In Cuba, the Communist Party of Cuba is the official state party.

According to the Wikipedia article on the Cuban electoral system,

Candidates for municipal assemblies are nominated on an individual basis at local levels by the local population at nomination assemblies.


The election of municipal assembly delegates involves nomination by voters in nomination assemblies, compilation of posting of candidate biographies, voting by secret ballot, and recall.

How does this work in theory, and how does this work in practice? Are candidates screened by the government, the Party, or otherwise? Or can anybody nominate anyone? According to the Wikipedia article, the Cuban government contends that the Cuban political system is democratic. To what extent can this be confirmed or denied as far as local elections are concerned?

  • 4
    I'm interested in the answer De Jure, but you gotta realize something that you may not be aware, having not lived in a $socialist_paradize of your choice. Just because there's no LAW that says the Party must like whoever you nominate, it doesn't mean you won't suffer consequences if you do something the Party doesn't like. IOW, you may have appearance of total democracy without any rational person being able to exercise one without high personal risk. The Party controls where you can live, where you can work, etc.... etc...
    – user4012
    Jan 21, 2013 at 23:12
  • ... There are plenty pressure points without any need for explicit law that says "you must do what the Party says" on every single issue.
    – user4012
    Jan 21, 2013 at 23:14
  • 4
    @DVK, That's why I explicitly ask two sub-questions: how does it work in theory, and how does it work in practice. Unfortunately it's probably hard to find factual information about the second part.
    – gerrit
    Jan 22, 2013 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


In theory, it should work how it's described above. In practice, this is what I witnessed while I lived in Cuba for 15 years.

Regardless of what laws you see on the books, the unofficial rules are the ones that count:

Rule 1: In order to be involved in any kind of politics, you must align perfectly within the Communist Party's ideology. How is it enforced? The moment you declare yourself against the government and its system (even before you run for public office), you get punished by getting fired from your job (the communist system implies that the government is everyone's employer), repressed and harassed with the so called "Actos de Repudio", and ultimately imprisoned if it calls for it.

Rule 2: If by any chance, you get to run for office despite your political opposition stance, it is implied that everyone who supports you, will face the same fate. Call it, forced vote through fear.

These two rules apply even to those from higher levels in the political hierarchy. If you take a close look at the national assembly's voting history, you will see that almost everything put to a vote, has been decided unanimously. That is, because the decision is made for them, so no one dares to "vote wrong".

Yes, the Cuban system is democratic by the laws in the books, but tyrannic by the laws on the street.


In practise and theory it works as described above. But if you do something that goes against the laws and constitution of Cuba which not only deals in prohibitions like most western countries but in edicts then you will find yourself in trouble.

By edicts I mean things that are demanded of citizens, businesses and also politicians. An other word would be duties, but edicts are much broader.

  • 3
    Specific examples would be beneficial
    – user4012
    Aug 5, 2014 at 2:30

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