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An independent Cuban candidate wins the nomination for the upcoming municipal 'elections'

José Antonio Cabrera Parada has already been visited by the political police, warns the Council for a Democratic Transition in Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba
José Antonio Cabrera Parada, a candidate in Cuba?s municipal 'elections'.
José Antonio Cabrera Parada, a candidate in Cuba?s municipal 'elections'. Courtesy of the Council for a Democratic Transition in Cuba

A Cuban not affiliated with the Government will be a candidate in the municipal "elections" to be held next Sunday, November 27, after winning the nomination in the 55th district of Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba.

The candidacy of José Antonio Cabrera Parada was announced in a report sent to DIARIO DE CUBA by the Council for a Democratic Transition in Cuba (CTDC).

"We had kept Cabrera Parada's nomination under wraps in order to observe the specific reaction in his case," explains the CTDC report. About the candidate, it notes that he is "a humble young man, 30 years old, black, married, a baker, childless, and well liked and respected by his community."

"He has already been visited by the political police, although we do not yet have all the details regarding the visit. We do know that, again in violation of the law, his biography had not been published at the time of this report. We assume that other residents in his community are also being visited in order to discourage them from voting for him," he added.

The CTDC document also reveals the names of the other six citizens not associated with the regime who, acting in accordance with Cuban law, had attempted to present their candidacies at the nomination assemblies that took place leading up to November 18. Most of them, like Cabrera Parada, ran or intended to run in Palma Soriano.

Elsa Litsy Isaac Reyes was prevented from participating in the meeting. In response, her neighbors "refused to nominate anyone else for the election," the CTDC asserts.

"It was the authorities there who intervened in the process and nominated another person without the voters’ endorsement," the document explains.

In Palma Soriano, Esquizander Benítez Moya, Onelis Carderin Alvarado and Daliannes Labrada Arias also tried to secure nominations. While they were able to participate in the assemblies in their respective localities, they candidacies were not successful.

In the case of Zuleydis Pérez Velázquez, who intended to run in the 287th district of Ramón Quintana, in the province of Holguín, the Cuban regime also prevented her from attending the meeting, in which 1773 voters were to participate.

"An hour before the meeting, State Security came to my house and did not let me leave. They told me that I was going to boycott the assembly. They left as soon as everything was over," she told DIARIO DE CUBA.

By holding Pérez Velázquez in her home against her will, in addition to preventing her from exercising her electoral rights, State Security agents committed the crime of depriving her of her freedom, punishable by two to five years in prison under the Penal Code still in force in Cuba.

In the Pérez Velázquez district, the CTDC points out, "the people nominated do not have the electoral legitimacy to represent their community. Only about 200 out of more than 1,000 voters registered in the electoral roll were present."
According to the organization, almost half of the residents decided to leave the meeting when they realized that Pérez Velázquez's house was under siege.

Something similar happened with the candidate in the 36th district of Guanabo, where María Elena Mir was also unable to participate in the assembly because it was convened in secret, in clear violation of what was established.

"I didn't even know about the meeting," Mir told DIARIO DE CUBA. "Not even the neighbors I’m closest to were aware of it. I was not prevented from attending, I was simply not summoned. They intentionally failed to summon the people around me, or close to me, or to summon them, as I found out later, right before the meeting, which was when they were sent for."

"Only 16 out of more than 300 registered voters endorsed the 'nomination' of the official candidate," noted the CTDC.

Most of the assemblies the CTDC learned about "through independent Cuban electoral observation organizations" did not feature the massive presence of voters required by Article 90.2 to render the nominees legitimate, such that they "should have been invalidated."

The document points out other violations of the Cuban Electoral Law in this process, such as its Article 3: "it is clear that this process must be convened no less than 90 days prior to the date set for voting."

"This time the invitation was issued on September 6, obscured by the Family Code Referendum process, which ended on the 25th of that month. Nominating Assemblies were then convened as late as October 21, and until November 18 (less than a month) to then hold the vote in just a week."

"It is at the grassroots level where the schedules should be most respected, because it is understood that this involves voters and thousands of potential representatives as part of the only mechanism of direct representation that Cuba supposedly has," the CTDC points out.

The CTDC states that "this repression runs parallel to the Cuban government’s accelerated loss of representative capacity and legitimacy," observing that "in political terms, this is a magnificent opportunity to turn the voting into a process promoting civic and political plurality."

Thus, it is publicizing two slogans that it describes as "positive" ahead of the elections: "This November 27, #YoVotoPlural" and "Without pluralism, #YoMeAbstengo" (IAbstain).

The late opening of voting stations, electricity problems, and other situations in the dress rehearsal for the "elections"

This Sunday, November 20, a dry run for the elections was carried out and the president of the National Electoral Council (CEN) Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, described the results as "positive", although she acknowledged 345 incidents, mainly in the capital, consisting of the late opening of some voting stations, the non-attendance by electoral authorities, situations with electricity and lighting, and other specific problems.

At a press conference covered by the state portal Cubadebate, Balseiro explained that the process involved in two stages: an initial one in which all the designated points were activated, and a second one designed with 30 percent of them, intended for practical training.

The official said that, based on the information obtained, and the main problems reported, more efficient transportation, communications, supervision and insurance plans can be implemented in accordance with the characteristics of each territory.
In spite of the aforementioned incidents related to the opening of the voting sites, the absence of the authorities and the problems with electricity, Balseiro highlighted the commitment, responsibility and sense of belonging of those involved, and stressed that elections characterized by transparency and adherence to "legality" are bound to occur, failing to address to the clandestine calls and the State’s Security’s repressive mechanisms to prevent the candidacies of Cubans who do not support the Government.

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