Elections and Events 1991-2001

1990

Azicri 1992: "A backdrop to the events in the island and the demise of Central and Eastern European socialism was the renewed activism among anti-Castro Cuban exiles [in1990] that was visible throughout Miami…In anticipation of the myriad of problems that might occur, the governor of Florida appointed a special commission charged with planning emergency measures for southern Florida once the Castro regime ends…TV Martí went on the air in March 1990, expanding Reagan's objective of destabilizing the Castro regime with Radio Martí, which went on the air in 1985" (pages 37-38).

Azicri 2000: "Soviet technical and military personnel stationed on the island were estimated in 1990 to total 7,700 (2,800 military advisors, a military detachment of 2,800-a brigade, and 2,100 electronic technicians assigned to the electronic intelligence gathering station at Lourdes)" (page 21).

Country profile. Cuba 1992-93: "The armed forces numbered some 180,500 in mid-1990, of whom 79,500 were conscripts. The army, by far the largest force, numbered 145,000, while there were 13,500 in the navy and 22,000 in the air force" (page 7).

January

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 1: It was announced "at the beginning of January that the system by which party representatives are elected after a single, official nomination...has been replaced. This has been done in order to increase the participation of workers in party decision making and in order to broaden the democratic base of the party's leadership" (page 13).

Fernández 1996: The "decision to allow free elections in the local party cells" was announced in January 1990 (page B355).

February

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 2: "At a special plenary of the Central Committee of Cuba's ruling Communist Party (PCC), and an extraordinary session of the National Assembly, both of which were held on February 16, changes were made in key party and government posts" (page 13).

March

Azicri 1992: "The Communist party launched a campaign in March 1990 for open participation in the preparations for the October 1991 Fourth Party congress. Participating in the different plenums held across the country, the people raised significant issues…The scope for public discussion is seemingly wide open with only two major issues excluded from the discussions: the socialist nature of the revolution and the regime, and the single-party system. The people have requested important changes in the political system, including improving the Organs of People's Power's responsiveness to local and national needs and concerns, giving more authority to municipal and provincial delegates and to the national deputies, and extending the number and length of the National Assembly sessions" (page 51).

April

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 2: "There has been an apparent change in the PCC's relationship with the Christian churches. Encouraged by the guidelines issued for the Fourth PCC Congress,...the Cuban Ecumenical Council of Protestant Churches seized the opportunity to...request a meeting with [Castro] in early April. While Christians may join the PCC, they still suffer discrimination at the intermediate levels, ie in state agencies and enterprises" (page 15).

May

Fernández 1996: "Leading government officials (as of May 1990)" (page B354).

Summer

Azicri 1992: "Rather than waiting until the Fourth Party Congress, the National Assembly decided to heed some of these complaints in its summer 1990 session. It approved allowing 100 of the 496 deputies to henceforth dedicate themselves full time to their National Assembly responsibilities" (pages 51-52).

Country profile. Cuba 1995-96: "The unwieldy party bureaucracy was streamlined in 1990 as part of the process of 'perfecting' the party in the run-up to its congress...The formal proscription on homosexuals and religious believers joining the party was abolished as well" (page 8).

August

Country profile. Cuba 1993-94: "Although the Soviet Union was reluctant to abandon Cuba at a stroke, its own economic and political crises made it hard for it to honour commitments, and in August 1990 a 2m ton shortfall in the annual 12-13m tons of Soviet oil usually delivered to Cuba plunged the island into a recession" (page 6).

October

Country profile. Cuba 1991-92: "In October 1990, 93 locally based People's Councils were created in the city of Havana each headed by a National Assembly delegate" (page 4).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 4: "Early in October the Partido Comunista de Cuba announced a plan to streamline its unwieldy party bureaucracy, cutting the number of advisory departments to the Central Committee from 19 to nine and halving the staff of the Central Committee and local and provincial party committees...(T)he reduction in party staff will inevitably concentrate power more narrowly higher up" (page 14).

Pérez-Stable 1993: "In October 1990, the PCC announced a restructuring reducing the number of professional cadres, eliminating ten of the nineteen Central Committee departments, and retrenching the Secretariat from ten to five members. Fifty percent of the personnel working for the Central Committee was slated to be laid off" (page 79).

November

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 4: "(D)irect, secret voting is to be introduced for the first time in the forthcoming provincial and local party committee elections, due to begin in November. Hitherto, party officials have been elected by official nomination ratified by an open vote" (page 14).

December

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1990, 4: "Political structure, Cuba" (page 2). Gives details as of the end of 1990.

1991

Azicri 2000: "The religious revival of the 1990s was made possible by the relaxation of the limitations imposed on religious practice, allowing people to express their religious beliefs and to attend mass and other services more freely" (pages 252-253).

Bunck 1994: "(I)n early 1991 Cuban women still held an unmistakably inferior position in both the Party and the political structure, the essential sources of power in Castro's society. Women comprised only 21.5 percent of the Party, representing only 13.8 percent of the Party cadres and 19 percent of the UJC cadres. Very few held official positions" (page 121).

Country profile. Cuba 1992-93: "In 1991, in an effort to save money, compulsory military service was cut from three years to two" (page 7).

July

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1991, 4: The "legislative elections scheduled for the end of 1991 have been postponed for a year, according to a July statement by the president of the National Assembly" (page 15).

October

Azicri 2000: Describes the decisions made at the Fourth Party Congress in October 1991 (pages 105-107). "The Fourth Party Congress in 1991 authorized the admission of religious believers to the PCC" (page 253).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1991, 4: "Despite regular official reminders during the long series of preparatory debates leading up to the congress that the one party system of government, enshrined in the present constitution of Cuba, was not up for discussion, it was this issue that attracted the most attention and speculation. Shortly before the opening of the congress, several dissidents were arrested, having called for general elections and the installation of a multi-party democracy...The most visible political change was a massive Central Committee and Politburo reshuffle in which almost all the long serving veterans of the 1959 revolutionary struggle were replaced by a new generation of young militants, many of them under 35. The brothers Castro and the vice president, Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, remained nevertheless at the top of the tree. By secret ballot, the congress elected 126 new members to the 225 person Central Committee, with local party branches able to present candidates for the first time ever" (page 14). "Less spectacularly, the congress also approved direct, individual voting for members of the National Assembly of People's Power, the Cuban parliament. This reform is intended to increase democracy within the framework of the one party system" (page 15).

Del Aguila 1994: "Members elected to the Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) during the fourth congress in 1991" (page 171).

Eckstein 1994: The "1991 Party Congress laid the groundwork for additional Party and government democratization. It agreed to open the Party to religious believers, thereby making it less exclusionary, and to have secret direct elections for representatives of all levels of the Popular Power system, not just, as had been the case until then, at the municipal level. There also was a major turnover in leadership. Fidel and Raúl remained officially first and second in command. However, about half of the Party's 225-person Central Committee and the 25-member Political Bureau were replaced…Also, the Council of State underwent over a 50 percent turnover" (page 115).

Kapcia 1997a: "The reforms have included the creation, from 1991, of 'Consejos Populares' (People's Councils)-local, part elected and part appointed committees designed to shortcut local bottlenecks in supply, services, infrastructure and production-and 'parlamentos obreros' (workers' parliaments)-essential workplace assemblies" (page 319).

Pérez-Stable 1993: "On 10 October 1991, Cuban communists met in Santiago de Cuba. Focusing on the historic roots of the revolution and Cuban socialism, the congress proclaimed the PCC as the 'sole party of the Cuban nation, 'martiano,' Marxist, and Leninist" (page 80). The "most significant outcome of the PCC congress was continued elite turnover. More than two-thirds of the 225 members of the Central Committee were either newly elected or promoted to full membership. Several changes were particularly notable. The shares of the state administration, the mass organizations, and the military declined" (page 81).

Pérez-Stable 1997: "The struggle for national sovereignty, defined against the United States, lies at the heart of the Cuban Revolution. While the thirty-year dependence on the Soviet Union undoubtedly constrained the island's autonomy, it allowed Cuba to be independent of the United States. But the Soviets were also ideological allies…Thus, when its patron disintegrated, the Cuba government lost more than trade, credit, and aid; it lost its ideological progenitor. The symbols and history of 'la patria' (the homeland) are now the sole remaining source of ideological legitimization. At the party congress in 1991, Cuban leaders regained their ideological bearings" (page 27). Describes steps taken to do this.

Prevost 2002: The Fourth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, "the first congress after the demise of the Soviet Communist party, took several important initiatives in the political arena. The most important change was in Cuba's formal government structure. Since the system was established in the mid-1970s, Cubans had gone to the polls every four years to elect their local municipal delegate in a secret ballot vote. However, the remainder of the Cuban political officials were chosen by indirect election. Under the reforms implemented in the 1992-1993 elections, Cuban citizens voted for the first time directly for candidates to the Provincial Assemblies and the National Assembly, in addition to their customary vote for a municipal delegate" (page 350).

Reed 1992: "The Congress is the party's highest decision-making body" (page 20). Describes how delegates to the Congress are selected. "Both on the economic and political front, the Fourth Congress of Cuba's Communist Party was the final break with imported European socialist structures and thinking. In fact, this is the culmination of a process begun in 1986 known as 'rectification'" (page 22). "Resolution on the rules of the Communist Party of Cuba" (page 80-94). "Resolution on improving People's Power government" (pages 111-126). "Members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba" (page 161-176). Gives biographical information. "Additional members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba" (pages 177-187).

Roman 1999: "The terms for National Assembly deputies, provincial delegates, and municipal delegates were to have ended in Fall 1991, but the elections were postponed for over one year to include the changes contained in the 1992 Constitution and Election Law" (page 106).

November

Country profile. Cuba 1993-94: "In November 1991 the government turned to a new form of repression of dissidents, 'actos de repudio,' carried out by so-called Rapid Reaction Brigades" (page 6).

1992

Azicri 2000: "Once the limited protective shield and the trade agreements and financial assistance provided by the socialist camp, mostly the Soviet Union, were gone, the revolution's economic and military vulnerability increased substantially. Havana had not anticipated that 87 percent of its international trade-the lifeline of the economy-would collapse almost overnight with the end of the European socialist governments" (page 21).

Suchlicki 2000: "Few anticipated the rapid and dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s…For Cuba it was a devastating blow. Cuba lost not only the protective political umbrella offered by the Soviet Union, but also the economic support that had been its lifeline" (page 59).

January

Country profile. Cuba 1993-94: "The regime attracted further criticism for executing in January 1992 a Cuban exile who had entered the country illegally carrying arms and explosives, as well as two would-be defectors who had killed four Cuban policemen in a shoot-out" (pages 6-7).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1992, 3: A "vice president of the Council of Ministers...announced on June 5 that direct elections for the National Assembly would be held in November 1992" (page 11).

July: constitutional reform

Azicri 2000: Discusses the 1992 Constitution (pages 112-115). "The procedures determining what to do when no candidate receives a majority of the votes were left to a new electoral law adopted in October 1992. National deputies and provincial delegates are elected every five years, and municipal delegates every two and a half years" (page 113). The 1992 Constitution "declared the Cuban state secular and not atheist. The changes fostered a rapprochement between the revolution and religion, with an increasingly friendly relationship between the government and the Catholic Church. The regime's relationship with the Protestant churches has been harmonious" (page 253).

Country profile. Cuba 1997-98: "Establishment of an additional bottom tier of local government, the 'Consejos Populares' (People's Councils), was approved in 1992" (page 4).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1993, 3: "At the July session of the National Assembly of People's Power, a number of changes to the 1976 constitution proposed at last October's congress of the Cuban Communist Party were adopted. They include instituting direct, secret voting for members of the National Assembly, official recognition of freedom of worship and belief, and prohibition of discrimination on religious grounds" (page 10).

Eckstein 1994: Discusses the constitutional reforms (page 116).

Kapcia 1996: "The National Assembly…was, until 1992, indirectly elected, dominated by the Party and met only twice a year to legitimate decisions taken by the Central Committee of the Party or the Council of Ministers" (page 131).

Kapcia 1997a: "The 1992 reform of the National Assembly was a long overdue measure, given the patent lack of accountability, effectiveness and therefore legitimacy of the forum. What had been a minor irritant from 1976-the lack of effective national suffrage-now threatened to open up a serious gap between leaders and led. Now, more than ever, the leadership needed to open channels of communication, to build consensus and to restore lost legitimacy to institutions. The reform was simple: making elections to the Assembly direct" (page 316).

Roman 1999: "In July 1992, the National Assembly passed the Constitutional Reform Law" (page 63). Under "the 1992 Constitution, provincial delegates and National Assembly deputies are directly elected by the Cuban people every five years" (page 3). "To coordinate the work of the municipal assembly between sessions, in 1992 the municipal assembly executive committee was replaced by the administrative council. It is led by the assembly president and vice president, who are elected by the assembly and must be delegates" (page 75). "The newest structures within the municipal assembly, the 'consejos populares,' were given constitutional status in 1992. They are groupings of about ten delegates from contiguous electoral districts, together with representatives from government agencies located in the territory" (page 76). "The 1992 Constitution changed the terms for provincial delegates from two and one half to five years, to correspond with the terms of the National Assembly deputies. The consensus was, however, that the municipal delegates' term should remain two and one half years, since, given the enormous amount of voluntary work involved..., serving five years would wear them out" (page 81). "The revised 1992 Constitution brought important changes regarding the role of the PCC in the candidate selection for National Assembly deputies and officers, provincial assembly delegates and officers, and municipal assembly officers. The PCC and the [UJC] no longer participate on any of the candidacy commissions" (page 94).

October

Castañeda Donate 1993: "Ley electoral aprobada el 29 de octubre de 1992" (pages 31-46).

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 27 1994: "In line with the July 1992 constitutional amendment providing for direct election of the National Assembly of People's Power, the Electoral Law was similarly modified by the Assembly on 29 October 1992" (page 10).

Country profile. Cuba 1992-93: The "National Assembly elections, in October 1992, will be the first in which deputies are elected by direct, secret ballot, and in which declared opponents of the Communist Party may stand-albeit in an individual capacity, not as representatives of parties or organisations" (page 7).

Edelstein 1995: Discusses the 1992 electoral law (page 8).

García Brigos 2001: "As modified in 1992, the OPP-the representative bodies of the socialist state that is the Republic of Cuba-are structured in the National Assembly, supreme body of state power and the only constitutional and legislative authority of the republic, with its Council of State, and in the provincial and municipal assemblies as the highest local organs of state power and government at their respective levels" (pages 113-114). Discusses "the change in the process of nominating and electing deputies and provincial delegates, adopted in 1992 and put into practice for the first time in the elections of February 24, 1993. The changes, in brief, were that the committees in charge of presenting slates of candidates to the municipal assemblies were no longer formed by the PCC and would now be chaired by a representative of the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC) rather than by a Party member as before. The municipal assemblies would only nominate candidates rather than nominate and elect them as in the past; the assemblies could reject a candidate-whose place would be filled from a reserve list prepared by the Commission-but could not propose new candidates as was possible before; municipal assembly delegates could constitute up to 50 percent of the provincial delegates and national deputies in each municipality, but were no longer required to be the majority as before; and finally, the municipal assemblies would not elect the provincial delegates and deputies, but rather they would be elected by the direct and secret vote of the population in electoral districts within the municipalities" (pages 130-131). Describes other changes to the election process, including the candidate forums (pages 131-132).

Pérez-Stable 1993a: "In October, the National Assembly considered a new electoral law to guide the direct election of the delegates to the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Popular Power...Electoral commissions sanctioned the candidates to the municipal assemblies, and the municipal delegates in turn selected half of the provincial and national candidates from among their ranks; the trade unions and other mass organizations nominated the other half. In the municipal elections, at least two candidates were nominated from each district. In the national and provincial elections, the total number of candidates equaled the number of delegates allotted to each district, and therefore they ran unopposed. At all levels, the law banned traditional campaigning; the only platform was 'la patria,' the revolution, and socialism" (page 179).

Pérez-Stable 1997: "In 1992 the government had an opportunity to signal a political opening with the modification of the electoral law to allow for the direct election of deputies to provincial and national assemblies of Popular Power. Instead, the revised law made it virtually impossible for anyone except an officially sanctioned candidate to run" (page 27).

Roman 1999: In "October 1992, [the National Assembly] passed a new electoral law" (page 63). Describes provisions of the law (page 135).

Sznajder 2001: "Under the new [electoral law], direct representation is reinforced by a system according to which the representatives are both nominated and elected by the 'people' directly. This creates mechanisms which, in pro-Castro Cuban eyes, are more representative than any party system in which the election and nomination of candidates presented to popular elections, as open as they might be, are in the hands of the elites that control the internal power structure of the party" (page 9).

October 15

Country profile. Cuba 1993-94: "The growing international criticism of Cuba...was muted by the October 1992 signing of the USA's Cuban Democracy Act (CDA), which sought to prevent subsidiaries of US companies based in third countries from trading with Cuba and declared that boats entering Cuban ports could not use US ports for six months afterwards. This act was seen by most nations as a clear attempt by the US government to violate their trade sovereignty" (page 7).

Cuba: the contours of change 2000: On October 15, 1992, "Congress passes the Cuban Democracy Act, informally known as the Torricelli bill" (page 134).

Prevost 2002: "In 1992 Congress passed and President Bush signed the Cuba Democracy Act, which sought to tighten the thirty-year-old embargo by cutting off third-country trading to Cuba by U.S. companies. The legislation also specified that the only acceptable political change in Cuba was the total removal of the Communist party from power" (page 352).

November

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 27 1994: In November, "the National Electoral Commission approved a raise in the number of Deputies from 510 to 589" (pages 10-11).

December 20: municipal assembly election

Azicri 2000: "Among those elected in 1992, from 28,500 candidates for 13,432 delegate posts in 150 municipal assemblies, 16 percent were under thirty years of age, 13.5 percent were women, and 46 percent were reelected municipal delegates" (page 117).

Castañeda Donate 1993: "Muestras de la boleta electoral" (pages 57). Reproduces articles from Granma on the December elections (pages 69-93).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1993, 1: "On Sunday, December 20, 97.2% of eligible voters went to the polls to elect representatives to town councils throughout the island. Although Cubans had a choice of candidates to support, no opposition parties were allowed to participate. The only way to protest against the process was to cast a blank or null vote. According to several accounts, approximately 20% of the voters protested in this way. These elections were a prelude to the direct voting to the provincial and national assemblies to take place in March" (page 11).

Del Aguila 1994: "Delegates to the Organs of People's Power (OPP), that is, local governments, were elected in 1992. Government figures show that some 7.5 million citizens elected 13,865 delegates to the OPP from more than 28.000 nominees" (page 166).

Kapcia 1996: "In December 1992, with the economic crisis apparently deepening and discontent increasing, municipal elections were held throughout Cuba, being seen by many as a critical indicator of popularity. The resulting message was all too clear: about 30 per cent effectively abstained (by spoiling ballots or actually not voting), with especially high figures in Havana and even, worryingly, the usually loyal Santiago, and a very high proportion of the candidates had to go to a second round of voting, having received insufficient votes (under 50 per cent). Given the usually high turnout for such elections and the usual local pressure to participate, such figures were indeed significant and were seen as such by a leadership startled, but perhaps not surprised, by this display of protest" (page 143).

Keesing's record of world events December 1992: "Local government elections were held on Dec. 20 to elect 13,865 delegates to 169 municipal assemblies, with voting in electoral colleges on Dec. 27 to decide seats where no candidate secured an overall majority" (page 39231).

Mujeres latinoamericanas en cifras: Cuba 1992: "Participación en elecciones municipales, 1992" (page 95). "En la primera vuelta de las elecciones de delegados a las Asambleas Municipales del Poder Popular de diciembre de 1992, votó el 97.2% de los electores registrados y la abstención osciló entre 4.9% y 0.7% en las provincias. Fueron elegidas un 13.5% de mujeres, el mayor porcentaje de ellas en Ciudad de La Habana y el menor en Granma" (page 95).

Pérez-Stable 1993a: "In December, more than 97 percent of the electorate voted for nearly 14,000 municipal assembly delegates. Various sources estimated that about a third of the citizenry cast invalid ballots (blank or defaced in some way); the government admitted to less than 15 percent" (page 179).

Smith 1996: "In the 1992 municipal elections women's overall representation declined to 13.6 percent. Women constituted 7 percent of those elected president of a municipal council that year, and 3 of the 169 municipalities were headed by women presidents and vice presidents" (page 47).

1993

Kapcia 1997a: "Further reforms have included the formal changes to the Constitution in 1993, which, besides allowing foreign ownership and control of labour, strengthened the official and latent nationalist discourse and confirmed the greater opportunity for religious believers. The changes did not just legitimise but gave the green light to further debate" (pages 318-319).

Suchlicki 2000: "The government sought to survive by husbanding its meager resources. By 1993, rations had been reduced, labor brigades organized, security and repression increased, and heightened rhetoric used to boost morale and maintain social unity. Simultaneously, the military was give a greater role in managing and controlling the economy…(I)nvolvement in the economy provided a new mission to a military demoralized by the arrest and execution of several of its leaders and by the lack of purpose since its involvement in Angola in the 1980s" (page 60).

February 24: provincial and national assemblies election

Azicri 2000: "The elections were rated as a plebiscite attesting to the people's support for the government. The response of the populace, who turned out in massive numbers at the polls, resulted in a political victory at a time when the regime's viability was in doubt" (page 116). "In 1993, 1,900 delegates for fourteen provincial assemblies and 589 National Assembly deputies were elected for the first time by direct vote…A total of 274 municipal delegates elected in 1992 became candidates for the National Assembly in 1993. The remaining 315 candidates were provincial and national figures who had been nominated at open meetings in electoral precincts…Under the new electoral system there is only one candidate for each provincial or national post. The voter is not choosing from competing candidates but endorsing or rejecting the slate selected at the base and confirmed by the Candidacy Commissions. The voter can vote for one or more candidates, reject them all, or leave the ballot blank, signifying disapproval of the candidates. Only candidates with a majority of the votes cast are declared elected. In 1993, 88.48 percent of the voters supported the entire slate" (page 117). Gives further information on the election (page 118).

Castañeda Donate 1993: "Muestras de la boleta electoral" (pages 58-59). Reproduces articles from Granma on the February 1993 elections (pages 94-128).

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 27 1994: Describes the purpose of elections, characteristics of parliament, electoral system, background and outcome of the elections, and statistics (pages 75-77). "More than 60,000 pre-candidatures were scrutinized by the National Candidature Commission, out of which a list of 589 candidates was presented to the electorate, comprising 274 grass-roots, 180 provincial and 135 national nominees, all supporters of the Communist Party of Cuba…Polling was held simultaneously with that for 1,120 delegates to the 14 provincial assemblies…By official accounts, the turnout was massive (a major disappointment for proponents of a boycott. The National Electoral Commission announced that up to 99.57% of the electorate had been to the polls, with an overwhelming majority voting for the entire lists. It also announced that all 589 candidates had received more than 50% of the valid votes cast and were therefore considered elected. The newly-elected Parliament comprised only 98 of the Deputies of the former legislature" (page 76). Statistics include "results of the elections and distribution of seats in the National Assembly" and "distribution of deputies according to sex" (page 77).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1993, 2: "The regime appeared to obtain a good result in February's elections. It clamed that most voters had supported all its candidates and that this showed that it retains mass support. It is impossible to verify whether the government's claims are true. But as no opposition candidates were allowed to stand it is clear that the elections did not constitute a meaningful political opening. Indeed there is no sign at all of any significant political concessions being made by the government" (page 10). "On February 24 Cuba held its first direct elections to the National Assembly since the revolution. Only one candidate ran for each of the 589 seats. Candidate selection was carefully controlled by the Communist Party at the level of the municipal assemblies. Voters were told that they could still exercise a choice by not voting for a candidate. If a particular candidate did not receive 50% of the valid votes cast, he or she would not be elected. It was expected that a significant protest vote would be made. A protest could be registered by an individual either by not voting at all, or by going to the polls but leaving the ballot blank, or by going to the polls but spoiling the ballot. According to the official figures, out of a total of 7,872,806 registered voters, 7,842,617 (99.62%) voted. Of those who voted, 3.1% cast blank ballots and 4% cast spoiled ballots. The strongest protest vote occurred in Havana City, where, out of 1.6 million voters, nearly 15% cast blank or spoiled ballots, according to the official tally. Out of the valid votes, 585 candidates received more than 90% of the vote and all 589 candidates received at least 87% of the vote. By the official reckoning, then, the vote indicated abiding strong support for the revolution" (pages 10-11).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1995, 4: "Female membership of the National Assembly...fell from 34% to 22.8% in 1993" (page 8).

Del Aguila 1994: "The elections of 1993" (page 168).

Domínguez 1998: "Ordinary citizens and members of the People's Councils and of municipal government account for over 40 percent of National Assembly deputies elected in February 1993" (page 176).

Edelstein 1995: Discusses the February 1993 parliamentary election (pages 8-9).

Elecciones en Cuba: farsa o democracia? 1993: Includes a variety of statements and short articles about the 1993 elections. "Resultados finales oficiales de las elecciones" (pages 151-153).

Kapcia 1996: "The preparations for the February elections were…even more meticulous, including…a wide and often vigorous debate in various forums…Finally, as the elections approached, the leadership gambled on a move which would either be its trump card or its undoing-by presenting the vote as a referendum on the Revolution itself. The results superficially indicated little change and confirmed for many the meaninglessness of the reforms: the entire official 'slate' of 589 candidates was elected on the first round in a 98.8 per cent turnout, and 70 per cent of those elected were Party members" (page 143). Discusses the results (pages 143-144).

Kapcia 1997a: "In spite of the apparently monolithic statistics of a 98.8 per cent turnout and a 70 per cent figure for Party membership among the elected delegates, the reality was that, given the opportunity to register a national protest (including some voting for non-Party or even dissident figures), most electors registered a degree of support for the system. In all only 100,000 abstained and, of those voting, about 19 per cent (maybe 1.5m Cubans) failed to vote for the full official 'slate', of whom 560,000 (about 7 per cent of voters) cast blank votes. In other words, 81 per cent rejected the opportunity of even a slight vote against the system and, with 83 per cent of the new delegates total newcomers to the parliament and 30 per cent non-Party members, the prospects of the new assembly, now directly accountable with identifiable constituents, becoming as much of a rubber-stamp forum as before were considerably reduced" (pages 316-317).

Keesing's record of world events February 1993: "The first direct election of deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP), previously chosen indirectly by municipal councillors, were held on Feb. 25. Figures issued by the National Electoral Commission the following day showed that all 589 candidates for 589 posts had obtained more than the necessary 50 per cent of the vote to be elected. Of these, 80 per cent had obtained more than 95 per cent of the valid votes cast, some of the highest returns being registered in the most deprived districts of the capital, Havana. The turnout among the 7,842,617 registered voters was officially put at 99.6 per cent, leaving an abstention rate of 0.4 per cent. Elected simultaneously were 1,190 delegates to 14 provincial assemblies" (39311).

Mujeres latinoamericanas en cifras: Cuba 1992: "En las elecciones para las Asambleas Nacional y Provinciales de febrero de 1993, efectuadas con la nueva ley electoral, votaron 7,842,617 personas. El 92.97% de los votos fue válido, el 3.05% en blanco y el 3.98% nulo. De los votos válidos el 95.17% correspondió al llamado 'voto unido'-por todos los candidatos, que igualan el número de cargos a elegir-y el 4.83% a voto selectivo" (page 95).

Pérez-Stable 1993a: "Cuban leaders prepared for the election of the 589 deputies to the National Assembly and the 1,190 delegates to the provincial assemblies in February as they had not in December...Before February 24, it updated voter registration lists, increased the number of polling places, and sent representatives from the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to visit every home to instruct the citizenry on the new voting procedures. Even though candidates had no challengers, citizens could vote selectively from the complete list. They were urged to vote the entire slate" (page 179). "On February 24, more than 99 percent of the electorate went to the polls. Official sources claimed that 88.5 percent voted the straight ticket and only 7.2 percent invalidated the ballot. In his district, Castro won with more than 99 percent of the vote. Unofficial sources placed the proportion of invalid ballots at 10 to 20 percent and the percentage of citizens voting selectively at 30 percent" (page 18).

Prevost 2002: "The process was completed on February 24, 1993, when 1190 provincial delegates and 589 deputies to the National Assembly were elected for five-year terms. Cuban election officials reported a record 99.6 percent turnout...Under the new system for selecting the provincial and national legislators, lists were put together by nominating commissions made up of delegates representing trade unions as well as farmers', women's, and students' organizations. Each organization, representing its constituency, held meetings to solicit potential nominations. Over 70,000 names emerged from these meetings. The nominating commissions made their recommendations to the Municipal Assemblies, which decided on the final list of candidates" (page 350). "The February 1993 election results were significant when opponents of the Cuban government had called for an electoral boycott or the casting of blank ballots. Some in the Cuban community of Miami had predicted that up to 50 percent of the Cuban electorate would heed the call for a boycott, but it did not. In addition to the 99 percent turnout, the Election Comission reported that 92.8 percent of the ballots were valid, with only 7.2 percent spoiled or blank. None of the 589 national candidates received less than 87 percent of the vote, and 88.5 percent of the ballots went for the entire slate. The Cuban government did not permit international observers to monitor the process, reasoning that the elections would not be accepted as valid in any case by the United States" (page 351).

El proceso electoral en Cuba: 1992-1998 1998: "Cuarta legislatura 1993-1998: esta legislatura estuvo compuesta por 589 diputados, los que eligieron la Presidencia de la ANPP y el Consejo de Estado" (page 4). "Elecciones generales de 1993" (pages 57-76). Reproduces articles from Granma, including election results.

Roman 1999: "After the 1993 [election], the percentage of deputies who belonged to the [PCC] was a little over 70 percent" (page 94). "The direct elections for the National Assembly deputies and provincial assembly delegates were first held in February 1993 (before this, they were elected by the municipal assembly delegates)" (page 106).

March

Kapcia 1996: In "March 1993, came the ministerial reshuffle which saw Roberto Robaina replace Ricardo Alarcón as Foreign Minister, with the latter being apparently relegated to the post of President of the new National Assembly…Robaina was long seen as the popular and charismatic head of both the 'Federación de Estudiantes Universitarios' (FEU) and the 'Unión de Juventud Comunista' (UJC). His promotion to the Central Committee in 1990 and to the 'Buró Político' in 1991 were widely seen as signs of a political shift" (page 141). "The shuffle also indicated a greater significance for the hitherto meaningless National Assembly. Until 1992, the post of Assembly President would indeed have been seen as a demotion for someone of Alarcón's stature…Alarcón was no mere bureaucrat, but a highly capable, intelligent and trusted politician…In the light of this, the National Assembly actually gained in significance by being put in the hands of a politician of Alarcón's ability, loyalty and record as a reformer" (page 142).

Prevost 2002: "At its inaugural session in March 1993, the National Assembly elected the foreign minister, Ricardo Alarcón, as president of the Assembly, replacing Juan Escalona. It also elected a new Council of State, with Fidel Castro continuing as President. The thirty-one-member Council of State, including sixteen members who were new to the body, exercises legislative power between Assembly sessions" (page 351). Describes the membership of the Assembly.

June

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1993, 4: "On June 15 the Cuban government announced its intention to reduce the size of the armed forces substantially. The decision reflects the lack of materials and energy due to the economic situation and the end of free Soviet military supplies. At the time of the announcement the armed forces numbered around 380,000, not including the 1.5 million members of paramilitary groups" (page 12).

September

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1993, 4: "Cuba's 11 bishops delivered a 17-page letter to the Cuban government on September 14, denouncing the country's one-party system. The letter decried unilateral party control over the media, the arts and the political system and called for greater openness" (page 11).

