Representing Is Not Usurping
Constitutionally, how does the Council of State make changes to the structure and functioning of the agencies of central state administration?
Speaking at the second and final session of the Seventh legislature constituting the National Assembly of Popular Power on 24 February 2008, Raúl Castro asked parliamentarians for an extension of time in order to propose the Government of the Republic.
He argued that such a request would not prevent in a timely manner, as has been done, the making of other changes in the course of 2009. But Article 95 of the Constitution provides that the number, names, and functions of ministries and central agencies outside the Council of Ministers are determined by law.
The law is the norm for hierarchical ranking in the Cuban legal system. The National Assembly has been empowered to enact laws. This is guaranteed in article 75, paragraph b) of the Constitution.
This power has been granted to the Cuban parliament because it is composed of political representatives of different social sectors, and whose interests are supposed to be reconciled and satisfied in every law enacted.
Therefore, only the National Assembly can decide on the structure and functioning of government. But Law No. 67 on the Organization of Central State Administration, issued by the State Council on 19 April 1983, is what governs the organization of public administration, and not the highest organ of the People’s Power.
In Cuba, it is normal that the constitutional mandates for parliament to legislate are assumed by the Council of State. The justification for such proceedings is that the Council of State is represented in the National Assembly.
But legally speaking, representation is not synonymous with usurpation. That the Council of State assumes powers that the Constitution specifically gives the National Assembly of the People’s Power is a violation. Not a manifestation of the unity of power.
Photo: Alina Sardiñas
Translated by: Tomás A.