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Editorial: A constitutional 'consultation' for Cubans abroad – with their permission to return at stake

Residents abroad who respond to this appeal may be punished if their opinions upset the authorities.


The Cuban regime just initiated a "consultation" on the Constitution Project for Cubans residing abroad. The video tutorial encourages participation with these words: "Your opinions count. Don’t miss out on forming part of this unprecedented process of the Cuban Revolution."

The opinions of Cubans living outside the country count – as long as they do not question the system. Whoever contributes with their opinions must do so for the "development of a socialist society", as the newspaperGranma warned. The existence of a single party, the PCC, is indisputable, a priori, as is the role of that party in society.

Launching a constitutional consultation for a single party allows for no discussion of the Constitution, but rather only a party directive. Thus, what the regime has initiated is a consultation on PCC directives.

The Constitution Project will go to a referendum after this popular consultation, organized from the top down. Will Cubans living abroad who have responded to the "consultation" participate in this referendum? Or are they only called upon to offer their opinions, purged beforehand, without this translating later into the right to vote?

The Director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad (DACCRE), Ernesto Soberón, stated that all this is "clear proof of the continuity of the sovereign policy of continuing to strengthen the links between the Revolution and Cubans living outside their country of origin."

But the ties to which the official refers are similar to those that the regime (which he calls the "Revolution") has with Cubans living on the Island, and they are bonds of servitude and subjection, never of citizenship.

Residents abroad who respond to this call are obliged to furnish the Cuban government apparatus with their personal data, and they are warned that only suggestions for changes that do not affect the status quo in Cuba will be accepted, and that they may be punished if their suggestions and opinions rankle the authorities.

In Cuba the "consultations" are subject to police repression by the CDR itself, labor unions, schools and workplaces. And, for those who live outside of Cuba, the regime reserves the right to deny them admission into the country. Having the personal data of those who respond to the invitation and provide their views, it will be able to punish them however it deems fit, as it so wont to do.

Organizing a discussion to, purportedly, increase freedoms, while restricting, in advance, the scope of the opinions accepted; withholding the right to vote, and harassing those with uncomfortable responses, constitutes a new kind of farce in Castroism's long history of electoral shams.

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