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Tue Feb 26, 2019, 01:32 PM

New Cuban constitution gets 87 percent approval

Nearly 87% of Cuban voters approved a new constitution that preserves the island's single-party socialist system and centrally planned economy while updating some financial, electoral and criminal laws, authorities said Monday.

The new constitution recognizes private and cooperative businesses alongside state ones, creates the posts of prime minister and provincial governor, and introduces the presumption of innocence and habeas corpus to the justice system.

In recent weeks, President Miguel Díaz-Canel's government waged a non-stop campaign promoting a "yes" vote and tarring those voting "no" as counterrevolutionaries and enemies of the state. Aside from a few independent websites, all Cuban media is state-run and the airwaves were filled with messages urging people to vote "yes" for the sake of continuity on the island.

"This constitution establishes the best for the country, for the future of the Cuban people," said Miguel Álvarez, a 57-year-old technician for the Havana water utility. "It eliminates past mistakes and points us toward the future."

The "no" campaign, in turn, was amplified by the rapid spread of mobile internet across Cuba in recent months. Some 2 million Cubans on the island have contracted mobile data service since it was offered for the first time in December.

The largest block of "no" votes was expected to come from the growing ranks of evangelical Christians in Cuba, who object to language that eliminates a requirement for marriage to be only between a man and woman, paving the way for a future legalization of gay marriage.

At: https://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/New-Cuban-constitution-gets-87-percent-approval-13643581.php

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks to reporters after voting in Sunday's constitutional referendum.

The new constitution, which replaces the one enacted in 1976, would recognize private and cooperative businesses alongside state ones, as well as the presumption of innocence and habeas corpus.

It would, however, maintain the island's single-party socialist system.

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Response to sandensea (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2019, 01:52 AM

1. Big changes underway. Cubans have been discussing the new choices for a long time, I've read.

Speaking of private property, I heard years ago about Miami "exiles" who would make runs on local cheap stores, like the "Dollar Stores," scoop up whatever it is they sell there, then dragging it all to Cuba, and setting it up with their relatives to sell on the black market at very much marked up prices.

This was a business for them. They did it regularly. We also had a poster who posted here for a while after DU opened, whom I knew at the old CNN US/Cuba relations message board, from Canada, who went to Cuba regularly, as it's normal for Canadians to come and go from that country. She said she had met a woman from Miami, herself, who was there selling stuff, who was completely out in the open about it. So wierd.

This poster, who used to get so impatient with US American ignorance about Cuba, was outspoken, and the right-wing trolls, who didn't belong here, kept attacking her, getting her banned, and she reappeared under at least a couple of other names before dropping out of sight. They feared her because they knew she had their numbers.

With the advent of personal property rights, Cuban nationals will have a chance to get in on the business various Miami hustlers have been doing for years, getting a share of their profits! Good for them.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 27, 2019, 11:27 AM

2. You heard? Some of us live under Marxism.


But your comment begs the question, "Why should Cuban exiles have to bring cheap crap into Cuba for their relatives to sell on the black market at very much marked up prices?" Wouldn't it be better that Cubans were able to sell their labor and products at their value instead of having the Castroists tell them what their labor and products are worth?

A dollar per day doesn't seem like fair wages. 50 years of ration cards don't speak well of a functioning economy.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 27, 2019, 02:28 PM

3. Resale of clearance, lightly used, and cheap products is quite common

Not so sure about Cuba but in much of Latin America its quite common for people to bring suitcases full of items from the US to their home countries, particularly clothing, for resale. Local country products are often lower quality and/or expensive. Merchandise for the US market is typically higher quality, cheaper than in their home countries, so in demand. Finding a pair of shoes or dress at Goodwill for $5 that retails for $120 and selling it back home for $40 is pretty much a win-win for all involved. Similar new products sold in-country would be far beyond even the US prices. Good to see Cuba is allowing this at least.

Not sure you why you deride this practice as "hustlers" particularly if it is family members bringing the merchandise in for members stuck on the island to resell. Perhaps the "hustlers" do get a little bit extra for their time and expense but I doubt its much considering Cubans wouldn't have much extra. This practice also implies that reselling merchandise is more lucrative than just having the family members send or bring money.

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 27, 2019, 05:24 PM

4. The last time I traveled to Venezuela, mi esposa and I brought in two suitcases


full of clothing for the las sobrinas. All the things that 13-17 year old young ladies want but can't seem to find, or can't afford. Various leggings, shirts, jeans, make-up, shoes, unmentionables from Victoria's Secret. That sort of stuff. Two full suitcases made it to Maiquetía, and in customs, we were separated from each other (wife if Venezuelan ex-pat. Me... a gringo) and the suitcases came with me. My Spanish is passable, but not fluent. They wouldn't let my wife join me.

To make a long story short, I was accused of smuggling. And the suitcases full of new clothing was going to be confiscated as "evidence". When I objected, I was threatened with prison (and special treatment for argumentative, Capitalist gringos who bring contraband into the peaceful Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela... while a truncheon was waved in my face.) As I was leaving (they took all my cash as a "fine", I saw three female customs agents sorting through the clothing and putting it in bags while arguing over who got what.

Its hard to blame the people (the three female customs agents) for taking whatever they could. I doubt they would have resorted to that sort of behavior had they lived in a country where material possessions weren't so hard to come by. The problem lies in Chavismo which breeds the despair.

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 27, 2019, 07:59 PM

5. So silly. This was during the time no US Americans were allowed to step into Cuba at all,

according to the law.

How do you think the "exiles" were able to keep up their howls about how terrible Cuba is, and how we should keep the travel ban in place, and by all means never allow the embargo to be retired? They wouldn't have been allowed if US Americans came and went freely to Cuba and could see for themselves and decide for themselves whether or not there was an oppressive police state there.

Don't know where the part about the Cuban relatives being allowed to sell the stuff and keep the profits. From what I heard, they, themselves set up booths and kept the profit for their merchandise themselves. So odd how stories take on a life of their own, in the wrong hands, or mouths.

These transactions were conducted for Miami "exiles" OWN benefit, not charity to their poor, bedraggled, starving, scurvy-ridden, knocked kneed, club-footed, bow-legged buck-toothed, Cuban relatives. The big swaggering "exiles" barged into Cuba to sell things for themselves they bought at a fraction of the price in Miami at crappy cheap discount stores.

So many things wrong with this arrangement it would make a maggot gag.

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