Miriam Leiva, described as a critic of the Cuban government, took the risk to speak with CTV Canada about the so-called election. Unfortunately, her interview becomes just another point of view in this usual “balanced” article. By presenting state propaganda as the focal point, the article in fact becomes slanted, and the importance of Leiva risking imprisonment or worse, and the power of truth are lost.
A critic of Cuba’s government says voters had little choice in parliamentary elections held over the weekend and the process lacks credibility and integrity.
Speaking to CTV’s Canada AM just one day after Cubans elected a slate of new parliamentary candidates, including Fidel Castro, Miriam Leiva said neither she nor her husband, a political prisoner recently freed for health reasons, cast a ballot in Saturday’s election.
“Since about 20 years almost I’ve been having another way of thinking and I think these elections don’t show exactly what people feel or are not fair — we are told who to vote for and we know the results how they are going to be,” Leiva said from Havana.
Saturday’s vote was the first step in determining Castro’s role in the future of the country. The 81-year-old has not been seen in public for almost 18 months, but his name still appeared on the ballot.
A single candidate appeared on the ballot for each district. All candidates on the ballot were Communist party members.
No campaigning was allowed.
The newly elected candidates will meet as a government on Feb. 24, to select a governing council of states, which will then elect a president. Though Castro still holds the title of president, he handed power to his younger brother Raul in 2006 after emergency intestinal surgery.
Leiva said the majority of Cubans voted in Saturday’s election because they knew they had to, though she conceded there are voters who “believe the government is right and they support the government.”
“But I think most of the Cuban population is exhausted,” Leiva said.
“The economic situation is very harsh, they have lost hope and they are still afraid. But I think the government is losing the momentum they had when they announced Castro was very seriously ill, because people were expecting changes and Raul Castro promised changes, but they have not brought about the changes yet.”
The article continues with oft-repeated speculation about castro’s “re-election,” and ends with this:
Democracy in Cuba generally occurs from the grassroots up, as demonstrated in the latest numbers from Cuba’s Candidates’ Commission.
According to Amarelis Perez, a spokesperson with the candidates’ commission, 28 per cent of candidates running in the socialist republic were “workers or peasants” and 43 per cent were women. Only 37 per cent of those running for one of the 614 seats in parliament were incumbents.
Leiva said she was taking a major risk by boycotting the vote and speaking out about the political situation in Cuba. She said she and her husband could be jailed at any time.
“We have to face this risk because we have a compromise with our country, with our people, with our way of thinking, with our morals, our principles and especially with those prisoners of conscience just because they expressed their ideas,” she said.
And people wonder why more Cubans are not willing to speak to the press. Read the article here.