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REPUBLIC OF CUBA
1940 Constitution

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TITLE XVII
National Finances

FIRST SECTION
Concerning the Property and Finances of the State

ART. 251. Aside from properties of public domain and the subdivisions of the same, all properties existing in the territory of the Republic that do not belong to the Provinces or to the municipalities and that are not, individually or collectively, privately owned, shall belong to the State.  

ART. 252. Properties or patrimonies of the State may be alienated or taxed only under the following conditions:

1st. That the Congress approve such action by special law, for reasons of social necessity or convenience, and always by a favorable vote of two-thirds of each co legislative body.

2nd. That the sale be carried out by public auction. If a question of rental is involved, it shall proceed according to the provisions of the law.

3rd. That the proceeds of such sale shall serve to create labor, support public services, or satisfy public necessities.

Permission for such alienation or taxation may, however, be granted in an ordinary law, and may take place without the requirement of public auction if the purpose shall be to develop a national economic plan approved by special law.  

ART. 253. The State shall not contract loans except by virtue of a fat approved by two-thirds of the total of the members of each co legislative body, and in which at the same time the permanent revenues necessary by the payment of interest and amortization are voted.  

ART. 254. The State guarantees the public debt, and, in general, ever operation that involves the economic responsibility of the national treasury provided that such obligations shall be contracted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law.   

SECOND SECTION
Concerning the Budget 

ART. 255. Al revenues and expenditures of the State, with the exception of those later to be mentioned, shall be anticipated and fixed in annual budgets and shall be in force only during the year for which they were approved.

Funds, special monies or private patrimonies of bodies authorized by the Constitution or the law, and which are dedicated to social insurance, public works, the support of agriculture and regulation of industrial, cattle-raising, commercial, or professional activities, and, in general, those that promote the national wealth, are excepted from what is provided in the preceding paragraph. These funds, or the taxes upon them, shall be delivered to the autonomous body and be administered by the latter, in accordance with the law that may have created such funds, subject to the supervision of the tribunal of accounts.

The expenditures of the Legislature and the Judiciary, of the tribunal of accounts, and of the interest and amortization of loans, as well as revenues by which they are covered, shall be permanent in character, and shall be included in the fixed budget that shall be in force until revised by special laws.  

ART. 256. For the purposes of protection of common and national interests within any branch of production as well as in the professions, the law may establish compulsory associations of producers, determining the manner of organization and functioning of the national bodies, as well as of the regional bodies that may be necessary, in such a manner that they shall at all times be governed by the full authority of a majority of their members, granting the said associations, at the same time, the right to make provision for the necessities of their organized operations by means of quotas that may be imposed in- the administration of the law itself.

The budgets of these organizations or co-operatives shall be supervised by the tribunal of accounts.  

ART. 257. The Congress may not include in the budget laws provisions that introduce legislative or administrative reforms of any other kind; nor may the Congress reduce or abolish revenues of a permanent character without, at the same time, establishing others in their stead, except in case the reduction or abolition should correspond with the reduction of the permanent expenses to an equal amount; nor may the Congress assign to any of the services for which it must make appropriations in the annual budget an amount larger than that indicated in the bill of the Government. The Congress may, by means of laws, create new services or extend existing ones.

Every law that authorizes expenditures outside of the budget, or that may in the future represent expenditures of this kind, must, under penalty of nullification, establish the means of covering them in any of the following ways:

1st. Creation of new revenues.

2nd. Abolition of previous expenditures.

3rd. Absolute verification of the credit balance or surplus by the tribunal of accounts.  

ART. 258. The study and preparation of the annual budget of the State are functions of the Executive, and their approval or modification are functions of the Congress, within the limits established in the Constitution. In case of urgent necessity, the Congress may, by means of a law, grant an extraordinary budget.

The Executive shall present the annual budget bill to the Congress through the Chamber of Representatives sixty days before the date on which it enters into effect. The President of the Republic, and especially the Minister of Finance, shall incur the liability that the law may determine if the budget is submitted to the Congress after the date previously fixed. The Chamber of Representatives shall send the budget bill to the Senate, together with its decision thereon, thirty days before the date on which it enters into effect.