1994

Kapcia 1997a: "(I)t is clear from the changes within the Party and the Central Committee between 1986 and 1994 that the old guerrilla generation has largely been retired gracefully from active leadership-although some still retain a decisive role, notably, Raúl Castro (still head of the FAR, and therefore with a political and economic base), Osmani Cienfuegos (currently overseeing the tourism portfolio), and Vilma Espín, Raúl Castro's partner, who, although no longer on the Buró Político of the Party, is still head of the FMC. Replacing them is a clearly identifiable group of younger 'technocrats' and politicians, mostly with key economic roles" (page 314). "By 1994…, legitimacy [of the Cuban Communist Party] was returning, with increasing numbers (from 596,620 in 1989 to 706,132 in 1994) and growing interest in the youth wing, the UJC" (page 317).

Suchlicki 2000: "In response to deteriorating food production and concerns about growing social pressures, in 1994 the government permitted the establishment of farmers' markets at which agricultural products could be sold by growers directly to the public" (pages 60-61).

August

De la Fuente 1997: "On August 5, 1994, a riot took place on the Malecón in Havana, in the heavily black neighborhood of Centro Habana. Incidents of this kind have been very rare in postrevolutionary Cuba, and this was the first to receive ample and accurate press coverage. The rioters destroyed several state-owned dollar stores, and demanded freedom and changes in the Cuban political situation" (page 53).

Kapcia 1996: "(T)he world was presented in August 1994 with the spectacle of 35,000 Cubans fleeing the island in apparent desperation. At that moment the end, which many had predicted since 1989, seemed nigh; the 'balseros' seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of a moribund Revolution" (page 124).

Prevost 2002: "Discontent with the economic situation boiled over during the summer of 1994...However, ultimately the Cuban leadership was successful in defusing the situation and beginning a slow turnaround of the economy that continues to the present day. The Cuban government opened up its ports in August 1994 and allowed thousands of discontented Cubans to go to the United States" (page 349).

Sznajder 2001: "In August 1994 more than 35,000 'balseros'-raft-people-attempted the crossing of the Florida straits heading for the US. The Clinton administration, extremely unhappy with this new flood of Cuban illegal immigrants-which coincided with a parallel phenomenon from Haiti-ended the open-door policy towards Cuban refugees and began detaining Cuban and Haitian raft-people at the Guantanamo navy base" (page 4). Describes the economic conditions leading up to the migration.

September

Prevost 2002: "The crisis ended with a new immigration agreement between the United States and Cuba in September 1994, and the United States ended its long-standing policy of granting political asylum to all arriving Cuban refugees. Under the new policy, refugees reaching U.S. soil are still granted the right to apply for asylum, but those intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba" (page 349).

Sznajder 2001: "Finally, Cuba and the US reached an agreement that halted the flood and the US promised to accept at least 20,000 Cuban legal immigrants per year" (page 4).

1995

May

Prevost 2002: "A new agreement, signed in May 1995, allows for the legal immigration of up to 20,000 Cubans per year to the United States" (page 349).

Suchlicki 2000: "After prolonged negotiations, most of the would-be refugees at Guantanamo were allowed to enter the United States in 1995. The deal called for Washington to provide 20,000 visas annually to Cubans seeking to migrate to the United States, while Havana promised to prevent illegal migration" (page 65).

July 9: municipal assembly election

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1995, 4: "Only seven of the 167 recently elected local authority chairpersons are women. The figure is in line with a fall in women's public activity in Cuba, although their representation in the workforce continues to rise" (page 8).

Keesing's record of world events July 1995: "Municipal elections were held on July 9 to elect 14,229 councillors from 29,131 candidates in 169 municipalities. The head of the National Electoral Commission announced on July 10 that the turnout had been 97.1 per cent (of 7,795,623 eligible voters), with 4.4 per cent of the ballots blank and 7 per cent invalid. Voting was not mandatory. A second round of voting was held on July 16 in 326 constituencies where no candidate had gained more than 51 per cent of the vote. A July 11 report in 'El País,' the Madrid-based daily, estimated that 20 per cent of voters in Havana had either abstained or returned blank or null ballots" (page 40637).

El proceso electoral en Cuba: 1992-1998 1998: "Elecciones municipales de 1995" (pages 73-91). Reproduces articles from Cuban publications, including election results.

Roman 1999: "The municipal delegate elections were held on July 9, 1995, during one of the worst years of the economic crisis, with the runoff on July 16 in the cases where no candidate had received a majority. In 97 percent of the election districts, only two candidates were nominated, which meant that very few runoff elections were necessary. Some 6,265,988 people-82.9 percent of those eligible to vote-attended the nomination meetings, about 4 percent more than in 1992; 29,131 candidates were nominated, of which 14,229 were elected" (page 112). "On July 9, 1995, 7,568,548 citizens, constituting 97.1 percent of those eligible, voted, electing 97.7 percent of the 14,229 delegates. Of the ballots, 11.3 percent were not valid: 4.3 percent were blank ballots, and 7 percent were nullified...Of the incumbent candidates, 50.8 percent were not reelected by the voters" (pages 123-124). Describes second and third rounds (page 124). "The number of women elected rose from 13.55 percent of the delegates in 1992 to 15.53 percent, even though women make up more than 50 percent of the voting population. Only 6.8 percent of those elected as municipal assembly presidents and vice presidents were women...Of the delegates elected in 1995, 71 percent belonged to the Communist Party, 8 percent more than the historical average. Combined with the UJC, Communist Party members made up 80 percent of the delegates, 4 percent more than the average of previous years. PCC and UJC members make up 20 percent of the population" (page 125).

October

Azicri 2000: In "October 1995 Washington eased restriction on travel to Cuba by academics and religious and human-rights workers to 'encourage its peaceful transition to democracy.' In Havana, this was translated as one more attempt to destroy the Cuban revolution" (page 202).

Baloyra 1998: "Fundada el 10 de octubre de 1995, Concilio Cubano agrupa a supuestamente más de cien de dichas organizaciones [de disidencia y de oposición], muchas de las cuales tienen posiciones contradictorias con respecto al embargo y a la posibilidad de entablar un diálogo-negociación con el gobierno. La aparición de Concilio es notable porque marca la primera vez, en más de treinta años, que la oposición interna muestra una voluntad de organizarse y, más importante aún, de actuar en concierto" (page 68).

Domínguez 1998: "Founded on October 10, 1995..., the Concilio was an attempt by some 140 small unofficial opposition groups to coalesce around a minimum program" (page 183). Describes their program.

Suchlicki 2000: "In 1995, about one hundred small human-rights organizations came together under an umbrella organization called Concilio Cubano in an effort to present a united front against the Castro regime" (page 73).

December

Domínguez 1998: "In December, the Concilio formally asked the government for permission to hold a large gathering on February 24, 1996" (page 183).

1996

January

Azicri 2000: "Prior to February 24, 1996, Cuba had strongly protested to international authorities and the U.S. government that airplanes departing from southern Florida had purposely violated its territorial air space on nine occasions between May 1994 and January 1996…Havana saw the aerial violations of its territory as serious, and these were compounded by the dropping of antigovernment leaflets on the island" (page 191).

February

Azicri 2000: "The year 1996 was a difficult one for Cuban-American relations. On February 24 Cuban Air Force MiGs shot down two Cessna airplanes belonging to Brothers to the Rescue (BTTR), the Miami-based Cuban-American anti-Castro organization. Whether it happened over Cuban territorial waters or international waters has not been settled, even though this had major consequences on ensuing events. The prevailing conditions in U.S.-Cuba relations could be traced to before and after the shooting of the airplanes" (page 191). "The dissident movement in Cuba planned important political activities the day the two BTTR planes were shot down. Concilio Cubano (CC), made up of small opposition groups, had planned to hold a public meeting on February 24. Almost a hundred dissidents were arrested beforehand, and the meeting never took place. CC received support from external sources (BTTR had pledged thousands of dollars), and BTTR's aerial maneuvers were interpreted as a sign of support for Concilio and of defiance of the Cuban regime" (page 201).

Domínguez 1998: "On February 15...the government launched a wave of repression against Concilio leaders and members; the next day, it banned the gathering [planned for February 24]" (page 183).

