Army General Raúl Castro led the opening of the work commissions. Debates on the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development, and the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution for the 2016-2021 period. Reports on the Basis of the Social and Economic Development Plan through 2030
The permanent commissions of the National People’s Power Assembly endorsed the documents of the 7th Party Congress submitted to popular debate.
Voting was carried out in four working groups, following a day of debate in which legislators, prior to the celebration of a special session of Parliament, also made comments and recommendations.
The meeting was convened by the Council of State to analyze the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development and the Guidelines of the Party Policy and the Revolution 2016-2021 and provide information on the Basis of the Social and Economic Development Plan through 2030: Vision of the Nation, Axes and Strategic Sectors.
First Secretary of the Party Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro attended the opening of the plenary sessions, where a broad report on the debates around the documents in the provinces and the special municipality was issued. Among the attendants were members of the Party Central Committee and deputies to the National Assembly, as well as in the third plenary session of the Party Central Committee.
The deliberation was led by Parliament speaker Esteban Lazo Hernández, who gave way to Head of the Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines and Vice-President of the Council of Ministers Marino Murillo Jorge.
Murillo Jorge recalled that the analysis of the documents are presented in the special session of the National Assembly after a long process initiated prior to the 7th Party Congress, in which it was consolidated, and continued –by consent of the Congress- with a popular consultation.
After the grassroots debates, with more 1 600 000 participants, new discussions took place with members of the Academic community, and finally, last April, provincial meetings were made with members of the Party Central Committee and deputies to the National Assembly and in the 3rd Plenary Session of the Central Committee.
Adjustments and Improvements
The Head of the Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines informed that in the debates on the Model’s Conceptualization by members of the Party Central Committee and the National Assembly, there were 554 participants and out of 73 proposals 61 were accepted.
Many of the interventions were in support of the project; however, the recommendations led to significant changes in the documents.
During the presentation of the modifications and proposals not accepted, it was explained that important clarifications of concept were made and changes and improvements of the wording.
Due to the wide debate and participation, the Conceptualization of the Cuban Social and Economic Development Model is a solid, profound and democratic document that serves as a conceptual reference or theoretical guide in the shaping of our economic and social model, And for the understanding of this construction.
Delineating and Improving
The territorial debates during the 3rd. Plenary of the Party Central Committee, on the Guidelines for 2016-2021 saw the paricipation of 553 members of the Central Committee and deputies, and 18 proposals were made to modify the document.
At the same time, the 52 opinions that had been issued last summer in the Parliament’s ordinary session when the Guidelines agreed in the 7th. Party Congress were approved.
The debates resulted in changes to six Guidelines, which made possible to achieve a work platform – Murillo explained – for the short and long-term future of the country, in line with the Model Conceptualization and the Basis of the Plan until 2030.
Out of the 42 proposals 31 were accepted, which in turn modified 21 paragraphs of this document, Marino Murillo said, recalling that the Basis establish the vision of the nation, understood as the state to be achieved.
A vision defined as sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, thriving and sustainable, which synthesizes the content of the Model’s Conceptualization.
In the Basis of the Plan through 2030 –he also recalled- the definition of the strategic axes as driving forces which allow to organize and round out the Development Plan, and as a result to achieve the Vision of the Nation.
In terms of sectors, those capable of impacting and boosting the economy should be defined, with a generalized increase of efficiency and effectiveness of nationwide production.
After the presentation, the deputies to the National Assembly retired to deliberate in four working groups about the modifications to the documents on the Conceptualization Model, and Guidelines of the Policy of the Party and the Revolution for the 2016-2021 period.
One of the groups was made up by 207 legislators, among them members of permanent committees of Industry, Constructions and Energy, Health and Sports, and Agriculture and Food.
The work consisted in pronouncements and recommendations to the texts.
The debate in this committee was relatively brief, since legislators have been key participants and main actors in these discussions, beginning with the presentation of the 7th. Congress of the Party at the regular session of July 2016, the popular consultations that followed, and the meetings held in April.
During the general presentation on these meetings, it was evident that the deputies to the National Assembly were the ones with most interventions and proposed modifications to the content and form of the documents.
Miguel Díaz-Canel said that this has been a sovereign exercise of democracy and responsibility of legislative members, who have “exploited a participatory debate of these documents, which trace the present and future of the country.”
Communication as a strategic matter
As part of the parliamentary debate, the working group that brought together the members of the International Relations and Defense Committees unanimously discussed and approved the documents, emphasizing the strategic nature with which these materials should be viewed because of their relevance for the future of the country.
Deputy Lázaro Barredo stressed that the Conceptualization reflects the country project that we want, but showed concern about the time that is available for the implementation of the legal rules that support the planned changes.
Deputy Aixa Hevia González insisted on the importance of defending truthful, transparent and timely information, as a constitutional right. She highlighted the value of having finally a state policy on communication in all its forms, as well as an effective and modern system of means of social property, before an increasingly complex techno-communicative panorama that allows new designs for subversion.
In this regard, President of the Commission and member of the politburo Valdes Mesa emphasized that it is necessary to focus efforts so that the workers themselves become essential players in the control processes in a natural way, with a high sense of belonging.
Strenghtening the Basis
The deputies’ concern over the design of mechanisms to prevent the concentration of wealth in natural and legal persons was one of the reigning subjects for the participants of the group that united to the Commissions of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Services, and Economic Affairs, chaired by Marino Murillo Jorge.
Pastor Batista, from Las Tunas, expressed his concern about how the accumulation of wealth will be regulated, a matter that raised analysis on the ways in which this purpose is expressed in the documents.
Murillo Jorge pointed out that ways to enforce these regulations should be considered. However, he argued, there are bases for achieving this, such as the differentiation between ownership and management of the means of production, a reality that allows the control of non-state forms of management.
Before unanimously endorsing the documents, the deputies specified the use of various terms leaving no room for confusion or gaps.
Shield of the Nation
For the members of the permanent commissions for Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Environment, and for the attention to Children, Youth and Equality of Women, spent this Wednesday engaged in the analysis of the ruling documents to debate.
It was up to Esteban Lazo Hernández to direct the dialogue in which the deputies valued the changes introduced to these documents.
Lazo said that a very deep work has been done to ensure the present and future of the country’s socialist model. He said that they are not static documents, but they can change depending on the times, the international situation and other needs, but that are the lines to follow from the economic, political and social viewpoint.
First secretary of the Young Communists League National Committee Susely Morfa González pointed out that, given the strategic significance of these documents, they should be studied in a comprehensive way, to guide us at present and in the future.
Minister of Higher Education José Ramón Saborido proposed that it be made more explicit that among the opportunities and strengths with which Cuba has to move forward is “its strong and consolidated educational system, which creates the human resources”.
This was endorsed by other parliamentarians, such as Eduardo Torres Cuevas (from Santiago de Cuba), while others, such as Mirtha Millán Nieves, considered that many are the bastions of the Revolution before the world, at different points in the documents that are now under parliamentary debate.