Friday, October 26, 2012

Elections and the future

Cuba’s election process is under way, with the first round of municipal elections completed.  Elections to provincial bodies and to the National Assembly follow.  The National Assembly then selects from its members a Council of State and its president, the country’s chief executive.

Electoral officials report that 7.3 million votes were cast in the first round, of which 4.8 percent were left blank and 4.4 percent were “declared null.”  See Cuban media reports here in English and Spanish.  AP analysis here.

The process lacks suspense, to say the least.  Looking ahead to the round of elections that will follow Raul Castro’s second and final term in 2018, the Catholic lay magazine Espacio Laical editorializes that Cuba should do better, and the Cuban Communist Party must modernize by creating “a new electoral model that can guarantee a greater exercise of popular sovereignty.”

At that moment, the editorial says, the Party “will no longer count on historic leaders of the Revolution who may have, for some social sectors, a certain original legitimacy.”  It’s time to get started now to create a model where votes are “free, secret, and direct,” where “various proposals” are on the ballot, where aspirants may present their platforms to the public, where some candidates may not be Communist Party militants and may have a “different political-ideological vision.”  This task, the editorial argues, is “indispensable to assure the future stability of the nation.”

These issues were the subject of a public forum convened by the Catholic Church, covered here by La Jornada.


Anonymous said...

there are a great many things wrong with the process, not least of which is the construct of maintaining the top. but no american should criticize -- there's more than enough problems with our political system as well. let the cubans work and improve things, as they have been doing with the economy and society. the political aspects may come later, but until the american siege is lifted it will be a harder process

Anonymous said...

It is encouraging that these debates are being allowed to take place in Cuba and even to be communicated to the public through a catholic churrch publication of limited circulation.

That is a sign there is an objective recognition of that the totalitarian society is in crisis and that there is a need for reform even though the Communist Party and the government still haven't decided how to go about it.

The quandary is that a permanent solution to Cuba's problems require the abandonenment of absolute power by the ruling communist party and that the ruling privileged hierarchy does not want to accept this.

They want to have their pie and to eat it at the same time and this of course is impossible.

The existing situation is like trying to square a circle or asking the Pope to give up the claim that Jesus gave the papacy the faculty of making judgments without errors and of condemning living people to hell before death.

The ruling circles want to make reforms that will permit them to hold on to absolute power while reality dictates that reforms be made to get rid of absolute power.

This is the stubborn contradiction that Cuban society faces and you can held debates till all the participants get blue in the face and the issue will not be resolved till society at large decides that existing conditions are unbearable and rises up against them.

The existing debate will continue ad nauseam becoming more and more strident till eventually someday teh social explosion will occur putting and end to it.

Througout history no ruling group has willignly accepted to commit suicide by giving up its privileges and its power.

It has always to be wrested from it by a revolt by society at large.

The debates in Cuba are like the rumbling of a volcano, the foreboding sign that the forces that will cause an eruption and an earthquake are building up in the bowels of society and a sure sign that we can soon expect it.