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    Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, tourists ride in classic American convertible cars past the United States embassy, right, in Havana, Cuba

    US Slams Cuban Referendum on New Constitution, Calls it Non-Democratic

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States does not consider Cuba's recent referendum on the country's new constitution democratic, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "While the regime claims Sunday’s vote was democratic, Cuban authorities harassed and detained dozens of observers and peaceful protesters, confiscating phones and devices," Pompeo said. "Earlier this month, more than 120 activists initiated a hunger strike to send a message to the regime that the Cuban people reject these oppressive tactics. We strongly condemn these attempts to silence peaceful protests, which show that Cuba’s leaders fear the Cuban people."

    Cuba held its referendum on the country's new constitution on Sunday. In December, the Cuban National Assembly of People's Power approved the draft new constitution.

    ​The new Cuban constitution will introduce limits preventing presidents from serving more than two 5-year terms and will recognize private property. The existing Cuban constitution has been in force since 1976 and has already undergone certain changes, with amendments having been adopted in 1978, 1992 and 2002.

    ​Pompeo called on the international community to join Washington in "standing with the people of Cuba and their peaceful calls for democratic reform."

    The Cuban Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that 86.8 percent of Cubans who voted in Sunday's referendum supported the ratification of the document.

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    constitution, referendum, United States, Cuba
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