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      Cuba's New Families Code: Democracy in Action!

      A talk by Aileen Carmenaty Sanchez

      The Cuban family, according to the 2019 Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, is constituted by legal or de facto ties, of an emotional/affective nature, and is based on equal rights, duties, and opportunities of its members, all of which – both in rights as well as obligations – are included in the Families Code.

      The Families Code represents a fundamental norm of Family Rights in Cuba. A legal body in Cuba that regulates all institutions related to the family: marriage, divorce, parent-child relationships, the obligation to provide food, adoption, and guardianship. It was enacted in 1975.

      In this sense, 47 years after the creation of the current Families Code, it is essential to introduce modifications that reflect the ongoing experiences learned through its application. This means responding to family matters that require immediate solutions and specialized legal measures, to perfect and extend legal measures that arise from real situations, based on relationships of equality, based on both biological and emotional relationships, on the inseparable solidarity of this social group and on human dignity as the supreme value that supports the recognition, rights, and duties enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, as well as international treaties and this Code.

      The Families Code project responds to the mandate of the Constitution of the Republic in its Eleventh Provision. It is consistent with Cuba's legal system and social experiences; and constitutes an expression of the high importance that the State gives to the family as an institution. Including the need to transform the current legislation that no longer responds to the diversity of families within Cuban society. Furthermore, it does not offer options to solve the innumerable existing conflicts that do not find protections under the current law. The Families Code project consists of 11 Titles, 42 Chapters, 51 Sections, 471 Articles, 5 Transitory Provisions, and 41 Final Provisions. The various legal entities within family institutions are developed, such as kinship, the obligation to provide food, affiliation whatever its origin, parental relationships, other guardianship and protection institutions, marriage and de facto/common law unions. It is consistent with the constitutional text and develops rights in its precepts 1, 13, 15, 40, 42, 43 and from 81 to 89 related to the humanistic character of Cuba's revolutionary process, the results of the science of Family Law, of the judicial practice in Cuba and the advances in the legislation of other countries. Similarly, its content is compatible with international treaties on this matter ratified by the Republic of Cuba.

      The protection of all expressions of family and familial diversity, as well as the right of each person to form a family in accordance with the Constitution and its principles of equality, non-discrimination and human dignity, the strengthening of family responsibility from the emotional, educational, training and economic point of view and love as the central axis of family relationships are included among the main aspects of the project.

      The new Families Code project was made available to the Cuban people in digital format and in the Official newspaper of the Republic of Cuba, making it possible for all Cubans in every corner of the planet to access the text of this document. Through the Nation and Emigration website, a section was set up to collect opinions from Cubans residing abroad through a form, where the number of times that the person could access the site and express their opinion was not limited, and it did not take into account the immigration status of these Cubans living abroad.

      More than six million citizens participated in the popular consultation process of the new Families Code project, between February and April 2022. To organize these exchanges, special electoral commissions were set up.

      During the process, 336,595 interventions by voters were registered, and 434,000 proposals were collected. Marriage, parental responsibility, adoption, surrogacy, discrimination and violence in the family, the right of children and adolescents in the family, and sperm donors or surrogates were the topics that generated the largest number of proposals.

      In the popular consultation, whose results were known on May 15, 6,481,207 Cubans participated (75.93% of the eligable population), 61.96% of whom expressed themselves to be in favor of the text.

      As a result of this process, 47.93% of the general text and 49.15% of the total articles were modified.

      As part of the legislative schedule according to the Constitution, the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba approved the new Family Code, which will be submitted to a popular referendum on Sunday, September 25, 2022.

      Updated from a talk given by, Aileen Carmenaty, Press and Cultural Attaché of the Cuban Embassy in Canada, in charge of academic, sports and solidarity exchanges at a webinar on May 20, 2022 organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC)

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