Cuba's constitutional listening tour gets off to a slow start

Government wants citizens give their opinions, but some are hesitant

HAVANA – Perhaps proving what many critics of the Cuban government say: Cubans are still fearful to say what they think in a public forum. 

It was a slow start at Monday’s public debate where those who attended were encouraged to speak out about the proposed constitutional reforms.

But after most of the journalists left, some Cubans did weigh in on different issues. 

One woman lent support to the proposal that allows marriage to be between two people — no matter the sex — paving the way for gay marriage. 

A nurse asked that the new constitution address and maybe change the current system of military service. She suggested that service take place after college not before. 

From now until November, Cubans will continue to weigh in on the proposed constitutional draft recently passed by the National Assembly. 

The Cuban government has vowed to hold 35,000 meetings similar to the one on Wednesday in work places, learning centers and neighborhoods -- even encouraging Cubans living abroad to submit their thoughts by way of the internet.

Once this process is done, the National Assembly will approve the new draft and then a nationwide referendum will take place on February of next year. 

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