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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Cuba claims upcoming elections are “democratic”

Posted September 30, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Prensa Latina

Cuba’s Constituency Election Commissions will place at public places photos and biographies of over 37,000 candidates to the October 21 municipal elections that the First Vice President Raul Castro convened in July.

This will help Cuban voters choose the best on the first round on the 21st and at the runoffs on the 28th if there were a tie or if neither candidate scored 50 percent plus one of the votes.

Also on display are the list of constituents 16 years and older, with legal capacity to vote to correct any mistake or omission in time.

Maria Esther Reus, president of the National Election Commission, said the ongoing process attests to democracy, clearness and support of the leadership of the Revolution.

Reus said that 90,000 election Judges will help elect 15,236 delegates for an equal number of circumscriptions that will make up 169 Municipal Assemblies of the People’s Power for 30 months.

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Member Comments

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On September 30, 2007, anders wrote:

there must be a misinterpretation at the end of the article. The 90 000 election judges has to refer to the presiders present at every circumscription. there exists no “election judges”. the high number is a consequence of the pioneers guarding the ballot boxes around the clock during the two days the elections take place.

the high number of seats are a result of the small size of the circumscriptions - an average of 1200 constituents each.

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On October 03, 2007, cubanpete wrote:

Democratic?  Are there any other political parties apart than the PCC fielding candidates?

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On October 03, 2007, anders wrote:

cubanpete,

no political parties at all are fielding candidates. no organization of any kind are permitted to nominate candidates. the PCC is prohibited both in the constitution and Laws on Elections to intervene in any way with the citizens individual rights to nominate candidates. This means not the youth league, the womens federation not even the CDRs that after all arange the balloting and supply the localities are permitted to suggest or endorse candidates. Only the individual citizen of the neighbourhood is.

Since the circumscriptions are so small and based on the emidiate neighbourhood all candidates are known to the voters. None is larger then 1800, many are in between 300- 500 in the countryside. the neighbours are nominating one another. they practically take turns in office. therefor political campaining in the western sence is if not prohibited so at least uncustomary and considered highly improper. Why would you try to seduce your own neighbours ? They all know you anyway !
Over 50 000 neighbourhood meetings where held to select the candidates. this nomination and election process of the local political bodies take some time since the rest of the governing system is based on it. That is, most members of provincial and national assemblies are also members of the municipal as required by law thus creating what in swedish politics is called ” a strong comunal connection”. Which is highly desired. The work load on cuban politicians is enormous. So most don´t last long.


The posters proclaiming and presenting the candidates - from 2 to 8 in a circumscription -  look a lot like your posters of wanted people. Sort of funny !
For the upcoming elections only 23 % remain of the incumbents of the previous period. So who ever gets elected all the assemblies will be populated by new people.

The political system of Cuba is drastically different from that in the US although many american laws remain from the 1930:s. I haven´t only studied and tought US politics, I have lived in the US, in several states.  It is also at large very different from Scandinavia where I live although there are some striking resemblences that always seem to surprise the unknowing Swede, Dane or Norwegian since our natural conception is we are the most democratic and wellfunctioning societies on earth.

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On October 05, 2007, cubanpete wrote:

Democracy involves the ability of the governed to change the government.  Including the executive branch.  And changing the executive branch of the current Cuban regime via the ballot box by the Cuban electorate is simply not now possible.  Fidel promised free elections in 1959.  Still waiting.

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On October 05, 2007, anders wrote:

cubanpete,

first of all I would like to thank you for the sensible attitude you are taking. As you probably know I have not always been contradicted in that way.

My intentions are very swedish. I firmly believe a substantial and relevent judgement of the problems are fundamental to any reasoning on what to do. Illusions only create misjudgements. If ones understanding is way off the political proposals will all be way off. And I certainly claim many of the ideas proposed on this blogg are completely ludicrous. It can never be neither mine nor anyone elses ideals that determin what is right for the cubans. Only their judgement counts and then we must recognise what they actually are doing.

Of course you are right when you say democracy means the ability of the governed to change everything including the executive branch ! This is selfevident to me. But what does that mean in practical politics and in relation to Cuba ?
I strongly disapprove of refering to the cuban government as a “regime”. They are duely elected, constitutional and with massive public support. Their constitution was approved in a general referendum 31 years ago. This is certainly not the same thing as stating everyone is happy with everything. This is not the case. People are discontent with many things but they certainly approve of the Poderes Populares system of selfgoverning.

And this again is not the same thing as them being happy with everything the PCC stands for. But being able to separate the PCC from the Poderes Populares is fundamental in understanding how their system works. People who do not understand this ought to maintain a position of outmost humility !

One must understand ordinary cubans make a clear difference in between their political system of self governing and specific policies. They do not view the political system as closed in the way often claimed here. Debates on increased market mechanisms have been present for decades. Many are strongly discontented with the remaining poverty, no surprice there, and that is also the most important explanation why about 200 000 citizens have left the country during the last 30 years.
And all policies with the exception of the defence of their country are up for debate. I have witnessed this myself several times although I´m a citizen of a country that has taken idiotic stands towards Cuba for some years due to our membership in the EU. I myself would not accept the type of criticism I have witnessed. When people refer to USpaid oddballs as “the opposition” they clearly prove they don´t understand one bit !
I have truely found the cubans to be very openminded and self critical. When others state the opposit I emidiately wonder how they behave when they visit the country.

Back to your objection. The assembly of their governing bodies change with about 1/3 every election which means most politicians with the exception of a small group of local heroes are exchanged within every 7 1/2 years. The influence of the mass movements on the politicians are enormous since noone will be nominateed who hasn´t done their public duty in the unions, womens league, the CDRs asf. The social and civil demands on their politicians I would say are higher than those of my own country. And I can make the comparison, believe me ! How would you like being forced by law to have an open house at your home every wendsday night ? Being forced to participate at public account meetings at least twice a month ? And the constituents can sack you whenever they want !

As I see it your objection has no meening unless it is the proposal of overthrowing the present constitution that is the real agenda. And that will not happen because as far as that goes the cubans like what they have.