Unlike political systems that ensure that their parliamentary assemblies resemble their electorates, the Cuban system seeks to make the electorate end up resembling the National Assembly. That is, it strives for the electorate to ape its assembly, with its unanimous votes, and for their votes to serve the requirements of the single party. In other words, it seeks for voters to act like the National Assembly, which takes its orders from PCC leadership.
This is the same old scheme as always, now approved in the new Constitution, and the one advanced in the recently completed referendum, in which voters were expected to vote "Yes" on the Constitutional reform as unanimously as the deputies of the National Assembly.
Refusing was something for exiles or emigrants. But they were not there, because they do not count in the Cuban elections. Everyone left in Cuba was expected to vote “Yes”, satisfying the wishes of its highest authorities.
To achieve this goal, they resorted to arrests, forced imprisonment, strike forces at polling stations, indiscriminate barrages of propaganda, zero accommodation of the opposition, blackmail at schools and workplaces and, above all, an electoral system that is utterly controlled by the regime, and under which any type of irregularity can be perpetrated, as witnessed by independent observers.
It was rough going, however. More difficult than ever, as the repression and propaganda did not prevent the emergence of evidence of how much the Cuban population now diverges from the unanimous National Assembly, ruled by the PCC.
Never before had Cubans refusing to toe the line and vote with the regime campaigned so visibly, despite the repression. There were many Cubans who voted "No," announced that they were going to vote "No," and posted on social media both their identity and their voting intentions. In spite of the paramilitary brigades posted at the polls, citizen observers turned out who do not trust the work of the authorities, or the electoral system itself.
Once the Constitution has been adopted, the authorities will have to govern a people who are overtly discontent, who recognize the promises of official propaganda as lies, and who will not be deterred by State repression. Miguel Díaz Canel is no Fidel Castro, and long gone are the days when victims were appeased by the leader's mere presence. In Regla, after the tornado, the current president's entourage was bombarded with expressions of discontent, and even insults –despite the official denials of this incident. Such is the state of affairs in Cuba today, despite all the repression and the propaganda.