• Sunday, Nov 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:44 am

Cuba votes in referendum on new constitution

  • Published at 06:54 pm February 25th, 2019
web-An image of late Cuban President Fidel Castro is displayed at the wall of a polling station
An image of late Cuban President Fidel Castro is displayed at the wall of a polling station during a constitutional referendum in Havana, Cuba, February 24, 2019 Reuters

Cuban authorities said that more than 80% of registered voters cast ballots

Cubans voted in a referendum on a new constitution Sunday with the backdrop of mounting pressure from the United States and continued support for Venezuela's socialist regime.

Results of the vote, which the government turned into a plebiscite on the "irrevocable" role of socialism in the island nation, are expected late Monday.

"We Cubans are voting for our new constitution, we're voting for Latin America and the Caribbean," President Miguel Diaz-Canel said when casting his vote.

"We're also voting for Venezuela, we're defending Venezuela because in Venezuela the continent's dignity is in play."

Diaz-Canel hit out at the presidents of Chile, Colombia and Paraguay for joining Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday in his attempt to force humanitarian aid across the Colombian border into Venezuela.

"A group of presidents on the Colombian border, they look like clowns," said Diaz-Canel.

Diaz-Canel later tweeted: "The hawks of the empire and their lackeys failed, but the empire is not dropping its plans. Let's continue the struggle."

Cuba has been trying to galvanize international support for its ally and against US "military aggression."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claims the humanitarian aid, mostly supplied by Washington, is a smokescreen for a US invasion.

Cuban authorities said that more than 80% of registered voters cast ballots.

Former president Raul Castro, 87, who retains the powerful position of first secretary of the ruling Communist Party, cast his ballot in the morning without making a statement, local media reported.

'Farce and fraud'

The vote in Cuba comes after the latest attack on socialism by US President Donald Trump, who last week said the leftist ideology is "dying."

But Trump's words served only to boost those voting in favor of the new constitution, which reiterates the central role of socialism and communism in Cuba, analyst Carlos Alzugaray told AFP.

"Many people, seeing his quotes, will vote yes because they want to defend their independence against the US threat," said Alzugaray.

US Senator Marco Rubio, whose parents are Cuban, hit out at the Havana regime on Twitter.

"The so-called 'referendum' in #Cuba is another maneuver by the Cuban dictatorship to hold its grip on power," he wrote.

"Today's plebiscite is nothing more than a farce and a fraud of the communist party. #IllegalConstitution."

The new constitution, replacing the 1976 version, recognizes a limited role for the free market and private investment, but only under the control of the Communist Party.

It enshrines socialism as the country's only ideology, a move criticized by the Catholic Church.

Cuba's banned opposition, which normally calls for abstention at elections or spoiling ballot sheets, has this time campaigned for a no vote.

"It is obvious that this goes beyond a no to a constitution, it's a no to a regime that aims to perpetuate itself in power," dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer told AFP.

The referendum contains only two options: yes or no to the new constitution.

"Two options, one that favours the regime and the other that represents the only opportunity the people have had in years to say no," added Ferrer.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail