Elections Without Options

“Prison Lock”- by Ken Powers

We Cubans born after 1952 have a superficial concept of democracy. First, Fulgencio Batista curtailed the fundamental rights of the Cuban people, leading the nation to a state of political lethargy and shocking statistics of deaths, according to figures shown in archives of that epoch.

Batista, as usually occurs, abandoned the ship when it was about to drown- an act that opened the doors to a one-party system headed first by Fidel Castro Ruz and later by his brother Raul. I can’t give my opinion about the conception of democracy, for I run the same risk of being a musician who only listens and does not perform.

This upcoming 25th of April the Cuban people will have the responsibility of choosing their future. In the early morning hours they will open the electoral centers for the election without options. It’s true, in Cuba you don’t need a fortune to be able to represent your town. However, we shouldn’t lie to ourselves. This “democratic” mechanism is similar to the era in which emperors had well-defined privileges and could easily abuse of the power to manipulate rights.

The world has become globalized: government coups are less frequent and dictatorial systems have lost lots of ground in the face of humanity’s desire for freedom. I disagree with those who believe that nothing should be done to change the course of things. We have much to do for Cuba and for ourselves. Let us look inside. Our conscience, far from whispering in our ears, is screaming at the top of its lungs: “we cannot leave such a legacy for our descendants, it is not just!”.

Politics is similar to commerce- he who risks himself easily triumphs. In fact, he would border the limits of sense. You could see the competition between the reality and the possible. When I see the government propaganda I think to myself that those who govern in this country cannot divorce themselves from power. It is so ridiculous to believe that everything is fine here just because education and health care are free, and it really doesn’t even seem that free to me, but in any case, suppose it was, it is difficult to understand that we won’t spend our entire lives studying or in a hospital at the mercy of skillful doctors- the majority will be thinking about foreign missions in order to purchase electrical household appliances and possibly even a car.

I am sure that once the voting concludes, the authorities will publish a statistic of more than 90% in participation. I also don’t doubt that at any given moment the insanity of Saddam Hussein (who once assured that his party achieved 100% suffrage) will be topped.

At this very moment there is a very worrying crisis occurring. We must develop our conscience towards assuming individual responsibilities that we all have in order to produce the fruits that will feed us tomorrow. Soon, the elections will be dissolved by history. The empty plate on our table will decide if we made the right choice or not. Absolutely nobody could possibly be happy and comfortable with an empty stomach and a head full of so many worries caused by so many miseries.

Pablo Pacheco Ávila, prisionero de conciencia.


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