Subject : Human rights referendum: a contradiction in terms?

Speaker : Lidia Romero Marero

Moderator : Lazaro Benitez

Lazaro Benitez administrator
Hello, good afternoon! The clock is already ticking at 4pm

So it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this debate.

It will be animated by Lidia Romero Moreno. Graduated in Law from the University of Havana in 1997.
Activist for LGBTI rights and women’s rights.

I remind you that you can send me your questions and comments privately.

Hello Lidia Magdalena

To start the debate we have the following question from @MjorgeC

  • In view of the fact that the referendum on the Family Code is violated because rights are not plebiscite.
    What should be the strategy of activism. Sensitize the population to support the referendum or reject the holding of the referendum in order to achieve the approval of equal marriage through other means?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno

Good afternoon!

Thank you for being in the space this afternoon.


The first question

I think that we should denounce it as we are doing, so that our decision-makers can reflect on this fact and try to create spaces for dialogue with them so that the parties involved can reflect on our arguments as a whole.

Raising awareness is key if we manage to access marriage and live it to the fullest would be very difficult within a macho, conservative and homophobic society.

I believe that an important part of activism is willing to work in the communities together with the institutions. For many it is clear that the institutions are allies, not enemies. If we start from the respect to the political ideological differences, etc, it can be done. The point that unites us is very clear, the defense of our fundamental rights.

Excuse the cursor! Fifteen say to denounce it as we are doing…

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
We have a second question.
INDIAN: Are you thinking and working for the approval of gay marriage after its disapproval in the Cuban Constitution? If so, what process is it in?
Thank you for your attention.

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
The discourse of civil servants and legal professionals in different media bets on it, based on what is regulated in the Constitution, in several articles such as 40, 42, 81 and 82.

In the draft Family Code, according to the provisions of the Transitional, should come the concept of marriage. We have to wait to see how it will be conceptualized.

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
We continue with a third question. This is accompanied by a commentary by the jurist Yamila González Ferrer in today’s forum at Cubadebate.
Yamila in the comments section as a response argued:
“The approval of the future Family Code by means of a popular consultation and referendum does not mean a “plebiscite for rights”. What will be taken to popular consultation and referendum is the integral content of the Code, each one of its institutions, in all its amplitude and complexity, not specific rights included in that text, in the same way that our Constitution was approved. It is neither unconstitutional nor illegal.
The National Assembly considered, based on the result of the popular consultation, to transfer to the Family Code the same participative formulas used for the approval of the Constitution, based on the consideration that the issues related to families are of great importance and social impact and that the integral content of this Code must be debated and approved by the population, in the same way as it was done with the Constitution.
Certainly, the Family Code is the only legal instrument for which a process of popular consultation and referendum is provided for in the transitory provisions of the Constitution of the Republic. However, this does not mean, in any way, that it has to be the only norm that in its approval process can have these characteristics. In the future there may be others.
Of course, I respect your criteria, it is our right to consider appropriate or not the application of this participative formula for the Family Code, but this is how it was approved by the majority of the population in the popular referendum of our Constitution. That is why I believe that our efforts should not be focused on this aspect which, in my opinion, distracts us from the main objective, which is all the work of sensitization, education in respect for diversity and inclusion, which is what we have before us, so that a new Family Code can develop the constitutional postulates regarding equality, non-discrimination and families”.

Adiel’s question is: how valid are these arguments?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
Yes, I read the answer in Cubadebate

I prefer not to talk about the validity of Yamila’s answer. It is well founded from the rights recognized in the current Constitution

I think we both start from different concepts.

I speak from concepts handled by constitutionalist lawyers who have developed over the years rules and principles to limit the dictatorship of the majority that is opposed to the principle of the majority that should prevail in democratic states to guarantee the rights of historically preferred groups

Whether they are States with representative or participatory democracies such as Cuba

The concepts of the preserve, the sphere of the undecidable and the inviolable territory are telling the first legislator, the National Assembly, that fundamental rights, once constitutionally recognized, have limits and that they cannot be interrupted by the decision of the majorities.

Yamila says that it will be put to a referendum in the same way that our Constitution was approved

From the concepts that I defend,,it is contradictory,,because it is assumeddthat the fundamental rights approveddinn the Constitution are subtractedd from the majority decision,,anddthey are counter-majority rights

And the Family Code will be submitted to consultation and referendum and within its body of rules is one of the most controversial rights of the process of popular consultation of the Constitution

And here I ask you:

Why the decision of the Parliament to change the 68, a clear definition that recognized our right to marriage?

Why a specific transitory one referring that in the C of the F must appear the form of constituting the marriage?

With all the respect that our parliamentarians deserve

It was a crude formula for washing hands, like Pontius Pilate

And right here, the differentiated treatment of people with non-heteronormative qualities is evident

To finish…

Yamila says that our efforts should not focus on this aspect pq deconcentrated from the main objective which is all the work of awareness, education In respect for diversity and inclusion


I ask them

Where, when and how does this awareness work take place?

From day to day of the CENESEX?
In the schools, in the neighbourhoods, in the workplaces?

Who coordinates?

