Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Politics of Cuba
Cuba is a republic led by President Fidel Castro, who is Chief of State, Head of Government, First Secretary of the CPC, and commander in chief of the armed forces. Many aspects of Cuban life are controlled through the Communist Party and its affiliated mass organizations, the government bureaucracy, and the state security apparatus. The Ministry of Interior is the principal organ of state security and control.
Although the constitution theoretically provides for independent courts, it explicitly subordinates them to the National Assembly and to the Council of State. The People's Supreme Court is the highest judicial body. Due process is often denied to Cuban citizens, particularly in cases involving political offenses. The constitution states that all legally recognized civil liberties can be denied to anyone who opposes the "decision of the Cuban people to build socialism."
Cuban courts are organised into three tiers that match the governmental divisions (national or Supreme Court, provincinal, and municipal). Most civil and criminal cases tried at the municipal and provincial levels are adjudicated by a panel of two lay judges and one professional judge. Cases that involve a potential sentence longer than eight years or complex civil law issues are heard, at the provincial or supreme level, by a panel of three professional judges and two lay judges. Both professional and lay judges are elected to their positions by the legislative assembly that is responsible for that level of government.
The Communist Party is constitutionally recognized as Cuba's only legal political party. The party monopolizes all government positions, including judicial offices. Though not a formal requirement, party membership is virtually a de facto prerequisite for high-level official positions and professional advancement in most areas, although non-party members serve as deputies in the legislature if elected by popular suffrage.
Since the Revolution, few resources have been dedicated to building activity. Hence, multi-family occupation of housing is common. Some observers point to this as one of the causes of the high divorce rate. Despite the damaging effects of a persistent embargo by the United States, Cuba has developed enviable systems of education and health care. The government also invests scarce resources to restore and preserve historic sites intended to promote the tourism sector of the economy.
The governments of Cuba and the United States have been confronted since the Cuban missile crisis. Large numbers of Cuban exiles live in the US, mainly around Miami. The Guantanamo Base is an American military base in Cuban territory.
Relations with other American countries have often depended on the proximity of their governments and the American one. In general, leftist government have been friendly to Cuba and rightist ones hostile. Sandinista Nicaragua received help of Cuba. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has agreed to barter Venezuelan oil for Cuban medical assistance.
Cuba has assisted the governments and peoples of several Third World countries, both militarily and in development. There are or have been programs of scholarships for gifted students from Western Sahara and Ethiopia.
- Evenson, Debra (1994). Revolution in the balance: Law and society in contemporary Cuba. Westview Press, Boulder. ISBN 0813384664
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