Democratic Aberration or Amputation of Rights
Democratic Aberration or Amputation of Rights / Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado
Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado, Translator: mlk
A careless vote is a right lost, and indifference in voting the prelude
Jose Marti. "Patria." N.Y. April 16, 1893. "The elections of April 10."
"This past Sunday, October 21, municipal elections were held in Cuba."
To foreigners who don't know or don't follow our affairs, this might
look like encouraging news; but for truly democratic Cubans this is the
same staging with the same actors from the single party. I remember that
since 1976, when this government created its first Constitution — its
Magna Carta — and began conducting elections, every time election day
came, the ballots were "generously" brought to the elderly "so as not to
bother them" with having to go to the polling place. Although the Cuban
Constitution states that voting is not compulsory, the leaders of the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) of each block knocked
on the doors of his neighbors — in all certainty, an insistence — and
encouraged them to vote early. There was also an "ideologically healthy"
competition between the CDR presidents to finish this "revolutionary
task" the soonest. It was natural to see them associating, looking at
the relationships of their 'charges' who hadn't yet exercised their
vote, to go 'affectionately' pressure them to do so.
I don't know if this custom is still practiced, because today there is
less enthusiasm surrounding the CDR and its block-level managers have
lowered the pressure on citizens in this sense. They are advised by the
harsh reality that surrounds us, but also 'observed' by the 'diligent'
ruling class as always, which doesn't want to move towards democracy so
the "pedestal" of their privileges isn't lost. Everyone knows that those
who are reliable or support the interests of the party will
"accidentally" be chosen by society for different positions. Looking at
who dedicates time to training the people to participate in these
elections, for the final counts — and narratives — and we see it will be
those who say "you, yes", "you, no", and "Alarcon is going to continue
to be the President of the National Assembly" — the so-called Cuban
Parliament — because the people "willed it" so.
Rafa and I enjoyed our quiet Sunday with our family because we hadn't
planned anything for that day, because for years we'd resolved not to
play the regime's game nor participate in its bizarre elections. When
there exists multiple parties in our country, and each can put forward a
candidate with his own program of government without being limited or
determined to be "revolutionarily integrated", then we will be among
those who awaken early to exercise this right so as not to treat it
"carelessly" as Marti suggested, and to not again promote "by voters'
indifference" the prelude to despots. But while a democratic landscape
does not exist in Cuba, those of us who love democracy and have freedom
of conscience shouldn't play the dictator's games.
Translated by mlk
October 24 2012