Cuba, and especially owners of casas particulares and local entrepreneurs, is in a flurry of expectation as the official recounting of votes on the amended constitution starts. Yesterday, Cubans from all over the archipelago made their way to the polling stations scattered throughout the country and cast their votes to approve or disapprove of the changes introduced to Cuba’s carta magna, with the current one dating back to 1976.
What would change?
Why; you ask, are local private business owners like hosts at casas particulares (Cuba’s take on bed-and-breakfast accommodation), restauranteurs and entrepreneurs eagerly expecting the vote’s results? Well, simply because most of the changes to Cuba’s current constitution directly affect them, potentially in a positive way as it allows more freedom for the operation of private businesses.
The new Cuban constitution’s biggest change is the introduction and acceptance of private property, recognising the role markets can play as well as the importance of foreign investment. Hence why many of our hosts, whether they run a casa particular in Havana, Santiago or Trinidad, will be glued to the screens waiting to hear the results of the voting.
In total, the draft of Cuba’s new constitution includes 760 modifications to the 1976 models, many of which were made after consulting in neighbourhoods and workplaces. The parliament gave it its final seal of approval last December and has since engaged in a political campaign encouraging the population to vote Yes.
Beyond allowing private enterprise, the new Cuban constitution also introduces the figure of the prime minister for the first time in 43 years and reduces presidential terms from a former unlimited number (Fidel Castro presided the country for nearly 50 years) to two.
Despite the progress made and a clear gear shift that signals the country’s path to change as well as the systematic modernisation to Cuba’s democratic system and economy, detractors say that the changes are mainly cosmetic and not enough as the one-party ruling state remains the only one allowed to exist in the nation and it maintains communism as the nation’s ideology, leaving no room for opposition.
The counting of the votes started early this morning and results are expected to be officially announced later today. Given that there is a time difference of six hours between Cuba and the UK, it looks like the owners of our casas particulares will have to wait a few more hours to know what happens. We’ll keep you posted in next week’s blog post. In the meantime, why not check out a casa particular or two and browse our extensive portfolio of outstanding accommodation in Havana and beyond, we know you’ll fall in love with some of our amazing properties in Cuba!