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Minute by minute: General elections in Cuba

Raul elecciones 2 frenteFollow our live coverage of Cuba’s general elections through Granma and Granma International’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

march 11, 2018 07:03:01

10:51 a.m. Another triumph in the Sierra Maestra

At 6:00 a.m. in Minas del Frío, the habitual mist and icy cold wind reigned in this remote community located at 900 meters in the Sierra Maestra, Granma province.

Obisley Reyes, aged 30, arrived at the polling station together with his wife, to prepare conditions for the 171 inhabitants of this village, due to exercise their right to vote today.

“This entire town is a product of the Revolution. It’s no longer just four scattered houses. There’s a doctor’s office, a store, restaurant, two cooperatives, a farm, a little school where my wife works and where our children will go.

“There’s even a rehabilitation área with all the necessary equipment, where I work, to benefit nearby communities. These are the things we are voting to support, for the good people who defend them, for the mountains and the entire country to continue being an example of human dignity.”

Che Guevara created a training school for combatants of the Rebel Army here 60 years ago. The constituency has five polling stations distributed between the communities of Minas del Frío, Mompié, Caguara, Polo Norte and El Roble.

Today, these five historic sites will once again prove victorious, through the democratic vote of their inhabitants.


Esteban lazo vota10:50 a.m. Esteban Lazo Hernández: The medication against division is unity

The President of the Cuban Parliament, Esteban Lazo Hernández, exercised his right to vote in polling station no.2, constituency no.48, located in the Cesáreo Fernández Primary School of the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, where he is again a candidate for deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP).

Speaking to reporters, Lazo noted that the electoral process that began in November and continues today with the election of members of the Cuban parliament and delegates to provincial assemblies, across more than 24,000 polling stations, has seen the mass participation of the Cuban electorate and is a result of the significant efforts of 200,000 electoral authorities.

He also noted the work of young people and school children in supporting the electoral process, as well as the training of all those involved in guaranteeing that everything runs smoothly throughout the day.

Regarding the particiaption of Cuban women in Parliament, Lazo noted that women represent 48% of deputies in the current National Assembly, and in the next, they will represent 53.2%. As such, the Cuban parliament is set to have the second highest percent of women members in the world.

10:40 a.m. Indira Díaz Roques nunca antes había votado en unas elecciones

PINAR DEL RÍO.—Indira Díaz Roques nunca antes había votado en unas elecciones. Este domingo 11 de marzo, fue su primera vez.

A sus 16 años, asegura que se trata de un derecho conquistado por los cubanos, que hoy nos toca defender. Por eso, al depositar su boleta en las urnas, no solo estaba dando su respaldo a los candidatos a la Asamblea Provincial del Poder Popular y al Parlamento, sino también al proceso que entre todos construimos desde 1959.

«En estas elecciones votamos también por Cuba, por el futuro de nuestro país, por la continuidad de la Revolución», dice.

Indira es estudiante de la Escuela Pedagógica Tania la Guerrillera, de Pinar del Río, donde se forma como educadora.

«Yo había participado en otros procesos electorales, pero como pionera, cuidando las urnas.

«Era algo que me encantaba, una experiencia muy bonita. Siempre me sentía orgullosa de que me escogieran para esa responsabilidad tan importante».

A pesar de ser, como ella misma dice, «primeriza», advierte que en la escuela había recibido información suficiente sobre cómo ejercer el voto. «Además, cuando cuidaba las urnas, en primaria y en la secundaria, yo también observaba cómo se hacía».

«Pienso que el sistema electoral cubano es democrático, porque tenemos la oportunidad de elegir a las personas que nos representarán.

«No se presiona a nadie a votar por una persona en específico, es un proceso libre y transparente».

«Para mí, hoy ha sido algo extraordinario, porque con mi voto estoy reafirmando que estoy al lado de la Revolución, de Fidel, de Raúl, y honrando la memoria de los héroes que dieron su vida para que tuviéramos una patria soberana».

(Granma correspondent: Ronald Suárez Rivas)


10:35 a.m. Cuban sports stars exercise their right to vote

Cuban sports stars voted for their National Assembly and Provincial candidates.


10:22 a.m. Statements by the President of the Electoral Commission of the municipality of Sancti Spíritus

SANCTI SPÍRITUS.- Including all those involved in the different polling stations, constituencies, districts and the Municipal Electoral Commission itself, in the capital municipality of the province of Sancti Spíritus, almost 1,900 electoral authorities have been trained for this electoral process. This figure reveals the extensive preparation necessary to successfully develop a process of this magnitude.

