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This week in Cuba January 12 to January 18, 2020

This week in Cuba

January 12 to January 18, 2020

By Charles McKelvey

In today’s “This week in Cuba,” we review, first, the elections of the provincial governors and deputy governors in Cuba; secondly, the hour-long interview, on the Cuban evening news program La Mesa Redonda, of the President of the Venezuelan state media company Telesur; and thirdly, an article by a Cuban journalist on the fascist characteristics of the de facto government in Bolivia.

(1) Elections of the provincial governors and deputy governors in Cuba

Yesterday, May 18, 2020 elections were held for the governors and deputy governors of the fifteen provinces of Cuba. These positions were established by the new Cuban Constitution of 2019.

The Cuban Constitution of 1976 had established a political structure of municipal, provincial, and national assemblies, each of which elected a president, vice-president, and secretary. The Constitution of 2019, seeking to facilitate greater efficiency in responding to the needs of the people, eliminates the fifteen provincial assemblies and replaces them with fifteen provincial councils. The provincial council of each province is directed by a governor and deputy governor, and it is comprised of the presidents and vice-presidents of the municipal assemblies of the province.

The governor and deputy governor of each province are elected by the delegates of the municipal assemblies in the province, in a process in which the President of the Republic proposes a single candidate for governor and another for deputy governor for each of the provinces. On the designated day, each municipal assembly meets in order to vote for the governor and deputy governor of the province to which municipality pertains. They vote secretly in voting booths, marking a X by the name of the candidate proposed by the president for governor, and/or the name of the proposed candidate for deputy governor, or not marking an X for either. To be elected, a candidate for governor and a candidate for deputy governor have to receive more than 50% of the votes. If a candidate does not receive more than 50%, the President must submit the name of another candidate, with a new election held in ten days from the previous vote.

The governor and deputy governor take possession of their charges in twenty-one days following their election, at which time the Provincial Council of Popular Power is constituted, composed of the Governor, the Deputy Governor, and the presidents and vice-presidents of the municipal assemblies in the province.

The delegates of the 168 municipal assemblies of the nation are elected by the people in more than 15,000 voting districts, in secret voting, choosing from two or more candidates that have emerged from the proposals of the people in a series of neighborhood nomination assemblies. The President of the Republic is elected by the National Assembly of People’s Power, which is elected by the 168 municipal assemblies, with the participation of candidacy commissions formed by representatives of mass organizations of workers, farmers, women, students, and neighborhoods.

(2) The President of Telesur affirms on La Mesa Redonda that Guaidó has no authority

The Venezuelan television network Telesur was established as a state company in 2005 by Hugo Chávez, with the intention, as expressed by Elson Concepción Pérez, of “collecting the voice of the countries of the South in order to confront the avalanche of lies that are transmitted every day by the transnational corporations of the information industry, in the service of the interests of the United States and of the local oligarchies.” Concepción’s article appeared in the January 14 edition of the Cuban daily newspaper Granma.

Juan Guaidó, still championed by the USA in spite of his recent failures and fiascos, declared recently that he is going to take Telsur off the air, and he is going to create a commission to this end. I wonder if he had the audacity to call it a presidential commission.

Patricia Villegas, President of Telesur, appeared on the Cuban evening news program La Mesa Redonda on Thursday, January 16, to discuss Telesur and the most recent episode in the Guaidó saga. She said that the declarations of Guaidó are designed for their effect on the media, particularly the international media. Guaidó, she asserted, has no authority in the internal institutional order of the country; there is no internal institution that he is able to affect. She noted that Telesur produces and transmits its own signals, and it is not possible to stop these signals, especially a person without any authority in Venezuelan institutions.

Villegas declared that Telesur is the voice of the peoples of the world. This view is supported by Concepcion, who writes: “Our peoples know that Telesur signifies unity, unquestionable truth, true culture, not propaganda in the services of the transnational corporations and of foreign interests that intend to divide and enslave.”

(3) Cuban journalist describes the de facto government in Bolivia as fascist

In an article in the Cuban daily newspaper Granma on Thursday, January 16, Raúl Antonio Capote informs the reader that the de facto government of Bolivia is a fascist regime. He writes, “The de facto government in Bolivia is not hiding its antipopular, racist, and repressive character. The coup government that Jeanine Añez heads as president appears to be emulating the terror that accompanied the Chilean Military Junta, headed by Augusto Pinochet, and the rest of the fascist military governments in Latin America of the twentieth century. Dozens of reports from Bolivia, provided by human rights organizations, activists of the Movement toward Socialism (MAS), diplomatic missions, and independent groups and persons tell of the terror seeded in the population; the massive use of torture; selective assassinations, including throwing of persons alive from helicopters; death threats; lynching carried out by the already famous ‘cívicos,’ disappearances of people; and strict censure of the media of communication, including the burning of television and radio stations.” Capote reports the repression of the press has been described by the henchmen of Añez as an “operation of dismantling the propaganda apparatus of the dictatorial regime of Evo Morales.”

Capote further reports that the police have ordered that no one should provide medical assistance to persons wounded by the government repression, and anyone not complying with the order will be severely punished.

Capote provides the names of nine persons that have taken refuge in the Mexican embassy in La Paz: Juan Ramón Quintana, Minister of Government of Morales; Javier Zavaleta López, Minister of Defense; Héctor Arce Zaconeta, Attorney General; Félix César Navarro Miranda, Minister of Mining; Wilma Alanoca, Minister of Culture from 2017 to 2019; Hugo Moldíz, Minister of Government up to 2015 and well-known intellectual; Victor Hugo Vásquez Mamani, governor of the province (departamento) or Oruro; Pedro Damián Dorado López, Deputy Minister for Rural Development; and Nicolás Laguna, director of the digital agency (Agetic) of the government of Morales. The de facto government has not granted safe conduct that would permit the nine to abandon the country.

The de facto government has emitted orders for the arrest of four of the nine. The de facto regime accuses the ministers of the constitutional government of Evo Morales of presumed acts of sedition.

Capote concludes by observing that as Bolivia suffers, MAS is reorganizing itself and is preparing to again win in the next elections.

This is Charles McKelvey. We will be back next Sunday with “This week in Cuba,” reviewing the news emerging during the week from revolutionary Cuba.


Edited by Lena Valverde Jordi
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