In Cuba, the Party Doesn’t Need Elections

Yusimi Rodriguez

HAVANA TIMES, Mar 15 — It’s a good thing there are people who remind us that Cuba’s political system is organized in such a manner that there’s no need for parties, campaigning or money to win an election.

Yet others might argue that there’s only one political party in Cuba that has a chance of taking part in elections and therefore there’s no need for campaigning, political advertising or money.

But they’re making a serious mistake. The Communist Party of Cuba (or “the Party,” so as not to be redundant and to save on words) isn’t a traditional political party created for electoral purposes. Nor does it need to involve itself in elections.

When a specific political party is the “highest leading force over society and the state” — as established in Article 5 of our constitution — it needn’t present itself in elections. When that party is the entity that organizes and guides the efforts toward the goal of building socialism and progressing toward a communist society, it needn’t involve itself in electoral processes.

It’s true that many Cubans still have trust in the Party, and that those who have ceased trusting it for some time trust the unknown even less. But why take a risk?

Why allow Cubans who don’t feel represented by the Party to have the right to organize around another party? Why allow citizens who oppose the government to use the media to address the people?

Voting in Cuba. Photo:

But there exists one undeniable fact: the Party doesn’t propose candidates to the municipal, provincial or the national assembly, with this latter being the highest legislative branch of state power (the same state whose highest and leading power is the Party).

Any citizen can nominate a candidate or be nominated as a candidate to a legislative assembly, which constitutes the best sign of democracy in the world (according to some), or at least the amount of democracy to which we Cubans can aspire.

We can’t aspire to create a political party; we can’t aspire to freedom of speech or the press, except within the framework of socialism, but anyone can be elected to the National Assembly of Popular Power.

However, does this body include those who disagree with the government and wish to propose reforms such as freedom of the press and the freedom to organize political parties? Does it also include those who disagree with socialism?

Personally, if tomorrow the opposition political parties, which already exist, were to receive legal recognition and there existed the freedom to create other parties, I would applaud such a circumstance because this would be acknowledging a legitimate right of citizens. And I would be exercising my legitimate right, as a citizen, to not belong to any of them.

But let’s face it, for the time being the only existing party in Cuba has no electoral role, unlike the traditional parties in other countries that spend outrageous sums of money and deploy an entire political apparatus to win elections.

In Cuba, it doesn’t matter to the Party who is elected to the municipal, provincial or national assembly (unless a constituency proposes a politically incorrect candidate).

Therefore all of us enjoy the right to vote. Because that is precisely what we do: vote. Choosing is a different matter.

By the way, who appointed our current president? The previous president.

We simply vote, not as an obligation but as a legitimate right. And since citizens are monitored to ensure that they exercise their rights, anyone who hasn’t exercised their right on voting day will be sought out at their home to make sure that they do


5 thoughts on “In Cuba, the Party Doesn’t Need Elections

  • i propose an american style presidential election for cuba. 2 trillion dollars is being spent in this presidential election to ensure that the public is well informed and that the best candidate will win. that`s $2,000,000,000,000. i only have 1 question. if mitt romney wins will the bald eagle on the presidential seal be replaced by a vulture? 2 trillion is about 18 times the cuban economy per annum if you use purchasing price parity and not gross domestic product numbers.

  • What did George Washington say about political “faction” (i.e. political parties)? That they promoted graft, corruption and a host of other evils. (Of course Washington–and others for that matter–also had their own blemishes, beginning with being slave-owners!) Who was it who said, “Everyone within the Church. Outside the Church, the outer darkness.” etc. Diogenes? Perhaps the byword should, as in an old lefty satirical song, be “assemble your faction for independent action,” and all reasonale–read socialist–factions should be allowed within the Party. At least that policy would invigorate the Party. Actually, I can remember when local–read Miami–city council elections were non-partisan (circa the 1940’s and 1950’s), and politics were not nearly as corrupt then, as now. In “The “People’s Republic of Vermont,” where I now live, the state is small enough that PAC money doesn’t make much difference. Up until a few years ago–LOL–we didn’t even have photos on our state driver’s licenses. When asked why by out-of-staters, I always stated that such photo i.d.’s were not needed since, “in Vermont we all know each other!” Sadly, this is no longer true, and we too, must now have photos on our operator’s license.


  • Yusimi ,
    An excellent explanation of what the PCC is and isn’t.
    A question; I know Fidel asked that Raul be his replacement but did not Raul’s appointment have to be put in place by the sitting Council and then approved by the entire National Assembly?
    It sounds as if Fidel walked off and handed Raul the keys to his office with no participation by the organs of Poder Popular.

    Good post Grady and nicely explained
    Poder Popular is an excellent system but the ossification at the upper levels of the PCC and the elected government needs fixing so that PP can operate from the bottom up in the democratic fashion that true socialism is supposed to . I just don’t see how a multi-party system could change anything since you still have the same people and the same problems and PP working in the municipal-provincial-national manner that it does would still subject any changes to the same filtration processes that have stymied reform so far.
    If I’m missing something and if you could address this I’d appreciate it.

    Mark G.
    The parties that oppose socialism would be easy to spot because the members would have U.S currency hanging out of their pockets as they do now.

  • How would you propose to exclude parties that oppose “socialism” from contesting Cuban elections? Have some sort of socialism purity test?

  • Article 5 of the Cuban Constitution is a serious error. It should be amended to allow political parties that support socialism, but that propose minor and major revisions to the strategic national plan for socialist construction.

    Parties that might oppose socialism however should not be permitted in these times, because Cuba is under constant attack by the forces of imperialism. These forces are at work in Cuba, as they are in other countries of Latin America. Any person who does not understand this is missing an important factor in the debate regarding political parties under socialist state power.

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