The Potato, the winning candidate in Pinar del Río / 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez

Line to buy potatoes in Pinar del Río. (14ymedio)
Line to buy potatoes in Pinar del Río. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez, Pinar del Rio, 20 April 2015 – On the day that Cubans voted to elect the local representatives of the People’s Power, the State markets in Pinar del Río put potatoes on sale.

Chance, someone said, is the daughter of causality and hence the suspicion of some who interpreted the sale of the highly valuable tuber as an electoral strategy to get the voters to leave their homes or to set aside possible plans to flee to the homes of friends or family who live far away. Who would allow themselves to lose a chance to buy potatoes for one Cuban peso a pound just to escape their commitment to the delegate elections. Very few. A triumph of political marketing in the best Soviet style.

The State markets are located very close to the polling stations. “Killing two birds with one stone,” as they say. Vote and from there go to the market to buy potatoes.

A gentleman of seventy said, before placing his ballot in the ballot box, “I’m going to finish with this delegate quickly, I don’t know who he is and I don’t care,” to immediately add, “I’m going to get in the potato line, there are a lot of people and they close at noon today.” With a certain tone of electoral authority, he concluded, “The potato won these elections, my friend.”

If from the mood of the inhabitants of the city of Pinar del Río it was clear that something had changed, it was because they were celebrating the victory of the absolute winner of these unforgettable elections which took place on the market stands and which had as the only candidate a food that appears very sporadically in these markets.

Meanwhile, in the balloting there was a notable boredom among the poll tenders, anxious for closing time to arrive. Indifference and apathy surrounded the process to select “the most capable.” “It’s tedious and nobody takes it seriously,” said a commentator at the Parque del Bosque Peña de Pelota in the city center.

On this “historic election day,” the potato had no rival candidate and carried the day with a resounding victory.