The constitutional reforms, which have not been approved but were broadly outlined in the official Granma newspaper, were prepared by a commission headed by former ruler Raúl Castro. They include creating the post of prime minister, who would be in charge of the Council of Ministers and the administration of the government, in collaboration with a president and vice president.

“The changes indicate they are splitting up the political control in order to improve the socialist system,” said Andy Gómez, an academic who recently retired from the University of Miami.

La nueva Constitución cubana: sus cuatro desafíos ...

One of the key questions raised by the proposed reforms, as outlined in Granma, is how much power Miguel Díaz-Canel, recently selected as president of the Council of State and the Council of the Ministers, would retain in the new government configuration. More here.

A draft of Cuba’s new constitution backs away from a stated goal of furthering communism and opens the door for legal recognition of private businesses and gay marriage, according to a new report.

Cuba’s current constitution was drafted in 1976 and outlines a goal of building a communist society. Cuba’s national assembly is reportedly debating a draft of an updated constitution that seeks to redefine the role of communism in the country.

Among the changes is a recognition of private property, Homero Acosta, the secretary of the council of state, said, according to a Reuters report.

The addition marks a significant recognition of private businesses, which have taken off in recent years as the Cuban government sought to pull itself from the economic crisis prompted by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The new draft constitution also defines marriage as a marriage between two people, according to Reuters – a marked change from the 1976 document, which discusses marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The change could pave the way for gay marriage in Cuba.

Despite the changes, the draft of the new constitution still places an emphasis on the role of the Communist Party of Cuba and the “socialist character” of the country, according to Granma, the party-controlled newspaper.

“This does not mean we are renouncing our ideas,” National Assembly Esteban Lazo said. “We believe in a socialist, sovereign, independent, prosperous and sustainable country.”

The draft constitution also calls for term limits on the president – an office that was held for decades by Fidel Castro and, later, his brother Raul. Raul Castro handed power to his protege, Miguel Diaz-Canal, in April.

Denise Simon