Photo: Jose M. Correa

Remarks by President Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during the extraordinary session of the National Assembly of People’s Power 9th Legislature, June 2, introducing the commission charged with drafting and proposing a new Constitution of the Republic
(Council of State transcript – GI transalation)

Compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Party Central Committee;
Compañero Esteban Lazo Hernández, President of the National Assembly of People’s Power;
As stated by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, in the Central Report to the 7th Party Congress, and I quote, “The current Constitution, approved by popular referendum in 1976, forty years ago, and partially reformed in 1992 and 2002, reflects historical, economic, and social conditions that have changed over the course of time, and as a result of implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution,” end of quote.
More recently, during the closing of the National Assembly of People’s Power constituent session, the creation was announced of a commission of deputies charged with the drafting and presentation to Parliament of the draft proposal for a new Constitution of the Republic. Therefore, the Council of State agreed to propose to this Assembly initiating the process of Constitutional reform, and approving, as a first step, the creation of a commission with this purpose.
For some time now, a number of compañeros, some of whom are deputies and are among those proposed as members of the commission, were given the task, by the Political Bureau, of analyzing the constitutional impact, in the foreseeable future, of changes produced by decisions adopted at the 6th and 7th Party Congresses and its first National Conference, and other measures that have been approved over these years.
Also requested was an evaluation of questions to be added to the constitutional text, in virtue of our experiences in the construction of socialism; studying constitutional processes undertaken in different countries; and going deeper into aspects of our constitutional history and tradition. The Political Bureau and the 5th Party Central Committee Plenum heard reports on these subjects recently.
The commission we propose to be constituted has as its fundamental mission developing a draft proposal of the Constitution of the Republic, which in accordance with the principles of our socialist democracy, will be submitted to broad popular consultation, with our people acting as a constituent body, and after an analysis of the results by this Assembly, in exercise of its authorities, the Constitution will be submitted to a referendum, in which the nation will make its decision on the matter.
The stipulations of the new Constitution will take into account the humanist and social justice principles that shape our political system, and reflect as unshakable pillars the irrevocable nature of our socialist system, sovereignly adopted by our people; and reaffirm, now more than ever, national unity and the role of the Communist Party of Cuba, as the organized vanguard and the highest leadership force in society and the state.
The commission presented by the Council of State has as members a broad representation of diverse sectors of society.
As I expressed in my remarks to this Assembly, on the occasion of assuming this position this past April 19, compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz will play a leading role in decisions of great importance to the present and future of the nation. In accordance with this, the Council of State proposes that he chair this commission (Applause) and that the following deputies serve as members:

I would appreciate the compañeras and compañeros standing as I call their names.

As vice president of the commission: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers

Commission members:

José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee

Teresa María Amarelle Boué, Political Bureau member and secretary general of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC)

Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, Political Bureau member and secretary general of the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC)

Abelardo Álvarez Gil, member of the Party Central Committee Secretariat

Ana María Mari Machado, Vice President of the National Assembly of People’s Power

Homero Acosta Álvarez, Council of State secretary

José Amado Ricardo Guerra, Council of Ministers secretary

Carlos Rafael Miranda Martínez, national coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR)

Rafael Ramón Santisteban Pozo, president of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP)

José Luis Toledo Santander, chair of the National Assembly of People’s Power standing committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs

Miguel Ángel Barnet Lanza, president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC)

Eduardo Moisés Torres Cuevas, president of Cuba’s Academy of History and director of the José Martí National Library

Ariel Mantecón Ramos, president of the National Organization of Collective Law Offices

Antonio Hernández López, functionary in the Second Party Secretary’s office

Yumil Rodríguez Fernández, deputy director of the Council of State Secretariat

Elba Martínez Amador, head of legal affairs for the Council of Ministers Secretariat

Johana Odriozola Guitar, legal director at the Ministry of Economy and Planning
Raúl Alejandro Palmero Fernández, president of the Federation of University Students

Elier Ramírez Cañedo, historian

Marcia Cristobalina Chicoy Ramírez, judge for the Provincial People’s Court in Camagüey

Yoraida Núñez Bello, deputy attorney general for the province of Santiago de Cuba

Luis Clodoaldo Velázquez Pérez, president of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba

Nancy Acosta Hernández, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power in Guantánamo

Yailín Orta Rivera, editor of the newspaper Granma

Santiago Eduardo Lajes Choy, dean of the University of Camagüey

Alexis Lorente Jiménez, president of the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power in Sancti Spíritus

Yansi María Bravo O’Farril, provincial comptroller in Mayabeque

Ania María Aparicio Albelo, provincial director of Justice in Villa Clara

Yanet Hernández Pérez, advisor to the Minister of Education

Regla María Ferrer Domínguez, vice president of the Provincial Administrative Council in Pinar del Río

Ana Teresa Igarza Martínez, director of the Mariel Special Development Zone office

With this extraordinary session of the National Assembly, a process of special transcendence for the country is initiated, and we must all be conscious of the civic duty and responsibility this demands.
Inspired by the heroism and patriotism of those who struggled for a free homeland, in the legacy of José Martí and the nation’s founders, guided by the political thought of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, let us work to achieve a constitutional standard that reflects the perpetuation of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous, and sustainable nation, at the same time, more inclusive, in which the institutionality of the revolutionary state is strengthened and prevailing is Martí’s ideal that the first law of our republic should be Cubans’ devotion to the full dignity of man.

Thank you very much. (Applause)