March

Azicri 2000: On March 12, 1996 U.S. President Clinton signs the "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 (the Helms-Burton bill)…Several features of the Helms-Burton law, especially its extraterritorial nature, provoked strong condemnation among America's allies and trade partners. The law codified an array of executive orders, and policies accumulated in three decades by different administrations, which now require congressional action to be modified or reversed" (pages 181 and 201).

Prevost 2002: "U.S. policy makers fully expected the revolutionary government to fall quickly in the absence of its socialist allies in Europe. When the collapse did not occur, new legislation drafted in Congress by Jesse Helms and Dan Burton sought an even tighter embargo on Cuba by punishing virtually every enterprise from any country that sought to make new investments on the island. Initially opposed by the Clinton administration because of vigorous opposition from U.S. allies, the Helms-Burton legislation was passed into law in 1996 following an incident in the Straits of Florida when the Cuban Air Force shot down airplanes of a Miami-based exile group that had entered Cuban airspace. Tensions between the two governments also grew over continued U.S. government support for groups seeking the overthrow of the Cuban government. However, opposition to the embargo within the United States continued to build" (page 352).

1997

June

August 1999: On "June 13, 1997, the Council of State convoked the elections to the municipal assemblies to take place on October 19 [and] simultaneously announced its decision to establish, according to the Electoral Law, the National Electoral Commission" (page 257). Describes the Commission and its activities (pages 257-258). Describes activities leading up to the election (pages 258-275).

July

Roman 1999: "Association or activity jeopardizing the status of the PCC is not permitted in Cuba. Four members of the opposition Internal Dissidence Working Group were imprisoned on July 16, 1997...following the publication and distribution of a document entitled 'The Nation Belongs to Everyone,' which advocated a multi-party system. They also publicly called for a boycott of the January 1998 elections for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies" (page 95).

September

August 1999: "Nominations of candidates for municipal elections: September, 1997" (pages 261-276). "When the nomination assemblies held across the country from September 3 to September 27 were terminated, a total of 36,343 such assemblies had occurred...The average participation rate for the island was 86.57%, representing 6,731,499 electors...These electors voted to nominate a total of 31,276 citizens for the October 19 municipal secret ballot elections" (pages 271-272).

October 8

Azicri 2000: "With 1,482 delegates and 250 guests attending, the gathering of Cuban communists on October 8-10, 1997, was observed intently by friends and foes alike…The objective of the Fifth Party Congress was to preserve the national consensus supporting the revolution through political continuity. It included maintaining the changes made by the Fourth Congress, safeguarding socialism and the one-party system, and agreeing on the eventual succession after Castro of his brother Raúl" (page 110). "Composition of the Council of Ministers and other high government posts, October 1997" (pages 309-310). "The president of the Council of Ministers and of the Council of State becomes the country's president. Fidel Castro has occupied the office since its creation in 1976. He was reelected as president of the Council of Ministers and of the Council of State for a fifth time in 1998, and will be seventy-six years old by the end of his term in 2003" (page 310). "Membership of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba after the Fifth Party Congress, October 8-10, 1997" (pages 314-315). "The Fifth Party Congress agreed to downsize the party's leadership by reducing the Politburo from 26 members to 24 (7.6 percent) and the Central Committee from 225 to 150 (33.3 percent) and to add younger political leaders to the highest political ranks. The decision sought to increase the party's effectiveness by concentrating its function on political leadership rather than on administration and legislation" (page 315). "Provincial Secretaries of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and Number of Central Committee Members per Province and the Isle of Youth Municipality after the Fifth Party Congress, October 8-10, 1997" (page 317). "Membership of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) during the Fifth Party Congress, October 8-10, 1997" (page 318). "Membership includes 9.4% of the population over 28 years of age; 29.4% of PCC members are women, 4.4% more than in 1990. 16.8% of the population between 16 and 30 years of age belong to the UJC. The combined membership of the UJC and the PCC represents 13.1% of the population 16 years of age and older" (page 318).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1997, 4: "The fifth Communist Party...congress, in early October, has reconfirmed the government's commitment to the existing political system. There may be some reforms, such as changes in the judicial system or the methods of selection of candidates for the National Assembly, but there is no sign of a move towards tolerance of opposition political parties" (page 7). "Six of the 24 members of the PCC's top decision-making body, the politburo, were replaced in elections, but there was no discernible ideological shift in the overall composition of the party's ruling body" (page 10). Describes the deliberations of the congress (page 10).

Del Aguila 2001: "Members elected to the Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) during the Fifth Congress (1997)" (pages 517-518). "Following the recently concluded Fifth Congress of the Communist Party (1997), 17 percent of the 150 members of the Central Committee come from either the armed forces or the Ministry of the Interior, an increase of 5 percent over the 1991-1997 period" (page 520).

Keesing's record of world events October 1997: "The Fifth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) was held on Oct. 8-10 in the capital, Havana…The congress unanimously re-elected Castro as PCC leader and his brother, Raúl Castro, as his deputy. The politburo was reduced from 26 to 24 members and reshuffled. This allowed the promotion of sis younger members but did not affect the body's ideological composition or balance" (page 41858). Gives the names of the politburo members.

Suchlicki 2000: "In a speech closing the party congress, Raúl Castro…announced that the number of members of the central committee had been reduced from 225 to 150, and the Politburo from 26 to 24. The reduction would provide for a more efficient, streamlined party leadership. Several of the new members came from the armed forces, reflecting the growing trend toward the militarization of Cuban society" (pages 68-69).

October 17

Keesing's record of world events October 1997: "Thousands of Cubans paid their last respects to the legendary guerrilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara whose remains were interred on Oct. 17 in a mausoleum in the central city of Santa Clara" (page 41859).

October 19: municipal assembly election

August 1999: "The municipal elections of October 19, 1997" (pages 276-298). "In the October 19 elections, 7,760,582 citizens voted, or 97.59% of the population. This represents 70% of the total Cuban population, men, women and children of all ages. The number of spoiled ballots represented 3.98% of the total votes cast, while 3.23% of the citizens voted blank, for a total of 6.21% blank and spoiled ballots...The results showed the usual high turn-over of delegates, only 47.65% being re-elected" (page 295).

Azicri 2000: "In the October 1997 municipal elections, 31,276 candidates nominated in neighborhood assemblies were running for 14,533 local council posts in 169 municipal assemblies. The number voting exceeded 1995's turnout by 250,000, and the turnout at the polls in all provinces stood at over 95 percent (97.59 percent national average)" (page 118). Gives additional statistics.

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1997, 3: "Delegates are elected for a term of two and a half years. A second round will be convened in those electoral districts where none of the candidates obtains 50% of the valid votes cast" (page 12).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1997, 4: "The turnout in local government elections, held on October 19, was 97.5% compared with 97.1% reported at the last local government elections, in 1995" (page 10).

El proceso electoral en Cuba: 1992-1998 1998: "Elecciones municipales 1997" (pages 93-109). Reproduces articles from Cuban publications, including election results.

Roman 1999: "(A)fter the 1997 [municipal] elections, 76 percent [of the delegates] were [PCC] members" (page 94). "Municipal delegate elections were held for the ninth session of the 169 municipal assemblies on October 19, 1997, with the runoff on October 26. There were 14,533 electoral districts, 304 more than in 1995...The number of voters per polling place was reduced to three hundred to make voting easier, to have polling places be closer to where people live, and to speed up the vote count. An average of 86.57 percent of the total of registered voters nationwide attended the assemblies, nominating 31,276 candidates...Of those nominated, 61.87 percent were incumbents, and 73.71 percent were PCC militants. The percentage of women candidates rose 2.39 percent to 18.49 percent, and the percentage of those under thirty years old dropped from 18.20 to 15.66" (page 113). "On election day, October 19, 1997, 97.59 percent of those eligible elected 13,435 of the 14,533 municipal delegates, up from 97.1 percent in 1995. Of the ballots cast, 7.21 percent were left blank or annulled, down from 11.3 percent in 1995. In the second round, held on October 26 in the 1,098 districts where no candidate received a majority, 94.77 percent voted compared with 89.2 percent in the 1995 runoff. Of those who won, 49.5 percent were incumbents, 17 percent were women, 12.5 percent were under thirty years old, 76.18 percent were PCC members, 31.47 held university degrees, and 7.21 percent belonged to the UJC" (page 125).

December

Castro 1998: "Conclusiones de Fidel Castro, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros, 13 de diciembre de 1997" (pages 47-106). Discusses elections in Cuba.

1998

Prevost 2002: "In early 1998 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began a public campaign against the embargo, citing worldwide opposition to it and its inconsistency in light of U.S. trade with China and Vietnam, other countries where the Communist party remains in power" (page 352).

January 11: provincial and national assemblies election

August 1999: "The role and work of the candidacy commissions towards the January 11, 1998 elections to the national and provincial assemblies" (pages 299-317). "The electoral campaign for the national assembly and the provincial assemblies, November 29-January 10" (pages 317-354). "The January 11, 1998 elections" (pages 354-364). In this election there are two ballots, one "is to vote for the deputies to the National Assembly, and the other one is for the election of delegates to the provincial assembly in which the vote takes place" (page 354). "1998 election results for the National Assembly" (page 363). Gives by province the percent of valid votes, percent of blank ballots, and percent of spoiled ballots.

Azicri 2000: "The regime asked for a unified vote in the 1998 parliamentary elections for 601 delegates to the National Assembly and 1,192 deputies to the Provincial Organs of People's Power. The elections were also rated as a national referendum on the nation's socialist system. As in 1993, the regime claimed electoral victory. Almost all (98.35 percent) of the 8 million plus registered voters went to the polls. Ninety-five percent of the 7,534,008 votes cast were valid, but 130,227 (1.64 percent) were void and 266,379 (.3.36 percent) were blank-5 percent of the total ballots signified a lower negative vote than in 1993" (page 119). Gives additional statistics. "In the 1998 National Assembly there were 166 women (27.6%) and 435 men (72.3%), for a total membership of 601" (page 313). Describes their "social composition."

Chronicle of parliamentary elections and developments 32 1999: Describes the purpose of the elections, the electoral system, the background and outcome of the elections, and statistics (pages 57-59). "According to the Electoral Law, there is one Deputy for every 20,000 inhabitants or fraction above 10,000 in each of the country's 169 municipalities" (page 57). "The 1998 parliamentary elections were held simultaneously with polling for 1,192 representatives to the country's 14 provincial assemblies. For the expanded National Assembly's 601 seats (up from 589), an identical number of candidatures were finally approved, after screening, by the National Candidature Commission. While not all were members of the ruling and sole political organization - the Communist Party of Cuba - they backed the policies of the Government" (page 58). Statistics include "results of the elections," "distribution of seats according to category," "distribution of seats according to sex," and "distribution of seats according to age" (page 59).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1997, 3: "Although the conduct of the secret ballot in the national elections is scrupulously fair, voters only have one candidate. The results will show the number of spoilt papers and abstentions, which provides a barometer of popular support for the government. After seven years of severe economic hardship, the government is likely to have to admit a diminuition of support" (page 12).

Country report. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico 1998, 1: "The results of the January elections have been cited by the government as a popular endorsement. There continues to be a firm rejection of any suggestion of the legalisation of opposition political parties. However, such rigidity contrasts with the clear increase in the space granted for religious activities, and a gradual transformation of economic, social and political culture arising from economic adjustment" (page 7). "Elections were held for the national and municipal [should say provincial] assemblies on January 11th, following unprecedented electioneering by the government. The vote is an endorsement of pre-selected candidates rather than a choice between rivals. Half of the candidates are nominated at public meetings before gaining approval from electoral committees, while the other half are nominated by official mass organisations (such as trade unions, farmers organisations and students unions). A turnout of 98.4% of registered voters was reported. Of the total votes, 5% of ballot papers were left blank or spoiled. The sum of abstentions, spoiled and blank votes was therefore only 6.5% of the total electorate. A further 5.6% chose to vote for some of the candidates (a 'selective vote') rather than endorsing all of them on a slate (a 'united vote'), as called for in the election campaign. Subtracting all the possible choices which might be interpreted as rejection of the government, 88.2% of the electorate were reported to have obediently opted for the united vote" (page 10). "The government claims that the elections represent a show of popular support, but its critics have attributed the result instead to fear or apathy on the part of those who do not support the government. They suspect that the result may reflect electoral engineering (in constituencies known to have a high proportion of voters who are more inclined to express dissatisfaction by registering blank or spoiled votes, the candidates offered tend to be highly respected local figures not associated closely with the government), the lack of independent supervision of the count or the barrage of propaganda. They also point out that the system of selection of candidates effectively excludes any truly independent voices" (page 11).

Keesing's record of world events January 1998: "The second direct election of deputies to the enlarged National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP), the Cuban unicameral legislature, was held on Jan. 11. Only candidates nominated by the PCC were permitted to contest the election. Figures issued by the National Electoral Commission showed that all 601 candidates for the 601 posts had obtained the necessary 50 per cent of the votes to be elected. The turnout amongst the 8 million registered voters was officially put at 98.35 per cent. Elections were also held on Jan. 11 to fill 1,192 seats in 14 provincial assemblies" (page 42006).

Prevost 2002: "The trends evidenced in the 1993 elections continued in 1998. There was an overall participation rate in excess of 98 percent. Nationally, 95 percent of the votes cast were judged to be valid, with only 3.3 percent blank and 1.7 percent spoiled. As in 1993 there had been strong calls from those outside Cuba who oppose the revolution for voters to use the occasion to voice opposition to the process; there is no evidence that such a protest occurred. The process of passing on political power to a new generation continued, as two-thirds of the National Assembly delegates were elected for the first time; 28 percent were women. The transition at the level of top leadership also continued, with 45 percent of the Council of State becoming members of this body for the first time" (page 351).

El proceso electoral en Cuba: 1992-1998 1998: "Quinta legislatura 1998-2003: esta legislatura está compuesta por 601 diputados, los que eligieron la Presidencia de la ANPP y el Consejo de Estado" (page 4). Lists officers. "Elecciones generales de 1998" (pages 111-197). Reproduces articles from Cuban publications, including election results and the name of each deputy with the district they represent and the percent of the vote they received.

Roman 1999: "After the...1998 [election], the percentage of deputies who belonged to the [PCC] was a little over 70 percent" (page 94). "Of the 601 National Assembly candidates for the 1998 elections, 145 (24.1 percent) were production or service sector workers; 278 (46.25 percent) were municipal delegates, including 90 presidents and vice presidents of 'consejos populares'; 166 (27.62 percent) were female, which was an increase of 32, and 209 (34.8 percent) were incumbents" (page 138).

January 21

Azicri 2000: The pope arrives in Havana (page 116). Discusses the political ramifications of his visit to Cuba (pages 251-274).

Suchlicki 2000: "In the past decade the Catholic Church has regained limited influence within Cuban society. The Pope's visit in early 1998…emboldened some Cubans and provided hope to others that the Castro regime would tolerate a broader opening for the church as well as for other groups. The honeymoon was short-lived. Although Castro declared Christmas an official holiday later that year, he failed to allow a significant increase in the number of priests on the island, refused the church access to the government-controlled media, and continued the prohibition on religious education…Other religious denominations have fared no better. Protestant groups have proliferated throughout the island, but they remain splintered and are devoted primarily to evangelical preaching. Afro-Cuban religious groups, the largest religious community in Cuba command significant popular allegiance. Yet their structure of many small, independent groups and their strictly religious message limit their potential as a threat to the regime" (page 72).

February

August 1999: "The Fifth Legislature of the National Assembly was constituted on February 24, 1998" (page 365). Describes the composition and activities of the National Assembly (pages 365-373).

Azicri 2000: "Election of the Council of State by the National Assembly (February 24, 1998)" (pages 311-312). Gives the number of votes and percent of total vote received by each member.

Keesing's record of world events February 1998: "The newly-elected National Assembly confirmed Fidel Castro Ruz as President of the Council of State for a further five-year term on Feb. 24. Castro headed the single list of 31 candidates to fill the 31 positions on the Council" (page 42060).

