Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

18 de Abril del 2000


Pinar del Rio.- Functionaries of the Cuban regime are deeply involved in the process of electing delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of the "People's" Authority. On April 23 the first round will occur. Candidates who do not obtain a majority of the first votes will have to submit themselves to a run-off a week later.

For days newspaper and broadcast media employees have been insisting that voters know candidates' biographies which have been in public places since April 4. They also ask each person to verify his or her registration in the official voting rolls. Such insistence has to do with most people’s indifference in processes like this. Many people still do not know who the candidates are they must choose April 23. Few show any interest in knowing the candidates.

Said a neighbor who told me she could not name a single candidate from her zone, "I'll go that day and place an X for anyone."

“To me Juana is the same as her sister," was the answer of a friend, making a small joke when he was asked whom he would vote for.

Authorities’ insistence on getting the maximum turnout at the voting places has been such that the members of the electoral colleges were forced to visit voters between April 1 and 6. In some cases the demands reached the extreme of trying to get even dissidents to go and vote!

"At least attend and deposit a blank ballot," the female head of an electoral college almost begged a dissident couple who are constantly persecuted by State Security agents. "It doesn't matter if you're thinking of leaving the country; that doesn't take away the right." That was her final appeal to try to convince them.

The problem is that when someone hasn't voted, the electoral colleges cannot close. And those who are ahead want to finish as soon as possible and thus get on good terms with the political authorities who monitor the process.

In the case of the previously mentioned critics of the regime, the woman in charge decided to exclude them from the voter roles, thus committing a fraudulent act. The Cuban electoral law decrees that the status of voters is obtained at the government's initiative so no person with the right to vote can be excluded, even when their political position is anti-regime. The previously mentioned official had not kept that in mind.

The current electoral process has had little affect on the broadcast media. The case of the child Elian Gonzalez, the summit of the Group of 77 and the “OCLAE Congress” has left space for only brief comments on the subject. Despite the apathy, the authorities must be convinced that on April 23 the people will go to the polls peacefully.

This strange process in Cuba is called “democracy.”

Orestes Martin Perez, Cuba Free Press.

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