From Lucha
July, 1998
Organ of the Communist Party of Labor of the Dominican Republic

General Orientation of the Reforms
We Propose to the Constituent Assembly

Taking the Constitution of the Republic as the general synthesis of the political, economic, cultural and social aspirations of the Dominican people at an historic stage, the PCT and MIUCA propose some constitutional reforms directed to shaping these aspirations into the fundamental text.

We think that these general proposals should contribute to the awakening and unity of the reserves of the fatherland, and above all to mobilizing them for the purpose of putting a brake on the process of dissolution of the nation and the sinking of the country to which the oligarchy and imperialism have led them, as well as to call to work and for purposes designed to develop the country on the paths of independence and full sovereignty, of democracy and liberty, of progress and social welfare.

This is the most urgent patriotic and revolutionary task for all Dominicans; "To make a reality of the country of which Duarte dreamed."

In this predicament, our political foundation assumes the general intentions of the following reforms:

I- The question of national sovereignty

1. The Constitution which results from the Constituent Assembly must take up the question of national sovereignty in the widest, most concrete way. It must begin by considering the people as the primary constituent force and fundamental support of sovereignty, and consequently, they are the ones who must decide everything concerning it. In this context, the treaties, agreements, governmental loans, concessions or any other acts that involve the State and the country, without the explicit consultation and decision of the citizenry, will be void.

2. The development of a productive national economy to guarantee the self-sufficiency of food production in the country, on the basis of the constant development of the national productive forces and the rational use of natural resources; as well as by means of state support for large, medium and small enterprises dedicated to the production of goods and services for consumption and the increase of national wealth, should be established as something of strict constitutional rigor.

3. With equal status should be determined the preservation and development of the domestic cultural values, as well as the flora, fauna, ecology and the environment in general, establishing by law the appropriate punishment for each act that contravenes the spirit of the Constitution in this respect.

4. The direct or indirect acquisition of real estate or of the mass media by foreigners will also be prohibited.

II- The question of popular sovereignty

5. The democratization of national life should be expressed in the institution of the greatest powers for the people in national decisions, especially in those concerning the State. As a result of the reforms discussed and approved in the Constituent Assembly, the new Constitution should provide, among other things, for the following:

6. The plebiscite as a mechanism of decision of the people regarding problems of national interest, which should be instituted through a special law, which can be called upon by those who instituted this same law, among which there should be a determined number of citizens.

7. The right of the people to receive periodic accounts from the central and municipal functionaries as well as from the congress people and councilpersons, as to revoke their mandate when it is proved that they are not fulfilling their responsibilities.

8. The right of the citizenry to propose bills to the Congress or to the Municipal Councils.

9. The right of the workers to form trade unions without any further requirements than that their decision should be communicated to the responsible authorities.

III- The question of the political regime

10. Besides the features indicated in the current Constitution, the Constituent Assembly should include in an emphatic manner the participative and decentralized character that the regime should have in the future. According to the current Constitution, Dominican society is a "representative democracy" in which the people exercise the powers of the State by means of delegated representation. It is necessary that it be clearly established as well that the people also exercise their powers through direct participation, for example, through a national plebiscite or other mechanisms.

11. Other features to establish is the decentralization of power, by way of reducing in a substantial manner the powers of the president of the Republic; empowering the National Congress and giving it a major role in the designation and control of the functionaries of the central government, and in the management of public finance.

12. Decentralization should also apply to the judiciary, by establishing that its members should be elected by direct, secret and universal suffrage of the citizenry.

13. A fact of singular and outstanding importance in the plan of decentralization is the institution of municipal power as the primary one of the State, with attributions of political, economic, social and police powers to the municipalities without any other authority being able to interfere in their jurisdictions, except in cases of national security, circulation of currency, or any other aspect of the life of the State that is the exclusive affair of the national authorities, in conformity with the same Constitution.

IV- On the rights and social benefits of the citizenry

14. The Constitution should guarantee to the citizenry public education, health care and social security, providing that the State must spend for each of these no less than 25% of the national budget; as well as 5% for the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo whose autonomy must also be established.

15. It will provide to public and private workers, who have worked for fifteen years in an enterprise or institution, their right to obtain a house from these institutions; it will also grant rights to tenants to the residences for which they have paid rent for 10-15 years;

Likewise it will establish the right of the workers to share in the profits obtained by the enterprise in a fiscal year; as well as the right of every man and woman from the countryside to make use of a quantity of land and of financial and technical assistance from the State to allow it to produce.

16. The Constitution will establish equal rights between men and women; it will protect single mothers; it will recognize equality of conditions for all children whether or not they are born from a legal marriage, as well as the rights of women over the property of their spouses, regardless of the character of the union that exists between them.

V- On the guarantee of constitutional rights

The Constituent Assembly will be established by the National Commission of Human Rights and Constitutional Guarantees, as well as the Office of the Attorney General of Human Rights; the state institutions, both with national jurisdiction and with municipal expressions, independent of the powers of the State, with an autonomous budget and whose members should be designated by the Chamber of Deputies from among those proposed by the organizations of Human Rights, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, the Bar Association, the Dominican Medical Association, the Trade Union Federations and the Popular Organizations, among others.

Such institutions will have for their aim, to oversee the strict fulfillment of the rights provided for in the Constitution; to receive and handle complaints related to the violations of these rights and to transmit the appropriate charges to the responsible tribunals.

For the Constituent Assembly!

Ideas, Questions and Answers in the form of
a contribution to a debate on a unitary proposal.

[Communist Party of Labor - Movement for Independence, Unity and Change]

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