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By Iroel Sanchez
September 23, 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
This Sunday, Cubans will vote in a referendum for a new Families Code that will mean a substantive development in rights and guarantees for all citizens, but especially for sexual minorities, the elderly, women and girls. In Cuba, for more than five decades, there has been paid maternity, the right of women to decide on their pregnancy with universal and free medical care, and to receive equal pay for equal work as men. All of this, part of guaranteeing legislation that now advances and is consolidated with the new Code, is nothing more than an aspiration for U.S. women.
However, the U.S. government, which in the name of Human Rights, unleashes wars, sanctions countries and applies against Cuba the longest and most complete system of economic punishment ever known, far from diminishing them, these days increases them by forcing any traveler to the Island who wants to visit U.S. territory to require a visa, thus damaging tourism, one of the main lines of the Cuban economy.
And worse: In its anti-Cuban propaganda war, Washington is now putting all the machinery of terrorism 2.0 in digital networks, which it finances for regime change on the island, to promote a vote against a Code that will allow, among many things, equal marriage and solidarity motherhood [surrogacy without exchange of money]. Experts say that in terms of sexual and family rights it is one of the most advanced legislations in the world and deals a hard blow to patriarchy.
Nevertheless, the U.S. foreign policy discourse sets itself up as a defender of women’s rights. It does so after creating, with its mujahideen friends, the backward Taliban to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and which set back by thousands of years the freedoms that Afghan women won with a socialist-oriented government.
Or allying with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the country Biden has just visited as an arms dealer, where women are deprived of any social and political life and condemned to medieval punishments if they deviate in the slightest from the strict rules established by a monarchy without parliament or elections of any kind. None of that arouses scruples in Washington, nor do the hundreds of women and girls “collateral damage” from its drone, helicopter and bomber fire in the Middle East and beyond.
That politicized, biased and opportunistic view of Human Rights, and in particular women’s rights, is President Joe Biden’s when he said this week at the UN to “stand with the brave citizens and brave women of Iran” over protests where the U.S. hand is evident.
Since the times when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, back in 2009, admitted to Fared Zakariah on CNN that Washington was using Twitter to foment rebellions against the government in Tehran, much has evolved in technology but not in the cynicism installed in the White House.
Since then, there are enough elements, including U.S. diplomats arrested in the middle of previous protests, to know that although there may be real elements of nonconformity behind a street demonstration, as anywhere in the world, the long hand of the U.S. special services and the powerful media that are akin to them, are decisive in what the world perceives as real.
This time the motive is the death of young Masha Amini, who died in a police station in Tehran, after being arrested by the body known as the Morality Police, for not wearing the Islamic veil properly. The Iranian authorities have claimed that she died of a heart attack, and a security camera video released by them shows Amini in a kind of conference where only women are seen without any trace of violence, from which she gets up, walks, goes to talk to another woman and falls down on her own feet, receives medical attention and is taken away in an ambulance. Nothing to do with the victims of American drones, those tortured in clandestine prisons or Guantanamo and Abuh Ghraib, whose images outrage our retinas.
Much less the shooting of the crowds of women and children who flooded the Kabul airport trying to flee with the American troops who, in their stampede from Afghanistan, left Afghan women in the hands of the Taliban extremists. Closer to home, the names of anti-capitalist social activists Bertha Cáceres (Honduras) or Marielle Franco (Brazil), gunned down, have never been uttered by a U.S. leader. However, the mainstream media do not stop talking about the former and keep quiet about the latter.
For Afghan women, victims of a regime brought about by Washington’s failed adventures in the Middle East, there are no kind words among the governments of the West, nor for the Yemeni women who are dying themselves and their children from starvation or bullets in a war instigated by Riyadh and supported by Washington, nor for the Cuban women who day by day face the shortages imposed by the genocidal blockade that Biden is tightening against Cuba and who, starting this Sunday, despite this, will go out to vote for more and broader rights that U.S. women lack.
Double standards, hypocrisy, and geopolitical interests, zero legitimate concern for Human Rights, is the only thing shown by the American discourse on women, whether in America, Asia or the North Pole. “Brave”, for cynics, are those who with the truth right under their noses seem to ignore it.
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
by Catholic Bishops of Cuba
“Cuba, take care of your families, so that you may keep your heart healthy”.
St. John Paul II, Santa Clara, January 22, 1998.
To the faithful of the Catholic Church;
to those who feel close to the Church and wish to know her views;
and to all those who are interested in knowing the criteria of the Bishops of Cuba about the new Code of Families.
about the new Code of Families.
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As the process of consultation and approval of the new Code of Families draws to a close, we, the Bishops of Cuba, feel it our duty to share this message to reaffirm the view that, on these very human and important matters, we have already expressed on several occasions. Other churches and religious groups are also publishing statements in which they express their ideas and convictions on the issues addressed in the new legal text that is submitted to vote.
2. The National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, as a legislative body, recently approved the latest draft of the Family Code, which gave it the status of a law and, as such, was published in the Official Gazette. However, and as a distinctive feature in this legislative process, the new law must be validated in a popular referendum, called for Sunday, September 25. Thus, if the result of the vote is YES, the law will enter into force the following day; but if the NO vote prevails, the law will not be effective and the current Family Code of 1975 will remain in force.
3. It should be pointed out that, if the latter option is given, this would not mean the impossibility to continue working on a new Code, which would update the family legislation and introduce all the positive aspects contained in this law submitted to the referendum, but which would also adapt the controversial institutions to the majority feeling of the people and to the moral principles bequeathed to us by the founding fathers of the Homeland and which sustain us as a Nation. Let us remember that José Martí stated that: “love is the ardent and unconditional adhesion that an individual of one sex feels towards an individual of the other. The difference between the sexes is not only its quality but its characteristic essence”; while José Antonio Saco insisted that: “The love and respect that children have for their parents, give them an ascendancy over their parents’ hearts that makes them their best teachers”.
 José Martí, Collected Works, T. XXI, p. 114.
 José Antonio Saco: Obras, V. I, p. 272.
4. It is positive in this bill presented, among others, the precision with which violence within the family is rejected, the way in which the rights of grandparents are included and protected, the way in which the care of the elderly, disabled and vulnerable persons is included. We also welcome the recognition of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the fact that, in various areas, the obligation to provide food and care for those in disadvantaged situations and during pregnancy is explicitly stated. This, however, cannot overlook the questionings, criticisms and rejections of an important sector of our society, which are based on legitimate principles, values, human and biological sciences, our history, traditions and religious beliefs of our people.
5. We believe and declare that:
– It does not benefit the Cuban family the introduction in our legislation of the contents of the so-called “gender ideology”, which sustains many of the proposals.
– It is not true that the most beneficial thing for children and adolescents is to introduce an interpretation of the principle of “progressive autonomy” that extends to the possibility that minors, without the authorization of their parents, may assume certain criteria, especially those involving irreversible clinical-surgical processes, which determine existential or identity situations for which they are not prepared.
– Neither can they be legally adopted by same-sex couples, when adoption is essentially a way of granting the child by law, what by nature corresponds to him/her and what he/she needs: a father and a mother. This also applies to not admitting multiple parenthood, the application of assisted human reproduction techniques to same-sex couples or even postmortem in vitro fertilization, by which a child would be born intentionally orphaned of a father. Every child is a gift and an end in itself; it is a child’s right to have a father and a mother.
