After holding 97% of the meetings planned at the grassroots level for the popular plebiscite on the Family Code, everything indicates that Cuba's power apparatus is not satisfied with what is happening in those forums where the population is freely expressing its views regarding the aforementioned document.
After a review of the citizens' proposals up to February 20, trends are not going in the direction desired by the authorities, who are banking on the Family Code being approved in line with the terms of the current draft.
At these neighborhood meetings there has been more criticism than statements of support for the Family Code. Aspects related to marriage and the adoption of minors by homosexual couples, as well as surrogate mothers, among others, are the elements most questioned by the population.
In this context, and in an evident sign of impatience, as time seems to be running out, the regime's higher-ups have decided to intervene in the matter: President Miguel Díaz-Canel, in a videoconference held at the Palace of the Revolution, and with the participation by authorities from all over the country, declared that "the Family Code is socialist."
With these words, the leader laid down the law, and the spirit of tolerance towards divergent opinions has been dispelled. From now on, anyone who speaks out against the essence of the bill under discussion shall be considered to be speaking out against the prevailing socialist system on the island, with the political implications that this may entail.
In line with the new governmental strategy, other forums have been announced where the people can go to express their opinions about the Code, with these consisting of workplaces and educational facilities's places where, in general, people are wary of expressing points of view that make the regime uncomfortable.
Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, secretary general of the regime's official Cuban Workers' Central Union (CTC), and Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobielle, both present at the videoconference, immediately announced their organizations' preparations to implement the aforementioned task. In the specific case of the minister, she pointed out that at her organization elementary school students will be involved in discussion of the bill.
As we can see, it is no longer enough for the rulers to apply, in their own way, the much-vaunted "participatory democracy," which consists of taking to the media (television, radio and the written press) only those views that accord with their policies. Now they are taking measures so that their ideas prevail at the grassroots level as well.
Of course, such a strategy is aimed at a well-defined objective: to manipulate public opinion to vote in favor of the Family Code as presented by the regime in the referendum to be held once the National Assembly of Popular Power prepares the final version of the document.
It should not be forgotten that the Castroists are masters at manipulating national public opinion. They already did so in the 2019 plebiscite that "approved" the Constitution of the Republic, when they bombarded citizens at all hours with instructions to vote Yes on the Constitution. They even called a mere reference to a No vote as a "boycott of the plebiscite."
Díaz-Canel, like some incontestable judge at a sporting event, decided to change the rules of the game in such a way that all those are against the Family Code will be considered against socialism.