2019 Cuban constitutional referendum

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2019 Cuban constitutional referendum
Do you ratify the new Constitution of the Republic?
Spanish: ¿Ratifica usted la nueva Constitución de la República?
Location Cuba
Date24 February 2019 (2019-02-24)
Votes %
Yes 6,816,169 90.61%
No 706,400 9.39%
Valid votes 7,522,569 95.85%
Invalid or blank votes 324,774 4.14%
Total votes 7,848,343 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 8,705,723 90.15%
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A constitutional referendum was held in Cuba on 24 February 2019.[1] Voters were asked whether they approved of a new constitution passed by the National Assembly of People's Power in July 2018.[2] The reforms were approved, with 90.61% of valid votes cast in favour. The new Constitution came into force on 10 April 2019 after it was proclaimed in the Cuban National Assembly and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic.[3]

Constitutional changes[edit]

Proposals in the new constitution include:[4][5][6][7][8][9]

  • The recognition of private property;
  • The recognition of foreign investment;
  • The restoration of the position of Prime Minister of Cuba;
  • The transfer of head of Council of State to the President of the National Assembly;
  • The position of mayor being added to that of president of a municipal assembly;
  • The creation of a required ratification of Presidential-appointed Provincial Governors and Deputy Governors by local municipal governments;
  • The creation of new Provincial Councils made up of members chosen by municipalities to replace the current system of provincial assemblies modeled after the National Assembly of People's Power;
  • The introduction of a mandatory maximum age limit of 60 years for any President of Cuba entering their first term;
  • The creation of a two consecutive five-year term limit for the presidency;
  • Extending the terms of municipal council delegates to five years;
  • Banning discrimination based on gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability;
  • The restoration of a presumption of innocence in the justice system, last provided for in the 1940 Constitution;
  • Introducing the right to legal counsel immediately upon arrest;
  • Introducing the ability to sue the government for damages or negligence.
  • Introducing the right to appear before a judge and report unlawful imprisonment through habeas corpus.[10]

The new Constitution came into force after being proclaimed by the National Assembly on 10 April 2019.[3] Laws which were passed to enforce the Constitution's reforms to the country's judicial system must be enacted within 18 months.[10][11] An electoral law detailing the restructuring of government must also be passed within six months.[10][11] A Cuban President must then be elected by the National Assembly in the following three months and then appoint Provincial Governors and a Prime Minister.[10][12][13]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

The new constitution also removes the requirement that marriage be "between one man and one woman". An earlier draft of the new constution would have changed the language to "a union between two people" ... "with absolutely equal responsibilities". This language was removed due to backlash from the more conservative sectors of Cuban society,[14] with the new constitution not specifically recognizing gay marriage, but still removing the constitutional obstacles to its recognition by specifically avoiding to define marriage (as opposed to the definition of "a union between one man and one woman" that existed in the old constitution). It is expected that gay marriage would be part of a new Cuban Family Code, which is due to be put to a new referendum within the next 2 years.[15][16][17] Mariela Castro, a Cuban LGBT rights activist, daughter of Raúl Castro and director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, has stated that this change is "not a setback" and that the issue would be addressed in the upcoming family code amendment.[9]


Choice Votes %
For 6,816,169 90.61
Against 706,400 9.39
Invalid/blank votes 325,774
Total 7,848,343 100
Registered voters/turnout 8,705,723 90.15
Source: Prensa Latina


  1. ^ Cuba’s Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process Havana Times, 23 July 2018
  2. ^ Cuba's new constitution paves way for same-sex marriage The Guardian, 23 July 2018
  3. ^ a b https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=40784&SEO=cuba-proclaimed-its-new-constitution
  4. ^ Cuba to reshape government with new constitution The Washington Post, 14 July 2018
  5. ^ Cuba sets out new constitutional reforms BBC News, 15 July 2018
  6. ^ Communist-run Cuba to recognize private property in new constitution Reuters, 15 July 2018
  7. ^ Marc Frank (February 21, 2019). "Explainer: What is old and new in Cuba's proposed constitution". Reuters. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Antonio Recio (21 August 2018). "Some Traps in Cuba's New Constitution". The Havana Times.
  9. ^ a b "Cuban lawmakers approve new constitution which heads to referendum". Reuters. 2018-12-23. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  10. ^ a b c d https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-constitution/cuba-to-enact-new-constitution-launching-modest-state-revamp-idUSKCN1RM1VC
  11. ^ a b https://www.local10.com/news/cuba/cuba-enacts-new-constitution
  12. ^ https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/new-constitution-proclaimed-and-cuba-will-have-a-prime-minister-this-year/
  13. ^ https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article229072974.html
  14. ^ "Cuba Scraps Words Establishing Same-Sex Marriage From Drafted Constitution". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  15. ^ Cuba, Asamblea Nacional (2018-12-18). "En el Código de Familia deberá establecerse quiénes pueden ser sujetos del matrimonio, se realizará #ConsultaPopular y Referéndum, en un plazo de dos años a partir de una propuesta de disposición transitoria recogida en el propio proyecto. #ReformaConstitucional @DiazCanelB pic.twitter.com/D0c45Xvte8". @AsambleaCuba (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  16. ^ Cuba's constitutional referendum: What you should know Al Jazeera, 23 February 2019
  17. ^ "Cuban lawmakers approve new constitution which heads to referendum". www.msn.com. Retrieved 2019-02-26.

External links[edit]