Elections in Cuba.

Main Page Elections Electoral Law IACHR Report

Archive search on election or eleccion

The UN's assessment of the so called elections is correct:
 "the electoral process is so tightly controlled that the final phase, the voting itself, could be dispensed with without the final result being substantially affected"

See: E/CN.4/1998/69



For the local elections candidates are nominated in open meetings run by the CDR (Committees to Defend the Revolution) [1] that are closely linked to police and security forces. They report and sanction dissent. Prison terms of 4 years threaten those that openly oppose the regime [2] in that public meeting filled with informants. People not supporting can be threatened with losing their home [3], job, ....

These "candidates" then are to be approved by "electoral committees" stuffed with representatives of the
communists front organizations (see the Cuban electoral law) [4]
For national elections the local "elected candidates" at the local level can "select" candidates from a restricted list drawn up by the communist front organizations [5].

And then for the results result:
PCC 94.39%; seats - PCC 601

and even in 2005 for the local elections: 78% of "candidates" member of the communist party:

Just a "coincidence" I guess.

[2]  Repressive laws in Cuba.
1.. Article 144, which defines the crime of desacato, or "disrespect." It
states that anyone who threatens, slanders, defames, insults, harms or in
anyway outrages or offends, verbally or in writing, the dignity or honor of
an authority, public official, or their agents or auxiliaries, in the
exercise of their functions or because of them can be imprisoned for between
three months and one year or fined or both. If the act of disrespect is
directed at the head of state or other senior officials the penalty is a
prison term from one to three years.
  2.. Articles 208 and 209, which define the crime of asociación ilícita, or
"illicit association." These articles state that anyone belonging to an
unregistered association can be fined or imprisoned for between one and
three months. The promoters or leaders of such an association can be fined
or imprisoned for between three months and a year. Anyone who participates
in illegal meetings or demonstrations can be fined or imprisoned for between
one and three months. The organizers of illegal meetings or demonstrations
can be fined or imprisoned for between three months and a year.
  3.. Article 103, which defines the crime of propaganda enemiga, or "enemy
propaganda." It states that anyone who incites against the social order,
international solidarity or the socialist state by means of verbal, written
or any other kind of propaganda, or who makes, distributes or possesses such
propaganda, can be imprisoned from between one to eight years. Anyone who
spreads false news or malicious predictions likely to cause alarm or
discontent among the population, or public disorder, can be imprisoned from
between one and four years. If the mass media are used, the sentence can be
from seven to fifteen years in prison.
  4.. Article 207, which defines the crime of asociación para delinquir, or
"associating with others to commit crimes." It states that if three or more
persons join together in a group to commit crimes, they can be imprisoned
for between one and three years, simply for meeting together. If the only
objective of the group is to provoke disorder or interrupt family or public
parties, spectacles or other community events or to commit other anti-social
acts, the penalty is a fine or a prison sentence of between three months and
one year.
  5.. Article 115, which defines the crime of difusión de falsas informaciones 
contra la paz internacional, or "dissemination of false information against international peace."
It states that anyone who spreads false news with aim of disturbing international peace or putting 
in danger the prestige or credit of the Cuban State or its good relations with another
state can be imprisoned for between one and four years.
  6.. Article 143, which defines the crime of resistencia, or "resistance."
On occasion, the crime is referred to as desobediencia, or "disobedience."
It states that anyone who resists an official in the exercise of his duties
can be imprisoned for between three months and a year or fined. If the
official is trying to apprehend a criminal or someone who has escaped from
prison, the penalty is a prison term from two to five years.
  7.. Articles 72-90, which define the crime of peligrosidad, or
"dangerousness." These articles come under the heading, "The Dangerous
Status and Security Measures," a section of the Penal Code under which
someone can be sentenced for up to four years in prison on the grounds that
the authorities believe the individual has a "special proclivity" to commit
crimes, even though he or she might not have actually committed a crime.
These articles broadly define "dangerous" people as those who act in a
manner that contradicts "socialist morality" or engage in "anti-social
behavior." Moreover, Article 75 provides for an "official warning" to people
the authorities deem to be in danger of becoming "dangerous," i.e., those
who are not yet "dangerous" but who are regarded as having criminal
tendencies because of their "ties or relations with people who are
potentially dangerous to society, other people, and to the social, economic
and political order of the socialist State."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concludes that because
of "their lack of precision and their subjective nature," the legal
definitions of "dangerousness" and such terms as "socialist legality" and
"standards of socialist coexistence,"
  constitute a source of juridical insecurity which creates conditions
permitting the Cuban authorities to take arbitrary action.22
In other words, the Penal Code articles which define "dangerousness"
constitute a catch-all mechanism which gives the government the legal
justification for taking any citizen it wants out of circulation. As Human
Rights Watch/Americas stated in October 1995:
  Cubans who engage in "anti-social behavior" or violate "socialist
morality" may be held in preventive detention under the "dangerousness"
provisions of the criminal code for as long as four years, even without
being convicted of a crime.23
According to Pax Christi Netherlands and Amnesty International, there are
clear indications that the crime of "dangerousness" is used as a cover to
imprison people for political reasons on the grounds that they are common
The Penal Code also defines the crime of salida illegal del país, "illegal
exit from country." Under Penal Code Articles 216 and 217, those caught
trying to leave the country without the permission of the government can be
fined or imprisoned for up to three years if they have not used violence and
up to eight years if force or intimidation is used.


