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By the Treaty of Paris of 10 December 1898, which ended the Spanish-American War, Spain abandoned her rights of sovereignty over her possessions of Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines. For a few years Cuba was under the control of the United States military forces. An Act of Congress of the l'nited States of 2 March 1901 ? authorized the President of the United States “ to “ leave the government and control of the island of Cuba to its people,' so soon as a government shall have been established in said island under a constitution which, either as a part thereof or in an ordinance appended thereto, shall define the future relations of the United States and Cuba” on the basis of certain principles. These principles were to be inserted in a permanent treaty. A convention embodying them was signed on 22 May 1903 3 between the United States and Cuba. Meanwhile, an assembly met

, at Habana and adopted a Constitution on 21 February 1901,* and an amendment governing Cuba's relations with the United States was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 12 June following. The President and Vice-President of the new Republic were elected on 21 February 1902, and the government of the United States transmitted the actual control of the island to the established authorities on 20 May.


* Signed in English and Spanish. English text in W. M. MALLOY, Treaties, Conventione, International Acts, Protocols, and Agreements between the United States of America ord other Powers, 1776-1909 (Washington, 1910), vol. II, pp. 1690–1695, and British and Foreign State Papers, 90: pp. 382-387.

* Text in United States Statutes at Large, 31 : p. 897.

* Signed in English and Spanish. English text in MALLOY, op cit., vol. I, pp. 362-361, and British and Foreign State Paper8, 96: pp. 548–551. English and Spanish texts in parallel columns in J. I. RODRIGUEZ, American Constitutions, vol. II (Washington, 1907), pp. 149-154.

* The Spanish text, as officially published and certified by Gen. Leonard Wood, military governor of Cuba, in the Habana Gaceta of 14 April 1902, and English translation in parallel columns appear in RODRIGUEZ, op. cit., pp. 112-148 (this includes the Appendix). Spanish text also in PAUL POSENER, Die Staatsverfassungen des Erdballs (Charlottenburg, 1909). pp. 1113-1130. French translation in Annuaire de législation étrangère, 34 11904): pp. 463-486. English translation in British and Foreign State Papers, 94: pp. 3.34-578 (this includes the Appendix).

See preceding note. . This introductory paragraph is based upon F. R. DARESTE, ET P. DARESTE, Les Constitutions modernes (3d edition, Paris, 1910), vol. II, pp. 427-428, and RODRIGUEZ, op. cit., pp. 109–111.




We, the delegates of the people of Cuba, in national convention assembled for the purpose of framing and adopting the Fundamental Law under which Cuba is to be organized as an independent and sovereign State, and be given a government capable of fulfilling its international obligations, preserving order, securing liberty and justice, and promoting the general welfare, do hereby ordain, adopt and establish, invoking the favor of God, the following Constitution.



ARTICLE 1. The people of Cuba constitute themselves into a sovereign, independent State and adopt a republican form of government.

Art. 2. The island of Cuba and the islands and islets adjacent thereto, which up to the date of the ratification of the Treaty of Paris of 10 December 1898 2 were under the sovereignty of Spain. form the territory of the Republic,

ART. 3. The territory of the Republic shall be divided into the six provinces which now exist, each of which shall retain its present boundaries. The determination of their names corresponds to the respective provincial councils.

The provinces may by resolution of their respective provincial councils and the approval of Congress annex themselves to other provinces, or subdivide their territory and form new provinces.


ART. 4. Cuban nationality is acquired by birth or by naturalization. Art. 5. Cubans by birth are:

1. All persons born of Cuban parents whether within or without the territory of the Republic.

2. All persons born of foreign parents within the territory of the Republic, provided that on becoming of age they apply for inscription, as Cubans, in the proper register.

3. All persons born in foreign countries of parents natives of Cuba who have forfeited their Cuban nationality, provided that on becoming of age they apply for their inscription as ('ubans in the register aforesaid.

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The translation given here is based on the one in RODRIGUEZ,

1 See above, p. 151, note 4. 2 See above, p. 151, note 1.

ART. 6. Cubans by naturalization are:

1. Foreigners who having served in the liberating army claim Cuban nationality within six months following the promulgation of this Constitution.

2. Foreigners domiciled in Cuba prior to 1 January 1899 who have retained their domicile, provided that they claim Cuban nationality within six months following the promulgation of this Constitution, or if they are minors within a like period following the date on which they reach full age.

3. Foreigners who after five years' residence in the territory of the Republic, and not less than two years after the declaration of their intention to acquire Cuban nationality, have obtained naturalization papers according to law.

4. Spaniards residing in the territory of Cuba on 11 April 1899 ho failed to register themselves as such in the corresponding register within one year thereafter.

