During the Second Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly’s Ninth Legislature, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Party first secretary, formally accepted the new Constitution of the Republic, which now governs the country's legal system.

Summary of events that took place in 2019 and the impact of government measures adopted as part of the updating of Cuba’s economic model

This 2019, the 61st year of the Revolution, could be given many nicknames: The year of salary increases, for example, or the energy conjuncture, or the year of freely convertible currency stores... It could also have been the year of the Constitution, or the year of state and government structural changes, and more, since a great deal occurred over the days, weeks and months between January and December.

And it could also be the year of victories because as President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez said closing the Fourth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the National Assembly of People's Power, "The Revolution triumphs every time we snatch a victory from the empire for our cause. And in 2019 we did it many times ... In the 61st year of the Revolution, we were thrown to our deaths and we are alive. Alive, celebrating and determined to continue winning.


1. Self-employment:

New measures were approved, to facilitate the performance of this modality of economic management, which continues to grow within the Cuban economic panorama.

Provisions incorporated new activities and modifications in the scope and authorization process of others. Likewise, the contracting of products and services from the self-employed by Cuban state and foreign legal entities based in the country was approved.

Related regulations were subsequently published, in November.

2. Constitutional Referendum:

With this nation-wide vote, the new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was ratified with the favorable vote of the majority of eligible citizens.

3. Notary and registry services:

Instruction No. 1 from the Minister of Justice, published in the Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 3 of February 2019, was intended to standardize the organization of sites that provide notary and registry services in order to increase the quality of service, respect for the people and compliance with established work schedules.

Later, in September, new rules came into effect, to reduce timeframes for the resolution of cases by notaries and establish indicators, which allow for their verification.


1. Proclamation of the Constitution of the Republic

During the Second Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly of People's Power Ninth Legislature, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, formally proclaimed the new Constitution, which since that time has governed the country's legal system.

2. New legal norms on housing:

Ordering and legalizing the status of housing, to benefit tens of thousands of homeowners, was the essence of Agreements No. 8574 and No. 8575 issued by the Council of Ministers Executive Committee, and published in Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 33 of April 2019.


1. Agricultural cooperatives:

With the objective of promoting the development of the cooperative sector, Decree-Law No. 365 and Decree No. 354, with their regulations were published in Official Ordinary Gazette No. 37 of May 2019, which eliminated legislative dispersion associated with the operation of agricultural cooperatives, providing the legal expression of policy approved to correct deficiencies identified in this sector.

2. Regulations on the radio-electric spectrum:

The main objectives of principles established in the Ministry of Communications’ Resolutions 98 and 99, concerning the radio spectrum, contribute to the computerization of society and national sovereignty, to avoid interference with the radio spectrum and prevent the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation, while expanding channels of communication between people and citizens’ access to new technologies.


1. Measures to boost the economy and wage increases:

The Council of Ministers approved a package of measures to boost the economy, including a wage increase in the budgeted sector, and for pensions, as well, benefitting more than 2.75 million people.

Cuba restored the position of Prime Minister, with the appointment of Manuel Marrero Cruz.

The fundamental goals addressed included defending national production; diversifying and increasing exports; replacing imports with domestic products; promoting productive chains; strengthening state enterprises; advancing in food sovereignty; promoting local development; implementing Housing Policy; and putting science in the service of solving problems.

The measures adopted included the establishment of a minimum monthly wage of 400 CUP in the budgeted sector, with other increases providing an average monthly wage of 1,067 CUP.

Benefitting were 1,470,736 workers in Central State Administration, local People's Power bodies, organizations and associations, and has an estimated annual cost of 7.05 billion pesos.

In the case of Social Security, taking into account increases made in November of 2018, the minimum pension remains at 242 pesos. Those who at that time did not receive an increase, and receive pensions of less than 500 pesos, will now benefit from the approval of the new measures, better supporting some 1,281,523 people, with an estimated annual cost of 700 million pesos.

The application of the special contribution to Social Security will be extended to workers in the budgeted sector, reflecting the principle that all contribute to the financing of expenses to support benefits. A tax rate of 2.5% will be applied to those who earn up to 500 pesos a month and 5% to those who earn more.

To be implemented in 2020 are improved mechanisms for payment of wages in the enterprise sector, reflecting consideration for productive results.

Enterprise directors were granted authority to approve payment systems to prioritize, whenever possible, the application of pay-for-performance regimens; and maintain as an indicator, in such plans, growth of before-tax earnings, as compared to previous periods.

In order to avoid the inflationary effect of wage increases, the Ministry of Finance and Prices was charged with providing necessary mechanisms throughout the economy to mitigate possible price hikes.

Instruction No. 245 of the People's Supreme Court

This directive allows the implementation of articles 59, 94 and 98 of the Constitution, regarding citizen access to the judicial system to make claims regarding their rights.


1. Computerization of society:

For the first time, superior legal provisions were issued to regulate the process of computerization of society, through a Decree-Law, two Decrees, a Council of Minister's agreement and six resolutions, which promote the development and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by legal persons and individuals.

The country had already taken important steps in this arena, including the 2017 approval of the Comprehensive Policy for Improvement of Computerization of Cuban Society.

