Cubans get to read the newly proposed constitution

Cubans to weigh in on draft Aug. 13 to Nov. 15

HAVANA – The Cuban government started to sell some half a million copies of the newly proposed constitution for one Cuban peso on Wednesday at post offices in the provinces of Havana.

There was a shortage of copies, so there were reportedly Cubans re-selling them for a higher price in the streets of Havana, according to a worker at a newspaper stand. The government was also selling them in Mayabeque, Artemisa and in the Isla de la Juventud. 

Luis Torres is among the Cuban entrepreneurs who were eager to read the details of the constitutional reform. He said he needed a copy of the 32-page document so that he could understand how the constitution could get in the way of him being able to rent homes to tourists. 

"I believe it will be for the best," Torres said. 

Officials will start to sell copies of the proposed constitution at post offices in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Ciego de Avila on Thursday, and in Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo on Friday, according to Granma, the state-run newspaper. 

Ricardo Barnet said he wanted to know why the word "communism" was being removed from the constitution. Experts say Cuba will continue its single-party system and Raul Castro, the 87-year-old leader of the Communist Party, is using the constitution to protect the government's institutions. 

The Unity of Democratic Action and other political groups want the change to include article 5 of the constitution, which says the Communist Party is the "superior managerial force of society and of the State." 

"We are looking for an opening to the pluralism of politics in Cuba, so that those who want to register parties can register them, so that citizens can participate, but above all so that equality is established before the law," Cuban dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua told the AFP during a meeting at a house in Old Havana. 

Ailer Gonzalez Mena, a Cuban dissident in Havana, told Estado de Sats on YouTube saying the inclusion of the legalization of same-sex marriage was part of a plot to make the newly proposed constitution to appear like a modern update. 

"Whatever is [in the newly proposed constitution] and what the people approve, will have to be enforced," said Berta Hernandez, who got a copy in Havana because she is concerned about animal cruelty and wants to know if the new constitution will address it in any way. 

Voters will be able to decide if they approve or disapprove of the proposed constitution from Aug. 13 to Nov. 15.

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