612 Candidates for 612 Seats / Yoani Sanchez

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Wearing tight clothes, short and with a skinny build, the Frenchman Alain Robert scaled the façade of the Habana Libre Hotel on Monday. With some 27 floors and over 400 feet high, this building has one of the best views over the city. People gathered underneath, with cameras and cellphones to capture the feat of this famous “spiderman,” who has already scaled the heights of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, 2,716.5 feet high. The little man commenced his climb just one day after a much larger national event, although one with much lower expectations. The election of deputies to the National Assembly failed to attract people’s attention as much as the sympathetic Spiderman.

Unlike the Cuban electoral process, at least the man climbing the walls could produce some surprises. Meanwhile at the polls everything was “signed, sealed and delivered” ahead of time. Instead of voting between one candidate or another, Cubans simply had to ratify the 612 people proposed for the 612 seats allotted in parliament. One seat for each name that appeared on the ballot, a place in the highest organ of the People’s Power for every individual whose photo was posted outside the polling places. In short, no surprises.

Perhaps this is why the theme of the bold climber gave us so much more to talk about than did the results of the valid votes nationwide. As expected, there was not a single opponent to the government who managed to enter parliament, no one with different political ideas will become a member of the National Assembly. Not even a single deputy who doesn’t possess the same ideology as the party in power. The boring homogeneity of the same thinking.

5 February 2013