– It is unethical to recognize as appropriate the so-called “solidarity gestation”, in which a woman who carries a child in her womb for nine months must give it immediately after birth to other people, depriving both mother and child of the affective bond that gestation naturally establishes.
– Marriage between man and woman, which is the natural basis of the family, cannot be displaced or deformed to make way for other legally constructed ways. The original plan of the Creator is this: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. And God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth'” (Genesis 1:27-28a). This revealed truth sustains the faith of all Christians.
6. We are disappointed to see that these and other proposals, which were notoriously questioned by society, are still intact in the Code that is now being presented for referendum. In addition to the above, there is the official campaign to present the proposed text as suitable, for which all the means of communication available to Cubans have been used. In order for the vote to be such, it is necessary to have a plurality of information that allows citizens to make their own decision. The information, flowing in only one direction, without other counterweights, operates as a conditioning factor, and the vote derived from it will express, necessarily and inevitably, a conditioned will.
7. We appeal to the conscience and responsibility of all Cubans, believers or not, to take into account when voting what their conscience, their faith, their convictions and principles dictate, thinking not only of the present generations, but also of future generations, and of the spiritual and material well-being of all Cubans.
8. When exercising your vote, we invite you to keep in mind the approach that we have exposed here and that, as a people, was analyzed in 2019 during the discussion prior to the approval of the current Constitution: “It is an undeniable fact that the majority of Cubans wanted to maintain the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as it appears in the current Family Code of 1975. It was thus implicitly recognized that this union, due to the biological and psychological conditions of the male and female being are those that allow the complementarity in the love of two people and create the natural environment to procreate and make the human species endure. It is this reality that must be strengthened and preserved, not weakened”.
9. May Mary of Charity, our Mother and Patroness, intercede for each one of her Cuban children so that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we may make the right decision for the present and future of the children of this nation.
With affectionate blessings,
+ Cardinal Juan de la C. García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Havana
+ Dionisio G. García Ibáñez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba
+ Wilfredo Pino Estévez, Archbishop of Camagüey
+ Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, Bishop of Holguín, President of the COCC
+ Arturo González Amador, Bishop of Santa Clara, Vice-President of the COCC
+ Juan Gabriel Díaz Ruiz, Bishop of Matanzas, Vice-President of the COCC
+ Álvaro Beyra Luarca, Bishop of Bayamo-Manzanillo
+ Juan de Dios Hernández Ruiz SJ, Bishop of Pinar del Río, Secretary General of the COCC
+ Domingo Oropesa Lorente, Bishop of Cienfuegos
+ Silvano Pedroso Montalvo, Bishop of Guantánamo-Baracoa
+ Marcos Piran, Auxiliary Bishop of Holguín
Eloy Ricardo Domínguez Martínez, Auxiliary Bishop Elect of Havana + Father Dariusz Josef Chaluppo, Auxiliary Bishop of Havana
Father Dariusz Josef Chalupznski, Diocesan Administrator of Ciego de Avila
Havana, September 12, 2022
Memoria del Dulce Nombre de la Bienaventurada Virgen María (Memory of the Sweet Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
 Message of the Standing Committee of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, February 22, 2019.
Pres. 22.077. COCC – Message regarding the referendum – 120922.
Translator’s note: The complete draft Cuban Families Code is 65,000 words and a 104pp pdf document. Because of its length, the Cuban New Agency (ACN) prepared the following summary, about 4,000 words, and a 30pp pdf, with the principal points of the document. What follows is the text of that summary, without the graphics.
To read the new Families Code
This code, which in September will undergo social scrutiny through a referendum, something unprecedented so far in Cuba for this type of normative provision, has developed something extraordinarily exceptional: affection as a legal value. This is why it has been called the code of affection, which is not a slogan, it is an essence. This norm has an undisputed ethical value; it teaches us to think and gives us the tools to educate future generations.
—Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez July 2 3, 2 0 22
Design: Ernesto Niebla Chalita and Marien Lazo Regalado; Proofreading: Maykel Reyes Leyva; Illustrations: Maray Pereda Peña
About this edition: © Cultura Popular, 2022
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the authorization of Empresa de Artes Gráficas Federico Engels, to which the publishing house Cultura Popular belongs.
Empresa de Artes Gráficas Federico Engels Via Blanca No. 551, between Primelles and Palatino Cerro, Havana, Cuba.
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Thanks to Amelia Rodriguez, Madeleine Monte and Abel Gonzalez for their invaluable assistance.
THE CODE OF FAMILIES
It takes affection as the fundamental axis of family relationships.
1-It brings to the Law of Families more coherence with the Constitution
2-Sociologists, jurists, psychologists who research and work on the protection of Cuban families have participated in its elaboration.
3-It responds to the international commitments undertaken by Cuba, in particular:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Convention on Violence and Harassment.
4-It is based on the secularity of the Cuban State.
5-It is not a Code for violent persons.
6-It is concerned with guaranteeing the protection of those persons who may be in a situation of vulnerability or disadvantage, of any kind, within the family.
With its approval by a national referendum, the new Family Code will govern the practice of family law in Cuba. So far, it is made up of 11 titles, which are broken down into several chapters. To this is added a section dedicated to Temporary Provisions, and another to Final Provisions.
Frames the application of the Code within family relationships.
Refers to discrimination and violence in the family framework. It defines:
* Its scope.*
* Manifestations and types.*
It addresses the liability for damages that may be caused by family violence.
Refers to kinship and the obligation to guarantee everything necessary to live (food, footwear, clothes, recreation, protection…) to children, adolescents, older adults and disabled persons who cannot do it by themselves.
A-On the sources of kinship:
*Kinship that has arisen from an affective relationship is recognized.
*Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and related sons and daughters are recognized as family figures.
*The right of communication between relatives by blood, affinity and by persons affectively close to each other is extended.
B-Regarding the obligation to provide everything necessary to live:
* It is recognized between members of an affective de facto union.
* The persons obliged to do so are extended (to uncles/ aunts, nieces/nephews and mothers, fathers and affinity daughters).
* The cessation of this obligation is defined in the event of manifestations of violence.
* The exclusion of this right is defined when the person who supposedly needs them has put itself in this state.
Accepts four sources of filiation:
These two are perfected:
* The consanguineous
* The adoptive
Other new ones are introduced
* Filiation as a result of assisted reproduction
* Socio-affective filiation
* It is defined that a child or adolescent can be adopted until he/she becomes of age.
* Both heterosexual and homosexual couples may adopt, without distinction, whether married or in affective de facto partnership.
* Solidarity gestation [non-profit surrogacy] is introduced as an alternative for assisted reproduction. It is based on solidarity as a cross-cutting principle of family relations.
Legal, medical and judicial mechanisms are foreseen for the strict control of these processes.
Develops the entire content of parental responsibility.
The responsibilities of mothers and fathers are strengthened and consolidated.
The classic definition of patria potestad is updated and perfected and is replaced by the concept of parental responsibility. Other legal figures are introduced, such as:
* Residual parental responsibility.
* The temporary delegation of certain powers of exercise in favor of third parties.
