National elections showed a convincing victory for the socialist project of Liberty Island in competition with those who bet on its destruction.
Today, the most unusual man, a legend of Cuba and the whole revolutionary movement of Latin America, Raúl Castro Ruz became an ordinary Cuban at the age of 91. In the municipality of Segundo Frente, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, he had to "fight for the deputy seat" of the 10th convocation of the National Assembly of People's Power (NAPP) of the Cuban Parliament - with the 47-year-old chairman of the Local Economic and Development Commissions, Alender Chaveco Torres. However, the latter is ready to yield without a fight to the commander, he believes that the voice of Raúl Castro is now more important than ever and is the determinant of the Republic's policies.
National elections in Cuba are held every five years, and their importance can hardly be overestimated. In spite of the fact that the legislative body includes such personalities as the President of the Republic himself, high-ranking statesmen, famous scientists, doctors and teachers, artists and athletes, front-rank workers, the National Assembly consists mainly of citizens, unknown outside their settlement, but who by their work and intelligence have made a real contribution to the development of their area.
Former citizens of the former socialist commonwealth have already forgotten the kind of world order where lawmaking was performed by professionals, and not by mere words.
At the first meeting, the new composition will elect the chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of the NAPP, and members of the State Council. Under the new 2019 constitution, deputies choose the president and vice president of the Republic from among themselves, while the prime minister is approved at the suggestion of the elected head of state. The Assembly is a unicameral parliament and the only body in Cuba with both constituent and legislative powers. This has perplexed Cuban opponents for decades, but as Jorge López, then editor-in-chief of the youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde, told me back in the 1980s, "for a small island in the Caribbean, one chamber is enough to solve not only the country's internal problems, but also the geopolitical problems of Latin America and the world." Not much has changed since then, except for the more sophisticated anti-Cuban policies of its northern neighbor.
The election of the 10th convocation of NAPP took place in an atmosphere full of new challenges in the economic, social and political spheres. The old ones, if you can call them that, remain provocations and threats from "Yankee imperialism." Inflation, lack of resources, shortages of essential goods and food, which the state has historically tried to alleviate with a card system and a rationed food basket at controlled prices, difficulties in the national electricity system and marked increases in utility prices, the 60-year economic blockade of the United States and the absence of former Soviet aid have taken a toll on the lives of Cubans.
The consequences of the global financial and economic crisis, exacerbated, it is believed, by the artificially induced Covid-19 pandemic (by the way, Cuba, thanks to its developed health care system, not only coped with the pandemic itself, but also helped others, including European countries, in a very decent manner) became a new affliction.
At the same time, a fairly solid legal foundation has been established: the new 2019 Constitution stipulates that "socialism and the revolutionary socio-political system established by the Constitution are irreversible," and the Communist Party is "the supreme governing force in society and the state."
The CPC continues to rule the country at all levels, the security forces on the island are under strict party control, and the new constitution prohibits discrimination based on gender, race or ethnicity. For example, the family code adopted by referendum last year legalized same-sex marriage, far from being peculiar to Cubans. At the same time, the liberal transgender establishment prohibits them from "picking their noses," accusing the Liberty Island of lacking democracy.
On the eve of the national elections, the United States decided to inflict a nasty blow on the Cuban authorities by reopening the U.S. Consular Office in Havana in January 2023, five years after its closure, offering immigrant visas and luring them with the benefits of "a rich and free life." With this political, propaganda stunt, the Yankees sought to denigrate, or if you prefer, avenge the Cuban people for not kneeling before the most powerful nation in the Western world.
Every day tens of thousands of migrants from Central and South America, and the Caribbean islands flee to the United States, and none of them has the same privileges as Cubans, and none of these countries is even reproached by Washington for violating democracy. Rosa Miriam Elizalde, vice president of the Cuban Union of Journalists, wrote in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada that the U.S. policy of "maximum pressure" on Cuba has only led to "chaos" on its own border. And it's true. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy that had been in effect since President Clinton, under which any Cuban who set foot on U.S. soil, whether on land or on water, had the right to legal status in the United States, followed by citizenship, created big problems for the United States itself and was repealed.
With great difficulty, U.S. "diplomats" manage to gather activists and opponents who, from behind the Straits of Florida, urged via social media not to vote or to deface the ballot papers as a protest against the political system on the island. The National Election Council (NEC) conducted an audit during the campaign. According to NEC chairwoman Alina Balceiro, the results were "very positive and only 1 percent of the 23,468 polling places were problematic."
In this context, the key point for friends and enemies of Liberty Island was turnout.
On Monday morning, March 27, Balceiro reported that preliminary figures show that 6,164,876 Cubans out of 8,120,072 registered voters, or 75.92 percent of the electoral roll, exercised their right to vote. About 90.28% of the ballots cast in the ballot boxes were valid. "Blank" ballots were 6.22% of the total, and those cancelled were 3.50%.
Among the total number of valid votes cast, 72.10% were votes for all and 27.90% were selective. "Preliminary results confirm the election of 470 deputies to the supreme body of state power," said Alina Balceiro.
"The table is set," Cubans say of a resolved matter. "The hard core" - the vast majority of the Cuban population - demonstrated in March 2023 loyalty to Cuba's historic choice - the project of Fidel and Raúl Castro. The 10th convocation of the National Assembly of People's Power will focus primarily on overcoming the difficult economic and social situation in the country. "This is a vote in defense of the revolution, in defense of socialism," said Miguel Diaz-Canel, President of the Republic of Cuba and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. The election was declared valid.