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Cuba Votes on New Constitution That Nods to Free-Market Policies

February 24, 2019

Cubans are voting Sunday on their first new constitution in more than 40 years, one which emphasizes the goal of attracting foreign investment.

While the referendum won’t shake Communist Party control, the government views it as a way to ratify Cuba’s gradual post-Cold War opening to outside investors and private enterprise. President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on the island’s estimated 8 million voters to back the overhaul. Government opponents urged a boycott or “no” vote.

“Attracting foreign investment will be key for Cuba’s ailing economy,” Alana Tummino, head of the Cuba Working Group at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York, said by email. “It will be interesting to see if these constitutional changes create a new strategy to push this agenda forward.” Even so, with continued one-party control enshrined in the new charter, “this is not a new political and economic order,” she said. Results are expected on Monday...

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