* Temporary guardianship and care.
* Protection in digital environments
Violence is regulated as an express cause for deprivation, suspension, prohibition of guardianship and care and limitation of communication.
The figure of shared guardianship and care is incorporated and the right of family communication to other family members is reinforced.
Recognizes the right of all persons to formalize a marriage. Marriage is prohibited for persons under 18 years of age.
Recognizes the stable and singular union where a life project is shared, as another of the forms of organizing life as a couple and forming a family. It recognizes that covenants of cohabitation and economic regime can be made.
Develops figures of protection and support of the child and persons in situations of disability:
* De facto guardianship.
* Family foster care.
* Institutional foster care of minors in social assistance centers.
* Voluntary feeding.
Guardianship is reserved exclusively for minors. It can be plural.
* It recognizes and protects the person who assumes total or partial responsibility for the care of another.
* Respect for autonomy and dignity of care is recognized.
* Violence is prohibited in the caregiver-care-receiver relationship.
* It defines their rights and duties.
Regulates the rights of the elderly and people in a situation of disability to:
* Family life with dignity.
* Autonomous and independent life.
* To choose a place of residence.
* Family life free of violence.
* An accessible environment.
* Self-regulation of future protection.
* Family communication.
* Respectful support of their preferences.
* Refers to mediation as an alternative for the solution of conflicts.
* It defines its scope as an extrajudicial procedure.
* Determines which are the matters that can be mediated.
Regulates any family situation where any of its members is a foreigner or lives outside the country.
The rights acquired under the Family Code of 1975 are maintained. The judicial matters that are in process when the new Code enters into force, will continue their process. The guardianships of persons of legal age defined under the Family Code of 1975 will be reviewed and valued. Marriages performed under the Family Code of 1975, may agree on new cohabitation and economic regime pacts.
It incorporates modifications to several articles of the Cuban Civil Code:
* Persons may not be declared incapable and shall be provided with support, from the simple to the most intense, according to their specific situations.
* It is foreseen that donations can be under condition and revocable.
WHAT ARE THE NOVELTIES AND WHY ARE THEY NECESSARY?
Families also change, they are no longer that photo that remained frozen over time. Their fundamental changes in Cuba can be summarized as follows:
Small families and households where adults work outside the home are on the rise.
More and more couples are living together without formalizing their union.
Fertility is decreasing.
The family in Cuba transcends the narrow framework of cohabitation in the home and there is a much more comprehensive system of relationships.
All these people form a network of support, of material and emotional support that must also be considered when talking about family.
SOME RELEVANT DATA
* Almost half of all households are headed by women.
* Only in one out of three households there are children under 15 years of age, and in four out of ten there is an older adult.
* There are fewer and fewer extended and
* Almost half are nuclear.
* Thirty percent of children and adolescents live only with grandparents.
* The majority of young people of reproductive age with a partner live with their family of origin or that of their partner.
* Fertility among young people remains below replacement, and the average age of reproduction is around 26 years for women.
This family diversity that characterizes Cuban society indicates the need for a new Family Code. Of the eleven titles that make up the draft Family Code, four are totally new, and five present numerous transformations. There are many new features compared to the current Code that we approved almost fifty years ago. The range of alternatives and possibilities that were taken into account is so wide that any person, no matter how conservative he or she may be, will always find something that benefits him or her, as a grandfather or grandmother, as a brother, as an uncle, as a partner, as a wife.
THE OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE WHAT IS NECESSARY TO LIVE
In this booklet, there is no room for all of them, but we bring some of those most commented upon in the neighborhood discussions: Within each of our families, there are basic obligations that we assume. One of them is the “obligation to provide food”, understood as the responsibility to guarantee what is necessary to live. We are not only talking about the responsibility to put on the table the food to be consumed at home. The term also refers to the roof that we must guarantee, to the clothes, to the education of our children and adolescents. It is about everything necessary for life, both materially, spiritually and in the affections that we share and help to build.
Among the novelties that appear in this section is the definition of the reciprocal nature of this obligation: whoever asks for food today may have been obliged to give it before, and if he/she did not fulfill his/her responsibility before, now he/she cannot claim it. In other areas, this new bill also recognizes that it is the duty of adult children to contribute to the satisfaction of their parent’s needs, even in old age.
In addition, solutions are proposed to problems that currently do not have a fair solution. For example, a pregnant woman does not currently have the legal mechanisms to claim alimony, which can only be claimed after the birth of the child. With the new Code, it is defined that it is necessary to ensure their care even from the gestation period and guarantees their care.
In terms of adoption, the changes introduced by the new Code are important.
For example, if under the current Code, children can only be adopted up to 16 years of age, the new Code proposes that adoption be extended to 18 years of age.
Another example: the current Code establishes that only two people can adopt in the case of a married couple. Now, this possibility is extended to affective de facto unions, which would have the same right to access adoption as marriage has historically had.
With the background of frequently facing long, cumbersome processes, with a high emotional price for couples who decide to initiate this type of request, the new Code clears subjectivities that hinder and make it very difficult for any couple to complete the whole process.
3. SOLIDARITY GESTATION [SURROGACY not for profit]
The new Code takes into account the diverse realities we live in, in coherence with our plural, integrating and solidary sensibility. Being consistent with this, it leaves implicit that access to Assisted Reproduction Techniques must be admitted in a broad and egalitarian way without any discrimination in order to guarantee the essential right of all people to form a family.
In the specific case of surrogacy, nothing forbids its presence as long as both the giver of the womb and the future parents of the child act altruistically, disinterestedly and based on family or affective solidarity; and to leave no room for ambiguity, the document is explicitly against any interpretation that would turn this type of alternative into a lucrative business based on the exploitation or objectification of women.
4. RIGHT TO COMMUNICATION
The current Code is concerned with guaranteeing communication rights when there are mothers and fathers in separation disputes, but these results are narrow, asymmetrical and almost never take into account the rights of other family members such as grandfathers and grandmothers to maintain stable and clear communication with the children.
The Cuban family has always been very united, has always been very willing to exchange in all areas, including communication, and at this time they do not find a solution to the difficulties that may arise within the families.
Taking into account the numerous benefits that the possibility of frequent and unhindered communication offers for the healthy and happy growth of our children, and also how necessary are the environments of affection and harmony for grandmothers and grandfathers, the new Code recognizes the right of communication as a kinship right.
With this incorporation, we would be protecting the possibility of overcoming any conflict within the family, any limitation and facilitating the way for people to have their relational right to communicate in the family environment recognized.
5. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AND PATRIA POTESTAS
For some people, the incorporation in the new Code of the concept “parental responsibility” may be unnecessary;it may provoke fears or may even be seen as an intervention in the ways in which they decide to relate to their sons and daughters.
In reality, its inclusion is not removing or eliminating what we have known until now as patria potestas (parental authority). In practical terms, it is only giving to that set of “…powers, duties and rights that correspond to mothers and fathers for the fulfillment of their function of assistance, education and care of their minor children, which affect their personal and patrimonial sphere and which are always exercised in their best interest…” a name that is more coherent with its content.
Far from being weakened, the ties between parents and children are strengthened, but not in terms of power or subjection, but in terms of responsibility towards them.
