Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Politics News

Posted November 27, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

Now You See It…

State-run television announced the decision by Cuba’s interim leader Raul Castro to hold elections on January 20. The voting is held every five years to select the 609 members of the National Assembly as well as delegates to provincial bodies. Individuals must first be elected to the National Assembly to be eligible to serve on Cuba’s Council of State, which is led by the president.

This begs the question, will Fidel Castro be reelected as the supreme leader of Cuba? Or will there be a definitive transfer of power to Raul, his younger brother?

In order to analyze this, several facts must be laid out. Elections in Cuba are not your typical elections. Voters are not officially forced to vote, but are extra officially pressured to vote. Voting is not a right, it is an obligation. Now, there being only only party, this entity ultimately decides who gets to run and who doesn’t.

There being only one party in any election, the outcome of the elections has already been decided, what no one seems to know is what that decision has been or when it was decided. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. A mechanical motion that the people know they must go through as part of their everyday lives in Cuba. You have to vote, or life becomes nearly unbearable.

How so? Say you don’t want to vote. And you begin your day by going to work, well, that wouldn’t do because while at work, you are expected to go and vote. If you don’t, you may not have that job much longer. Now assuming you don’t have a job, and you decide you are not going to vote, the person in charge of the CDR, (Comite de Defensa de la Revolucion) “Friendly neighborhood snitch” will hound you all day until you do go and vote, it should be noted that failure to comply with the first several requests will result in your being watched much more closely than usual. You will be deemed a dissident and someone who fails to cooperate with the revolution.

These are just some of the steps taken to ensure that the voter turnout is always above 90%. Now on to the ballots, counting and the final voting results. Many people have taken to scratching just anything on the ballot. Some people have even written Bush’s name on their ballots. Although it is true that these people are not caught because the ballots are kept secret (they have to be or it would be a total farce), the counting is a totally different story.

Ballots which do not qualify as countable because of sabotage, or bad writing are removed from the count, but not from the total votes submitted. At the end of the count, the equation looks like this. Of the total countable votes, this percentage voted in favor of the communist party, the remainder voted against. So of the 90% who voted, 80% voted for fidel. Even if the 80% was only 10% of the total number of votes. We’ll never know. Fill in your numbers as you see fit. Actual records are never made public and if they are, they are most likely doctored.

All in all, it works like a charm, useful idiots tout the great turnouts, and the people of Cuba go home and forget about haviing to vote until they are called again to do this.

Will Fidel win? Ask Raul, he is probably the only one who knows, aside from several trusted aides.

Viva la democracia, even if we have to act like it exists.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on November 28, 2007 by HavanAndrew with 87 total posts

    I for one won’t remark on elections in Cuba as they exist today because it is pointless. I will identify the positives of what actually exist today and a fairly easy transition to democracy as we know in the rest of the world. The basics of the current process could be easily transitioned into real elections by adding other candidates from different parties. The people of Cuba would handle this quite well and they would be eager to choose the best person. The capitol building in Havana could be quickly be reset as it originally was where elected officials openly debated and decided how the country operated (Batist screwed the whole thing up though). This approach to transition will utilize the strengths of all Cubans, ADAPTIVE USE. I caution Americans on the insistent need for a completely new system as we all know the biggest error in Iraq was the dismantling of the Bath party. Washington would fully agree at this point that it would have been easier to introduce new options rather than a ground up build.


  2. Follow up post #2 added on November 28, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    sounds good to me. They could also go back to the pre-Castro constitution and start over.



    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on November 29, 2007 by cubanpete with 127 total posts

    What do these elections mean?  Nada.  Just another landslide victory for the PCC.



    For change (cambio) we can believe in.
    http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy

  4. Follow up post #4 added on November 29, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Unless Fidel does not put his name in. The Council of State is chosen from the National Assembly. If Fidel is not in the National Assembly then he cannot be a candidate for President.

    We’ll find out on December 2.



    Cuba consulting services

  5. Follow up post #5 added on November 29, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    do u really think the American govt learned from its mistakes in Iraq ....
    they, like many governments around the world, keep repeating mistakes so it doesn’t look like it.


  6. Follow up post #6 added on November 29, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Right now, the only thing George Bush knows about Cuba is to do nothing. He would not know how to engage Cuba in a dialog.



    Cuba consulting services

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 06, 2007 by Cassandra

    Oh, publisher, you must know better so why the disinformation?

    Cuban elections are, like elections provided for in the U.S. Constitution, NO party elections, not one party elections.

    The Communist Party neither nominates nor endorses candidates.

    The Founding Fathers believed that they had devised a good system as long as political parties didn’t arise. They felt that the rise of political parties would destroy their democratic schema.

    History has absolved them.


  8. Follow up post #8 added on December 08, 2007 by Mako Dude

    Yes Cuban elections are meaningful. They are as meaningful as elections in Venzuela and N Korea :- (


  9. Follow up post #9 added on December 08, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    Cubans that I’ve talked to feel they do have a choice of candidates and feel they have a role in a meaningful political process…..
    Don’t forget to many just having a chioce between a republican and a Democrat isn’t much of a democratic process either but we seem to feel its ok.

    its all relative. Don’t get me wrong - I in no way shape or form believe Cuba is a democracy with a free choice.  But I also don’t believe its as meaninglesss a process as some suggest.


  10. Follow up post #10 added on December 08, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The difference is that you don’t have a CDR in your neighborhood telling you to go out and vote. The Cuban election process is all by force and intimidation all within a one party system.

    So, sure, they play a role in electing communist A or communist B who all simply do what Fidel wants anyway.

    Wait till the Cuban people can really vote for whomever they want.



    Cuba consulting services

  11. Follow up post #11 added on December 08, 2007 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    What elections are you people talking about? Elections in Cuba. Give me a break. There are no elections in Cuba since 1959.  The whole theater is to try to show the world that they are a “democratic government”. Obviously the only ones that believe it are the “Cuban government international friends”.
    What kind of elections are those that before they happen everybody knows who would be elected? Oh sorry! we are now wondering if would be Fidel o Raul??
    Believe me I have been there and everybody is pushed to vote for the Coma-Andante or else.


  12. Follow up post #12 added on December 08, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    YeYo ...
    are you suggesting that until 1959 Cuba had free elections?


Would you like to add more information?


Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
Images of Cuba
Transferring Cuban sugar cane by railroad in 1906
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review



Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy