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Politics of Cuba

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  • 1. Politics of Cuba Benedict Gombocz
  • 2. Overview  Cuba has been governed by a communist political system since 1959.  It is constitutionally depicted as a Marxist-Leninist “socialist state guided by the principles of José Martí, and the political ideas of Marx, the father of communist states, Engels and Lenin.”  The current Constitution also attributes the role of the Communist Party of Cuba to be the “leading force of society and of the state”; as such, it is entitled to putting forward national policy.  The Government of Cuba, represented through the Council of State and the Council of Ministers, exercises executive power.  The unicameral National Assembly of People’s Power, organized as the state’s supreme authority, exercises legislative power.  Raúl Castro – former President Fidel Castro’s brother – is the current President of the Council of State, President of the Council of Ministers (occasionally known as the PM), First Secretary of the Communist Party, and Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.  The President of the National Assembly is Esteban Lazo Hernández.
  • 3. Major leaders of Cuba  Government Single-party communist republic  President Raúl Castro  First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel  President of the National Assembly Esteban Lazo Hernández  Legislature National Assembly
  • 4. National Assembly of People’s Power (interior)
  • 5. Political map of Cuba
  • 6. Executive  The government exercises executive power.  Cuba, until February 2008, was ruled by President Fidel Castro, who served as Chief of State, Head of Government, PM, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.  The main organ of state security and control is the Ministry of Interior.  The First Vice President of the Council of State, in accordance with the Cuban Constitution Article 94, takes over presidential responsibilities upon the sickness or death of the President.  On July 31, 2006, when the 2006 Cuban transfer of duties took place, Fidel Castro assigned his responsibilities as President of the Council of State, First secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, and the post commander-in-chief of the armed forces to first Vice President Raúl Castro.
  • 7. Legislature  The National Assembly of People’s Power (Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular), Cuba’s elected national legislature, has 612 members who are elected every five years, and holds brief meetings to approve decisions made by the executive branch.  The National Assembly meets twice every year in regular periods of session, but it has permanent committees to address issues of legislative interest.  All issues dealing with the economy , the sugar industry (and other industries), transportation and communications, constructions, foreign affairs, public health, defense, and interior order are one of the lasting or momentary committees.  In addition, the National Assembly has lasting branches that manage the work of the Commissions, Local Assemblies of the People’s Power, International Relations, Judicial Affairs, and the Administration.  Article #88 (h) of the Constitution of Cuba, approved in 1976, allows for citizen offers of law, precondition that the offer be made by a minimum of 10,000 citizens who are qualified to vote.  Supporters of a movement called the Varela Project sent in a citizen offer of law with 11,000 signatures in 2002 that wanted a national referendum on political and economic reforms.  The government responded by gathering 8.1 million signatures to demand that the National Assembly of Cuba be made unrivaled.
  • 8. Judiciary  The most supreme judicial body is the People’s Supreme Court.  According to the constitution, all lawfully recognized civil liberties can be refused to anyone who openly questions the decision of the Cuban people to build “socialism”.  The People’s Supreme Court governs on constitutional issues, and evaluates final pleas from subordinate courts; this includes all criminal, civil, administrative, labor law, and economic cases.  At the next level are higher courts.  Every province has its own higher court that determines which cases can reach the Supreme Court.  The court dealing with all major criminal issues, civil cases, juvenile cases, administrative law, and labor law is the Courts of First Instance.  The Courts of Peace govern on minor claims and trivial criminal felonies, i.e., minor theft, but they may not plea to any higher court.
  • 9. Committees for the Defense of the Revolution  The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, to which most Cubans belong, is a system of neighborhood organizations throughout Cuba.  The purpose of these organizations is to put medicinal, instructive, or other campaigns into national effect, and to report “counter-revolutionary” activity.  The responsibility of the CDR officials is to recognize the activities of every individual in their individual blocks.
  • 10. Communist Party of Cuba  Ruling political party of Cuba and the only party permitted to govern, even though other parties are permitted to exist.  Communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model.  The Constitution of Cuba assigns the role of the party as the “leading force of society and of the state”.  As of April 2011, Raúl Castro, also the President of Cuba and younger brother of Fidel Castro (the party’s previous First Secretary and President of Cuba) is the party’s First Secretary, while José Ramón Machado Ventura serves as the Second Secretary.
  • 11. Raúl Castro  Born 3 June 1931 in Birán.  President of the Council of State of Cuba and President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since February 2008; prior to assuming these two offices, he exercised acting presidential powers (transferred from his older brother Fidel Castro) from 2006-2008.  Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), and has additionally served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) since April 2011.  Was a rebel officer during the 1950s; after Fidel Castro came to power following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Raúl Castro emerged as one of the party’s most important members, and served as Minister of the Armed Forces from 1959-2008.  Was named President of the Council of State on 31 July 2006 in a brief handover of power because of his brother’s sickness.  In accordance with the 1976 Cuban Constitution, Article 94, the First Vice President of the Council of State is given presidential responsibilities upon the sickness or death of the president.  Was formally elected as President by the National Assembly on 24 February 2008, after Fidel Castro, still ill, announced that he would not stand for President again five days earlier.  Was elected as First Secretary of the Communist Party during its Sixth Congress on 19 April 2011, having once been Second Secretary under his brother for forty-six years.  Was re-elected President on 24 February 2013, just after he announced that his second term would be his last term and that he would not run for re-election in 2018.
  • 12. Miguel Díaz-Canel  Born 20 April 1960 in Villa Clara.  First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba since 2013.  Has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2003, and was Minister of Higher Education from 2009-2012; advanced to the position of the Council of Ministers in 2012.  Was elected as First Vice President of the Council of State on 24 February 2013; as such, he is seen as likely to succeed Raúl Castro as President of Cuba.  His political views have been depicted as “hardline”.
  • 13. Esteban Lazo Hernández  Born February 26, 1944 in Jovellanos.  President of Cuba’s National Assembly, former Vice President of the Council of State, and a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.  Was appointed President of the National Assembly of the People’s Power on February 25, 2013.
  • 14. The End (El Fin)