Cuba’s Local Elections

Elio Delgado Legón

eleccionesHAVANA TIMES — Local elections take place in Cuba every two and a half years for delegates to the Municipal Assembles, the equivalent of city councilors in other political systems. The most recent vote took place on Sunday April 19 with runoffs on April 26.

Once these Assemblies are formed, the members elect one of themselves to become President and another to become Vice-President (Mayor and Deputy Mayor), who then serve two and a half year terms, in all of the country’s municipalities.

A friend suggested that I should refrain from writing that these elections are the world’s most democratic; however, after sitting down and thinking long and hard about it, I came to the conclusion that, if they are not the most democratic, they are at least one of the most democratic, and I say that for several reasons:

1.- No political party tells us the candidates we should vote for. Neighborhood residents propose their own candidates and then they decide on who to vote for.

2.- You don’t need money to be elected in any election, not in the municipal nor in the national elections, and there are no election campaigns, which are normally quite expensive.

3.- If at any time, the voters feel that their representative is not doing his/her job, they can ask for his/her term to be revoked and can then choose a new representative.

Some people argue that these representatives don’t resolve their district’s problems; but, I ask myself: When and in which political system has a representative or city councilor resolved a neighborhood issue? What the representative does, amongst other activities, is process the problem and communicates the needs of the neighborhood to the corresponding bodies, which are responsible for fixing these problems.

For example, on my block, some street lights were missing, and my representative, who is very efficient, dealt with the Electric Company so that they could replace the lights that were missing. They came and made a note of the situation, however, it took quite a while for them to fix them, because they had to first attend to other areas which were in more desperate need of lights than us. This is an example of what a representative’s job entails, as well as forming part of the Municipal Assembly where they discuss the municipality’s problems and can bring up their needs if need be, which is then included in the municipal budget.

It is also worth remembering the fact that these representatives carry out their role without receiving any pay, although their workplace is obliged by law to facilitate them being able to fulfill their role. Personally, I do believe that they should receive additional remuneration to their normal job salary, because a representative has to put in a lot of effort and they deserve this incentive.

Our democracy could be without doubt improved, such is the way with anything that human kind has created, but it won’t improve by creating political parties and returning to the politicking of yesteryear.

We’ll never return to the past. We have to keep on forward and perfect our socialism in order to make it even more prosperous and sustainable. I feel sorry for those backward thinking minds that dream of bringing capitalism back to Cuba, even though they might not openly admit it.

These last election results send them a clear message: mass participation, with over 90% of valid ballots, means undeniable support for the Revolution and our political system.

3 thoughts on “Cuba’s Local Elections

  • Elio hasn’t changed, his views would be comical if his subject was not so important. He knows perfectly well that in his support for the one party state there is no requirement for a campaign as there is no choice and all the candidates belong to the CPC.
    In Cuba there are elections without permitting selection.
    No change in policy can be envisaged as all those “elected” will follow the party line but people vote as record is maintained of who does so and the essence of the system is conformity. However as a Cuban mother explained to me on April 20 (the day following the municipal elections) she attended to vote but inserted her voting paper leaving it blank. Like all those who insert their voting paper she then received a salute from the two indoctrinated children standing on each side of the box. Mr. Goodrich in his usual ignorance of the reality in Cuba is suggesting that the candidates will represent their electorates not the “party hierarchy”. The latter all adhere to whatever is determined by President Raul Castro Ruz, who we should remember was “elected” by his brother.
    Like so many supporters of theoretical socialism, Mr. Goodrich endeavors to associate the CPC with democracy which to him is democratic centralism the Leninist organizational system with the “party hierarchy” determining everything which is then slavishly followed by ALL party members.
    US citizens have failed to address the faults of their political two party system and will only do so by making major amendments to their constitution. Only a fool would assume that the CPC will permit any change in Cuba – Raul Castro Ruz and his appointed (“elected” by Raul) successor Miguel Diaz-Canel are hard bitten communists. Their concern is POWER and CONTROL.

  • The Cuban electoral system is a sham. Even you must see it. It’s purpose is to keep “certain people” in power with the parliament relegated to rubber stamping all decisions. Certainly we Cubans know it!

    I once again beg the indulgence of Circles Robinson, editor of, for posting a snip-it from his blog. I think he explains it very well:

    …”For 612 seats in the National Assembly of People’s Power there are 612 preselected candidates. For the different Provincial Assemblies of People Power there are a total of 1,269 candidates for 1,269 seats…..Since virtually all decisions are made as executive orders by the Council of Ministers, the parliament is relegated to rubber stamping decisions already made and sometimes already implemented……..Virtually all votes are unanimous and any debates among the members are held behind closed doors. Even an abstention is highly rare. This is to say 612 deputies routinely agree with every executive order passed by the Council of Ministers”

    In your hate of everything that is American you distort reality to fit your fantasy and confir upon the Cuban system a legitimacy it does not have.

  • Here’s what democracy looks like for all US citizens who THINK that their elections are democratic.
    Poder Popular’s rules state that in all municipal (local) elections the candidates must be chosen by the electorate and not strictly by an elitist political party as it is always done in the USA.
    I will not say that the PCC does not infringe upon this rule as I believe they do but given how political systems are frequently corrupted anyway, it is best to have this rule at the outset to ensure that the candidates will represent their electorates and not the party hierarchy .
    The USA has no such system and almost every candidate for office is chosen by a political party consisting of powerful politicians and the very wealthy .
    Perhaps after the USA ends its attempt to crush Cuba and things can normalize , democracy will make some considerable progress in Cuba utilizing the rules of Poder Popular.
    It’s good as written and in normal circumstances, it could set an example of democracy for the world.

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