Municipal Elections in Cuba
“Vote based on merit and capability.” This is the government propaganda in the final phase of the electoral process, to elect the municipal deputies to renew the local organs of Popular Power. Many slogans but few emotions on the part of the citizenry, in order to be, as the communists say, a democratic process par excellence.
In this process the voters propose, nominate and choose, without intervention by any “party,” their political representatives. Democracy means “government of the people” and this is only realized through the participation of citizens in public affairs.
In that sense Cubans are totally deprived of the means necessary to transform the environment in which they live, nor can they control the activities of the political,economic and administrative organs of the community.
After the election, the only rule in the relation between the delegates and the voters is summarized in the accountability of the former to the latter. The meetings turn into a session of complaints and laments, and agreements in unresolved cases. Especially because local power is totally invalid.
The apathy of the population with respect to these posts is completely visible. To elect or to be elected as a delegate, does not contribute any value in the social life of the community. Nor does it mean that the opinions are taken into account when it is time to make political decisions.
The commitments of the elected are ideological, not toward the needs of the population. Their merits relate to their membership in social and mass organizations and great weight is given to their membership in the Cuban Communist Party.
At the local level, there are no publicly verifiable results, achieved by the community’s delegates, to show. This is influenced to agreat degree by the lack of technical training for the new elected in how to effectively exercise their positions.
In most cases, what happens is that while they are learning, the time comes again to renew the organ. Faced with the inefficiencies, the voters revoke their mandate, equally unnecessary given their short time in office.
Voting every two-and-a-half years, however, is not enough to affirm that there is democracy in Cuba. Principally because the election process does not guarantee the intervention of the population in the public issues that affect them.