According to The Economist, “THE most interesting thing about Cuba’s municipal elections on April 19th was not who won. It was who lost, and who did not even turn up.”

“Four months after a historic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States,” the article continues, and “for the first time two openly declared dissidents made it onto the ballot among more than 27,000 candidates competing for 12,589 municipal posts around the country. Predictably, they were defeated. But their participation was an unusually open act of defiance, not just by the two men but also by ordinary citizens who proposed them in a show of hands before the elections.”

The Economist also mentions the drop in voting which “fell by almost six percentage points compared with the previous poll in 2012, to about 88%”and further remarks the claim that “rising absenteeism was a crack in monolithic support for the Communist Party.”

The article concludes that “such dissidence comes at a delicate time for Raúl Castro, Cuba’s president…Yet the Castro government may also feel that elections can be a useful outlet—so long as the ruling party continues to win. Eusebio Mujal-Leon, of Georgetown University in Washington, says it may be learning a warped version of democracy from its socialist ally in Venezuela, convincing itself that it can remain an autocracy while using elections to stay in power. The road ahead for Cuba’s nascent opposition is not an easy one.”

To read the full article, click here.

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