What are the guiding principles? Progressive autonomy, the best interests of the child and the right to be heard.
What do they mean? The best interest of children and adolescents do not mean responding to their whims or turning them into orders. Ensuring the best interests of our children implies that our decisions as parents should be aimed at their welfare. And also that they have the right to say no if -for example- an attempt is made to impose child labor, sexual abuse or physical injury on them,
Progressive autonomy and the right to be heard, as several specialists comment, are simple things to understand. Yamila Ferrer, vice-president of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, said that for example, if we allow our 17-year-old daughter to decide whether she wants to be a lawyer or an engineer, and we support her, we are applying the principle of a progressive autonomy. If, in addition to taking our son to school in first grade, we also teach him to cross the streets safely and prepare him to be able to go on its own when he is in sixth grade, we are also applying this principle.
To take this idea as a starting point in the education of our children is to take on the need to provide them with the necessary tools so that they can reach their optimal development.
6. PROTECTION AGAINST ALL TYPES OF VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY SPACE
There are problems that arise in the daily life of families in Cuba. For many they may be distant realities or difficult to understand, but if we review some research conducted in recent years, we can see, for example, that between 2016 and 2019 sexual abuse against minors increased by 24 percent, according to the Cuba Report on Preventing and Confronting Human Trafficking and Protecting Victims; we can read that violence towards our older adults is shown in its various faces and shades, from old women or men who are stripped of their money and property, or suffer direct robberies or are pressured to change their wills; we also hear the stories of violent experiences suffered by numerous women in their relationships with their partners.
In order to respond to these and other problems that locate stories of aggression, abuse and beatings in the family environment, the new Family Code proposes mechanisms to remove aggressive people from the space shared with the family, to protect those who may be vulnerable to this type of situation and need the backing and support of both close relatives and the community or the State. In this sense, we condemn violence against children, against people with disabilities, against the elderly, and against those based on gender inequalities. It does not matter whether these expressions of violence are physical, verbal, psychological, moral, sexual, economic, patrimonial or due to negligence; they are all relevant and all will have judicial consequences for those who commit them.
7. MARRIAGE STRUCTURE
The new Family Code introduces modifications in the elements linked to the legal status of the patrimony obtained by the couple during their married life. It means that the kind of agreements reached by any marriage over properties and acquired assets is diversified.
The current Family Code regulates a single and compulsory regime, called “matrimonial community of property”. However, in the new Code, in addition to this option, couples can choose between two other alternatives: the Mixed System and the Separation of Property System, which gives the couple the possibility of agreeing which of these to select and which assets could be part of that community.
8. MARRIAGE BETWEEN TWO PERSONS OF THE SAME GENDER
As another of the novelties included in the new Code, the rule that enshrines the right to marriage is marked by the principles and values of equality and non-discrimination, enshrined in the 2019 Constitution.
The world has not stood still. Family dynamics and ways of understanding and embracing affections have changed over the years. The transformations in the societies in which we live have also been expressed in the very nature of human relationships and among them, in the ways in which we look at marriage, giving new forms to the traditional concept. Different forms of affective, sexual and mutual solidarity relationships have emerged, which in turn have led to legal changes in the institution of marriage.
Beyond guaranteeing the couple’s procreation, marriage nowadays undertakes, as a legal figure, the purpose of granting reinforced protection to the family, of guaranteeing material rights such as the possibility of having a voice and a vote in the family; the possibility of having a voice and vote in medical decision making, the possibility of immigration benefits for foreign spouses, and of sharing property rights, among others. To deny these, to prevent homosexual couples from having access to this legal figure, leaves them unprotected; it prevents them from fully exercising those rights and duties that, on the other hand, are guaranteed to heterosexual couples.
9. CHILD MARRIAGE
In Cuba, almost a thousand girls between the ages of 14 and 17 marry each year, and almost always to men much older than themselves. These are often short marriages that break up almost always after a baby arrives in the couple’s life. As a result, after a while the girls find themselves alone, without studies, with the responsibility of a son or daughter to protect and educate.
Faced with this situation, which affects not only the reproductive and affective rights of adolescents, but in many cases deprives them of human rights such as access to education, to have a full life, the new Code prohibits the marriage of minors under 18 years of age.
10. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
In 2012, the Population and Housing Census of Cuba registered more than forty thousand children and adolescents with some type of disability. If these figures are added to those of young people and adults who also live in some kind of similar situation, they add up to around five percent of the country’s population. In this context, under the principle of making an inclusive society effective, mechanisms are defined to provide dependent persons with the possibility of counting and deciding on their welfare.
11. ADOPTION BY SAME-GENDER COUPLES
Protecting children in any situation of neglect, guaranteeing the right of children and adolescents to live in a family, and ensuring their welfare and integral development are the fundamental interests of the new Family Code that will regulate the adoption process in the country.
In order to be able to do so, persons must demonstrate their capacity to fulfill their functions as parents: to be 25 years old and have a difference of 15 years with the adoptee, to be able to meet their economic needs and to have a conduct that allows to presume that they will fully comply with the duties inherent to the exercise of parental responsibility.
In the same way, the bill clearly defines and leaves no room for ambiguity when it lists the reasons that disqualify them as candidates to adopt: Those who do not meet these requirements and those who have been found guilty by final veredict in criminal proceedings as perpetrators or accomplices of crimes related to gender or family violence, or for crimes against freedom and sexual indemnity or against children, youth and the family, or those who have ever been deprived of parental responsibility for their own children for serious causes, may not adopt.
Any person who complies with these defined legal requirements will then be able to access the adoption process, without distinguishing whether the adoptive parents are heterosexual or same-gender couples.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR? WHAT IS REMAINS TO BE DONE?
Feb. 2019 The new Constitution is approved with 86.85% of the votes. The Third Chapter is dedicated to Families in its articles 81 to 89 of Title V, devoted to rights, duties and guarantees. This analysis is complemented by the values and principles contained in Articles 40, 41 and 42: dignity as the basis of all the rights enshrined in the Constitution and those of equality and non-discrimination.
Jul. 2019 The temporary working group in charge of drafting the preliminary draft of the new Family Code is created. It is made up by sociologists, jurists and psychologists who research and work on the protection of Cuban families.
Mar. 2021 The Council of State approves the Commission in charge of giving continuity to the work carried out by the temporary group.
Sept. 2021 Version 22 of the Preliminary Draft of the Family Code is released. A consultation process is initiated with specialized institutions; the opinions of the population are received via e-mail; a new version of the preliminary draft is prepared.
Dec. 2021 The National Assembly of People’s Power discusses and approves the draft Family Code.
Feb.-Apr. 2022 The popular consultation called by the National Assembly is held to gather the opinions and recommendations of the population.
+ 79,000 meetings
+ 6,500,000 participants
+ 397,000 proposals to the draft 61% of the proposals are favorable to the draft Code
20.36% are proposals for modification
12.69% are proposals for elimination
3.47% are proposals for addition
1.72% are proposals for doubts.
Jul. 2022 New discussion of the project in the National Assembly of People’s Power.
Sept. 25 2022 National referendum called by the National Assembly of People’s Power.