If the general budget is not voted upon before the first day of the fiscal year in which it must become effective, the budget that has been in force for the past year shall continue in effect for three months, jointly with the law of bases. In this case, the Executive may not make any modifications other than those arising from expenditures already paid, or from service on expenditures not necessary during the new fiscal period.

The allocations of the ordinary budget must be covered by corresponding ordinary incomes anticipated in the budget itself, with the proviso that in no case may such allocations be covered by extraordinary revenues unless so authorized by a law of this character.

The ordinary budget shall be executed with the sole approval of the Congress, which shall immediately have it published.  

ART. 259. The budgets shall contain inscriptions in the part concerned with expenditures in which the following shall be made clear:

1st. The exact amount of the legitimate responsibilities of the State, liquid and outstanding, belonging to the preceding budgets.

2nd. The proportion of this amount that shall be balanced by the ordinary revenues fixed in the new budget.

The law of bases must, as regards the preceding clauses, establish the rules relative to the form in which the amount or amounts fixed for payments during the life of the budget may be prorated among creditors having liquid credits.  

ART. 260. The credits assigned in the statement of expenditures in the budget shall fix the maximum amounts assigned to each service, which may not be augmented or transferred by the Executive without prior authorization by the Congress.

The Executive may, however, grant credits or supplements to credits, under his own responsibility, and when the Congress is not in session, in the following cases:

1st. War, or imminent danger of war.

2nd. Grave disturbance of public order.

3rd. Public calamities.

The procedure for these credits shall be determined by law.  

ART. 261. The Executive has the obligation of submitting annually the accounts of the State. For this purpose the Minister of Finance shall liquidate the annual budget within three months following its expiration; and, with the prior approval of the Council of Ministers, shall send his report, with the data and necessary verifications, to the tribunal of accounts. The latter shall render an opinion upon the report within the three months following, and within this period and without impairing the effectiveness of its decisions, shall inform the Congress and the Executive of any infractions or responsibilities for infractions which, in its judgment, may have been incurred. The Congress shall definitively approve or reject the accounts.

Budget credits for expenditures not anticipated by the administration may only be expended, in such case, with prior approval by the Council of Ministers.

The Executive shall send the balance sheet of the revenues and expenditures of the State to the Congress monthly.  

ART. 262. The Executive shall avoid duplication of services and multiplicity of official and semi-official agencies wholly or partially supported by the State for the realization of its purposes.  

ART. 263. No one shall be required to pay any impost, tax, or contribution that has not been expressly established by the law, or by the municipalities, in the form provided by this Constitution, and the amount of which may not go to form a part of the budget revenues of the State, Province, or municipality, unless other provisions are stipulated in the Constitution or in the law.

Obligatory taxes or quotas imposed by the law upon persons or groups belonging to an industry, trade, or profession, in favor of their legally recognized organizations shall be considered included in the preceding provision.  

ART. 264. The State shall, without impairing the other means within its range, regulate the development of the national wealth by means of the execution of public works payable entirely or in part by those directly benefited. The law shall determine the manner and the proceedings adequate in order that the State, the Province, or the municipality, on its own initiative or accepting private initiative, may promote the execution of such works, grant proper concessions, authorize the apportionment and the division, and collect taxes for these purposes.  

ART. 265. The liquidation of each credit arising from funds of the State for the execution of any public work or public service shall be published in full in the Gaceta official of the Republic, as soon as it has obtained the final approval of the proper Minister.

The record of acceptance, whether partial, complete, provisional, or final, of all public works executed wholly or partially with funds deriving from the State, shall be published in the Gaceta official of the Republic, as soon as it has obtained the final approval of the proper Minister.

The liquidation of credits arising from funds of the State, as well as final acceptances of public works executed by contract or administration, defrayed partially or wholly by funds provided by the State, shall be submitted for final approval within sixty calendar days after the termination of such works, without prejudice to the partial liquidations and acceptances that may have been recognized by the administration during the process of execution of such works.   

