Luis Rondón Paz
HAVANA TIMES — The first phase of Cuba’s “parliamentary elections” – the electoral mechanism created by the Cuban government more than 30 years ago – are around the corner (April 19th) and, in the midst of the media spectacle calling on us to “vote for Cuba,” I asked myself the following question:
“What Cuba will I be voting for?”
I want to vote for values and guarantees that stand for real, equitable rights, a country where citizens enjoy these rights and do not feel excluded or discriminated against for any reason. I write this as a complement to the statements by Cuban President Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas held in Panama.
I want to vote to rebuild a Cuba where, under the law, no privileges will exist, and the law will be applied to everyone equally under all circumstances – no matter what position the person holds within the government, military, public administration or any other sector of Cuba’s State and civil society. I also want to vote for a country where human rights are inalienable for all citizens, not an empty and opportunistic discourse which, in practice and throughout history, has served to exclude and marginalize people for thinking, living and loving differently than the alleged majority, which passively obeys the hegemonic canons imposed by power.
I want to vote for government representatives who will help collectively implement policies in favor of minorities such as gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersexuals and queers (the LGBTIQ community), and who will establish legal mechanisms that guarantee real protection against verbal and physical aggression stemming from intolerance towards sexual orientations and gender identities. Such mechanisms must also deal with other forms of discrimination, such as those having to do with background, educational level, gender and skin color, attributes that are interconnected and intrinsic to the human species.
I believe it is important for Cuban society to equip itself with a legal system capable of punishing those who discriminate against others, and who exclude and attack sectors like those I mentioned above. I believe these proposals should be incorporated into the Cuban penal code with a view to guaranteeing a judicial system that is more efficient than the current one. This would make evident the Cuban government’s commitment to implement a social system where human rights are respected, on the basis of universality, inalienability and interdependence, preventing these be used to serve the interests of institutions or the ruling elite.
I will vote for a society that looks towards the future, ready to accept and respect the new paradigms and realities of the modern world, where two people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can freely exercise their right to love and announce how happy they are about the life they chose openly. To ensure this, these tenets must be reflected by Cuba’s legislation explicitly. This would make clear that the government isn’t interested in people’s private lives and that it is focused on building a peaceful society and in impelling the development of the nation.
I want to vote for Cuba and imagine it as a place of participation, democracy and prosperity, where social justice and equity become more than a slogan. And I want to feel that, when I exercise my right to vote, there is hope I can help build the nation of my dreams, the dreams many people likely share with me: a place where everyone can feel safe, stable, strong and proud to be what they are, without fear of exclusion or discrimination. This way, we could bask in the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel.
I want to vote for that Cuba, the one that embodies all of these dreams, because they will make for a fairer, more equitable nation that is more in step with the tenets of its social project.