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Fundamental Rights

Concerning Individual Rights

ART. 20. All Cubans are equal before the law. The Republic does not recognize exemptions or privileges.

Any discrimination by reason of sex, race, color, or class, and any other kind of discrimination destructive of human dignity, is declared illegal and punishable.

The law shall establish the penalties that violators of this provision shall incur.  

ART. 21. Penal laws shall have retroactive effect when favorable to the offender. This advantage is denied in cases of perpetration of fraud by public officials or employees who may be delinquent in the exercise of their office, and of persons responsible for electoral crimes and crimes against the individual rights guaranteed by this Constitution. The penalties and qualifications of the law in force at the moment of the offense shall be applied to those found guilty of these crimes.  

ART. 22. No other laws shall have retroactive effect unless the law itself so provides for reasons of public order, social utility, or national necessity, as may be expressly stipulated in that law by a vote of two-thirds of the total number of members of each co legislative body. If the basis of the retroactivity should be impugned as unconstitutional, it shall be within the jurisdiction of the tribunal of constitutional and social guarantees to decide upon the same, without the power of refusing to render decision because of form or for any other reason.

In every case the same law shall concurrently establish the degree, manner, and form of indemnification for injuries, if any, and of retroactivity affecting rights legitimately acquired under the protection of prior legislation.

The law giving the protection afforded by this article shall not be valid if it produces effects contrary to the provisions of Article 24 of this Constitution.  

ART. 23. Civil obligations arising from contracts, or from other acts either of commission or omission, may not be annulled or altered by the Legislature or by the Executive, and consequently laws shall have no retroactive effect in respect to the aforesaid obligations. The exercise of actions resulting from these obligations may be suspended in case of grave national crisis, for the time considered reasonably necessary, by means of the same requisites and subject to the impugn ability to which the first paragraph of the preceding article refers.  

ART. 24. Confiscation of goods is forbidden. No one may be deprived of his property except by competent judicial authority and for a cause justified by public utility of social interest, and with mandatory prior payment of the proper indemnification in cash, in the amount judicially determined. In case of failure in compliance with these requirements, the person whose property has been expropriated shall have the right of protection by the tribunals of justice, and as the case may warrant, that of the restoration of his property.

In case of contradiction, the tribunals of justice shall have the power to decide upon the necessity of expropriation, for reasons of public utility or social interest.  

ART. 25. The penalty of death may not be imposed. However, crimes of a military character committed by members of the armed force, and treason or espionage in favor of the enemy in time of war with a foreign Nation, are excepted.  

ART. 26. The penal process law shall establish the necessary guarantees that all guilt shall be proved independently of the testimony of the accused, of the spouse, and also of relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity and second of affinity. All accused persons shall be deemed innocent until found guilty.

In all cases the authorities and their agents shall make a record of detention that shall be signed by the detained person, who will be notified of the authority ordering the detention, the reason for it, and the place to which the person in custody is to be conducted, placing an affidavit as to all these details in the record.

Registration of detained persons and prisoners shall be open to public inspection.

Officials approaching or guarding a person in custody shall be liable for every act against the personal integrity, security, or honor of any detained person, unless such officials shall prove their innocence of such act. A subordinate may refuse compliance with orders that infringe upon this guarantee. A guard employing arms against a detained person or a prisoner attempting to escape, shall be accused and held responsible according to the laws, for the crime that may have been committed.

Persons under arrest, and political or social prisoners, shall be detained in compartments separate from common offenders, and shall not be subjected to any labor or to the penal regulations for common prisoners.

No person under arrest or imprisoned shall be held incommunicado.

Infractions of this provision shall be taken up only in ordinary jurisdiction, regardless of the place, circumstances, or persons involved in the detention.  

ART. 27. Every detained person shall be placed at liberty or delivered to a competent judicial authority within twenty-four hours following the act of his detention.

Every detained person shall be released from custody, or committed to prison by a judicial writ, within seventy-two hours after having been placed at the disposition of a competent judge. Within the same period the detained person shall be notified of the writ issued.

Preventive imprisonment shall be maintained in places distinct and completely separate from those designed for the serving of sentences, and persons kept in said preventive imprisonment may not be subjected to any labor or to penal regulations designed for persons serving sentences.  

ART. 28. There shall be no prosecution or sentence except by a competent judge or tribunal, acting under laws enacted prior to the commission of the crime, and with the formalities and guarantees that these laws may establish. No sentence shall be pronounced against any prosecuted person in his absence, nor shall anyone be condemned in a criminal matter without being heard. Neither shall any person be obliged to testify against himself, or against his spouse, or his relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or the second of affinity.

No violence or coercion of any kind shall be practiced on persons in order to force them to testify. Any statement obtained in violation of this provision shall be null, and those responsible shall incur the penalties fixed by law.  

ART. 29. Any person detained or imprisoned under circumstances not foreseen in the Constitution and the laws, and without the formalities and guarantees provided by them, shall be placed at liberty upon his own petition or upon the petition of any other person, without the necessity of power or direction of an attorney, by means of summary proceedings of habeas corpus before the ordinary tribunals of justice.

The tribunal may not decline jurisdiction or admit question as to competence in any case or for any reason, or defer its decision, which shall have preference over all other matters.

The presentation of every detained or imprisoned person before the tribunal issuing the writ of habeas corpus is absolutely obligatory, regardless of the authority or official, person or body, holding custody of said detained person, and said authority is without power to deny obedience to said writ.

All provisions that may impede or retard the appearance of a person deprived of his liberty, as well as any provisions causing delay in the habeas corpus proceedings, shall be null and shall be so declared by the office of the judicial authority.

