A group of young members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces ceremonial battalion entered the hall carrying the new Constitution.
Raúl, Díaz Canel, and Lazo stood awaiting them, and the first accepted the historic document and placed it on a pedestal, alongside the Guáimaro Magna Carta.
Lazo announced the closing of the extraordinary session and affirmed that the Constitution was proclaimed today, April 10, to guide the country’s present and future.
Raúl came down from the Presidential platform and shook hands with members of the Councils of Ministers sitting in the first row, while Díaz-Canel greeted deputies and Council of State and Ministers members sitting on the platform. A shout of “Viva la Revolución!” rang out, followed by a unanimous “Viva!” and prolonged applause.
We will not renounce any of our principles
While the Raúl commented that the tone used by the United States with respect to Cuba has become increasingly threatening, he reaffirmed that we will never abandon the duty to act in solidarity with Venezuela, or renounce any of our principles.
We have let the U.S. administration know, with clarity, firmness and serenity, through direct diplomatic channels and publicly, that Cuba is not afraid of threats, and that our vocation for peace and understanding is accompanied by the unshakeable determination and sovereign right of Cubans to defend the future of our nation without foreign interference, he insisted
At the same time, he said we must be aware that additional difficulties may come and that the economic situation could worsen in coming months, although it is not a question of returning to the special period if the 1990s, because today the economy is more diversified.
Cuba has shown that, yes, we could, yes, we can, and will always resist, fight, and triumph, there is no other alternative, Raúl said to concluded his speech, which was followed by applause from deputies and guests who all rose to their feet.
The new Constitution guarantees the Revolution’s continuity and the irrevocability of socialism
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first Party secretary, upon proclaiming the new Constitution, stated that the opportunity constituted an exceptional privilege since this is the second time he has had the responsibility.
"On February 24, 1976, 43 years ago, the Comandante en Jefe, before traveling abroad to fulfill an obligatory commitment, asked me to take his place during the Proclamation event," he recalled.
The chosen date, he said, is not accidental; 150 years ago Cuba’s Mambi freedom fighters, gathered in a Constituent Assembly, and agreed on our first revolutionary Constitution.
That text, he recalled, projected the importance of unity, freedom, independence, and recognition of equality among all Cubans.
This Constitution represents continuity, Raúl said, safeguarding the unity of all Cubans and the independence and sovereignty of the homeland.
Guáimaro, he recalled, was followed by the Constitutions of Jimaguayú and La Yaya, as a continuation of the same process.
It is worth recalling, he said, that despite the Mambi struggle, the desired freedom was not achieved and the victory was cut short by U.S. intervention.
Continuing the historical review, he noted that under U.S. military occupation, the Constitution of 1901 was approved, which included the infamous Platt Amendment.
Next came the Constitution of 1940 that reflected many of the Cuban people’s longings, during a period of struggle that impacted the approval of a text that was ahead of its time, including prohibitions on discrimination and large landholdings. Nonetheless, many of its postulates remained dead letter since no legislative effort to concretize the stated ideals was possible under those conditions.
It remained in effect, Raúl continued, until the 1952 coup by Fulgencio Batista, which catalyzed the revolutionary movement, whose program was synthesized in Fidel’s “History will absolve me” statement, following the Moncada assault.
With the presence of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee; and Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers; and other authorities of the Republic of Cuba, the Second Extraordinary Session of the Ninth Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power was convened, in which the new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba will be proclaimed.
Also present are José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Party Central Committee; Esteban Lazo Hernández, President of the Assembly; as well as other Party and government leaders.
After the national anthem was intoned, the 21 cannon shots from the La Cabaña fortress were heard, and, in a moment of extraordinary symbolism, a group representing our Mambi freedom fighters entered the plenary hall carrying the Constitution of Guaimaro, the country’s first Magna Carta proclaimed 150 years ago today.