“Each family is a unique, unrepeatable path, as unrepeatable as each person is. Families are an expression of the most delicate social fabric. They are where we come from, where we are formed, where we receive the highest values and principles with which we are educated. Families are like the homeland, they provide us with identity, civility, solidarity, respect, and altruism.
The bet for the approval of the family code in the referendum is also for democracy, for the virtue of being Cubans, for the happiness of each child or adolescent, for the autonomy and decision-making power of each senior citizen, for the inclusion of each person with disabilities, for the condemnation of family abuse, for the respect of family diversity”.
––Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez July 23, 2022
Here is the full, complete Codigo (104 pages, pdf)
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Recognizing families as spaces for support and growth is a commitment of the Code. Photo: José Manuel Correa
With The Arranged Marriage, Vasili Pukirev, in 1863, became an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. The work depicts a marriage ceremony of a girl, almost a child, contracting marriage with an old man in the center of the painting, who could well be over 60 years old. The atmosphere is somber, and the groom, soon to be a married man, looks at the bride not with the gaze of one who loves, but with a stern look from on high. A priest, no less old, is about to put the ring on the bride, consecrating the transaction by the Church. Behind the bride, a witness looks directly at us, with a face that confronts us not to remain impassive in front of what is happening. The sad face of the teenager seems to be that of someone who has cried. A candle in her left hand is reluctantly held while dripping wax, and the right hand is extended, resigned, to the sentence that the religious official is about to drop.
It is said that Pukirev painted the tragedy of his friend Varentsov, who, in love with a young woman who reciprocated his feelings, saw how his beloved was given by the family to a rich nobleman in an arrangement, usual at the time, purely economic and social, in which the woman’s opinion was not taken into account.
The painting made such an impression on the British artist Edmund Blair Leighton that, in 1879, he produced the painting Till Death Do Us Part, in which another wedding scene shows a young woman, now an adult, walking down the aisle of the church hand in hand with the groom, a man much older than herself. None of the characters in the painting has a joyful face. The bride, all in white, looks sadly down, shying away from the gaze of a young man with a moved face who, standing at the same height as the couple, on the left side of the painting. When the painting was initially submitted to the Royal Academy, the author gave it the title l.s.d. from the Latin libreae, solidi, denarii, which translates into pounds, shillings and pence. A clear allusion to the transaction that occurred there.
In most of Western history marriage was not a matter of love, but a calculated economic transaction. The woman, in the overwhelming fraction of cases, was the piece given as a prize in exchange for some social or economic advantage. In colonial Cuba itself, the transactional character of the institution was evident when decrees were issued to try to regulate unions so that they did not occur between people of different social strata, or between whites and blacks.
But marriage as a transaction not only reveals social asymmetry, whether economic, racial or otherwise, but also the profound verticality of a society that granted, above all to the father, the power to decide for the children – even if they were adults – what type of union they could have and what affections could be tolerated.
Such a state of affairs was not exclusive to the colonial condition. In the neocolonial Cuba of the bourgeois republic, marriage continued to be conditioned and limited, or censored for reasons of economic, social and especially racial asymmetry. What was not imposed by law, was imposed as false conscience, justifying itself in a natural order, good customs, the traditional given as something eternal, or divine designs. There is never a lack of ideological constructions to justify purposes of a different nature, and rather petty and selfish interests.
The defense of a traditional marriage that has never existed as an ideal for all, except in the minds of those who want to stop us at some point in the past for their convenience, is of little value.
The Revolution was also a revolution in social order and customs. With it, by sweeping away the class order that imposed social exclusions, the censures for economically asymmetrical marriages were also swept away. But it did not stop there. Like a hurricane of renewal, it swept away other prejudices and false considerations of propriety. In a very short time, marriages between people from the countryside and the city, between people from different social strata, between whites and blacks, and between different educational levels, not only became common, but were incorporated as normal in a society that only yesterday viewed with displeasure what had been inculcated as unnatural or, even worse, ungodly.
There was no lack, then, of those who cried out to the earthly and the divine, that the Revolution was bringing with it a social hecatomb [(in ancient Greece or Rome) a great public sacrifice, originally of a hundred oxen.] that would destroy the basis of the family in society. That allowing barbarities such as interracial marriage would provoke chaos, and that Cuba would be an immoral country where blacks and whites would immediately come together in debauchery. It was not lacking more, the “harmony of centuries” was about to be destroyed, which according to the ideologists of the catastrophe, was sanctioned for having been that way “since the beginning of time”, by the irresponsibility of men. From there to the punishment of destiny, or of some absolute deity, it was only a matter of time. Nothing of the sort happened.
Intolerance always disguises itself as necessity and victimizes itself as the threatened in order to hide the fact that it is the slasher. The time has come to take one more step towards justice. There is a right to vote no, but there is no right to lie about the Families Code.
The day after the approval of the Code, there will not be more homosexuals, nor will there be fewer; there will not be more transsexuals, nor will there be fewer; there will not be more bisexuals, nor will there be fewer; there will not be more heterosexuals, nor will there be fewer. Society will not collapse because of it, nor will the universal deluge be unleashed. The day after everything will seem to remain the same, but behind the apparent “no change” in the streets, an earthquake will have occurred: we will all have our rights better protected, and we will be a society a little fairer, more beautiful, happier, more with everyone and for the good of all.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Since the second half of the twentieth century, one resource to intervene in the political changes of a country, which was an object of US interest, was to resort to assassinations. As a method, political assassination, it is characterized by a conspiracy with internal elements which, advised by the intelligence apparatus and financed by the imperial power, are violently disposed to the physical elimination of a Head of State.
It has long been used, even within the empire, against presidents of one party or the other. Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan have been the object of assassinations or attempted assassinations. As an undeclared practice, but one that fulfills interventionist objectives, it was used to prevent the rise of liberation movements or governments that came to power through revolutions. By 1981, the participation of the Central Intelligence Agency in the overthrow and assassination of presidents or revolutionary leaders in different parts of the world was proven with irrefutable data.
1953: Overthrow of the government of Mohammad Mossadegh, in Iran.
1954: Military rebellion and overthrow of the government of Jacobo Árbenz, in Guatemala.
1958: Conspiracy to assassinate Gamal A. Nasser, president of Egypt. Nasser, president of Egypt.
1959: Assassination of the prime minister of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, S. Bandaranaike.
1961: Assassination of the prime minister of the Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba.
1969: Assassination of the leader of the Mozambique Liberation Front, Eduardo Mondlane.
1973: Assassination of the secretary general of the African Party of Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, Amilcar Cabral.
1973: Coup d’état and assassination of the president of Chile, Salvador Allende.
1977: Assassination of the president of the People’s Republic of Congo, M. Ngouabi.
The list would be endless, but in the examples cited above, the participation of the CIA, which also has a negative record of more than 600 attempts on the life of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, was shown.
In the current conditions of the empire’s growing loss of world predominance, it is a resource potentially used as a means of force in the face of the failure of economic, financial or diplomatic methods of pressure. Neither archived nor forgotten, assassination continues to be a possibility to intervene in processes of social change, despite the so-called soft coup in non-conventional wars. The most recent examples are the coup d’état against Evo Morales, in the case of Bolivia, and the assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, two years ago.
Why assassination? Because their victims, of course, those who are not part of the empire, are people committed to building a better future for their people, which is at odds with hegemonic ambition.
