Defiant Cuba enacts new constitution amid US pressure

Communist-run Cuba enacted new constitution Wednesday that recognises the role of the free market in the country’s future while championing socialism as Havana faces increasing US pressure.

The National Assembly met in extraordinary session to enact the new constitution, ratified in a February referendum after months of public debates.

“Today our constitution is proclaimed. Our duty is only to it and to Cuba,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in a tweet.

In a rare speech, Communist Party chief Raul Castro told the assembly the new constitution “is the daughter of its time and reflects the diversity of society. It becomes a legacy for new generations of Cubans.”

The new document, which replaces a Cold War-era text, recognises a limited role for the free market, private ownership and foreign investment as being necessary to grow a US sanctions-bound economy riddled with shortages.

Castro, who stood down as president in April 2018 in favour of Diaz-Canel, warned of tough times ahead for the nation.