14ymedio, Havana, 25 January 2019 – Cubans residing on the Island who are away from the national territory on February 24 will not be able to exercise their right to vote in the constitutional referendum, unless they are fulfilling an official mission of the Government, according to several officials who confirmed it this Thursday in the Cuban television program Mesa Redonda (The Roundtable).
“For the individuals who are fulfilling an official mission abroad, it is impossible for them to travel to Cuba and vote in their places of residence, as this would mean that they would no longer perform the functions for which they were appointed,” said Marcos Fermín Rodríguez Costa, President of the Special Electoral Commission of the MINREX.
The Minrex has organized 122 Electoral Commissions Districts that will manage the process in each country where Cuban personnel work and 1,051 polling stations will be deployed. The process will be carried out in advance, on February 16 and 17, to guarantee the countng of these ballots on the same date as the voting on the Island.
Alina Balseiro, President of the National Electoral Commission (CEN by its spanish acronym), stressed that in the electoral stations abroad specifically “Cuban diplomats, all Cuban collaborators abroad, Cuban scholars in those countries and citizens who are fulfilling official missions” will vote.
Significantly, she reiterated the scenario that Cubans residing in the country who are traveling abroad for personal reasons can only exercise their right to vote in Cuban territory on February 24. She was referring to the thousands of citizens who have left Cuba after February 24, 2017 and who, having not exceeded the 24 months established by the immigration law, keep intact all their rights as Cuban citizens.
These restrictions make it impossible to vote for those Cubans who are studying abroad apart from the national education system, those who have left to buy goods overseas or those who are receiving medical treatment abroad.
A protest march of Cuban citizens living outside the island proposed for January 26 in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington and other countries will demand the right to participate in the referendum.
Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria
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