That is why they wanted to assassinate at point blank range the Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez, for her dedication to her country, for the welfare of the most dispossessed. That is a sacrilege for the oligarchy that, full of impotence and frustration before the popular acceptance of the vice president, was not enough with an equally criminal legal process, such as the judicialization to which she is subjected. They wanted her dead and used a social outcast eager to vent their hatred for that purpose.
No unfounded premonitions: it is difficult to understand, but the world is being led – and quite rapidly – to the outbreak of a nuclear confrontation, perhaps the last, because it involves weaponry that can exterminate the population of the planet.
Let us look at the elements that make us think in this apparently apocalyptic way.
As recently as this August 24, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced a new package of arms shipments to Ukraine in the amount of 2.98 billion dollars. Enough money to feed or cure a few million African children who are dying for lack of food or medicine.
On the same day, the UN Security Council met, at Russia’s request, to discuss the Ukrainian military attacks on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which had already been attacked by Kyiv 17 times in the last few days and, in addition, fires had broken out near the facility.
The war in Ukraine has exposed the fact that the United States is using the Ukrainian population as cannon fodder, in its hegemonic eagerness to subdue Russia and turn all its guns against China.
Moscow warned from the very beginning: “We will not allow Russian citizens or citizens of Russian origin living in the Donbas region to be massacred by constant aggressions”.
And another Russian warning: “We cannot allow the United States and NATO to try to encircle Russia, bringing modern weapons to its border with Ukraine”.
Both reasons could well have been part of a dialogue without the interference of third countries and, of course, without the arrogant presence of NATO as the driving force of the war.
However, what has the European Union (EU) done but hinder the search for peace around the conflict and create an adverse economic and social situation, to the detriment of its own nations?
European governments that support U.S. policy on Ukraine, i.e. arming that nation and sanctioning and destabilizing Russia, should bear in mind that this nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe, with six pressurized water reactors and a total capacity of 6,000 megawatts, and anything that happens there can affect the countries of the old continent. In the worst case, the radioactive components can spread and act against the lives of millions of people.
Sending weapons to Kyiv and imposing sanctions of all kinds on Russia has favored the U.S. military complex.
With the policy of Russophobia pursued by the EU and many countries in that region, the situation of every European household and citizen is affected in an extraordinary way. This August 25, for example, the news could not be worse: the price of gas has risen to a record high of 3,200 dollars per thousand cubic meters.
Add to that, the adversity that Europe is today affected by the worst drought in the last 500 years and is the victim of an unprecedented heat wave, which has already caused more than a thousand deaths.
Nevertheless, the head of EU diplomacy has just proposed “a large training and assistance mission to the Ukrainian army”.
Joe Biden’s actions, approving a new allocation of almost 3 billion dollars in arms for Ukraine and Josep Borrell’s initiative for the EU, in addition to providing arms to Kiev and joining the bandwagon of sanctions against Russia, to train the Ukrainian military involved in a war, show that many have an interest in this war not ending.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Those two dashes, indicating a positive test, confirmed that morning her doubts, but also the fear that had been keeping her on edge for days. Camila was in her second year of psychology, and carrying a pregnancy to term was not part of the “plan”; for her, it was simply not the right time, nor did she feel ready to take on the responsibility of being a mother.
She admits that the decision was always clear to her, even when her parents asked her to think it over, that they would help her with the child’s upbringing. “But I knew what I wanted, and I was in time to have a menstrual regulation; today I have no regrets.”
Talking about abortion in Cuba is not a taboo subject; however, it sometimes raises conflicting opinions in society. What is clear is that sexual and reproductive health is a right in our country and includes, among other elements, women’s access to voluntary interruption of pregnancy, which is supported by a medical-legal, free and safe procedure.
The Island was, in fact, the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to decriminalize abortion, and since 1965 the legal basis was created so that it could be performed within the framework of the national health system.
This basis is based on three fundamental principles: the woman is the one who decides about her body and whether she will carry her pregnancy to term; the voluntary termination of pregnancy will be performed in controlled health environments and by specialized personnel, and it will be performed completely free of charge, recently explained Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, Minister of Public Health (Minsap).
For more than 50 years, Cuban women have had access to this right and, legally and in terms of implementation, abortion is guaranteed for any woman over 18 years of age or with the authorization of the legal guardian for adolescents.
The current practice – Portal Miranda pointed out – is that up to 12 weeks of gestational age, abortion is allowed by voluntary decision of the woman, with no restrictions as to the reason, and up to 26 weeks, for fetal malformations incompatible with life, in authorized health care institutions.
It also established the use of informed consent for the performance of all cases of legal interruption by the woman or her representative, in case she is a minor or is not in physical or mental condition, because she is in serious danger to her life, it said.
WHAT DO CUBAN LAWS SAY ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS?
The Constitution of the Republic leaves little doubt on the subject. Article 43 states that the State promotes the integral development of women and their full social participation. It also ensures the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights, protects them from gender violence in any of its manifestations and spaces, and creates institutional and legal mechanisms for this purpose.
This postulate reinforces the legal nature of abortion in Cuba and its attention as a health issue in Minsap institutions, even when the procedure is not registered, as such, in a law.
However, the Penal Code establishes that abortion becomes a crime when it is performed for profit, without the woman’s consent or in conditions that may threaten her life and health.
In this regard, the head of Public Health has stated that reproductive rights include equality, non-discrimination, health, reproductive autonomy, information and integrity; issues that should be included in the next Health Law, which should be approved by the end of this year.
We hope that the new legislation will further protect the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy in the face of the advance of conservatism and fundamentalism that jeopardize, in the world and in the region, a fundamental conquest for women.
This is undoubtedly a need that must be reinforced by the legal framework, but also by more effective protocols and procedures that prevent the so-called “naturalization of the procedure” from taking patients away from the center of attention, since the interest is, and will always be, to safeguard the integral health of women, both physical and psychological.
DEFENDING BODILY AUTONOMY, LIFE, AND WOMEN’S HEALTH
About 56 million abortions are performed every year in the world, of which approximately 45% are performed in an unsafe manner, the Minister of Public Health detailed at that press conference.
Portal Miranda clarified that the maternal mortality related to this unsafe practice is also generally high, where abortion is severely restricted.
She explained that our country defends a public policy of family planning that allows a conscious decision on the number of children one wants to have and at what time. It advocates implementing a process of accompanying women in their right to decide about their bodies and abortion is left as a last resort in the face of an unwanted pregnancy. “In this way a legal, safe, free and feminist abortion can be achieved,” she stressed.
The institutions that perform voluntary interruption of pregnancy are defined in the national health system. They are maternity hospitals; maternal-children’s hospitals; general hospitals with gynecology-obstetrics services and, in addition, certain polyclinics are accredited to perform medical abortion, which is used in patients with a menstrual delay of up to 45 days, counting from the first day of the last period, she pointed out.
She added that Cuba has 167 menstrual extraction services; and the accuracy of the statistics for abortion as an event of any kind, including spontaneous abortions, is recognized by international organizations.
She stated that voluntary interruption of pregnancy has not been a main determinant in the current fertility decline, while there is a discreet trend towards a decrease in abortion and menstrual regulation events. For example, in 1985 the rate was 55.0; in 1990, 45.6; in 2015, 30; and in 2020, 22.1 per 1,000 women aged 12 to 45 years.
