Cuba’s So-Called Referendum
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
February 26, 2019
On February 24, the Cuban communist regime held what it called a “national referendum” on revisions to its constitution. No one should be fooled by this exercise, which achieves little beyond perpetuating the pretext for regime’s one-party dictatorship. The entire process has been marked by carefully managed political theater and repression of public debate.
The new constitution primarily affirms the Communist Party’s role as the only legal political party and decrees the socialist system “irrevocable,” blocking the possibility of desperately needed economic reform. This document also fails to guarantee the Cuban people their fundamental freedoms.
While the regime claims Sunday’s vote was democratic, Cuban authorities harassed and detained dozens of observers and peaceful protestors, confiscating phones and devices. Earlier this month more than 120 activists initiated a hunger strike to send a message to the regime that the Cuban people reject these oppressive tactics. We strongly condemn these attempts to silence peaceful protests, which show that Cuba’s leaders fear the Cuban people.
The United States continues to stand with Cubans who have suffered for 60 years the revolution’s failed political system and economic mismanagement. We believe that history is on the side of the brave Cuban people, and that this hemisphere is a region where democracy, freedom, and human dignity reign supreme. We urge the democracies of the world to join us in standing with the people of Cuba and their peaceful calls for democratic reform.