Opponents Lose Local Elections in Cuba

Voting.  Photo: juventudrebelde.cu
Voting. Photo: juventudrebelde.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Two Cuban dissidents out of a total of more than 27,000 candidates nationwide, who ran to become neighborhood representatives in Cuba’s local elections on Sunday, were not elected, announced the candidates themselves, reported dpa news.

Hildebrand Chaviano, a 65-year-old lawyer, and Yuniel Lopez, a 26-year-old member of the banned opposition group “Partido Cuba Independiente y Democrática,” said they both came in second in their respective constituencies.

Unable to campaign by law, Chaviano and Lopez, were described as “counterrevolutionaries” in official biographies offered by the authorities as they aspired to be among the more than 12,000 new delegates to the Popular Assemblies of People’s Power.

“I am out of the race,” Chaviano told dpa in a conversation after learning the first ballot count in his central Havana neighborhood of the Plaza de la Revolución municipality.

However, Chaviano felt that he got a “significant amount” of support from the 138 people who gave him their vote, according to figures received from the authorities. Chaviano said there appeared to be no voting irregularities.

Lopez, however, who aspired to be a delegate in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality in south-central Havana, believes there were irregularities at his polling station in the cancellation of several ballots in her favor as well as the “campaign against him” in the days leading up to the vote. According to her testimony, the voters of his district were warned not to vote for her.

The unusual candidacies of the two opponents came amid the process of restoring diplomatic relations initiated by the United States and Cuba four months ago.

In the one page biographies posted with a small photo in the weeks before the elections, the Cuban authorities described Chaviano and Lopez as “counterrevolutionaries” with ties to anti-government organizations abroad.

The candidates to be delegates, with a chance to become members of the municipal assemblies, are selected in neighborhood committee meetings and are then subjected to a vote on election day. Cuban law bans campaigning and the participation of political parties. The short biographies are the only information posted about the candidates.

The island is governed for over half a century ago by a one-party system with the Communist Party as the only authorized political party. Some eight million Cubans were called to the polls Sunday to elect 12,589 municipal delegates for the next two and a half years among 27,379 nominees nationwide.

A second round of voting takes place on April 26 in those constituencies where no candidate received more than 50 percent support.

15 thoughts on “Opponents Lose Local Elections in Cuba

  • April 20, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    did you not read the article?

  • April 20, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    You failed to note that the voters in the neighborhood where these candidates were on the ballot were visited by Castro thugs and intimidated.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Apparently you didn’t read the post. It is about local elections in CUBA. No reasonable person would argue that the electoral system in the US is perfect. Far from it. But if you think the Castro – run system is better, that’s idiotic. For goodness sakes, they can’t even campaign! Not that it matters since the ballot boxes are rigged. As INFORMED CONSENT mentions in another post on Cuban elections, the truth appears less important to you. You seem to hate the US and therefore even the Castros best friends, the North Koreans, are likely a better bet for you. Simply idiotic.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Local Cuban elections are more democratic. Through the tumb-nail bios of the candidates the electorate does have a better idea of who is running, and why.
    When Miami had non-partisan voting for local offices, back in the 1950’s and before, politics were a lot cleaner; now candidates there don’t see the light of day unless they sell their souls for big bucks to the special real estate and development interests. This just reflects what’s happened on the national level–and the Supreme Court’s “Citizens’ United” decision put the final nail in the coffin of AmeriKKKan democracy–where BILLIONS (not mere millions) are pumped into the national and state races, especially in the most populous states. I don’t think Bernie Sanders can make a serious run for the presidency, since his “war chest” only contains 1.5 million $$$. Meanwhile, Hillary can already count several BILLION in Wall Street contributions. The Wall Streeters, of course, will hedge their bets by contributing to both Republicans and “the right sort of” Democrats. Fortunately, on the local level, and especially in smaller states such as my own (Vermont) money isn’t everything, and progressives like Sens. Sanders and Leahy, and Congressman Welsh, can still be elected. A few years back a Republican with big bucks tried to buy an election here, but lost. He claimed to be a farmer, but in a local debate a real farmer who was running asked him what a “tedder” was and he didn’t know. That was the beginning of the end of his bid! Don’t waste your time on the presidential candidates in 2016, as they have already been bought and paid for by the multi-national corporations. Instead, concentrate on local and state races.

  • April 20, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Not surprised most Cubans know these mercenaries US money from NED and USAID…. not grassroots unless their roots are Wash DC.

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Isn’t that odd ? counterrevolutionaries allowed on the ballot in Cuba, while at the same time, the Communist Party is outlawed in US backed Ukraine, where dissidents and journalists have a recent propensity to end up dead.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Well it was already a miracle they got on the ballot.

    No “gerrymandering” as was needed in the case of Sirley Ávila León needed here.

    Just old fashioned defamation by loading the CV’s and intimidation by visits of the CDR to voters.
    All with a nice “act of repudiation” at the end.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:38 am

    The ballot in Cuba is secret as it is in the US.
    The Cuban people are free to not vote, cast a blank ballot or a defaced ballot if they fear not being seen voting by their CDR.
    Those running in opposition to a government that is under economic siege by the U.S. whose systems these opposition figures support , naturally receive little support from a population that knows that the U.S. systems are criminal and immoral based on their own experience.
    Imagine Bernie Sanders, who professes socialist beliefs and who serves as a senator from Vermont running for office as a socialist rather than as an independent as he does.
    He’d never get elected.
    Similarly , in Cuba, someone running as a supporter of systems that are antithetical to Cuba’s anti-imperialist, anti free-enterprise historical and well-supported positions, just has no chance of being popularly supported.
    It must not be forgotten by the eternal critics of Cuba that these opponents were freely nominated by people in their districts as this nomination by the electorate is standard practice under Poder Popular and also something to be remembered this is something that is never done in the less democratic U.S. where the political parties’ elites…. and not the electorate….. select those for whom we get to vote.
    Under the current economic war conditions, any discussions of electoral processes in Cuba must include the negative effects of the embargo on daily life and elections in Cuba to be objective .
    This was not done by the author and neither were the positions that were taken by these opposition figures laid out which, on their face, for obvious reasons , would have cost them the votes needed to win.
    These were nominees to a Municipal Assembly and as such, had to be residents and as such, had to have positions that were known to their neighbors and friends . It would not be necessary for the Cuban authorities to tell the district’s electorate of their failings in order to affect the voting.
    Where am I incorrect here ?

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