The confusion of political and legal terms is repeated in history. For example, the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, in ruling on the proposed Constitutional Reform Act of 2002, claimed that the people had directed the National Assembly to implement it, in an indisputable popular plebiscite. The use of the term bears no resemblance to what is meant by “plebiscite” in political science.
In reality, there was no electoral process, but a collection of signatures by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. These inscriptions, “conscious and voluntary by 8,198,237 voters,” as the opinion affirmed, were not to ratify the reform, but to apply it. In reality, the application process was unnecessary from a legal standpoint.
The Constitution of the Republic, before being reformed in 2002, called for a referendum when the transformation was to be total, or referred to the integration and powers of the National Assembly or its Council of State, or to rights or obligations recognized in the constitution.
The Communists use their laws when it is to their advantage. For example, they did not carry out a popular consultation when, as a political decision, they prohibited Cubans from staying in hotels. This is a right enshrined in the Constitution, which the current leadership decided to restrict, without any legal basis.
The reform of 2002 did not transform anything. On the contrary, it tried to perpetuate the system, declaring socialism “irrevocable.” I repeat, legally there was no need for a ‘plebiscite’ to request an amendment to the Constitution. But to carry it out, it would have been logical to conduct a referendum after the reform was proposed, to confirm it. Even more so when it imposes a decrepit and inefficient political system on future generations.
The communist rhetoric of the Cuban leaders tends to confuse sane and rational minds. Their muddled ideological, political, and legal statements are not products of chance; on the contrary, they are ill-intentioned. Again, we must understand them to know where they are going in their maneuvers to continue in power.
Translated by: Tomás A.