Miracle election in Cuba

| January 31, 2008

The Associated Press, in an article entitled “Cuba’s Raul More Popular Than Fidel” reports that to everyone’s surprise, the brothers won an upset reelection;

Acting President Raul Castro — not his older brother Fidel — was the top vote-getter in Cuban parliamentary elections, according to official results released yesterday.

Bespectacled, camera-shy and far less charismatic than Cuba’s ailing longtime leader, the 76-year-old Raul Castro received 99.4 percent of votes cast in the family’s base of Santiago in eastern Cuba — Fidel got 98.3 percent.

Both brothers easily won re-election to the rubber-stamp legislature known as the National Assembly of Popular Power, as did all of the 614 candidates presented to the island’s 8.4 million voters on Jan. 20.

After those three paragraphs of typical Communist propaganda, the truth outs;

The unopposed candidates needed to get at least half the votes cast in their districts, and none came close to losing.

What a miracle! The imprisoned and tortured population of Cuba elected their wardens overwhelmingly (CNN link to similar story). And voter turnout was astounding!

Officials said that 95 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, though about 4.5 percent of those turned in blank or invalid ballots. While voting is not mandatory, failing to do so can draw unwanted attention from pro-government neighborhood-watch organizations.

Cuba Watcher at Babalu Blog congratulates Raul;

My most heartfelt congratulations to Raul Castro on his having become the next primary target for an entire nation of maligned, angry people.

Marc Masferrer at Uncommon Sense says Raul scored bigger than Fidel because he’s been pandering to voters;

Instead of locking up dissidents for long prison terms, like Fidel Castro did during the “black spring” of 2003, Raúl has perfected a more subtle, but no less dictatorial, method. Under Raúl, the police are more likely to take you off the street or from your home, drive you to a police station, warn you to abandon your opposition to the regime, threaten you with a long prison term, take your picture and fingerprints and then let you go.

Isn’t that sweet of Raul? He’s a regular humanitarian.

Meanwhile, according to the Miami Herald, 7 more dancers defected from Cuba in Mexico Friday. I think that’s 10 Cuban dancers in the last three weeks.(CBS4 Miami link);

Last month, the three members of the Cuban National Ballet defected in Canada and crossed the border to the U.S., part of a slew of defections in December. Among the most famous was TV host Carlos Otero.

Four members of the Cuban National Circus and the popular Cuban group Los Tres de La Havana also made their way to the U.S.

I’ll bet they’re really kicking themselves that they missed out on this blowout election.

(In case you didn’t notice, I was being sarcastic)

But it reminds me of the news coverage over the October 2002 reelection of Saddam Hussein.

Category: Foreign Policy, Media, Politics

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