2. Electoral, National Symbols, and Fishing Laws:

New bodies of law to govern these areas were approved during the Third Period of Ordinary Sessions of the National Assembly of the People's Power Ninth Legislature.


Non-Agricultural Cooperatives:
In order to update current legislation on non-agricultural cooperatives, the following regulations were approved or came into effect:

Decree-Law No. 366, November 2018, On Non-Agricultural Cooperatives.

Decree No. 356, March 2019, Regulations for Non-Agricultural Cooperatives.

Resolution No. 361 of August 2019 from the Minister of Finance and Prices on prices, taxation, finance and accounting for non-agricultural cooperatives.

Resolution No. 362, of August 2019, from the Minister of Finance and Prices, regarding the payment of personal income tax by temporary workers hired by cooperatives.

All of this, in order to continue advancing step by step, consolidating what has been done and correcting errors or deviations that occur, both in the internal functioning of these cooperatives and in their relations with other economic actors and, o that basis, promote the extension of positive experiences.


1. New legal rules on workers’ education:

Professional development and training of workers is among the government's priorities. Five legal regulations were adopted on the basis of the Workers Education policy, addressing the use of the workday for studies, in the state’s interest, and improvement of the national system of scientific degrees and postgraduate academic training.

2. Energy crisis:

Faced with the U.S. government’s aggressive escalation, intent upon preventing the arrival of fuel to Cuba, conservation measures were implemented across the country to deal with this temporary energy situation.

Thirty-seven savings measures emerged during the emergency, and these must be maintained as systematic practices.


1. Election of the President, Vice President and Secretary of the National Assembly of People's Power, and the other members of the Council of State, as well as the President and Vice President of the Republic:

With this election, which took place in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of People's Power, in addition to complying fully with the Constitution’s Second Transitory Provision, Cuba reaffirmed its nature as a socialist state governed by the rule of law, which establishes its national project in the Magna Carta.

2. Network of retail stores in freely convertible currency

This is among measures adopted with a view toward capturing foreign currency in the country for the benefit of the national economy, and meeting the population’s previously unsatisfied demand.

The goal is to provide order in the process of importing goods for non-commercial purposes, without prohibiting, and offer sales of quality equipment within the country at competitive prices. Of the 77 stores planned, more than 40 were in operation by the end of the year.

3. Registration of motor-scooters:

Resolution No. 35 of 2019, from the Ministry of the Interior, establishes the importance of complying with Law No. 109, the Road Safety Code, which requires the registration of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers that circulate on the country’s roads, and the provision of identification plates and drivers’ licenses.

The impact of scooters on highway safety, and the lack of a framework for legally protected transfers of ownership, led to the need to improve organizational and control measures.

4. New guarantees and compensation for consumer protection

Approval of Instruction No. 5 of 2019 by the Ministry of Domestic Commerce, on consumer compensation and guarantees for products and services, represents another step toward improved consumer protection, although a superior legal framework is lacking.


1. Regulations governing changes and adaptations to motor vehicles:

The new Regulation, contained in Resolution No. 349 of 2019, from the Ministry of Transportation, regulates the processes of altering or adapting basic characteristics of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, owned by legal persons and individuals, to ensure that their passive and active safety is not affected.

2. Organization, financing and sustainable management of scientific activity:

Decree No. 363 establishes legal rules governing the creation and operation of Science-Technology Parks and Science and Technology Enterprises, which will act as interfaces between universities and science, technology and innovation entities, with production and service centers.

3. Decree-Law No. 390, Experimental creation of service and processing centers:

Published in the Official Gazette No. 94, November 2019, this Decree-Law is meant to simplify and facilitate procedures individuals conduct with a large number of public institutions. Initially,106 types of services and procedures were included, linked to eight ministries and the Institute of Physical Planning.

4. New resolution from Cuba´s telephone company Etecsa on basic residential service:

New modifications implemented on January 8, 2020, were intended to direct technical resources and investment toward expanding more services for the population and to take advantage of installed capacity, to provide new services.

The new resolution establishes that current customers, whose contract was signed prior to the establishment of these regulations, will continue to have the right to request continuity of service at their new legal address, as long as they do not relinquish ownership of the contract and Etecsa will install the phone, provided that technical conditions exist. The service installed in the previous address will be canceled, and it will be transferred to whoever the law recognizes as the owner of the property where it is installed.

The company clarified that it will continue working to provide a technical solution to pending transfers that exist to date and to new requests that arise with address changes of current owners.

For all who acquire a new line beginning January 8, 2020, service will be linked to the home where it is installed, and transfers will not be available.


1. Change to be given in CUP, experimentally

As part of monetary regulation measures being implemented, a decision was made, on an experimental basis, to give change in CUP only, at two retail stores run by Cimex Corporation and Tiendas Caribe.

2. Designation of the government of the Republic:

During the Fourth Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of People's Power Ninth Legislature, Cuba re-established the position of Prime Minister in its governmental structure, with the appointment of Manuel Marrero Cruz, previously Minister of Tourism, to this high responsibility. Deputy Prime Ministers, a Secretary and other members of the Council of Ministers were also named.

Likewise, Laws on the Organization and Functioning of the National Assembly of People's Power and the Council of State, as well as municipal assemblies and People's Councils were approved, with a view toward reinforcing institutionality. (Granma)