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    Díaz-Canel called for “voting with the heart” for the Family Code

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    Díaz –Canel convocó a “votar con el corazón” por el Código de las Familias

    Who would refuse to be happy, to have their dignity respected, to be granted the rights to exist and to find spaces and meanings once they arrived in this world? How to deny love, that pure force that moves mountains and performs feats?

    The questions were in everything, they touched the soul of those who, elevated by that marvel of humanity that is the capacity to love, between reflections and even letting a tear fall, shared this week, from the Palace of the Revolution, with the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, to discuss the Family Code.

    The legal text on which the people will pronounce this September 25 from the polls, was described by the Head of State as “a monumental work, due to the amount of knowledge and experiences that comprise it; and by a marvelous singularity: he turned love into law, affection into law”.

    Such an event - the dignitary reflected - reminds us of our José Martí and his exhortation that love be the fashion, and that those who do not love be marked so that the penalty converts them.

    It will be difficult to forget such a moving meeting, at the beginning of which the Cuban President expressed —with regard to the referendum, and after several months of intense work— that we are on the eve of participating in a civic act of enormous responsibility, which we will attend with every right , but also with a sense of duty and civic and social responsibility.

    In the first minutes of the day, the president - who had arrived with his partner Lis Cuesta Peraza, and who had said "greetings to everyone" - stated: We have invited a group of people to the Palace, to talk with them who have had a deep activism during all this time and who treasure beautiful life stories.

    The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party said at the venue: "We have educators, doctors, psychologists, jurists, professionals from different sectors, older adults, grandmothers, people with disabilities, families, members of religious institutions, artists, athletes, students, representatives of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), the Network of lesbian and bisexual women, the Humanity Network for Diversity, the Trans People Network, among others.”

    President Díaz-Canel felt “delighted” for sharing on an afternoon like that. Along with him were also present the member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party and head of its Ideological Department, Rogelio Polanco Fuentes; as well as the Minister of Justice, Oscar Silvera Martínez.

    Voices from affection

    The first of the guests to share her points of view was the prominent psychologist, Full Professor and Doctor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Havana, Patricia Arés Muzio, whose face and tenderness Cubans remember from the days of the battle for the return to the Island of the child Elián González. She, who in these times has hosted the television program Familias, expressed that if something unites all Cubans, it is precisely the passion for the family; hence, the debates around this topic become even heated.

    There is something undeniable, as the Full Professor said: “In these times we have all reflected”. However, Patricia went further in her ideas when she recalled that there is a cultural myth according to which no one fails us in the family; and yes, there are failures, he recalled: parents fail their children, members of a couple fail, or adults who prevent grandparents from having free communication with their grandchildren. Therefore, it is necessary, he reasoned, a new norm that balances situations like these.

    The mother of a child with disabilities spoke next, who dreams of changing the surnames of the child, whose biological father abandoned him when he was two months old. And a man of faith spoke, for whom the common factor of all exclusion, throughout civilization, has been hatred "that goes against all logic"; and other voices joined to speak in defense of people with disabilities —because the Family Code protects everyone, which is a valuable achievement of life for those who most need support.

    The journalist Francisco Rodríguez Cruz (Paquito de Cuba as he is known in virtual networks), affirmed that the main rectifications, for him, are the actions; and that the Family Code is precisely that sort of “collective reparation” in the face of discriminatory positions that may have existed before: “The best thing about the Code —he reflected— is that no one has to give in” if space for freedom and identity is about".

    The Head of State asked Paquito to return to a text published by the journalist on Facebook. A friend extended to the prominent activist of the LGBTIQ + community, the phone from which the post appeared and that thus expresses: «To my family: I have never asked much of them, I think. I haven't given them almost anything either, except worries. We have been together through thick and thin, while still loving and respecting each other in our different ways of being and thinking. Now I want to ask for your support. Not just because it's important to me, but to a lot of people, including you.

    “We have been through and through a lot of work in our lives, it is true. Generation after generation, from our grandparents and parents, to our children and grandchildren, we have had to polish it very hard.

    We do not carry illustrious surnames, nor have we climbed positions or obtained privileges. We have also enjoyed countless moments of shared happiness, without great luxuries or abundance, just with the simple joy of having each other, and with what each one could put into each of those memorable dates. So I ask you not to let the discontents, the needs, the disagreements, the political discrepancies or of any other type, those of before or those of now, determine the good that we can do for ourselves.

    “Yes, I beg you to vote in the referendum. And that they support me with the Yes for the Family Code”. The moving post closes with a “I love you. Thank you".

    You can honestly disagree with one or more articles of the Code, but it would be a mistake to deny everything because of that. Photo: Revolution Studios.

    From the experience of running a home for children without family protection, or an institution for children with an intellectual disability; from the experience of being a champion —as is the case of boxer Julio César La Cruz—; from the LGBTIQ+ community in Cuba; from the peasant sector; or from the universe of pediatrics —masterfully represented at the meeting by Dr. Lissette del Rosario López González, Head of the National Pediatrics Group of the Ministry of Public Health—; from the poetic wisdom of the ethnologist Miguel Barnet; From all of us a rainbow of thoughts and feelings was born in support of the Family Code.

    It is, as they said, a Code of opportunities; that will unite us more; that strongly plants the flag of respect for the other; that turns dreams into realities; that bets on the human being of the future; that reminds us of the Christian maxim that love casts out all fear; that defends justice and human dignity.

