A Code for and by Cuban families (+audio).
As every May 15th, the International Day of Families focuses our attention on what is defined as the fundamental cell of society, as a stimulus to raise awareness about the role that families play in the formation, growth and social interaction of their members and, above all, in order to promote functionality, harmonious coexistence and respect among its members.
In the current context, the socio-historical dimensions of the recently approved Family Code stand out, becoming not only a turning point to accept the family diversity that characterises the contemporary Cuba, but also an opportunity to emphasise the equity of all its models and roles, as well as to assume affection, love, mutual respect, communication, solidarity and equality of rights and duties above violence, differences of gender, race and sexual orientation, and where independence, self-determination, equality and responsibility must be the words of order.
Consensual unions, heterosexual or homosexual, single-parent, reconstituted or blended families, parental roles of biologically related or unrelated members, and so on. The plurality of forms of family organisation in Cuban society is evident. It is not surprising that the Code pluralises the term in its name and its recognition of this diversity already makes it a success compared to its 1975 version.
Two of its most innovative concepts are parental responsibility and progressive autonomy, which contribute not only to the democratisation of family coexistence, but also to the preservation of affection, protection, development, education and recreation among its members, as well as the fact that, in line with technological progress, this new legislation demands access for all, mainly children and adolescents, to a digital environment free of discrimination and violence.
A point for the Code which, in synchrony with parental responsibility, grants children and adolescents the power to decide and influence decisions concerning the family environment, overturning the innocence, ignorance and dependence to which they have always been linked, while vilifying any act of corporal punishment, humiliating treatment, negligence, neglect or any act that injures or undermines children physically, morally or psychologically.
The Code also requires respect for the private autonomy, self-determination, financing, protection and well-being of older adults and persons with disabilities, as well as those who care for them; encourages the full development of sexual and reproductive rights in the family environment regardless of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability or other personal circumstances; and gives weight to the right to adequate scientific information on sexuality, sexual health and family planning.
There is no doubt that injecting a society that retains heteronormative and sexist precepts and stereotypes is a challenge. That is why the new Code of Families, with its innovative airs, represents a strong incentive to attenuate them and, as a faithful reflection of the social reality in which we live, the study of its content is essential to guarantee the quality of life, coexistence and well-being of Cuban families.
Written by Yadiel Barbón Salgado.