5. Africans who were slaves in Cuba, and those " emancipated” referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty of 28 June 1835 between Spain and England. Art. 7. Cuban nationality is lost:

1. By the acquisition of foreign citizenship.

2. By the acceptance of employment or honors from another goyernment without permission of the Senate.

3. By entering the military service of a foreign nation without the said permission.

4. In cases of naturalized Cubans, by their residence for five years continuously in the country of origin, except when serving an office or fulfilling a commission of the government of the Republic.

ART. 8. Cuban nationality may be reacquired in the manner to be provided by law. ART. 9. Every Cuban shall be bound:

1. To bear arms in defense of his country in such cases and in such manner as may be determined by the laws.

2. To contribute to the payment of public expenses in such manner and proportion as the laws may prescribe.


Art. 10. Foreigners residing within the territory of the Republic shall be on the same footing as Cubans:

1. In respect to protection of their persons and property.

2. In respect to the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by Section I of the following title, excepting those exclusively reserved to citizens.


3. In respect to the enjoyment of civil rights under the conditions and limitations prescribed in the law of aliens.

4. In respect to the obligation of obeying the laws, decrees, regulations, and all other statutes that may be in force in the Republic, and complying with their provisions.

5. In respect to submission to the jurisdiction and decisions of the courts of justice and all other authorities of the Republic.

6. In respect to the obligation of contributing to the public expenses of the State, province and municipality.



ART. 11. All Cubans are equal before the law. The Republic does not recognize any personal prerogatives.

ART. 12. No law shall have retroactive effect, except when penal and favorable to the defendant.

Art. 13. Obligations of a civil nature arising out of contracts or other acts or omissions shall not be nullified or impaired by either the legislative or the executive power.

Art. 14. The penalty of death shall in no case be imposed for offenses of political character, said offenses to be defined by law.

Art. 15. No person shall be detained except in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law.

Art. 16. Every arrested person shall be set at liberty or placed at the disposal of the competent judge or court within twenty-four hours immediately following the arrest.

ART. 17. All arrests shall be terminated, or turned into formal imprisonments, within seventy-two hours, immediately after the delivery of the arrested person to the judge or court of competent jurisdiction. Within the same time notice shall be served upon the interested party of the action taken.

ART. 18. No person shall be imprisoned except by order of a competent judge or court.

The order directing the imprisonment shall be affirmed or reversed, upon the proper hearing of the prisoner, within seventy-two hours next following the committal.

Art. 19. No person shall be prosecuted or sentenced except by a competent judge or court, by virtue of laws in force prior to the commission of the offense, and in the manner and form prescribed by said laws.

ART. 20. Every person arrested or imprisoned without the formalities of law, or outside of the cases foreseen in this Constitution or the laws, shall be set at liberty at his own request or that of any citizen.

The law shall determine the form of summary proceedings to be followed in this case.

ART. 21. No one shall be bound to testify against himself, neither shall he be compelled to testify against his consort, nor against his relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or second of affinity.

ART. 22. The secrecy of correspondence and other private documents is inviolable, and neither shall be seized or examined except by order of a competent authority and with the formalities prescribed by the laws. In all cases matters therein contained not relating to the subject under investigation shall be kept secret.

ART. 23. Domicile is inviolable; and therefore no one shall enter at night the house of another except by permission of its occupant, unless it be for the purpose of giving aid and assistance to victims of crime or accident; or in the daytime, except in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law.

ART. 24. No person shall be compelled to change his domicile or residence except by virtue of an order issued by a competent authority and in the cases prescribed by law.

ART. 25. Every one may freely express his ideas either orally or in writing, through the press, or in any other manner, without subjection to previous censorship; but the responsibilities specified by law, when attacks are made upon the honor of individuals, the social order, or the public peace, shall be properly enforced.

Art. 26. The profession of all religions, as well as the practice of all forms of worship, is free, without any other restriction than that demanded by the respect for Christian morality and public order. The Church shall be separated from the State, which in no case shall subsidize any religion.

ART. 27. All persons shall have the right to address petitions to the authorities, to have them duly acted upon, and to be informed of the action taken thereon.

ART. 28. All the inhabitants of the Republic have the right to assemble peacefully, without arms, and to associate with others for all lawful pursuits of life.

ART. 29. All persons shall have the right to enter or leave the territory of the Republic, to travel within its limits, and to change their residence, without necessity of safe conducts, passports, or other sim

1 The words printed in italics are not found in the text of the Constitution as given in the Diario de Sesiones de la Convención Constituyente de la Isla de Cuba, pp. 461-472, or in J. R. SEDANO Y AGRAMONTE, El Libro del ciudadano cubano (Habana, 1901), pp. 9–49. They appear, however, in the text of the Constitution as printed in the Colección Legislativa de la Isla de Cuba, 1902, vol. I, pp. 415 et seq., and in Don Gon. ZALO DE QUESADA (Cuban Minister at Washington), Cuba (published by the International Bureau of the American Republics, November, 1905).

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