Cuba is adapting its family code to societal changes

A revolution within the revolution. Today the popular consultation on the new Cuban Family Code comes to an end. The Big Island has mobilized 78,000 meeting points so that 7 million citizens – including Cubans living abroad, including exiles – can discuss the law approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) and the change from their neighborhood, place of work or study. The open and inclusive text is intended to take into account the social changes that are making obsolete the current code of 1975, which at the time created the material and legal bases for the emancipation of women and for a true equality of the power relations inherited from Spanish colonialism in question place. “We stand before a code of which we must be proud and which, regardless of differences, we must share with our employees.”declares today Homero Acosta, Secretary of the ANPP.

Marriage of same-sex couples, multi-parent families, so-called “solidarity” surrogacy (GPA), ie without money exchange and with prior legal, medical and judicial control, protection from violence, recognition of children’s rights, responsibility towards – towards older people in an aging society, the possibility for families to agree on the order of names, the economic order and the remuneration for housework… the changes are significant.

A text with a pedagogical and inclusive scope

The single-nuclear family opens up the possibility of recognizing several mothers and fathers in addition to the biological parents. “The bill recognizes new forms of kinship, such as B. the socio-emotional kinship, which is not regulated in the current code, and also recognizes multiple parenthood and ends binarism regarding descent.”, says Leonardo Pérez, President of the Cuban Society for Civil and Family Law. The latter, also a professor at the Law School of the University of Havana, explains that the Cuban Constitution, unlike others, makes marriage one of the ferments of family organization, but not the most important. The joint care and supervision of the children also guarantees an increased investment by the fathers. From this text also emerges a new institution, the Office of the Defender of the Family, designed to protect vulnerable and disabled people. The abolition of guardianship and the judicial determination of incapacity to allow persons with disabilities to carry out legal acts alone or with help also implies the revision of the Civil Code.

“I believe that the Cuban Family Code will become one of the most modern in Latin America and will put Cuba at the forefront of family law.”, stresses Leonardo Pérez, underlining the educational and inclusive scope of the new text. Beyond the recognition of rights that enhance the autonomy and decision-making power of older people, the aging of Cuban society and increasing life expectancy are also forcing us to rethink the care and role of family caregivers.

awaiting confirmation by a referendum

After the referendum, it is now up to the Cuban Parliament to evaluate the text one last time. MEPs can further enrich the text by taking into account feedback from society. Once this step is completed, a final tour will take place in front of the population so that they validate or not the document on the way to the referendum. This is already the process favored in the last constitutional revision of 2019. Three years ago, President Miguel Diaz-Canel spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage, but the latter had the opposition of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches and a majority of the population. However, the Basic Law opened the door by defining marriage as a union “between two people” without specifying gender. Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, LGBTQ+ rights activist, welcomes the new version of the Family Code: “To get to what is happening now many have participated and I acknowledge that what has been achieved is much more than we could have imagined a decade ago. »

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