HAVANA ( Associated Press) – Cuba has begun the process of forming its next parliament, with more than 400 candidates nominated for the body that will yield the country’s future president.
Nominees include former president Raul Castro, current ruler Miguel Díaz-Canel and Elian Gonzalez, the once shipwrecked child who was at the center of a custody dispute between Havana and Washington.
The official newspaper Granma on Tuesday published the full list of 470 delegates nominated to the National Assembly of People’s Power, which must be ratified, rejected or annulled during a day of civic participation scheduled for March 26.
Unlike other countries, no political party or group of its kind participates in this Cuban electoral process. The Communist Party – the only one of its kind on the island – cannot nominate candidates, campaigning is prohibited. According to opponents of the model, this limits the way for the opposition.
Nominations for these positions were developed over the weekend, with official press media indicating that images of the meetings were shown.
The list, according to electoral officials, has 221 grassroots representatives, that is, representatives of municipalities who were nominated and elected by the population in their blocks and neighborhoods in the previous November—the example of municipalities—which constitute the complex electoral system in the country. First step of the model.
In addition to grassroots candidates – teachers, workers, doctors, nurses, technicians or farmers – personalities such as Díaz-Canel, its most important ministers such as the Premier, Manuel Marrero Cruz or Economy Minister Alejandro, are on the list. Offered by Granma Gil.
Historical leaders such as Commander Ramiro Valdés, former President Castro or his one-time deputy, the retired José Machado Ventura, were included alongside intellectuals such as Abel Prieto, president of the Casa de las Américas, or high-performance athletes such as Mijen López. An internationally respected wrestling champion.
Also featured for the first time is Elian González, who was at the center of a dispute between Cuba and the United States in the late 1990s when the ship in which he was traveling illegally with his mother, Drowned and his father claimed him back. island. Currently 29 years old, Gonzalez is an industrial engineer after training in military schools and rarely appears in public.
Artists such as singer Raul Torres and painter Nelson Dominguez, director Digna Guerra are also on the list.
According to election officials, 55.3% of all candidates are women and 45.5% are mulatto or black, while the average age is 46.
The mandate of these representatives will be for five years and according to the current rules, Díaz-Canel can seek re-election.
Critics of the Cuban model lament the absence of parties and campaigns in the style of other countries on the continent.
In November, during the municipal elections – with a register of 8.3 million eligible people – internal opposition groups assured that they had tried to present half a dozen candidates and only one of them was finally accepted by the residents. , But he indicated that he did not manage to pass the siege imposed by the ruling party and its supporters and was even pressured by state security.
Andrea Rodriguez is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP