For independent Cuban platforms Guardians of Electoral Rights (ODE) and Citizen Observers of Electoral Processes (COPE), “the suspension and postponement of the People’s Power accountability process called for in the last quarter of 2023 is very worrying.”
In a statement issued by this editorial team, the two organizations indicated that it was violated again: “There are no reasons of force majeure that justify it,” the periodicity of the so-called assemblies of accountability of delegates to their voters. This periodicity is established in Section C of Article 101 of the Cuban Constitution and is regulated by Law 132 on the Organization and Functioning of Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power.
The above text declares that violations were made “only according to the timing and political calculations of the government” and against the times of the institution.” Likewise, he recalled that “not even in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the usual schedule of the only potential space for the use of direct democracy in Cuba is postponed. ”
Despite a movement in which the Castro regime tried to base the so-called model of “popular democracy” for several decades, COPE and ODE weighed the importance of accountability: “The only way to participate in the deliberation of those existential issues of those affected by decisions from bodies far from the ordinary life of society is through the sacred respect of the institutional times of citizen control. A more important mechanism in Cuba is that local bodies constitute the only political representative body in which Cubans “can (…) exercise themselves as citizens.”.
These groups involved in the electoral rights of the Island also point out the consequences of the postponement: “This temporary stoppage of the local institutions of representation, as a place for the exchange between the voters and the selected, is an attack on Cuba’s flawless institutional governance. “Neither the new legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power nor the delegates who voted in the previous elections have contacted the citizens during the current 10th Legislature.”
For COPE and ODE, the above translates into “more than a year without popular scrutiny and without citizens being able to compare from below the capacity of those who claim to represent the will of the people. Respect for institutions is the only sign of maturity and political quality for those who claim authority, popular consensus, and representative legitimacy.”.
Finally, the statement from these independent groups points out how undemocratic the power structures in Cuba are: “If governance is about sustainability at the expense of weak governance like Cuba, sustainability is not guaranteed. Refusal to listen to the popular voice only undermines its legitimacy, especially if it does not prevent said voice from seeking, as it does, other means of expression.”
The text presents the signatures of Marthadela Tamayo González (ODE) and María Mercedes Benítez Rodríguez (COPE). These groups closely followed the latest electoral process orchestrated by the island’s regime. At the end of March 2023, several observers from these independent organizations were threatened for exercising the right to monitor “elections” (recognized by the laws of the island) of the deputies of the National Assembly of People’s Power.