    Especially emotional were the words of Mariela Castro Espín, who shared her certainty that all this year of work for the good of our Homeland, of our people, of our country, has not been in vain; who confessed never having imagined that we would arrive, through the Code, at this moment in history: "We are about, he affirmed, to make an unprecedented revolutionary leap in terms of family law."

    She recalled that the Cuban Revolution was a transforming milestone in the world; that no Revolution is perfect, since it is a path of learning. She said she was sure that this moment is a milestone in the history of the Revolution, and that many countries will later be inspired by Cuba, for its democratic exercise, of transparency.

    Closing the beautiful meeting, those who have been among the architects of the legal text shared some ideas: the Doctor of Sciences, Leonardo Pérez Gallardo, expressed that the Code accommodates us all, it will survive us, that it is made from the technique and professional expertise , but also from life stories, from the heart.

    Dr. Ana María Álvarez-Tabío Albo, professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Havana, stressed that the text settles our debt with all those who have been discriminated against, and with all those who fought before for us. Also, the vice president of the National Union of Jurists, Yamila González Ferrer, commented that there are Cubans waiting for the Code to be approved in order to solve various conflicts.

    She reflected that Cuba has a great challenge ahead in terms of legal culture, because a new battle will begin on September 25, taking into account that the new Code will not be applied by itself, but will make it useful and possible, in day-to-day, women and men of society.

    President Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who moderated the valuable exchange, told everyone: “Our guests have told from their life stories, really sensitive, moving, why this Code is important to them. From their own experiences, from their stories, I can ratify the convictions I have about this law and share them with our people”.

    He then referred to how the Family Code arose —which “was born not only from the Law, but also from the people, as a social necessity”—; and stressed that “the Code, with its 25 versions, written, reviewed and agreed upon by experts from all disciplines related to Family Law, is a norm conceived and created by the entire Cuban society. Because it emerged from the daily experiences of Cuban families over decades: from cases in law firms and courts; of complaints and lawsuits; of medical consultations and scientific debates; of practices and experiences inside and outside the country”.

    The Head of State emphasized that "there is not a single article in the Code that is not based on real life." The text, he said, portrays us, “it has contributed to learning. It teaches us to be less selfish and to think more as a society.”

    Gratitude extended the president “to all those who have worked in its construction (that of the Code) and improvement. To those who promote and defend it with solid arguments. To those who have shown us in this masterful exercise of education on Family Law, the beautiful diversity that has been forged in our nation over the years and even centuries.

    Highlighting the values ​​of the normative text, the Cuban President affirmed that “the Code updates and perfects family legal institutions, kinship, the obligation to provide food, marriage, de facto union, filiation —whatever its origin—, parental relationships, guardianship and protection, progressive autonomy”.

    The dignitary reflected that "there are people of doctrine and faith who rightfully defend their conception and unfortunately have not come to understand that the Code does not deny their rights: What the Code does is protect the type of family they defend, but also other types of family that exist”.

    The Code —underlined the Head of State— “does not impose, it does not oblige, it does not decree that there must exist any type of family in particular. Recognize all that exist, inspired by love and other human feelings. Denying the existence of other types of family is an act of exclusion that damages and delays”.

    On why this is the time to embrace the Family Code, Díaz-Canel reasoned that “denying its content would be denying the fundamental rights of millions of Cuban men and women. It would be to stay in the 20th century, when we are already in the third decade of the 21st century. The yes is now and not later, because later it would be too late. People get older and their life and family projects have time to be done on time. It would be inconsequential to delay."

    “The generation that is being born right now and those that are to come, have the right to be born under advanced laws, in tune with their time. They and they tomorrow would not understand why we did not do it”.

    The President developed other cardinal ideas: “Unity in Diversity. That is the Code. Unity, which is the talisman and insurance of the Cuban nation, was not possible in the history of Cuba until it was understood that it would only be possible by attending to diversity. That has also been the principle on which the unity of Our America is sustained.”

    The president proposed an essential relationship between the Family Code and the words Yes, affirmative, approving, confirming, advance, development, triumph, and future. “The Family Code —he asserted— above all raises respect for human beings, respect for everyone”.

    The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party valued that in the Code we recognize and accept the differences that already exist in our society that the legal norm "gives the guarantees that allow us to form a family, enjoy a family life free of discrimination and violence, we it gives the opportunity to be happy, the right to exist and to be recognized”.

    As true human conquests, the Family Code —argued the president— allows “to grow in an environment of happiness, love and understanding”; defends full equality between women and men, the full development of sexual and reproductive rights; protects motherhood and fatherhood; promotes responsible development; it guarantees filiation equality, respect for the free right of personality, privacy, the project of personal and family life that is chosen; recognizes care as a right; and protects individuals and families in vulnerable situations.

    “One can honestly disagree – expressed the Head of State – with one or more articles of the Code, but it would be a mistake to deny everything for that reason. It would be to ignore that this discrepancy exists, precisely, due to the wide diversity of interests that the whole of the norm attends to”.

    “Someone said a few days ago —the president underlined— that it is essential to put yourself in another's shoes, pay attention and try to feel what other people feel: the homeless girl or boy; the elderly who are not counted on to make transcendental decisions in the very home they once founded; the couple without natural offspring; the person with a sexual orientation towards a person of the same sex; the family armed by love, which due to conventions is forced to hide that love”.

    Finally, the dignitary stated that the Family Code "highlights the solidarity of Cuban men and women above selfishness and exclusion"; and called for reading and interpreting the legal text “with the heart”, to “vote with the heart”, and to “vote for Cuba”.