Part of the State’s theory uses the concept of form of State to cover the organization and functioning of the political power apparatuses in society. This concept would in turn be made up by the form of government, the political regime and the territorial structure of the State.
The form of government informs us of the relations between the decisive State organs of power, of the way in which these organs emerge, are constituted, are established and are interconnected, of the principles on which they are governed and regulated.
The modern forms of government are the monarchy and the republic. The first is characterized by the head of State being a monarch, not responsible before the same legislations as the rest of society, with a post held for life and almost always hereditary.
In the republic the fundamental state organs are elected, must be controlled by the people, are renewable, must render accounts and tend to be collegial.
The forms of government can me mixed, appear in diverse types, in each sociopolitical and constitutional model, but the theory of the State divides them into absolute and constitutional or parliamentary monarchies, and parliamentary and presidential republics.
The political regime or state regime provides us with the State’s ways of acting, the form in which it exercises its political, defense, juridical, economic, educational, tax functions, which is why it is considered that today the regimes are democratic and nondemocratic, with a wide range of versions in both ends of the classification.
Lastly, the form of State is completed with the state structure, which allows us to understand the relationship between state sovereignty and the principle of territoriality that defines all States, which means in practice distinguishing federal, confederal and unitary states.
The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba since 1976 devotes to the Cuban state a republican, democratic and unitary form, and does so in the first article of the Magna Carta, but does not explain what system of government we have.
The Constitution does not say a word about the Cuban system of government. Thus the confusion of officials, the media, international press agencies, when trying to classify the Cuban government through the use of the usual classifications, but which are not right for the national political reality.
The Cuban State is a republic. We have fought for this since 1868 and it is one of the great achievements of the Cuban culture of all times, because it ensures us the right to the demand for democracy, participation, popular sovereignty, legality and temporariness of government.
The Cuban state organs are elective (except for the Council of Ministers), and must render accounts, in addition to their possible revocation. Less republican is the coincidence of persons in government posts, strictly state and partisan, as well as the fact of the indefinite reelection to exercise the most important State posts.
The Constitution recognizes our political regime as democratic, and for this popular sovereignty, the people’s right to resistance against tyranny, the popular legislative initiative, the right to popular revocation of the mandate of all the elected State representatives, the right to have accounts rendered on the political work and the referendum to which we can be summoned for transcendental consultations is stipulated.
Article 68 regulates that the principle of organization and functioning of the Cuban State is that of socialist democracy, and the clauses that comprise it should be conserved in any new Magma Carta Cuba approves.
The Cuban State is also recognized as unitary, which is evident given that Cuba does not function as a federation. Cuba’s higher state organs are national, the only ones for the entire country. The levels of administrative decentralization we enjoy are not as many to confuse us with another territorial structure.
But, what system of government do we have? The Cuban press uses every day the classification that is most attractive to the journalist, sometimes it calls the head of the Cuban State “president” of the republic, in a country where the post of president of the republic hasn’t existed since 1976; at other times it calls the National Assembly “parliament,” not perceiving that parliaments are bicameral, made up by representatives of political parties that vie for seats, and which make up a type of institution from which the government comes out because the party that has the most seats, almost always in the lower house of parliament, will have the right to form government in the parliamentary systems.
The governments in the parliamentary systems are derived from parliamentary diversity and fragmentation, which is why one of the biggest problems is achieving political stability, almost always on tenterhooks because of the tensions between the legislative and the executive.
Our National Assembly is unicameral, it is elected by the people and the candidates do not represent political parties, the government is designated by it, but don’t have to be members of the legislative organ, and in addition in Cuba the head of State is the head of government, something that the parliamentary system does not accept.
Neither are we a presidential republic, not just because the presidency of the republic does not exist, but rather because the head of State is not elected directly by the people but rather by the deputies to the National Assembly each time a new legislature is made up every five years.
The head of State in Cuba is the president of the Council of State, which according to the Constitution will also preside over the Council of Ministers, but in both cases they are collegial organs and therefore are not unipersonal posts.
The Cuban system of government is similar to the one the Soviet Union had, which loaned us the idea and the model so we would use it, but we were unable to pay them back because of the lender’s death in 1991, not forgetting that the heirs of that lender have no longer wanted that model up to now.
We are not a parliamentary or presidential republic. We wouldn’t have to be ashamed of our rareness if the system of government were to function, if it would resolve the Cuban State’s institutional problems, if it were efficient, fluid, safe, democratic and legitimate.
For the time being our system doesn’t have a name, no one has wanted to name a system that is characterized for being headed by a National Assembly that has never been able to head the State in 42 years.