Unlimited Power

February 21, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


The term “unity” is used frequently in Cuban propaganda campaigns to refer to the compliance of the people with the socialist system. However, its more controversial use is when it is joined with the word “power”.

In essence, the “unity of power” opposes the tripartite division of powers, not in relation to the division of the functions of the Government (legislative, executive and judicial), but in the establishment of checks and balances between the different authorities of the state.

The Constitution of the Republic regulates the legislative powers of Government. In its article 75, paragraph b) it empowers the National Assembly to enact laws and regulations of hierarchical ranking in Cuban law. Article 95 states that the number, names and functions of ministries and bodies forming part of the Council of Ministers are determined by law.

However, the Law Decree No. 67 of 1983, a lower-ranking provision issued by the State Council for the “Organization of the Central State Administration,” regulates the structure of public administration. Furthermore, a provision of the State Council may amend or repeal a law issued by the National Assembly. Another example is Law Decree No. 151 adopted in 1994, amending Act No. 5 of Criminal Procedure since 1977.

In other political contexts, these examples could be violation of the Constitution and the principle of hierarchy. In Cuba, it is simply a manifestation of the principle of “unity of power”.

This explains why the Cuban Constitution does not contain laws imposing limits on Executive Power. In other words, “unity of power” is, in form and content, absolute power in the hands of a limited number of people: the members of the State Council.

Laritza Diversent

Translated by LJM

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