Cubans will head to the polls to elect members of the island’s National Assembly of People’s Power today. Today’s election
Cubans will head to the polls to elect members of the island’s National Assembly of People’s Power today.
Today’s election is the first since 1976 without a Castro leading the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Raul stepped down in 2021 and was succeeded by Miguel Díaz-Canel, marking the end of the brother’s control of the island. Ideologically loyal to his predecessors, Díaz-Canel emphasized continuity and initiated only minor civil and economic reforms.
The election comes as the island struggles through an ongoing economic crisis, Western diplomatic isolation and deep public frustration with government policies. Emigration is high, with the equivalent of 2% of the island’s population attempting to cross the US border between September 2021 and 2022. Nonvoting remains one of the few other options for Cubans to express dissatisfaction — absenteeism of eligible voters hit a four-decade peak in November’s municipal elections.
While the end of the Castro era shifted Cuba away from a dynastic political succession, the move did little to enhance democracy. With 470 candidates competing for 470 seats, the PCC will remain the island’s undisputed authority. Expect another record-low turnout. This won’t alter the election’s outcome, but will further undermine the PCC’s international credibility as the voice of the Cuban people and deflate domestic confidence in Díaz-Canel. Expect emigration to also continue as conditions fail to improve.