By: Iroel Sánchez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / March 11, 2018
Cuba has prepared itself “to live without Castro” for several decades through the democratic exercise, mainly because their leadership contributed to build a true democracy of the people, different to what media sells with the same title while hiding everything else.
Photo: The Cuban president, Raúl Castro Ruz, exercises his right to vote.
“Cuba prepares itself to live without Castro” is one of the many versions of headlines that media has been using to describe the electoral process of Cuba; a process which will end on April 19 when the National Assembly chooses a new President, Vice President and members of the Council of State.
The obsession with the surname is old and it achieved severe dimensions at the 90s when “The final hour of Fidel Castro” was announced along the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It continued due to the longevity of the leaders that came from Sierra Maestra and became the focus once again, long after the so-called “final hour”, when Fidel suffered from a severe sickness that would prevent him from his responsibilities as a leader to be replaced by Raúl.
For the Cuban people it is clear that Fidel’s successor didn’t arrive to the presidency for being his brother. Maybe for media it is also clear, since they know that Raúl Castro wasn’t the Revolution’s second in command because of his relationship with Fidel but because he risked his life for his people when he was only 20 years old and taking great risks. Since his participation as a combatant in the assault to the Moncada barracks, his responsibilities grew in prison, exile, or in the expedition of the Granma yacht, until he built enough trust to lead the Second Guerrilla Front in Sierra Maestra, and from 1959 and on, lead the Armed Forces that allowed Cuba to resist the biggest spectrum of threats and aggressions carried on by the United States.
Against any forecast, Raúl lead Cuba for 12 years with a favorable consensus, pushed forward the necessary changes to adapt the country to new realities and created the necessary conditions so that new generations can arrive to political positions in order to successfully face the challenges of the country.
The electoral process started on September with the direct nominations of the candidates to the Municipal Assembly by the citizens, who were later elected on November 26, and it ended with the people’s election on March 11. Those delegates -nominated and elected by the people without intermediaries- have the power of conforming the lists that the voters will choose, something that only political parties can do in other countries.
The Cuban electoral system isn’t perfect but the problems that haunted the electoral process before 1959 (political corruption, fraud, failure to fulfill pledges, etc) are absent in Cuba. Propaganda and campaign promises are banned in the Cuban elections, as it also happens with money; the scrutiny is public in every electoral college, the urns are guarded by scholars, the Communist Party doesn’t nominate, and the elected candidates must go through an evaluation process every six months at every level.
This is a system created and improved under the leadership of Fidel Castro and that has its roots in Jóse Marti’s ethics, not in the regimes of soviet socialism. The Cuban electoral system was corrected in 1992 and it will be improved in the same way with a new Electoral Law that has been announced and which will see the light before 2021, when the VIII Congress of the Communist Party will happen.
Unlike other countries, in Cuba, democracy isn’t synonymous with elections. The trade unions, student and women organizations, have systematic debates and processes of renovation where the problems that affect them are treated and presented to the government. Trade union and student leaders participate with voice and vote in the Directive Councils of the entities that go from work and study centers to the ministries by law.
If we count all this democratic exercise, Cuba has been preparing for decades “to live without Castro”, mainly because their leadership contributed to build a really a democracy of the people, different to what media sells with the same title while hiding everything else.