Cuban Dissidents Launch Constitutional Change Initiative

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
From The Miami Herald:

New movement tackles constitutional changes in Cuba

More than 300 roundtable sessions that attracted 2,400 people were held last weekend in Cuba, part of a project to reach a consensus among political players and civil society — inside and outside Cuba — on a proposed constitution.

The debates of the so-called Constitutional Road Map, driven by opposition figure Manuel Cuesta Morúa, include the hope that thousands more people will sign on to the project, known as Constitution Assembly Now.

Morúa, leader of the Progressive Arch movement, said that the discussions focused on finding a consensus about whether to reform Cuba’s current constitution, reinstate the 1940 constitution or create a new one.

The initiative comes as a government commission is conducting a closed-door study of possible changes to the constitution.

Although the 72 organizations currently working on the road map are mostly in the opposition, Morúa said Tuesday that “the idea is to open the process to all citizens. It’s about reaching a wider legitimacy with the participation of citizens not linked to the opposition. This is not a discussion among opposition groups, and this first activity proved it.”

Morúa said that among the 2,400 participants were many people who were not activists or opponents of the Cuban government, and that the roundtables should fairly “open the discussion to citizens in their communities.”

To avoid government control — authorities often prevent similar meetings — the nature of the meetings and the places where they were to be held were not announced in advance.