One of the most often repeated assertions about the Cuban electoral system is that the candidates don’t campaign because, given that they don’t represent any party nor present any platform, it is enough to show, through their biographies, that they are capable of representing their constituents.
Following this hypothesis, it is understood that this lady, who would like the parliament to approve an economic opening that would favor the creation of small family businesses, should vote for the candidate whose biography reports that she has completed two international missions, has a degree in biology, and holds the title of “Hero of Labor.” By the same token, the homosexual who would like same sex marriage to be approved, will vote for the public health administrator with an associate degree in economics who has participated in all the vaccination campaigns and spent twelve years as a leader in the zone’s Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
The young university student, who would like to see immigration restrictions eliminated, will know that the person who will defend that position in the debates of the Assembly of Popular Power will surely be the promising economist who manages a joint-venture tourism company, and who is a Party militant and a founder of the Federation of Cuban Woman.
The architects of the media campaign against the Revolution tried to convince the Cuban people that, before voting, the electors should know what the candidates think about the issues that could eventually be discussed in parliament; they want to make them believe that reading a summary biography is insufficient to know whether the internationalist supports the market or a planned economy, or whether the CDR leader is homophobic or tolerant, or if the tourism company businesswoman would like to leave the immigration laws alone or vote to change them.
So in our elections we don’t need campaigns, because we all know that those who raise their hands to vote in our name will never find themselves in a situation to disapprove anything that has been proposed. What is certain is that we do not know what those delegates believe on any particular issues, and what is no less certain is that they do not know what we think. How would they?
Yesterday, Sunday, I studied at length the biographies of the two candidates in my constituency. I could not deduce from the information offered if one of them would plead for the release of the political prisoners, nor if they would do something to promote freedom of expression and association. Then I went home to wait for another opportunity in which I might vote for someone who wants to change things.