[3]  Vote for the communist or ...
On February 1, officials held a public meeting in which they criticized Yero
for not voting for Communist candidates and for not participating in the
local CDR; according to press reports, she received an eviction notice the
following day.
On February 1, 1999, the police and housing officials called her neighbors
to a public meeting, where it appears, they declared that Mrs. Sara Yero had
not voted for Communist Party candidates and did not belong to the local
Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. The next day, Margarita Sara
Yero received a written eviction notice.
Human Rights Watch/Americas, op. cit., World Report 2000, p. 28.
In a few cases, the government used housing regulations to harass independent reporters.
In January 1999, housing authorities in Santiago notified Margarita Sara Yero, the director
of the Turquino Correspondence of the Independent Press Agency of Cuba 
(Agencia de Prensa Independiente de Cuba), that she would be evicted from her home, where 
she had resided for thirty-five years. The officials claimed that she had abandoned her home,
but several neighbors confirmed her residency. 
On February 1, 1999, police and housing officials called her neighbors to a public meeting, 
where they reportedly stated that Yero had not cast votes for Communist Party candidates 
and did not belong to the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution 
(Comité para la Defensa de la Revolución). 
The next day, according to press reports, Yero received a written eviction notice.
Eviction is another less common method of repression used by the authorities to suppress dissidence.
Victims are ordered to leave their homes and reportedly sometimes transferred to crowded shelters for 
the homeless. Amnesty International is concerned that incidents in which eviction is threatened or 
carried out allegedly for political motives or as a means of suppressing freedom of expression, 
association and assembly undermine respect for the principles articulated in article 12 of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 
This article states that ''no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, 
home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation,'' and other related rights.
For example, in August 1999, as well as being temporarily detained, opposition activist 
Ramón Humberto Colás Castillo, was evicted from his home in Las Tunas province, along with his wife, 
Berta Mexidor Vázquez, and their two children.
Ramón Colás and Berta Mexidor, who were both founders of the first independent library in Cuba, had 
lived in their home for 13 years before being told they were illegal occupants. According to Berta Mexidor,
the authorities removed all their belongings into lorries in spite of their protests and told them they were
been moved to another area, some 60 kilometres from their home. 
They were later taken to a military camp where some 300 people were reportedly housed.
According to reports, the family are currently staying with relatives.

