HAVANA, 18 April ( EFE) Two Cuban dissidents living in Havana appear among the candidates for municipal elections to be held this Sunday on the island, an “unprecedented” situation and an “achievement” in the political context of Cuba, they said in a statement to Efe.
The candidates are Hildebrando Chaviano, 65, an attorney with ties to the independent Corriente Agramontista law office, and Yuniel Lopez, 26, a member of the so-called Independent and Democratic Cuba Party, which is unauthorized on an island where the only legal political association is the Communist Party of Cuba.
Both were nominated by their neighbors for these partial elections of councilors for the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power.
“Though nothing comes of it, this is already an achievement. No one has ever reached this point,” Chaviano, who is running for councilor for the downtown Havana neighborhood of El Vedado, told Efe in a telephone conversation.
These partial elections are held every 2 1/2 years without political parties or campaigns.
“People got courageous and voted for me,” said Chaviano, who sees this attitude as particularly encouraging because he has no ties to the ruling party and because his neighbors know he is a dissident, though not a militant in any specific opposition group.
Lopez, who lives in the disadvantaged Santa Amalia neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, told Efe that in his case he was nominated by his own sister and beat three other people for the nomination.
Both he and Chaviano complained to Efe about “manipulations” of their published biographies, documents prepared by electoral authorities, and said they expect other subterfuges will be used to undermine them at the polls like “bringing in people from outside the locality to vote.”
In the case of Chaviano, Efe saw that his biography, posted in a busy building in El Vedado, mentions his relations with “counterrevolutionary cells” and accuses him of having been trained by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.