A Clarification for the Unbiased Observer / Reinaldo Escobar

At ten o’clock this morning, Monday, February 4, not even the government website Cubadebate had fresh news about the final results of the so-called “Elections” in Cuba. Clearly we can bet that all 612 candidates were approved for the 612 posts as Deputies. Perhaps that’s why the news that Fidel Castro has reappeared filled the morning news on TV.

As on every occasion in the past, we will receive, in due time, a flood of numbers that break down by province the number of voters at the polls and the number of annulled and blank ballots. No one will be able to dispute this data, despite the fact the official media insists on proclaiming that any citizen can be present at the time of scrutiny — even foreigners!

The electoral law establishes that on completion of the count, the managers of each polling place will record the results on a blank ballot, identical to that used to cast the votes, where only the names of the candidates appear. This ballot must be displayed to inform the public.

The law is particularly emphatic in insisting that it is forbidden to use any other paper to write out this information. In all these years it hasn’t occurred to anyone to design and print a model where there are spaces for the number of ballots annulled and left blank, along with the number of people appearing at each polling place.

If there were such a model, anyone would have the time to travel around by bike or on foot to the schools in their municipality that served as polling places, and in coordination with others compute the results for the province and at a national level. The lack of such a model would require civil society to have an observer in every one of the 30,000 schools throughout the country to tally this information.

When there is no way to prove, compare, or disprove, with evidence, data of such importance and which generally serves as a measure of discontent, there is a right to suspect the transparency of the process. There are many people who don’t need to know the details I describe here to lack confidence in the electoral results. It is a clarification directed at the unbiased observer who tries to take an objective position.

4 February 2013