We are waiting for this work

That they design, many of us are willing that from the respect to our ideologies and political positions collaborate

Thank you

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Thank you very much Lidia for these answers and the very questions you have generated for us.
For the people who are joining the debate, I remind you that as a rule of the group not to break with the dynamics of the debate, it is not allowed to place your questions or comments directly in the group. You must send it to me as a private message.

We have other questions

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
The next one is made by Darsi:
Is there a history in some countries of the world of taking this right to a referendum?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno

Thank you for asking pq it is good to emphasize

Of the 30 countries that have approved the Union among people of the same gender, only one: Ireland in 2015.

But Ireland has been raising awareness among its population with a strong Catholic tradition for years, and about 10 years earlier, in 2010, a law was passed recognizing same-sex unions, and finally, in 2015, marriage was approved with 62% of the popular vote.

The rest of the countries have felt an unquestionable commitment to recognize rights historically denied to people with non-homonormative sexualities by judicial or legislative means. Conscious that to take it to the majority space would be to impose a very heavy burden on them and without guarantees that they can, their rights, come out triumphant in the majority space.

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Your next question is sent by @Yadiel_Cuba :
If the Eleventh Transitional is unconstitutional, and in fact it is, before which instance could an appeal be made to render it ineffective?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
This is just one of the answers we are looking for.

This to be defined

I think we still have a way to go

That is why dialogue with Cuban decision-makers and constitutionalists is essential

Perhaps through the Attorney General’s office.

Thank you Yadiel

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Questions keep coming in. Some have already been answered.

We continue with @JavierApoloBeat
What would be the possible route to make a formal petition through the collection of signatures to the National Assembly of People’s Power that would allow not to take to a popular referendum the Family Code, which not only includes the right to marriage, but others that are key for the Cuban LGBTIQ community?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
We can really try, but I don’t have faith in Him

This mechanism was used a few years ago by a group of activists from the province and they did it with the accompaniment of CENESEX and it did not work, but we can try in all ways.

But in order not to wear ourselves out, I think we should study any option that we determine, and be clear about what to ask and who to ask.

Thanks Javier!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Lidia Magdalena, I believe that this space is opening up to new reformulations, and to think about other forms of activism, which in some way allows the visibility of these demands, which are multiplying more and more.

Another question from @Yadiel_Cuba :
If we consider it unconstitutional to submit the Family Code to a referendum, does it make sense to participate in the consultation process?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
I agree!

This community is another one, and we should take advantage of it.

It is potential,fifteen say

I have no doubt!

The consultation is necessary because the C of F Project will be more enriched.

Thank you Yadiel!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Next question from Deyni :
Specialists in Constitutional Law have presented different arguments as to why human rights are not plebiscites. Do you think that there is a way to make the Cuban Parliament aware of the reasons that should be taken into account in Cuba from the point of view of the law, in view of the announcement of a referendum on equal marriage?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
The context in which we live in the social networks seems to tell us that it is not possible, but I think that regardless of the aggressions and discredits from all sides, it is possible to open a space for dialogue from all of us activists.

I believe that we must continue to bet on dialogue with the decision makers and constitutionalists who are writing the Family Code.

I think there can be dialogue even if we do not manage to stop the referendum, but it is our right to ask questions and receive answers.

We have the spaces

I bet on the Unión de Juristas, I think it is a space right now possible to generate spaces for dialogue.

This is a question of human rights and that is above any political, ideological, religious differences, etc. That is how I see it.

Thank you, Deyni!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Lidia Magdalena we have already consumed one hour of debate, we still have 5 questions and a comment. So we will take a few more minutes.
We continue with @Yadiel_Cuba:
According to the transitory eleventh “to initiate the process of popular consultation and referendum of the project of the Code of the Family, in which the form of constituting the marriage must appear”, it attends to “the results of the Popular Consultation”. Participating in a new popular consultation, in this case for the new Family Code, could mean a risk for the recognition of the right of couples of the same gender to adoption and assisted reproduction? What should Parliament do if the majority of the people were against these rights?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
Thank you Yadiel, I think in some way I already referred to your question.

Thanks again!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Ok. Black would like to know:
If the Egalitarian Marriage is approved, is it known if the immediate recognition of the marriages and unions of Cuban nationals that have been made/issued abroad will be contemplated?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno

From my perception the natural unions are already recognized, now with respect to those that happened before the law, they have the same rights so we must expect a yes for them

Thank you Sandra!

Good! Black

Sorry for the association:grin:

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Next question, this one comes from @lalibrada:

I’m glad you mentioned the phrase “of the same gender”.
Much of the egalitarian marriage debate is centered around issues of sexuality and gay or perceived gay relationships.

Historically the struggle for LGBTI rights has been a hegemonic process in which cis people have been able to enter society more quickly than trans/non-binary people.

Would it not be more inclusive to create the agenda of this struggle from a gender perspective rather than from a sexuality perspective? By freeing the laws from their normative perspective we are already freeing them from homophobia. With gender identities proliferating who will be able to say that marriage can only be between a man and a woman?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
I must admit that he used people of the same gender after hearing it from Mariela Castro in an interview with Correa.

