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Cubans to vote on same-sex marriage, surrogacy

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Havana (AFP) – Cubans will vote on Sunday in a referendum on whether or not to permit same-sex marriage and surrogate pregnancies, which specialists say may flip into a chance to voice opposition in opposition to the federal government.

Greater than eight million Cubans aged over 16 are eligible to take part within the voluntary and secret poll — the primary time a legislation shall be determined by public vote.

Coming simply months after the federal government handed a penal code slammed for rolling again freedom of expression, the household code wouldn’t solely allow marriage and surrogacy (so long as no cash is exchanged), but in addition adoption by same-sex {couples} and parental rights for non-biological moms and dads.

If the legislation is accredited, Cuba would grow to be solely the ninth nation in Latin America to permit same-sex marriage, following within the footsteps of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay and a few Mexican states.

The vote comes with Cuba mired in a deep financial disaster that’s fueling mass immigration away from the island, with an more and more vocal inhabitants expressing unhappiness with the one-party state.

In consequence, Sunday’s referendum on the federal government initiative could grow to be a protest vote.

With Havana having carried out an intense marketing campaign in favor of the measures, a vote in opposition to the objects may present Cubans with a uncommon alternative to publicly rebuke their authorities.

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Many may vote “No” and even abstain altogether as a approach “to make the federal government pay for the disaster,” Arturo Lopez-Levy, a Cuban tutorial at Holy Names College in California, instructed AFP.

The referendum, he added, amounted to a singular “alternative to indicate approval or disapproval” with the communist authorities.

And whereas “No” is unlikely to win, it’s anticipated to garner between 25 and 30 p.c of votes, which might in itself be one thing of a rebuke to the federal government.

In 2019, the brand new structure was additionally put to a referendum and accredited with 78 p.c of the vote, however that was already the bottom approval price the federal government had obtained because the 1959 communist revolution.

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Six many years after Fidel Castro’s revolution, Cuba is experiencing its worst financial disaster in 30 years, fueled by ramped-up US sanctions and a tourism collapse as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

Many Cubans are struggling to entry medication, electrical energy, gas and fundamental foodstuffs amid vital import shortages and staggering inflation.

The nation erupted in historic anti-government protests in July final 12 months by residents clamoring for meals and higher freedoms.

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Lots of have been detained and jailed, however this has not stopped repeated demonstrations in current months in a rustic notoriously illiberal of dissent.

In Could, the parliament unanimously accredited a reform to Cuba’s penal code, with strict limits on social media use opponents say was designed to quash future shows of public discontent.

‘A father and a mom’

The household code is supposed to interchange laws from 1975 that defines marriage as a union between a person and a girl.

The federal government had sought to vary this within the 2019 structure, however withdrew its proposal amid robust opposition from church buildings and conservative teams.

It was labored as an alternative into the household code, which President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted on Wednesday represents “the hope of hundreds of individuals marked by painful tales of exclusion and silence.”

Marginalization of LGBTQ individuals in historically macho Cuban society peaked within the Sixties and ’70s.

In 2010, Castro admitted the Cuban revolution had oppressed members of the group as deviants, together with with compelled labor camps for re-education. Some have been pushed into exile.

A serious opponent of the household code is Cuba’s highly effective Catholic Church, which maintains “it’s a kid’s proper to have a father and a mom.”

The federal government beat the drum for its initiative throughout weeks of countrywide public consultations it mentioned have been attended by greater than half of Cuba’s 11.2 million individuals.

Different proposals within the code embody clearly defining the rights of the aged, and stipulating that nobody discovered responsible of abusing minors can ever undertake a baby.

The code requires greater than 50 p.c of votes to go, and would enter into pressure the day after the outcomes are identified.

Even when there’s a protest vote Sunday, or the draft is rejected on precept, some imagine the end result is already sewn up anyway, and the code will go.

“It’s already determined,” mentioned Martha Beatriz Roque, a long-term dissident who’s satisfied the federal government was merely paying lip service to “respecting the rights of individuals.”

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