Behind the ‘Information Note’
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 18 June 2017 — The regular readers of the
official press have learned that the most innocent headlines can hide
the most interesting news. Phrases such as Notice to the
population or Information note, which defy any elementary lesson in
journalism, alert those initiated into the special “granmer” of the
Granma newspaper that, behind the candid title, there could be hidden
some threat, a hope, or the apparent fulfillment of a formality, so that
no one can say that this or that detail was never published in the press.
On Thursday, the Directorate of Identification, Immigration and
Immigration (DIIE) published an “Information note”in the official media
in which it announces to Cubans permanently resident in the country that
its offices will be open to “update the address from where they will
exercise their right to vote.”
The note then invokes Electoral Law No. 72 of 1992 to specify who has
the right to active suffrage.
The real information that underlies all this, is that the first steps
have now been taken to initiate the elections that will result in the
final departure of Raul Castro from the job of President of the Councils
of State and of Ministers. Perhaps even more significant, is that this
process will begin without the new electoral law having been
promulgated, regardless of the fact that the coming of the new law was
announced by the president himself in February of 2015, at the
conclusion of the Tenth Plenary of the Communist Party Central Committee.
There is no permanent entity on the island that governs the electoral
processes, so the preparation of the Register of Voters is a task that
falls on the Ministry of Interior through its offices of the DIIE. This
is where it is registered whether a citizen resides in the national
territory and whether or not he or she is under some legal sentence that
limits his or her rights.
Oddly, the Information note makes it clear that people will be able to
go to the relevant offices in any of the municipalities in the country
“regardless of their place of residence,” but does not clarify if voters
can exercise suffrage in the specific district where they physically
reside, even if that is not the legal address recorded on their identity
Thousands of people throughout the country are living as tenants in
private homes without being “properly registered”; many of them,
especially if they live in the capital and are from other provinces, are
prevented from finding a job, even with private employers, because they
can not show “an appropriate address” in their identification document.
In the interest of reducing the number of people who do not vote, the
state might be willing to overlook – for the purposes of voting only –
what it will not tolerate with regards to finding work or enrolling
one’s children in school.
No doubt the upcoming elections will be as uninteresting as any others
have been. The absence of a new law indicates that the Candidacies
Commission will continue, and that it will be these bodies that prepare
the lists of aspiring deputies, while maintaining the prohibition
against any of these candidates from presenting a political platform.
As has been the case to date, voters will have to be satisfied with
nothing more than biographical data (prepared by the commissions, not by
the candidates themselves), along with a photo. They will have to vote
for their representatives without having any idea whether or not these
individuals are in favor of foreign investment, if they want to increase
or decrease non-state forms of production in the country, or if they are
likely to be for or against it if the day comes when acceptance of
same-sex marriage is introduced. They will not even know if their
preferred candidate wishes to allocate the nation’s budget to build
sports stadiums or theaters.
Of course, there will be no polls speculating on what will be the name
of the person who will occupy the presidential chair in February
2018. Who are they going to put forward? It is the question that the
majority of those few people interested in the subject at all tend to
ask. Perhaps we will have to wait for another Information Note to get a
clue about this great unknown.
Source: Behind the ‘Information Note’ – Translating Cuba –