Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cuba's So Called Election

Fidel Castro, ailing dictator of Cuba, is praising his country's bogus elections, which are being held this weekend with such fanfare. Writing in Granma, the Communist Party of Cuba's official newspaper, Castro criticizes American elections as only for the rich and--get this-- unfair. Castro writes:

Our elections are the antithesis of those held in the United States, not on Sundays but on the first Tuesday of November. Being very rich or having the support of lot of money is what matters the most there. Huge amounts are later on invested in publicity, specialized in brain washing and the creation of conditioned reflexes.

Having more than 90 per cent of all citizens voting in the elections and school children guarding the ballots is an unheard of experience; it’s hard to believe that this occurs in one of the “dark corners of this world”, a harassed and blockaded country named Cuba. That is how we exercise the vigorous muscles of our political awareness.
Cuba's elections--if you want to call them that--are akin to a beauty pageant: the results are fixed and known beforehand. The whole process is a pretensious excercise to legitmatize a totalitarian regime that does not, in all honesty, brook any opposition: it jails dissidents, silences critics and muzzles journalists.

In Cuba, for one thing, there's no such thing as an opposition party because the only party allowed is the Communist Party. There's only one--safe--name on the ballot, and no write-ins are allowed. The United States and the European Union have taken note of this in their criticism of the elections. Cuba poo-poos this by claiming that anyone, not just Communist Party members, can stand for elections.
National Assembly speaker Ricardo Alarcon in a recent interview said Cuban opposition members can run in Cuba's elections as long as they find someone willing to nominate them. Critics, however, say that since nominations have to be sought and voted on in public open-air assemblies, there is no such real freedom to nominate opposition members because those who do could face reprisals from authorities.
A totalitarian state is also a police state. Informing on one another is actively encouraged by the various security services, who are deeply embedded in the lives of every Cuban. It is a regime that rules by fear, nothing more. Yet Cuba still doesn't stop harping about how wonderful their health and education systems, which they claim to be the best in the world. If this is all true, then the Communist Party would win handily in an open and free election, right?

So why don't they. Simply, because the reality does not sqaure with the fantasy being pushed by Castro, and Cubans know this. They will vote for change the first chance they get.