THIRD SECTION
Concerning the Tribunal of Accounts 

ART. 266. The tribunal of accounts is the supervising body for revenues and expenditures of the State, Provinces and municipality, and of the autonomous organizations created under the protection of the law, which receive their incomes directly or indirectly through the State. The tribunal of accounts is dependent only upon the law, and its differences with other bodies shall be submitted to the decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.  

ART. 267. The tribunal of accounts shall be composed of seven members, four of whom shall be attorneys and three public accountants or professors of commerce. Any person who is included in Clause (d) [i.e., 4th Clause] of the following article may also be appointed, even without being an attorney or public accountant. Attorneys must meet the same qualifications as are requires! in order to be a member of the Supreme Tribunal. Public accountants or professors of commerce must be more than thirty-five years of age, Cubans by birth, and must have practiced their profession for not less than ten years.

The plenum of the Supreme Tribunal shall designate two of the attorneys who shall be the president and secretary of the court.

The President of the Republic shall appoint one attorney and one public accountant or professor of commerce as members.

The Senate shall appoint one attorney and one public accountant or professor of commerce as members.

The University council shall appoint one public accountant or professor of commerce as a member.

The members of the tribunal of accounts shall discharge their duties for a term of eight years ant! may be removed within this period only by the tribunal of constitutional and social guarantees of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of the Republic, after a legal process with a decision supported by reasons.

The members of the tribunal of accounts may not form a part of any other official or autonomous body that may depend, directly or indirectly, upon the State, a Province, or a municipality, and may not practice any profession, industry, or trade.  

ART. 268. To be a member of the tribunal of accounts it is necessary:

1st. To be Cuban by birth.

2nd. To have reached thirty-five years of age.

3rd. To be in full enjoyment of civil and political rights, and with no criminal record.

4th. To be an attorney with ten years of practice; to have been a Minister, or Secretary, or Sub secretary of Finance; Comptroller General of the Republic, treasurer or chief of the audit office of the ministry of finance; professor of economics, finance, control and public finance, or auditing, in an official institution of learning; or to possess the title of public accountant or professor of commerce with ten years of practice.

The members of the tribunal of accounts may not have any material interest, directly or indirectly, in any farming, industrial, commercial or financial enterprise connected with the State, Province, or municipality.  

ART. 269. The tribunal of accounts shall appoint comptrollers, officials, employees, and assistants, on the basis of accredited proof of ability.  

ART. 270. Powers and duties of the tribunal of accounts are:

1st. To supervise the enforcement of the budgets of the State, Province, municipality, and of the autonomous bodies that receive their incomes directly or indirectly through the State, examining and auditing the accounts of all of these.

2nd. To have jurisdiction over orders for advance payments by the State, in order to be able to approve the condition of finances as related to the condition of the budget, so that the provisions of the law of bases may be complied with, and that they may be carried out without preference or favor.

3rd. To inspect, in general, the expenditures and disbursements of the State, Province, and municipality, for carrying out public works as well as for provisions and payments of personnel, and the public auctions held for this purpose. To this end, the tribunal of accounts may originate measures for ascertaining that the payments that are made effectively correspond with the services carried out by the official institutions under its supervision, with the obligation of expediting regulatory measures suitable for fixing the average cost per unit of work and the average value of the provisions that the State must receive in accordance with the market. Likewise, the tribunal of accounts may proceed with any denunciations that may be formulated in this connection, and shall submit an annual report to the President of the Republic, that shall be an account of the manner in which the expenditures of the institutions under its control have been carried out, in order that the President of the Republic may forward this report, together with his own observations, to the Congress.

4th. To ask reports of all bodies and departments subject to its control, and to appoint a special delegate to make the necessary investigations when data are not furnished or when such data are considered insufficient.

The tribunal shall be obliged to give detailed information to the Executive and to the Congress, when so required, upon any matters related to its functions.

5th. To give a report annually with respect to the condition and administration of the public treasury, the national currency, the public debt, and the budget and its liquidation.

6th. To receive a statement under oath or affirmation from each citizen appointed for the discharge of a public function, upon his taking possession of and upon his leaving the office, concerning the amount of his private fortune; and to carry out any investigations that may be necessary to verify such statements.

