Cuba opposition candidates say targeted for reprisals
AFP April 12, 2017
Havana (AFP) - Cuban dissidents planning to run in the communist
country's local elections in November have been arrested, threatened and
otherwise harassed by the authorities, one of their leaders said Tuesday.
At least five would-be candidates have been charged with crimes such as
robbery, had their property seized, or been threatened with losing their
jobs, said Manuel Cuesta Morua, spokesman for the opposition Unity
Roundtable for Democratic Action (MUAD).
"They (the authorities) are taking preventive measures so that no
independent citizen who doesn't fit their agenda can run," he told AFP.
The local elections in November kick off an electoral cycle that will
ultimately decide the successor to President Raul Castro.
The next step will be the election of the 612-member National Assembly,
which chooses the all-powerful Council of State, which in turn chooses
Opposition parties are banned in Cuba, but dissident groups are trying
to sneak the maximum number of Castro opponents into the local polls.
Two opposition candidates managed to stand in the last local elections
in 2015. Neither won.
This year, 109 opposition candidates are prepared to run, according to
Castro, 85, took over in 2006 from his brother Fidel, Cuba's leader
Raul Castro has steered Cuba toward a very gradual economic opening and
restored ties with its old Cold War enemy the United States.
But opponents say the only communist regime in the Americas still
controls most of the economy, and muzzles free speech and political dissent.
Source: Cuba opposition candidates say targeted for reprisals -