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.