In Cuba's municipal elections on Sunday, Oct. 21, more than 89 percent of eligible voters turned out to elect their delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of People's Power. Completely distinct from U.S. and other capitalist elections, the 32,183 candidates for the 14,537 posts in Cuba's 168 municipal assemblies, were not nominated by moneyed interests or patronage, but by the people.
In September of this year, the neighborhood voting districts, averaging about 290 voting-age adults each, held neighborhood meetings where the residents could nominate a candidate. Cuban law provides that between two and eight candidates can run for any position.
From these elected delegates, some 50 percent will be selected to run for delegate of Cuba's 16 provinces (15 plus the Isle of Youth), and for the National Assembly.
In Havana's municipality of Playa, District 78, Zone 78, the polls opened at 6:00 am and closed at 6:00 pm. Two young Pioneers, 14-year-old Frank Enriquez Gómez and 9-year-old Maria Carla Cruz Matos, stood watch over the ballot box, a tradition practiced throughout the whole country. No money is spent by any candidate; instead a simple listing of a one-page biography and photo of each candidate is posted at the site for voters to read and consider.
One special moment came when 16-year-old Brenda Allende cast her vote for the first time, accompanied by her family. As she finished dropping the folded ballot into the sealed box, Maria Carla and Frank saluted her and declared, "Votó (you voted)."
Under Cuba's socialist system, their elections are truly "of, by and for the people."