Cuban Faces 2017: Aimara Pena, Independent Candidate

Aimara Peña

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 December 2017 — As a child, Aimara Peña (b. 1989, Sancti Spíritus) dressed in her impeccable primary school uniform to guard the polls in the People’s Power elections. At that time she felt a special emotion as she said “voted” every time a voter put their ballot in the ballot box. She did not suspect that twenty years later she would be involved in the electoral process as a possible candidate, but this time independently.

When Peña decided to try to represent her community as a delegate she knew that the entire political and police apparatus of the government would go against her, but she did not get discouraged and went to her area’s assembly in the 23rd district of Las Tozas town, in the municipality of Sancti Spíritus. The young activist was convinced that if she could be nominated at that meeting she would have many opportunities to win the favor of the voters.

The attacks against this spirited woman were excessive: she was summoned to a police interrogation and at the nomination assembly, in front of her neighbors, she was branded a mercenary, a salaried employee of imperialism, along with other expletives. On top of that, violating the provisions of the electoral law, the organizers of the meeting allowed her nomination to be annulled and did not even put it to a vote.

Although emblematic, the case of Peña was just one of hundreds of independent candidates who in provinces all across the country were boycotted by the authorities, in collusion with the organs of the State Security and local branches of the Communist Party.

All she did was try to listen to the demands of the voters and become their voice in the face of power. Now, the young woman continues with her work reporting violations of human rights and exercising journalism.


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