1999

Azicri 2000: "Ending a forty-year hiatus in official U.S.-Cuba major league contact, the games [between the Baltimore Orioles and Cuba's national baseball team] were held in Havana's Latinoamericano Stadium and Baltimore's Camden Yards on March 28 and May 3, 1999, respectively""(page 196).

February

Suchlicki 2000: In February 1999, Castro introduced the most severe legislation that Cuba has ever experienced, sentencing dissidents, journalists, and others who deviate from the party line to between twenty and thirty years in prison. While not representing an immediate threat to the regime, the numerous small groups that have proliferated in the past few years represent a potential threat if left unchecked…With the most recent crackdown, Castro served notice to his supporters and to the population at large that he would not tolerate any dissent and that Cuba was entering a period of ideological orthodoxy guided by the Communist Party. The 1999 legislation is an attempt to impose greater orthodoxy on the population and guarantee a smooth succession once Fidel has passed from the scene" (page 66).

2000

Suchlicki 2000: "As a new millennium begins, Fidel Castro faces mounting challenges to his regime on both the political and economic fronts…Despite these political and economic difficulties, the Castro regime is likely to weather the current storm. The adoption of market-based reforms may well represent a solution to the economic crisis, but a full-blown reform process carries the risk that the government might lose control over society as well as the economy. In addition, profound reforms would also alienate some of the regime's key constituencies, such as party bureaucrats, sectors of the military, and those ideologically committed to Marxism-Leninism. These are risks that Cuba's leaders are not prepared to take" (pages 57-58). "Opposition manifests itself in low productivity, disobedience of the law, alienation from the party and from the constant demands of the leadership, graft and corruption, and an increasing desire to leave the island…Fearing the system's repression and the possibility of long prison terms, Cubans seem resigned to await the end of the Castro era and the beginning of better times. Disillusionment and alienation may be widespread, but open defiance carries too high a price" (page 73).

March

Country report. Cuba June 2000: "Local and provincial gatherings have discussed the need for the PCC to withdraw from direct involvement in public administration in order to improve its effectiveness as the main guarantor of the revolution's ideology. In this context the high profile given in recent months to the Asociación de Combatientes de la Revolución Cubana (ACRC)...may signal a drive to reinvigorate the political system ideologically, using the legitimacy of the guerrilla generation to take a political lead...If the PCC is to distance itself from state management, it has been suggested that the role of other mass organisations could grow. In early March 2000 the huge but generally docile Federación de Mujeres Cubanas (FMC)...expressed concerns about the inadequate progress that has been made to encourage women's participation in the labour market...and even went so far as to voice concerns about discrimination against black women. The less closely marshalled and therefore more politically significant Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU)...debated its political role at its congress held a few weeks later" (page 13).

April: municipal assembly election

Country report. Cuba June 2000: "In the first round of municipal elections on April 23rd, in a huge turnout--98.1%--13,853 delegates were elected. With only a small proportion of votes blank (3.1%) or invalid (4.8%), participation has risen from its 1992 nadir when abstentions, combined with blank and invalid votes, reached a record 19%. This result suggests either that more Cubans want to take part in the electoral process, perhaps in the wake of recent events, or that the system has regained its ability to mobilise: whichever explanation is correct, the government can take heart. Of the 833 candidates who failed to pass the 50% threshold in the first vote, all bar one (in the eastern province of Guantánamo) were elected on April 30th. Overall, one-fifth of the new municipal delegates are female and one-tenth are under the age of 30. Just under half of the delegates were standing for re-election" (page 14).

Keesing's record of world events April 2000: "More than 14,000 members of local councils were elected in two rounds of voting on April 23 and April 30. They were scheduled to take their seats throughout Cuba on May 7" (page 43511).

June

Cuban communism 2001: "Seven months after he was rescued clinging to an inner tube in the waters off Florida, Elián Gonzalez headed home to Cuba today [June 28, 2000]. His departure came hours after the Supreme Court refused to consider further appeals from the boy's Miami relatives that would have kept him in the United States" (page 874).

October

Country report. Cuba February 2001: "On October 29th Osvaldo Paya's Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación (MCL) led 41 dissident groups in sending an open letter calling for a transition to democracy in Cuba and a referendum on political change to Latin American heads of state due to meet in Panama" (page 12).

NotiCen: Central & Caribbean political & economic affairs, including Cuba November 2, 2000: "Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met in Caracas to sign wide-ranging agreements on trade and technical cooperation. The core agreement is an oil deal that will guarantee oil exports to Cuba for the next five years on favorable terms. The two leaders also discussed cementing the growing alliance between their two countries as the basis for regional unity to offset US dominance in a unipolar world. On Oct. 30, Castro and Chavez signed the agreement (Programa de Cooperacion Energetica)" (pages 1-2).

December

Country report. Cuba February 2001: On "December 8th the Mesa Redonda de Reflexión... founded in January 1999 and which incorporates the Partido Democrático de Solidaridad (PSD), Corriente Socialdemocrática Cubana (CSC), the Partido Democrático Liberal de Cuba (PDLC), Proyecto Democrático Cubano (PDC) and the Consejo Unido de Trabajadores Cubanos (CUTC)...called for a national debate on change for 2001 and initiated six months of workshops designed to lead to a charter of human rights. Despite these activities...there is no evidence of increased discontent or rising public support for the illegal opposition. The activities are better understood as efforts to signal the groups' presence to the world's press" (page 12).

2001

March

Country report. Cuba May 2001: A campaign is launched, "known as the Varela Project, to seek the 10,000 signatures required by the constitution to demand a referendum on political reform. The campaign was launched on March 6th by around 100 dissident groups. However, there is no indication to date that it has been, or is likely to be, any more successful in breaking through public indifference than previous such campaigns" (page 12).

April

NotiCen: Central & Caribbean political & economic affairs, including Cuba April 26, 2001: "The Summit of the Americas, held April 20-22 in Quebec City, linked democracy to economic integration of the hemisphere. President George W. Bush stressed the importance of free trade to improve economic conditions and set democratic government as a condition for inclusion in the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)" (page 3). "Cuba, excluded from the summit because it lacks democratic elections, views the FTAA as a dangerous step for Latin America" (page 4).

NotiCen: Central & Caribbean political & economic affairs, including Cuba May 3, 2001: "The UN Human Rights Commission voted April 18 in Geneva to condemn Cuba for human rights violations. The US lobbied hard to line up votes for the Czech-sponsored resolution""(page 1).

June

Country report. Cuba August 2001: "Although there have been no serious political upheavals, President Fidel Castro's brief fainting spell at a public rally on June 23rd has had a profound effect on political life...Since the event Mr Castro and the media, following his cue, have openly addressed the question of succession, and both his supporters and enemies have sought to come to terms with the implications of his eventual demise" (page 11).

Keesing's record of world events June 2001: "It was reported on June 30 that President Fidel Castro Ruz had said in an interview with the US television network NBC that his brother, Raul Castro Ruz, 70, the Defense Minister, had the required 'authority and experience' to lead the nation. The issue of who would succeed Castro, 74, was widely discussed after Castro briefly lost consciousness whilst giving a speech in Havana, the capital, on June 23, and had to leave the podium for 10 minutes" (page 44208).

November

Keesing's record of world events November 2001: "Hurricane Michelle (...reportedly the most powerful hurricane to have struck the region for 50 years) swept through the Caribbean basin during the first few days of November prompting an evacuation of 500,000 people from areas in western Cuba" (page 44448). "For the 10th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly voted on November 27, by a margin of 167 votes to three in favour of a non-binding resolution that called for an end to the US trade embargo against Cuba...In an unprecedented development, US and Cuban authorities agreed on Nov. 14 that, in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Michelle earlier in the month, Cuba would buy food and medicines worth US $20 million from US suppliers and manufacturers" (page 44447).

December

Country report. Cuba August 2001: The next elections are due in January 2003 (page 4). "At the next congress of the ruling Partido Comunista de Cuba..., due to take place in 2002, the party's changing role will be discussed...There is no sign that a more pluralist multiparty system is being considered either by the leadership or by the party, and there is little evidence at present of a strong clamour for it from the population" (page 6).

Prevost 2002: "There appears to be no significant pressure for serious political reforms from either within Cuba's political establishment or from the wider society" (page 352).