In January 1999 Margarita Sara Yero, an independent journalist working for Cuba Press in Santiago
de Cuba province, was reportedly informed that she had to vacate the home where she had lived for 
some 35 years.
The reason given by the authorities was reportedly that she ''had abandoned her home and was 
the owner of another''. Margarita Yero's lawyer then wrote to the Dirección Municipal de Vivienda, 
Municipal Housing Office, with signatures from neighbours confirming that she had never abandoned her home. 
However, on 2 February 1999 she reportedly received a reply to the letter stating that she would be evicted
on 4 February 1999. Due to help from various local organizations and a statement by an old friend who confirmed 
that she had been living in that place since 1963, the eviction was not carried out.
[4]  Cuban "electoral law"
Cuba: Ley Electoral de 1992
Artículo 30.- Las Comisiones electorales de Circunscripción tienen las
funciones siguientes:
  1.. establecer en su territorio, las áreas de nominación de candidatos a
delegados a la Asamblea Municipal del Poder Popular, conforme a las reglas
dictadas por la Comisión Nacional Electoral y someterlas a la aprobación de
la respectiva Comisión Electoral Municipal;
  2.. organizar, dirigir y presidir las asambleas de nominación de
candidatos a Delegados a las Asambleas Municipales del Poder Popular;
  3.. elaborar la lista de los candidatos de su circunscripción electoral a
Delegados a la Asamblea Municipal del Poder Popular y verificar que éstos
reúnen los requisitos establecidos;
  4.. circular y exponer en murales, en lugares públicos, las fotografías y
biografías de los candidatos;
  5.. participar en la elaboración de la lista de electores por cada Colegio
Electoral con la cooperación de la Comisión Electoral Municipal y de las
organizaciones de masas;
  6.. hacer pública la lista de electores de cada Colegio;
  7.. resolver las exclusiones e inclusiones de cualquier persona en el
registro de electores, según proceda, luego de consultar con la Comisión
Electoral Municipal; y subsanar los errores que se adviertan en las
  8.. someter a la aprobación de la Comisión Electoral Municipal la
ubicación de los Colegios Electorales en la circunscripción;
  9.. garantizar que los Colegios Electorales estén oportunamente ubicados y
acondicionados, y divulgar su localización;
  10.. designar a los miembros de las Mesas de los Colegios Electorales de
su circunscripción, cuidando que éstos sean electores de la misma;
  11.. expedir las credenciales correspondientes a los Presidentes y demás
miembros de las Mesas designados en los Colegios Electorales de su
  12.. garantizar la ejecución de los escrutinios en los Colegios
Electorales, de acuerdo con lo dispuesto en esta Ley;
  13.. realizar el cómputo final de la votación cuando exista más de un
Colegio Electoral en la circunscripción;
  14.. hacer público el resultado de la votación;
  15.. informar a la Comisión Electoral Municipal cuanto se solicite sobre
el proceso electoral;
  16.. rendir informe final del desenvolvimiento del proceso electoral
celebrado en su circunscripción a la Comisión Electoral Municipal
correspondiente dentro de los tres ( 3 ) días siguientes a su terminación;
  17.. cualquier otra que les sean atribuidas por la Comisión Electoral
Municipal o la Asamblea Municipal del Poder Popular correspondiente de
acuerdo con las disposiciones de esta Ley y de la Comisión Electoral
Artículo 68.- Las Comisiones de Candidaturas se integran por representantes
de la Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, de los Comités de Defensa de la
Revolución, de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas, de la Asociación Nacional
de Agricultores Pequeños, de la Federación Estudiantil Universitaria y de la
Federación de Estudiantes de la Enseñanza Media, designados por las
direcciones nacionales, provinciales y municipales respectivas, a solicitud
de las Comisiones Electorales Nacional, Provinciales y Municipales.
En el caso que una de las organizaciones de masas carezca de representación
en algún municipio se designará un representante por la dirección provincial
Artículo 69.- Las Comisiones de Candidaturas son presididas por un
representante de la Central de Trabajadores de Cuba.


[5] Communist front organizations only can "nominate" national "candidates"
From the website of a Canadian admirer of workers'"democracy" under Stalin and an 
apologist of the Stalinist regime:
The various mass organizations - unions, students' and women's federations,
etc. - play an active role in the nomination of candidates. In each
municipality, they will conduct a candidate search and present their
recommendations to the Municipal Assembly who may accept or reject any or
all of them by a secret vote.
Cuba's justice minister, Roberto Díaz Sotolongo, the National Assembly also
has the authority to accept or reject any prospective candidates for public
office.56 Given the heavy hand of the government in the electoral process,
and the absence of any choice, the constitutional provision that the
National Assembly "represents and expresses the sovereign will of the
people" rings hollow. (from:  Human Rights Watch interview with Justice
Minister Roberto Díaz Sotolongo, New York, June 11, 1998.


Main Page