In her opinion, this decrease is based on educational programs, both general and sexual education, and on the availability of varied, efficient and effective contraceptive methods and means, both of which can be improved. “The limited availability of contraceptives in this pandemic period is no secret”.
The volume of voluntary abortions is considered to be high because the main purpose of Family Planning policies, to reduce this practice to the indispensable minimum, has not been achieved, she pointed out. For this goal, she said, there is a national strategy to decrease the rates of surgical abortions, including medical abortions.
“This objective will become a reality when non-invasive techniques for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy are extended, mainly medical abortion with Misoprostol, a protocol that proposes to perform 80% of all voluntary abortions with this method, without abandoning the development of all abortion services, mainly aimed at increasing their safety, resolution and efficacy”.
From the Health system, said the Minister, we insist on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and on using this right only in the face of the failure of contraceptive methods. “It is not a contraceptive method in itself or a family planning method, since its indiscriminate use can put women’s sexual and reproductive health at risk,” she said.
She insisted on the need to continue working towards providing information on these services, even in our country, where it is a conquered right, and for people to know how to access them and the support of the health system for women’s bodily autonomy, life and health.
I can’t imagine Joe Biden summoning his followers to “take over” the Capitol, or insisting on proclaiming electoral fraud in the “cradle of democracy”.
However, in the time elapsed since he assumed the presidency until today, he has not infrequently identified with Donald Trump’s political actions and, at least, he applies inertia as a strategy to avoid changing what was established by his predecessor.
Being a Republican, in the case of Donald Trump, or a Democrat, in the case of Joe Biden, does not at all ensure, within the concept of American “democracy”, that there are differences when it comes to implementing policies.
Not to be surprised, but Biden was “other” when he was only serving as vice president, in Barack Obama’s time. Now, as president, it is valid to ask how much of Trump is Biden.
A few examples may define the answer.
Trump, with his unpresidential style, invented and signed 243 new sanctions against Cuba, which were added to those already contained in more than 60 years of blockade. During his electoral campaign, Biden said -and said again- that he would eliminate such measures, but in almost a year and a half of his termin the White House, he has maintained the legislation and has mocked -as Trump did- the UN resolutions, the appeals of world leaders and the demands of Americans and other personalities of the planet, who demand an end to such criminal actions.
Biden allowed himself to be trapped by the group of extreme right-wing counterrevolutionaries of Cuban origin settled in Florida, who, during the Trump era, took control of the Cuba issue and decide -always against the Cuban people- the line of action of the State Department and the Presidency.
Another coincidence in the way of acting: when Trump decided to surround with high metal fences the border with Mexico, the international community compared the fact to a kind of apartheid. Biden, in his campaign, assured that he would stop such construction and dismantle what was already fenced. What has happened? The wall has not been dismantled, rather areas that are considered less secure are being repaired to stop immigration.
An unusual fact: Donald Trump abruptly destroyed and threw in the trash the documents supporting the Iran Nuclear Deal; an arbitrary and dangerous decision condemned everywhere in the world. Trump was putting humanity itself at risk, his critics said. Biden, more tenuously, also opposed the Republican’s actions.
The Democrat, in his first attempts to reverse such a situation, spoke several times of “returning to the Nuclear Agreement” with the Persian nation. But, once again, the inaction of the current ruler has thrown away his commitments, and he continues to bet on sanctions against Teheran and not on the renewal of the Agreement.
U.S. specialists say that in critical areas, the Biden administration has not made major changes, which shows how difficult it is to chart new courses in foreign policy in Washington. This was evident in the President’s tour of Israel and Saudi Arabia, aimed, in part, at further strengthening ties with those states.
In this regard, Emma Ashford, senior researcher at the Atlantic Council, a group of experts also known as “think tanks”, said that “over time, Biden has not kept many of his campaign promises and has maintained the status quo in the Middle East and Asia”.
Meanwhile, Stephen Biegun, former Undersecretary of State, said that “there is a great force of gravity that takes policies to the same place. It’s still the same problems. It’s still the same world. We still have the same tools to influence each other to achieve the same results, and it’s still the same United States.”
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Cuban society is built on a profound patriarchal culture. This implies that, in direct correlation with the sex that accompanies us when we come into this world, there are predetermined roles, long before we even have true gender awareness.
According to these patterns, women are in charge of the home, of the children, they are the caregivers par excellence, the weakest and most sensitive; men, [by contrast, are] the providers, with total freedom to decide about their lives, [and are] strong and tough.
It is a kind of manual of what it means to be a man or a woman, of what is the “right way to be one”, accentuated by centuries of inequalities, and which, sadly, also moves discriminatory attitudes towards those who break the mold.
While it is true that this reality puts women at a disadvantage, even vulnerable to their male counterparts, it is also true that it tacitly pigeonholes men.
“Don’t kiss, don’t hug, don’t cry, don’t smile too much, leave your sister’s doll. You don’t have to do anything around the house, being unfaithful is not bad, when she bothers you a lot, just slap her”… These phrases are often part of their training, and although they are not always seen from that perspective, they also suffer pressures if they choose to be different.
Today we know that there are many ways of being a man, that this model can be broken, that there is a diversity of masculinities.
Our society needs men who are increasingly involved in raising their children, in household responsibilities, less violent, and, why not, more sensitive? Many important steps have been taken in this direction, but the new Families Code, which will be submitted to a referendum in September, proposes an innovative and profound approach.
EQUALITY IN THE FAMILY ENVIRONMENT: A NECESSARY STEP
From the very recognition of the rights of family members, there is a very clear direction: sharing responsibilities between women and men, putting them on an equal footing to move in the environment of family dynamics.
This is what the Code states: “Full equality between women and men, to the equal distribution of time allocated to domestic and care work among all members of the family, without overburdening any of them (…)”.
This is an important starting point for deconstructing the myth that collaborating with household chores or contributing to the care of the most vulnerable detracts from manhood. On the contrary, assuming an open perspective in relation to this issue will also allow them to be more functional, more independent and, at the same time, more considerate, more human.
However, this is not a perspective that should be understood only by men, but also by their mothers, wives, daughters, by society in general, so that there can be a real, visible change. It is also essential that this change is manifested from an early age, when learning is fixed for life and, generally, the differentiation of roles in relation to gender is produced.
THE RIGHT TO FORM A FAMILY
One of the essential aspects of the text of the new Code is precisely the recognition of the diversity of family structures that exist within Cuban society, in addition to the traditional one.
This is an element that has a direct impact on Cuban men, whether as fathers, husbands, grandfathers, uncles or sons, they play a determining role in the family environment.
Although it is not the most common case, it is valid to recognize that in today’s Cuba there are men who have taken on the raising of one or more children alone, who have become the caregivers of a close relative and this is their only family, or who have formed a homosexual couple.
Whether by choice or by circumstances of life, the truth is that they are also part of families that do not necessarily follow traditional patterns, but are nonetheless based on love and respect.
FATHER FROM THE BEGINNING
If we allude to the name of the UNICEF campaign that calls for fathers to be involved, in the same way as mothers, in the decision to have a baby, in its upbringing, in its education, with all the responsibility and emotional burden that this entails, it is precisely because much of this can be found in the Code.
