political theater and repression of public debate…This document [the new Constitution] also fails to guarantee the Cuban people their fundamental freedoms.”

The imperialists are always ignorant in their habitual arrogance.

In an upcoming article I will deal with the grave and innumerable violations of the right to vote of the poor, especially the African-American and Latin American minorities, in the state of Kansas, where Mr. Pompeo originates and has his political base, (Pompeo occupied a seat in the House of Representatives for 6 years for the 4th district of Kansas) where their unconditional right-wing political allies, now all Trumpists, have been defeated in their vile purposes.

Oh! I could not miss in this article the official statements of Luis Almagro, the Chihuahua of the government of President Donald Trump, who tried to steal the show from his boss by saying the same thing on February 13, 11 days before the referendum in Cuba, declaring the referendum nothing less than…illegitimate.

What has surprised everyone, except his partner, is that according to a dispatch from CNN-Hànyú, dated March 4, the Chihuahua Almagro proclaimed himself Emperor of the Celestial Empire, to be known officially from now on as His Majesty Imperial Pàng nürén beginning a new Chinese dynasty with the name of Pàntú.

For readers who do not master Mandarin Chinese CNN-Hànyú, it is translated as CNN-China. Páng nürén, the name chosen by His Imperial Majesty to be known, translates as Gorda. And Pàntú, the name that His Imperial Majesty gave to his new dynasty translates into our language as a Traitor.

Although returning to our own, in this exemplary constitutional process, the Cuban people have guaranteed the Republic of the present and the future, which gives us the stability to achieve a better political, economic and social order. More democratic, for the enjoyment of a more cooperative, more equitable, more dignified and more humanistic society, which will allow us to deepen our socialist process. Because we Cubans have learned to be better people and to do our job better as citizens in these sixty years of the revolutionary process, and what has been learned is embodied in this new Constitution.

I would like to finish this article by quoting from the recent work on these issues by the respected Cuban political scientist Darío Machado, ‘The sovereign decided’: “There is no doubt that the process that led to the text that was voted on was not formal. Nor can it be said that after the presentation to the country of the draft approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power and subject to the criteria of the population that the public has achieved full knowledge of the Constitution. But it is indisputable that never before has Cuban society learned so much of the meaning of a Magna Carta. Never before have the media socialized a political process in the way they did this time by revealing the most dissimilar criteria and proposals, never before had a legal-political issue been so explained, argued, analyzed with the depth with which it was done this time”.