Pedro Iglesias Marrero, President of the Municipal Electoral Commission, who has over 30 years’ experience in Cuban electoral processes, noted that the timely training of electoral authorities guarantees clean and transparent elections.

With a total of 112,889 registered voters across its 260 polling stations, Sancti Spíritus is the only municipality of the province to have two electoral districts: one of a mainly rural population and another urban area.

“I have seen our electoral system grow, we began with teleprinters and now everything is digitalized,” Iglesias explained, noting that his work in this regard has been a valuable experience.

Among the strengths of the Cuban system, he highlighted the role of a group of supervisors, responsible for ensuring the electoral law is followed and the elections developing in full transparency; and the contribution of collaborators, including university students, who demonstrate the high participation of Cuban youth in this process.


With a total of 112,889 registered voters across its 260 polling stations, Sancti Spíritus is the only municipality of the province to have two electoral districts. Photo: Vicente Brito


Diaz canel vota10:10 a.m. The First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez, exercises his right to vote in the city of Santa Clara.


10:04 a.m. Voter in Holguín: “I didn’t hesitate to vote for all the candidates”

HOLGUÍN.- Roger Antonio Ávila Rodríguez, an 83-year-old retired judge, voted in Polling Station No.5 of the Constituency No.2 of Alcides Pino People’s Council No.1, in this city.

“I didn’t hesitate to vote for all the candidates. This moment meant voting for Cuba and for unity among all compatriots,” he explained after casting his vote.

Roger recalled the various electoral processes in which he has participated since 1959.

“In the elections of 1944 I was 9 years old, and in those of 1948, I had turned 13. I remember the attitude of my father, who never went to vote, because he said the presidents of the nation, the mayors, the councillors and all those who lived off politics, only sought these positions to make themselves rich.

“To do so, they would do anything. In order to admit one of my sisters with appendicitis to the civil hospital in Holguín, a representative of one of those politicians demanded all the identification cards of our family. My father refused and preferred to pay for a private clinic with the money he had hastily made by selling some cows.

“In those times, what was considered democracy wasn’t respected. In 1952, when I had turned 18, Fulgencio Batista led the coup d’état. My father told me: Now the country will get worse. And he was right.

“Everything changed with the triumph of Fidel, for whom I voted today.”
Roger Antonio Ávila Rodríguez, a retired judge, on depositing his ballot.


9:30 a.m. Statements by Isabel González Cárdenas, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power in Camagüey:

“We are sure that, as always, the people of Camagüey will come out to vote early, as can be seen already in the streets this morning. We have many reasons to vote: this will be a vote for the unity of the people as regards the Revolution, for the principles that we defend and will always defend, for the historic legacy and commitment we made to our eternal Comandante Fidel, for the future of our families, for the education that we have, to see our children study and play in the streets with complete freedom and without any danger, for this land that we defend, for so much blood spilt and for so many heroes who gave their lives for us to enjoy today a free and sovereign Homeland.”


9:20 a.m. Voting underway in Camagüey

Camagüey.- Nobody was going to stop Faustino Vázquez Romero from being the first to vote at polling station no.4 in constituency no.61, in the city of Camagüey: “I’m always among the first to vote. It’s my way of ratifying my love for my country. I am what I am thanks to the Revolution, as my parents were poor campesinos of the Amancio Rodríguez area and, what’s more, we were ten siblings in the family. Imagine the future that awaited us if January 1, 1959, had not arrived!

(Granma correspondent: Miguel Febles)


9:00 a.m. The President of the National Electoral Council reported that voting is running smoothly across the island


8:40 a.m. Susely Morfa González, First Secretary of the National Committee of the Young Communist League (UJC) and member of the Council of State, exercises her right to vote


8:30 a.m. Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee Political Bureau, and deputy of the National Assembly of People’s Power, exercises his right to vote


8:23 a.m. Mercedes López Acea, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana, member of the Party Central Committee Political Bureau and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, exercises her right to vote.


8:22 a.m. José Ramón Machado Ventura, Comandante of the Revolution and Second Secretary of the Party Central Committee, exercises his right to vote.

The Second Secretary of the Party Central Committee, José Ramón Machado Ventura, exercised his right to vote in a constituency of the electoral District No.2 of the city of Guantánamo.


8:21 a.m. Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, exercises his right to vote.

The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, exercised his right to vote in a polling station located in Santiago’s II Frente Oriental Frank País municipality, as reported by ACN.

Raúl was nominated as a candidate for deputy of the National Assembly of People’s Power here.

At the polling station, the Cuban President exchanged with voters and electoral authorities.

Cuban television reported that Raúl voted in Polling Station No.1, of constituency No.11, and was the first voter to place his ballot in the ballot box.

