The Political Economy of Cuba’s Participatory Constitutional Change

This paper situates Cuba, a socialist state, within the emerging scholarship on comparative constitutional change. It seeks to understand the forms, roles, and consequences of the participation of both domestic and overseas Cubans in the making of the new 2019 Constitution in this non-liberal state. The paper identifies three forms of participation in Cuba’s constitutional change: popular mobilization, consultation, and referendum. It argues that Cuba’s participatory constitutional change is the function of political economy: participation generates significant changes to the final Constitution due to both bottom-up pressures and top-down concerns to reform the socialist political and economic system.