According to the Family Code, the last word belongs to the people › Cuba › Granma

The democratic exercise next September 25 is not superfluous. This referendum, which will decide the present and the future of Cuban families, or at least make possible the validity or not, of a code that understands them – also protects them – with all their complexities and differences, is the truest expression as far as popular sovereignty, and dictates our constitution.

It is true that the Cuban parliament recently approved the legal text; also that it was published in the State Gazette of the Republic; but none of this detracts from the important role of sovereigns, for the validity and effectiveness of the Family Code requires the connection between the legislature, which is the assembly, and the people.

Homero Acosta Alvarez, secretary of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), in a conversation with Grandmainsists that the act of parliament alone is not enough, since the purpose of the referendum is for the voice of the people to prevail, as it was necessary to publish the draft in a newspaper in order for the text to be approved by the assembly.

The holding of a legislative referendum has no precedent in our country, there are only two, both constitutional; but it is also rare in the rest of the world, because the general concept is that parliaments accept the representation of the people to dictate laws, they have that ability, and therefore what by function falls to parliament is not constantly subject to referendum Parliament, emphasizes.

– So what is the origin of this referendum, what supports it?

The reasons are in the referendum on the draft constitution in 2019. In this regard, the secretary of the ANPP recalls that as a result of controversies related, for example, to Article 68, which establishes marriage as a voluntary relationship between two people, the National Assembly found itself at a crossroads.

Acosta Álvarez mentions that on the one hand there was the dilemma of continuing with the current design and concepts of marriage or transforming the definitions related to family law; on the other, the question of whether or not it is necessary to seek a greater consensus and democratic space around the family legal order.

The ANPP therefore agreed not to conceive of the subjects of marriage, but gave a broad definition of family constitutional law, the guidelines that should govern a future Family Code, including diversity, marriage as one of many forms of organization. In addition, the right to equality and non-discrimination, the protection of children and adolescents, as well as persons with disabilities, among many others, have been strengthened.

In particular, Acosta Alvarez points out, the eleventh provision of the Magna Carta emphasizes that, based on the results of the referendum, the National Assembly will have two years, after the entry into force of the Constitution, to conduct a referendum and referendum on the Family Code.

The electoral law already established the legislative referendum. In one of its articles, it specifies that a referendum can be called by the assembly to accept, ratify, repeal a law or legal provision, he adds.

In this sense, looking to the future, the ANPP will establish what other legal provisions may be subject to referendum, including a government provision, for example.


“How necessary, revolutionary and contributing this code is, able to consistently integrate the entire family legal regime without leaving anything out,” reflects Homero Acosta Alvarez and lists “the relationship between children and parents, different forms of attachment to others who are not blood relatives, the role of grandparents, the prohibition of violence, because greater harmony, completeness, recognition of rights in the family space are sought.

The Secretary of the ANPP believes that the text has educational and formative importance in public consciousness, because of the role of family law, which cannot be inert or contemplative; rather, it must analyze this social conglomerate and contribute to its transformation, as the then current code does.

That is why, he ratified, “we must look at the code of today and the future when we vote responsibly, because it guarantees and offers rights to all, including those who one day fell out”.

Cuba needed, required, a change in its family legal regime, and it was wise to wait for the constitution to be changed to give way to that need, he affirms with conviction.

– How do you evaluate the educational work for the conscious vote of the people? What does the counseling process mean in training people?

In this regard, he refers that if we compare the time when the public consultation of the draft constitution took place with the consultation of the Code, a greater consensus can be seen regarding the main provisions that the Code elaborates, and that they already had their basis in the Law of Laws.

“All the communication work has succeeded in raising people’s awareness of what the issues covered by this code mean, and people are therefore in a better position to exercise their vote with greater responsibility and knowledge.”

The doubts that have arisen have been clarified, thanks to the participating teachers and other specialists. What previously seemed contradictory has turned out to be a more favorable way, he confirms.

In conclusion, the Secretary of Parliament not only based his opinion, but also cited the data of the National Electoral Council on the results of the reference to the code, where it can be seen that 61% of the opinions expressed were in favor of the text.

Of course, the interviewee admits, there are some issues that have always been questioned, but today it is much less than what the then Constitution had. As time passed, the debates increased and there was greater education of the people on these issues.

He explains that if we analyze the result of the consultation process, there are also important changes in a large number of articles and this makes people understand that their criteria have not “fallen on deaf ears” but that they have been analysed, including those that were not met.

– If the result of the referendum was in favor of the code, it could not remain a “dead letter”. What steps would happen then?

– “The last word is the people. If you do not vote the draft code, even though it has already been approved by the parliament, it will never come into force and we will continue with the one of 1975”, he confirms; but admits that everything points to a positive and majority vote for the new text.

“If the result of this exercise is positive, some steps will remain to enter into force, since it carries the signature of the President of the Assembly, the approval of the President of the Republic and the final publication in the Official Gazette.

For its application, it specifies that the Code in its content modifies standards that would conflict with it. “We are talking about the Civil Registry Act because there are new entities, new family formation; The Civil Code, on matters of inheritance, for example».

In addition, Acosta Alvarez adds, recent regulations approved by Parliament, including those on criminal matters, have included essential elements in the code even without entering into force, but they cannot delay or wait to include it.

However, he exemplifies, there will still be some provisions to dictate, as the text states that the Ministry of Justice will have to create a family ombudsman, a new institution that has certain powers and competences.

In addition, the Department of Labor must also dictate rules that govern issues related to joint reproduction, since the person who will rely on a supportive womb to have their baby is not within the ambit of maternity legislation today. This also happens in the case of the role of carers and their necessary legal support.

In general, he summarizes, the Code integrates the immediate requirements for its implementation. In the future, new provisions will be established that will give it greater consistency, but the interpretation of these provisions is even important, which will depend on the management of legal operators, especially the courts, precisely because of the comprehensive and comprehensive nature of the Code.

This is the great merit of the Code, which has managed to capture the needs of the Cuban family today and in the future, seeking harmony between social reality, family reality and the law.

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