In case the person detained or imprisoned should not be brought before the tribunal granting the writ of habeas corpus, the latter shall order the arrest of the detaining officer, who shall be judged in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Judges or magistrates who refuse to admit application for the writ of habeas corpus, or who do not comply with the other provisions of this article, shall be dismissed from their respective offices by the chamber of government of the Supreme Tribunal.  

ART. 30. Any person may enter and remain in the national territory, leave it, move from one place to another, and change residence without the necessity of a letter of security, passport, or other similar requirement, except for what is provided in the laws on immigration and the duties of the authorities in cases of criminal responsibility.

No person shall be obliged to change his domicile or residence, except by order of a judicial authority and in the cases and subject to the requirements stipulated by law.

No Cuban may be expatriated or be prohibited entrance into the territory of the Republic.  

ART. 31. The Republic of Cuba offers and recognizes the right of asylum to those persecuted for political reasons provided that persons thus sheltered respect the national sovereignty and the laws.

The State shall not authorize the extradition of persons guilty of political crimes, nor shall it attempt to extradite Cubans guilty of these crimes who may have taken refuge in foreign territory.

In case of the expulsion of an alien from national territory, in conformity with the Constitution and the law, such expulsion shall not be made to the territory of the State that may reclaim him if political asylum is involved.  

ART. 32. The secrecy of correspondence and other private documents is inviolable, and neither the former nor the latter may be held or examined except by officials or official agents in pursuance of a written order from a competent judge. In all cases secrecy shall be maintained regarding matters not pertaining to the object of the seizure or examination. Under the same provisions, the privacy of telegraphic, telephonic, anal cable communication is also declared inviolable.  

ART. 33. All persons shall have freedom to express their thoughts by speech, writing, or any other graphic or oral means of expression without subjection to previous censure, utilizing for this purpose any and all means of dissemination available.

Editions of books, pamphlets, recordings, films, periodicals, or publications of whatever nature, that attack the good reputation of persons, the social order, or the public peace, may be suppressed only after prior determination thereof by competent judicial authority, without affecting the responsibilities consequent upon the criminal act committed.

In the cases referred to in this article, the use and enjoyment of places, equipment, or instruments that the organ of publicity in question may utilize, may not be held or interrupted, except under civil liability.  

ART. 34. The domicile is inviolable and, in consequence, no person may make entry at night into the domicile of another person without the consent of its resident, except in order to succor victims of a crime or disaster, or during the day except in the cases and in the form determined by law.

In case of suspension of this guarantee, it shall be indispensably required that entry into the domicile of a person be made by proper competent authority, upon written order or resolution, an authentic copy of which shall be presented to the resident, his family, or nearest neighbor, according to the case When authority is delegated to any of his agents the same procedure shall be followed.  

ART. 35. The profession of all religions is free, as well as the exercise of all kinds of worship, without other limitation than respect for Christian morality and public order.

The Church shall be separated from the State, which shall not grant a subvention to any religion.  

ART. 36. Every person has the right to direct petitions to the authorities, and the right to have said petitions heeded and determined within a period not longer than forty-five days, with the further right to be apprised of the decision thereon.

At the expiration of the legal period, or in default of the above stipulations, the interested party may seek redress in the manner authorized by law as if his petition had been denied.  

ART. 37. The inhabitants of the Republic have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms, and the right to hold processions and associate with one another for all the legitimate purposes of life, in conformity with the corresponding legal standards, without further limitation than may be necessary to assure public order.

The formation and existence of political organizations contrary to the democratic representative system of government of the Republic, or which in any way seek to subvert complete national sovereignty, is unlawful.  

ART. 38. All acts by which a citizen is prohibited or limited in his participation in the political life of the Nation are declared punishable.  

ART. 39. Public functions that imply jurisdiction shall be discharged only by Cuban citizens.  

ART. 40. Provisions of a legal, governmental, or any other nature that regulate the exercise of the rights guaranteed by this Constitution, shall be null if they abridge, restrict, or corrupt said rights.

Adequate resistance for the protection of individual rights previously guaranteed, is legitimate.

Violations of this title shall be prosecuted by public action, without precaution or formality of any kind, and by simple denunciation.

The enumeration of the rights guaranteed in this title does not exclude others established in this Constitution, or other rights of an analogous nature, or those that are derived from the principle of the sovereignty of the people and from the republican form of government.   

Concerning Constitutional Guarantees 

ART. 41. The guarantee of the rights recognized in Articles 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 (first and second paragraphs), 32, 33, 36, and 37 (first paragraph) of this Constitution may be suspended in all or in part of the national territory, for a period not greater than forty-five calendar days, whenever the security of the State may require it, or in case of war or invasion of the national territory, grave disturbance of order, or other happenings profoundly disturbing the public tranquility.

Suspension of the constitutional guarantees may be carried out only by means of a special law enacted by the Congress, or by means of a decree of the Executive; however, in the latter case, and in the same decree of suspension, the Congress shall be convened within a period of forty-eight hours and assembled as a single body to ratify or refuse the suspension, balloting by name and by a majority of votes. In case the Congress, thus assembled, should vote against the suspension, the guarantees shall automatically stand re-established.  

ART. 42. The territory in which the guarantees referred to in the preceding article may have been suspended, shall be governed by the law of public order previously enacted; however, neither in the said law, nor in any other, may there be suspension of any guarantees other than those mentioned. Likewise, no statement of new crimes shall be made, or any penalties imposed, other than those established by law at the time of the suspension.

Those arrested for reasons that may have been stipulated in the suspension must be confined in special places designated for persons prosecuted or punished for political or social crimes.

The Executive is forbidden to hold any person in arrest for more than ten days without delivering him to judicial authority.

TITLE V   1940 Constitution

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Last time this page was edited April 15, 2015
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