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Elections in Cuba, one of Kafka


The Cuban novelist Marcial Gala, winner of the Ñ Award in 2018 with 'Call me Cassandra', evokes the violent collective farce of voting in a country without democracy. Today Cuba imports sugar and, due to emigration, it is a country of old people.

There was always something hilarious about calling what Fidel Castro implemented in Cuba after 1975 elections,

hilarious in the style of those works by Kafka in which one laughs so as not to cry.

Do you remember when Gregorio Samsa's father threw an apple that hit him on the back of a beetle?

With these elections, in a certain way, Fidel Castro was throwing us, not apples –they are not abundant in the tropics– but coconuts, which stuck into our backs while we, like the Kafka character, retreated into the darkness so that no one could catch us. saw.

Nothing more comical than the political program of those candidates, laughable because such a program did not exist, it did not appear anywhere.

What was written under the photograph of the aforementioned was the biography of each one of them, biographies so similar that, except for slight details, they were interchangeable: So-and-So or So-and-so, born into a family belonging to the peasantry and

the working class

, from very early on he stood out for his sense of duty and love for the country and for his willingness to fulfill all the tasks that the revolution assigns him, he is a member of the Communist Party of Cuba or of the Union of Communist Youth of Cuba, the same dog but with a different collar.

Parenthetically, the dog thing is my contribution.

Most of the time,

the photographs of the candidates were enlargements of identity card photos,

all in black and white, so the image of the applicants was diluted and it

was almost impossible to know who was who

, nor was it necessary. .

They were all

zealous adherents and vigilantes of the so-called socialist legality

, a legality that began with the most complete subordination to that party to which they actually belonged.

In Cuba, on election day, the ballot boxes are guarded by children dressed in school uniforms.

Photo REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Then came the day of attendance at the polls, guarded by children dressed in school uniforms who, when you voted, raised their hands to their foreheads and instead of shouting the well-known slogan "we will be like Che!", they said with mournful voices " vote!".


use of children in elections

was a good trick by Castro to soften idealistic consciences because he always remarked:

in other countries the elections are taken care of by soldiers, here by little pioneers


Well thought of, even the kids were superfluous: if the difference between one candidate and another was almost non-existent, the ballot boxes could be guarded alone.

Such elections began or are beginning because nothing has changed at six in the morning, with the opening of the polling stations, nor at 6:00 p.m., when they close.


when the neighbors are late in attending, they send the pioneers, who, as in a kind of socialist Halloween, knock on the door of the lazy or denied, and ask them to go vote


Because until they do, the school won't close and they need to go home to their moms and dads.

This subtle method of coercion almost always worked, but in recent years,

the effectiveness has been waning

to the point that this time the elections in Cuba were the worst since Castro imposed the system: 65 percent turnout according to government figures. , which have been questioned by many observers on the island and abroad.

For Marcial Gala, Díaz Canel does not have Castro's summoning capacity, "although he does intend to turn setbacks into victory."

Photo Federico Parra / AFP

The oven has not been for cookies for a while and the "continuous", read President Miguel Díaz Canel, does not have Castro's ability to convoke, although he does intend to turn setbacks into victory, a kind of verbal


, which, if anyone cared, it would cause heart attacks in the thinking tanks of the world and that

together with "We are continuity" and "Patria o Muerte", constitutes the ideological basis of the current Cuban government


Turning R's into V's works for everything: there's nothing to eat is a victory, the people rise up and take to the streets, it's a setback turned into a victory, the baseball team loses half the games it played during the Clásico , the tournament that brought together the best teams in the world, and which is, of course, a victory.

Following government logic, the sugar harvest is increasingly a victory that is renewed year after year.

From being the main exporter of cane sugar in the world, Cuba has become a net importer

, the bigger the setback, the bigger the victory.

The same happens with the birth rate and population growth;

The adage has been circulating for some time among young people that in Cuba you cannot give birth.

The Cuban writer Marcial Gala.

This reality, heavy as a block of cement, accompanied by the immense rate of people who emigrate, has turned the island into

a country of old people, altering the population pyramid in a way that tends to be irreversible.

In short, another great setback, that is to say a colossal victory.

The same thing happened with these elections: in them where no one is elected with the slightest possibility of effective leadership, someone with a different proposal from the failed policy of so many decades, an alternative to the old leadership


It is not, furthermore, direct elections.

In Cuba, the president of the republic is not elected;

that remains the prerogative of the old communist party.

The elections are, therefore, a mere and spent substitute;

This time, although it has only been partially reflected in the statistics, the call for dissidence “in dictatorship you don't vote” has been a success.

*Marcial Gala was born in Cienfuegos in 1965, lives in Buenos Aires.

He is a narrator, poet and architect, author of "La Catedral de los Negros" (Alejo Carpentier Award) and "Sitting in her lemon green", as well as "Call me Cassandra", a novel that won the Ñ-Ciudad de Buenos Aires award. 


look also

Marcial Gala: "They won't let you return to your country, because the Cuban government denies you the right to be on your land"

The two Cubas at the Book Fair: stand duel between the official and the dissident

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-30

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