The law shall regulate and determine the occasion and form of exercising this function.

7th. To account to the tribunals for any guilt that may result from the inspection and supervision carried out in relation to the powers granted by the preceding clauses, and to enact proper instructions in case of violations in which there is no criminal responsibility, for the better fulfillment of the laws of accountability over all the bodies subject to its control.

8th. To publish its reports for public information.

9th. To carry out all other duties that the law and the regulations stipulate.   

FOURTH SECTION
Concerning the National Economy 

ART. 271. The State shall direct the course of the national economy for the benefit of the people in order to assure a proper existence for each individual.

It shall be a primary duty of the State to promote national agriculture and industry, facilitating their diversification as sources of public wealth and collective benefit.  

ART. 272. Ownership and possession of real property and the exploitation of agricultural, industrial, commercial, banking, and any other kind of enterprise or business by foreigners, whether firmly established in Cuba, or carrying on their operations in Cuba but with headquarters in other countries, are subject in an obligatory manner to the same conditions as the law may establish for nationals, which must in all cases be adjusted to the socio-economic interests of the Nation.  

ART. 273. The increment of value of lands and real property that is produced without expenditure of labor or private capital and only by reason of actions of the State, Province, or municipality, shall be ceded to the benefit of these latter to a proportional extent that the law may determine.  

ART. 274. Stipulations in regard to contracts for renting, tenant farming, or partnership of rural estates, that impose the renunciation of rights recognized in the Constitution or in the law, as well as any other pacts that this Constitution or the tribunals may declare to be abusive, shall be null.

In regulating said contracts adequate standards shall be established for controlling rents, which shall be flexible, with a maximum and minimum according to the purpose, productivity, location, and other circumstances surrounding the rented property, and for fixing the minimum duration of such contracts according to said conditions, and for guaranteeing to the renter, tenant farmer, or partner, a reasonable compensation for the value of improvements or repairs that the latter may deliver in good condition, and that may have been carried out at his expense with the express or tacit consent of the owner, or such improvements or repairs deemed necessary for development of the property.

The renter shall not have a right to said compensation in case the contract terminates prematurely through his fault or his refusal to continue the agreement when offered to him under the same conditions as were in force at the expiration of said contract.

The law shall also regulate contracts of farm financing and sugar-cane milling, as well as the delivery of other products by the persons producing them, granting the farmer just protection.  

ART. 275. The law shall regulate by administration the planting and milling of sugar-cane, and may reduce these operations to the minimum limit imposed by the socio-economic necessity of maintaining the sugar industry on the basis of the division between the two great factors participating in its development: the manufacturers or producers of the sugar, and the farmers or tenants producing the cane.  

ART. 276. Any laws and provisions that may create private monopolies, or that may regulate trade, industry, and agriculture in such a form as to give rise to such monopolies, shall be null and without eject. The law shall especially take care that commercial activities may not be monopolized by private interests in the centers of agricultural and industrial labor.  

ART. 277. National or local public services shall be considered of social interest. Therefore, the State, as well as the Province and the municipality, shall, in their respective cases, have the right to supervise such services, enacting the measures necessary for this purpose.  

ART. 278. No consumption tax may be placed upon national raw materials that, whether or not a product of the soil, are destined for manufacture or export.

Likewise, no consumption tax may be placed upon products of national industry, if the same products, those similar to them, or substitutes imported from abroad, are not taxed in the same manner.

ART. 279. The State shall maintain the independence of private institutions of social welfare and co-operation that are normally sustained without the aid of public funds' and shall contribute to the development of the same by means of adequate legislation.

ART. 280. Money and banking are submitted to the regulation and control of the State.

The State, by means of autonomous bodies, shall organize a banking system for the better development of its economy, and shall thus found the National Bank of Cuba, which shall be one of issue and rediscount. In establishing the said bank, the State may require that its capital be subscribed by the banks already existing in the national territory. Those that comply with these requirements shall be represented on its board of directors.

TITLE XVIII   1940 Constitution


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