Yoani Sanchez speaks on Cuban Elections

Cubans Demand a Direct and Secret Ballot to Elect Their President
14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Panama, 7 March 2015

Cuban election ballot

Ballot for Election of the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power (Photo: Yoani Sánchez)

A few years ago I asked a friend why he had voted for a candidate he barely knew during the election of delegates to the municipal assemblies. His response at the time was simple and full of wisdom. “I don’t want to get into trouble, it’s not that the ballots are marked,” he warned me slyly. With my face showing how embarrassed I was for him, he immediately declared, “Fine, in the end, voting or not voting, it isn’t going to change anything.”

My friend’s comments highlighted two of the most serious limitations of the current mechanisms for electing the people’s representatives. On the one hand, the little confidence that Cuban voters have in the secrecy of the process, and on the other hand, the inability of the candidates elected to influence the direction of the nation. Two of the aspects most mentioned in a forum about the electoral system just held on the digital site of the government newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth).

The discussion occurred during the days when a citation was put under my door to participate in the elections for the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power. A piece of gray paper, which most of my neighbors received with the reluctance of a formality that doesn’t influence nor relieve the serious problems they face every day. Many of them will go to vote like automatons, just like during past elections, and with the same lack of faith in the process.

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