“The protection of maternity and paternity and the promotion of their responsible development” is another of the rights promulgated in the text, which also clearly defines parental responsibility, which includes the set of powers, duties and rights that correspond to mothers and fathers for the fulfillment of their role.
However, the Code goes far beyond equating the role of the biological mother and father in the upbringing of their children; for, by identifying affection also as a vital element for the formation of parental bonds, it recognizes like-minded mothers and fathers.
There are many Cuban men who, upon joining a woman with children, make a loving adoption with them, even if it is not legal, and assume the responsibilities of fatherhood. There are even cases of those who start a relationship with a pregnant woman, and even knowing that the baby does not carry their blood, they give it their surnames.
The Code also establishes elements that favor the relationship of fathers with their children, even after the termination of the relationship with the mother. Establishing the so-called family communication regime, as well as the parental responsibility pacts related to shared custody and care -and in the case of unilateral custody, guaranteeing a harmonious relationship with the non-guardian, provide countless possibilities so that the bonds of love and closeness are not lost, nor can they be hindered.
UNLEARNING VIOLENCE FOR THE GOOD OF THE FAMILY
Unfortunately, within families, there are still manifestations of violence that hurt not only the direct victims but also family harmony in general, because, as the text points out, they are expressed on the basis of hierarchical inequality.
While it is true that it is not only men who are the perpetrators, it is also true that they are responsible for many of its expressions. The worst thing is that, since it is not only physical abuse, but also verbal, psychological, economic, sexual, moral, and other forms of abuse, it is not always recognized in time and, therefore, there is a lack of tools to deal with it.
However, it is also true that violence is often naturalized and certain behaviors are seen as “normal”. It is therefore imperative to promote among children, adolescents and men themselves, behaviors that appeal to dialogue, to respect that is earned and not imposed, to affection that is clearly more effective than hitting and shouting to educate, to the understanding that the most vulnerable are not inferior, nor are they to blame for their situation.
Violence is learned, and violent family spaces are ideal spaces to form violent people. Being a man does not imply, in any case, an iron fist so that fear wins over respect.
The issue of masculinities is sheltered in the Family Code from its diversity, and corroborates the idea that men and women can continue to build, also from the home, a path of equity and love for a common goal, the good of each and every Cuban family.
FROM THE “LEGITIMATE” RIGHT TO BUY FIREARMS TO THE BAN ON ABORTION
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, gave legal status to the agreement approved by Congress that minimally restricts access to guns.
By signing the document, Biden took a step considered by many Americans as necessary, but insufficient, on the road to putting an end to the massacres caused by the promotion of violence and the indiscriminate sale and use of firearms.
It is important to note, because of its contradictory nature, that the June 23 congressional approval of this agreement was preceded by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expands the right to bear arms.
The Supreme Court ruled to overturn a New York State gun ownership law, enacted more than a century ago, that placed restrictions on carrying firearms in public.
This decision may have implications in seven other states with similar laws: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the Supreme Court’s ruling “outrageous” and “reckless,” according to CNN.
It is worth noting that there are about 310 million guns in circulation in the northern nation. With a population of 319 million, that means that almost every American owns a gun, regardless of age.
A few hours after the Uvalde massacre, considered -after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut- as the deadliest in U.S. history, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention, which was attended, among others, by former President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz.
In the speeches of both politicians, highly committed to the NRA, ideologically, business-wise and, above all, politically, they criticized the Democrats’ proposal to push for stricter gun legislation.
Ted Cruz went so far as to propose increased security in schools, placing armed guards to deal with shootings.
Many interests are at work behind politicians’ support for the NRA. From the coffers of the powerful association flow the money that finances electoral campaigns, bills and vetoes against anyone who tries to limit the business.
When guns cease to be a profitable vein that finances careers and buys consciences, the path will begin to clear, the chants of death and the macabre hymn of gunfire will cease.
The U.S. Supreme Court also overturned the landmark 1973 ruling, known as Roe v. Wade, which determined that the right to abortion was a constitutional guarantee in the United States.
Ending this constitutional right is the result of a long-standing campaign by the nation’s most backward sectors, especially conservative Christians.
After it was confirmed, Trump called the decision “the greatest victory for life in a generation”; meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed, “We must not rest and we must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the country.”
On the other side, President Joe Biden, taking advantage of the circumstances, in an address to the nation, pointed out that the only way Americans can protect abortion rights is by voting for Democrats in the November mid-term elections, reported BBC, and the leader of the Democratic majority in the Lower House, Nancy Pelosi, called the Supreme Court ruling an “insult” to women.
The non-profit association, Planned Parenthood, described the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as “dangerous” and “unprecedented”, as it will leave 36 million women of reproductive age unprotected, according to La Opinión.
Prior to the decision, access to this right was already out of reach for many women in the United States.
“This contrasts with many countries, including those in Western Europe, which offer access to subsidized, fully funded abortion services, universal health care, contraception and broader social programs,” said Risa Kaufman, director of U.S. Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
It should be noted that this is not just in Europe. Closer to home, Cuba, the Caribbean island labeled a “dictatorship” by Washington, was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to decriminalize abortion. In the Greater Antilles, abortion has been free and legal since 1961, and in 1965 the legal basis was created so that it could be performed within the framework of the National Health System.
THE COURT’S IMPARTIALITY IN QUESTION
Another ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrates the bias and ultraconservative bias that prevails in its decisions.
On June 27, the Court recognized the right of teacher Joseph Kennedy, a soccer coach at a school in the Bremerton, Washington, school district, to pray with his students at midfield after the game.
The Supreme Court ruled against the School District and in favor of Kennedy, who demanded the right to pray with his players after games at the 50-yard line. The decision significantly erodes the separation of church and state in public schools.
The school had determined that Kennedy’s practice violated the students’ religious freedom rights, and also created a security risk at the games, because the teacher had orchestrated a public spectacle by inviting the media and local politicians to attend; while Kennedy claimed that the school’s actions violated his free speech and free exercise rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a brief with the Court, arguing that Kennedy’s prayers are not protected by the Free Speech Clause.
Students stated that they were forced to pray, and one player explained that he participated against his own beliefs, for fear of losing playing time if he refused.
We refer to the country that took centuries to classify lynching as a federal hate crime. For years, attempts were made, to no avail, to punish mob killings, of which people of African descent and other minorities were the main victims.
More than 4,400 African Americans were executed in the United States as a result of this practice between 1877 and 1950 alone, as documented by the Equal Justice Initiative.
The crimes were committed with impunity, often in public places and in broad daylight, and also affected, albeit to a lesser extent, other minorities such as Native Americans, Asians and Mexican migrants.
The division within the U.S. is becoming more and more pronounced; some even speak of a schism, of insurmountable polarization, of possible balkanization. The truth is that the borders between one and the other are very clearly distinguishable.
Whoever stops just for a moment to take a look at the panorama of American society in these times, will discover the depth and extent to which the most ultra-conservative and retrograde thinking has reached.
He will hear, amidst the paraphernalia of political showmanship and gunfire, the deafening roar of the dinosaurs that refuse to disappear.