Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — The first stage of Cuba’s general elections took place on Sunday November 26th and according to what the National Electoral Commission reported the following day, 85.94% of the 8,855,213 registered Cuban citizens voted, which in my opinion is a great turn-out.
There was hardly any abstention, in spite of voting not being mandatory, as the majority of those who couldn’t go and vote were outside of the city where they live for work-related or other reasons, both in and outside of Cuba.
In this first round, representatives were elected by their neighborhood voting districts, the ones who comprise the municipal assembly, which determines the municipal government. The representative’s duty isn’t to collect neighbors requests and to process them, like some people think. Their work includes this task, but they do so much more. They are the people’s representative in municipal government, they form a part of permanent labor commissions and they ensure that all of the services within their district run as they should.
Both municipal and provincial representatives, as well as lawmakers in the National Assembly, carry out these political activities outside of their working hours, as they don’t receive any pay for this work. That explains why some citizens don’t accept the nomination when they are put forward because they don’t have the means to do both, work and politics, at the same time. At the National Assembly’s first meeting, representatives choose a president from among themselves, a vice-president and secretary, who then do hold these positions as their only source of work.
The opposite of what many people think and believe, Cuba’s Communist Party doesn’t nominate anyone, as it isn’t the electoral party, but society’s leader who is responsible for ensuring that everything is done as stipulated by the law, but it’s the citizens, whether they are Party members or not, who put forward their candidates.
Somebody has written that there were opposition candidates who wanted to run and they weren’t allowed to. That isn’t the case. In these elections, nobody can put themselves forward as it’s the people who nominate whoever they think is best able to represent them. If these citizens were not put forward, it’s because the neighborhood assembly, where nominations take place, didn’t believe they were the ideal candidates to take on this role.
With regard to the anecdote that a fellow HT writer told, about someone who threw a rotten egg at the person who was leading the nomination meeting, this speaks volumes about the morals of those who call themselves the “opposition”.
The second phase of these general elections will take place early next year with the election of Provincial Assembly representatives and National Assembly lawmakers.
We must bear in mind and not lose sight of the fact that here in Cuba, the people led a Revolution and they defend it to the very end. If there is someone who doesn’t like socialism, because it goes against their selfish interests, that’s their problem. The vast majority of Cubans support it and defend it.
Therefore, it should come as no suprise that in the National Assembly, when the candidates for the main leaders of the State Council are put forward, their election will be unanimous because lawmakers represent the Cuban people and the Cuban people stand firm like a monolithic rock in their defense of the Socialist Revolution. This was made clear when the 1976 Constitution was passed and it announced the irreversible nature of the political, social and economic systerm we have here, that is to say, socialism.