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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:31 pm 
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Cuba sees high turnout at polls for constitutional referendum

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cubans flocked to the polls on Sunday in a vote expected to approve a new constitution that institutes modest economic and social changes while maintaining the one-party socialist system.

Under a bright sun and the watchful gaze of uniformed grammar school children guarding ballot boxes, 81 percent of the 8.7 million electorate had cast votes by 5 p.m., an hour before polls closed, according to the national electoral commission.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba ... SKCN1QD0JJ


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:21 am 
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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation ... 40775.html

Cubans ratified a new constitution that changes how the island is governed, recognizes property rights and imposes term limits — all innovations for a country that hasn’t had a complete overhaul of its constitution since 1976. But in an unprecedented show of opposition, a quarter of eligible voters didn’t go to the polls or voted “No.”

The vote was held Sunday, but preliminary results of the nationwide referendum weren’t announced until Monday afternoon. The government said that 86.85 percent of voters (6.82 million) ratified the constitution and 9 percent (706,000) cast “No” votes. There were 198,674 blank votes and 127,100 spoiled votes.

The “No” vote was supported by a contingent of dissidents and activists who had called on the populace to vote “No” or boycott the referendum because they considered the whole constitutional reform process fraudulent. Cuba’s National Electoral Commission said that 84.4 percent of eligible voters turned out. The previous constitution was approved with more than 97 percent of the vote.

[snip]

What’s missing from the constitution: There’s no provision for direct elections of top government officials, something that many Cubans had hoped for. Nor are there guarantees for the participation of emigrants in the life of the country.

Some Cubans also had hoped the constitution would allow for multiple political parties and more guarantees for freedom of expression and assembly. Because of the top-down nature of drafting the constitution, some dissidents have rejected it as “illegitimate” and object to its most important goal: sustaining the socialist system.

“The whole process is a strategy to give the impression that the government is slowly improving things,” said Rosa María Payá, a Cuban activist. But she said that is a tactic to distract attention from the government’s goal of making the Communist Party the preeminent force in society “forever.”

[snip][end]

Some basic reforms. IMHO, still a authoritarian system (if less totalitarian), where only one political party is allowed to exist. With its movement toward more acceptance of foreign investment and private property, the island is starting to look more and more like China.

Still many restrictions on civil liberties, including freedom of religion, protest, and the press.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:31 am 
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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article226540775.html

... — all innovations for a country that hasn’t had a complete overhaul of its constitution since 1976. ...


Our country hasn't had a complete overhaul of its constitution for exactly two hundred years more than since Cuba last had one forty three years ago.

It sounds like this overhaul is giving them a "new oligarchy" with the power to chose the government for them, perhaps somewhat like what happened in Russia.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:56 am 
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On paper, most of the constitutional changes seem to be a step in the right direction. (still not multi party democracy) The reality of Cuba, however is something different. Its not about what they say, its about what they do.

As a result many dissident groups called for people to vote no, while others called for people to abstain from voting.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:59 am 
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Some of the reforms are significant, I will acknowledge that. Many people did not vote No because their view was while it wasn't as much change as many wanted, there was some change (in the right direction).

I just wouldn't say, though, they made the country significantly more democratic.

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