By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – Cuba holds neighborhood elections today to elect local delegates some of whom will make it to the city councils or even become national legislators. At most polling places voters will choose between two or more candidates all swearing to support the national government’s policies.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. Sunday in the 12,515 polling places throughout the country, reported the official Granma newspaper online.
While the Communist Party doesn’t directly nominate the candidates it has served as a shield to prevent any opposition candidates from appearing on the ballots throughout the country. Around 10% of the adult population belongs to the only allowed political party.
Campaigning, considered a vice of western democracies, is not allowed in Cuba nor debates about issues affecting the community, causes and possible solutions. Among those allowed to participate, support for the Castro led government and the economic and political system (“The Revolution”) is a given.
The only reason to choose one candidate over another is who is best qualified to carry out the Party directives and objectives. Those seeking to be a delegate only post their personal qualifications and a mug shot on a few local buildings for voters to make their choice.
A lack of enthusiasm for the elections has grown over the years as the delegates, no matter how well intentioned to address their communities problems, have virtually no power or access to resources.
The representatives file complaints to government ministries and State-run companies and then report back to the constituents that they are still waiting for a positive answer, sometimes several years or decades on. Frustration sets in and for that reason very few people want to take on the volunteer role.
Voting is not obligatory in Cuba but is highly encouraged by the Communist Party and its mass organizations as a show of support for the government and its policies.