With this I point out that we are in a constant process of revision of our language.
what we do, how we move, and of course, language is patriarchal

I agree with your proposal and think you should join us in the future.

Thank you!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Hannibal de la Vega asks:
In Cuba there is no Constitutional Court. Which institution in the country acts as the Constitutional Court? The Supreme Court or the Prosecutor’s Office? The question is just to know who to address.

We close the reception of questions and comments. Lidia Magdalena to get you to a momentary break, because I imagine that you will be asked more questions later, I comment after this question there are 3 and 1 comment left.

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
It does not exist but it is valued since the last changes the inclusion of this Court

The. Supreme Tinunal has his theories

During the constitutional debate it was one of the strongest demands

The position of the Cuban Jusristas is that there must be

But the State has responded that in case of violation of constitutional rights, article 99 of the current Constitution can be invoked, but it is not enough

Thank you

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Question from @Maria Clemencia Olaya:
Who will be the people who will sit down to dialogue with the decision makers and constitutionalists, who will be sitting at these discussion tables? And how will the community’s participation in this process be chosen and who will be the spokespersons when it comes to presenting this to Parliament?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
Well, I talked about a possibility that collectively we have thought about several activists and allies, but it is not defined at all

I think that if it is possible from a list they will decide with whom to do it, I only speculate

Thank you!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
Question from @Philippe:
We talk about equal marriage : how about in terms of filiation ?
In terms of filiation rights?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
I don’t understand the question.

But if it’s about the rights that come with marriage, then we should have all the rights.

Thank you!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
To conclude with the questions we closed with the one by @JavierApoloBeat :
Besides marriage, what other rights can’t be missing in the Family Code that gives a concrete answer to the demands of the Cuban LGBTIQ community?

Lidia Magdalena Romero Moreno
It is related to the previous one.

All rights are equal. The indivisibility of human rights means that if you give me one right you cannot limit me to another because they are universal, inalienable, equal and non-discriminatory.

These characteristics are the pillars of human rights, and for our sake, they are set out in the current Constitution.

Thank you

Thank you all!

Lazaro Benitezadministrator
I share with you the comment made by @Anna_Fd that has in itself a call to promote the dynamics that we must continue to generate.
Cyberspace becomes a fundamental battleground in these struggles and especially within the Cuban context, where public space is highly politicized.
I thank the people who sent their questions and comments, Lidia Magdalena for her answers and I share with you the commentary of @Anna_Fd. Thank you very much.

  • My opinion, from the most pragmatic perspective I can access, has to do with the realization of small actions oriented to a realistic and accessible effect.
    I understand and thank at last, an explanation like Lidia Romero’s, based on an objective and irrefutable legal point of view. However, the relevant government agencies have been insistent in their firmness to be consistent with what they announced regarding “listening to the people”. Thus, protected by the democracy that characterizes the discourse of our country, they are relieved of the legal responsibility of making a controversial decision that does not correspond to a plebiscite.
    After much thought on this subject and trying to overcome the well-known feeling that our words probably do not transcend the concept of complaint or protest, it occurs to me that in order to achieve great long-term goals, in the short term our ambitions must be simple. For example: to have an image and a voice.

I believe that there is a difference in what is evoked in human thought when a concept is alluded to as opposed to a specific person. That is why perhaps the rejection of the concept of homosexuality (or another variant of sexuality that moves away from heterosexuality) generates little conflict in those who despise us based on an attribute that neither adds nor detracts from our personality. However, I wonder if it would be equally light on the conscience to reject specific people who have determined roles and roles in communities. Such an effect can be seen in the responses to the films, where the characters give humanity to the causes, like Philadelphia or Milk for example.
That’s why I think that generating a collective image where our sexuality is imbued but is not what essentially determines us would be an image closer to the most ordinary sensibilities. To bring to light then the poet writer, the family doctor, the architect, the park ranger, the elementary school teacher, the cartoonist, the teacher, the tutor, the animal trainer, the magic enthusiast, the nursing home volunteer, the avid reader, the son, the granddaughter, the sportsman, the nephew, the ingenious inventor or the tireless talker (each one representing different community acronyms). I want to say that being gay is part of our identity, and it is not a matter of hiding it (ever), but of appealing with a concretely human discourse to have visibility beyond the social networks (to which an incomplete sector of the population has access), defending the access to the same rights of all those with whom we share exactly the same roles, including family members.
Another alternative, since I find it difficult to visualize a television space that genuinely represents us, not with the lukewarmness and stereotype that they do, would be to access a figure with inherent credibility from the social point of view, who is willing to join the cause of ‘educating’ society better. Someone in the style of Calviño, who is attributed the authority of knowledge and common sense by a fairly large audience and is exempt from all the political connotations of Mariela Castro, for example. Thinking mainly in a popular discourse.
We should have propaganda as well, with the simplicity and effectiveness that the Methodist Church had, but with a diametrically different message, funny, catchy, that comes back to mind in a recurring way even to those who cannot name us without arching themselves.
And we should be able to think of all these ideas together, so that they take on a form that is our own.

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