(Source:  ANC)


8:20 a.m. Despite anti-Cuban provocations, the election process has developed peacefully

Last week, the Cuban Foreign Ministry condemned an attempt to orchestrate a new act of anti-Cuban provocation from abroad, with the aim of interfering in the internal affairs of Cuba, generating instability, affecting the country’s image and Cuba’s diplomatic relations with other states.

You can read the full statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the following link:

Anti-Cuban provocation plot foiled on eve of elections:


8:18 a.m. 17,000 university and high school students are participating in the electoral process

University professors and students are participating in this process as electoral authorities, collaborators, supervisors and members of the candidature commissions.

Over 17,000 university and high school studentsare registered to act as collaborators in these elections, which will see 605 National Assembly deputies and 1,265 delegates to Provincial Assemblies elected. These students have received the necessary training on the details of the Cuban electoral system.


8:16 a.m. A novelty of these elections: Digital certification

This March 11, the National Electoral Commission (CEN) will implement the use of digital certificates in the general election process, as CEN President Alina Balseiro noted during a recent press conference.

The new procedure will facilitate the agility of the elections, as not only will the information be registered, but votes will be counted, allowing the chairpersons of electoral commissions at the different levels to validate the results and the elected deputies and delegates.

Through this process, all documentation is sent to municipalities, where the presidents of Municipal Electoral Commissions and chairpersons of provincial commissions digitalize all the data and sign the corresponding certificates.


8:14 a.m. When did this electoral process begin?

Cuba’s 2017-2018 general elections were called on June 14, 2017, and the first stage concluded in December with the constitution of the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power, formed of delegates elected in each neighbourhood constituency. The second and final stage of the voting will take place today, March 11. The general election process will conclude on April 19 with the election of the 31 members of the Council of State and the President of Cuba.


8:12 a.m. What happened after the first phase of the general elections, held November 26, 2017?

Representatives of the Cuban people saw an intense preparation period following the first stage of the general elections, the constitution of the municipal assemblies and the later handover to new authorities of these bodies by the outgoing presidents and vice presidents.

The new delegates of the 5,876 electoral constituencies were provided with the essential information regarding their mandates before assuming office, as well as analyses of the socio-political situation and issues identified and pending in their respective constituencies, and all established documentation.

Likewise, municipal presidents and vice presidents participated in courses focused on the economic and social situation in each province, the implementation of the country’s Social and Economic Policy Guidelines, and contributions to local development, among other topics.

They also studied the established procedures on the functioning of municipal assemblies, commissions, people’s councils and administration bodies.



1. Nomination as deputy proposed and approved in a social or mass organization leadership plenum.

2. Nomination approved by a vote of the Municipal Assembly.

3. Election via a direct, secret ballot vote by electors in a district.

4. Election as President by the National Assembly.

5. Must be elected via a direct, secret ballot vote by deputies.


8:00 a.m. Five sources to follow Cuba’s general elections:

Official website of Cuban general elections 2017-2018
National Electoral Commission on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
National Assembly on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
Official website of the Cuban Parliament
Mobile app on the Cuban electoral system (available to download here)


7:05 a.m. As part of the protocol, the ballot boxes are shown to be empty

The first step of the morning is to show voters that the ballot boxes are empty before being sealed, as outlined in the Cuban Electoral Law.

To find out more about the general election process and the similarities and differences between the first stage to elect constituency delegates and this stage, in which provincial delegates and national deputies are elected, we suggest the following articles:

Elections: Questions and answers (Part I)

Elections: Questions and answers (Part II)

Elections: Questions and answers (Third and final part)


7:00 a.m. Polling stations open across Cuba

Polling stations opened across Cuba at 7:00 a.m. this Sunday, March 11, for the election of deputies to the Cuban Parliament and delegates to Provincial Assembles of People’s Power.

More than 8 million citizens are eligible to vote, as the President of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro, told reporters.

Last Sunday, March 4, a dynamic test (mock election) was undertaken to check that all elements of the voting system, including ballots, the counting and analysis of information were in place, as well as to identify any issues yet to be resolved. As Balseiro noted, the results of this mock election proved satisfactory.

[Suggested reading: The noble face of the country]

Important details of the general elections:

Some 24,470 polling stations have been installed across the country
143 are “special” polling stations – located in hospitals, terminals, and other spaces, to provide voters who cannot make it to normal polling stations with a location closer to where they are based in order to exercise their vote
605 deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power (Parliament) will be elected
1,265 delegates to Provincial Assemblies will also be elected
Voting will take place across the 12,515 electoral constituencies of Cuba

(Source Granma)

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