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    Neither Voting Here nor Signing There

    Neither Voting Here nor Signing There

    October 22, 2012

    Erasmo Calzadilla

    HAVANA TIMES — Yesterday were our elections, and once again I decided

    not to exercise my right to vote. I don't support the circus that has

    been staged to legitimize the regime.

    But nor did I sign the "Urgent Call for a Better and Possible Cuba,"

    which was circulated by the Concordia group.

    The problem (for me) isn't that it's a liberal democratic document – far

    from it. Elections, democracy, the separation of powers and the rest of

    the components that make up liberalism seem grandiose, and I count on

    them to always curb latent totalitarianism.

    I have no allergies to any form of representation if in practice it

    achieves what its name says. But social democracy? Perhaps this would be

    the lesser of the possible evils if we were in Western Europe a few

    decades ago.

    The problem is that for all such enhancements to be more than merely

    cosmetic, they require a certain degree of economic equality between the

    actors who are going to participate in the "game," but equity has always

    been a bone and a dog wandered away with it in its mouth.

    I believe that global inequality and our proximity to the United States,

    go terribly against any possibility of achieving such a goal in today's

    Cuba, a poor country without a civil tradition of liberal democracy.

    In the vast majority of nations that surround us there exists

    "democracy," but almost all of them have social problems that are much

    more serious than ours. Again, I don't support dictatorship and I would

    desire its disappearance right now, but I don't want the arrival of a

    system that would assuredly bring economic prosperity for those who are

    well placed at the expense of appalling evils for most people.

    In our environment, the disaster of "liberal democracy" is clear:

    violence at a level that's unknown here, drugs turned into a social

    conflict, prostitution and child labor, serious crises within the public

    health care system, the displacement of business people by transnational

    corporations, and many more.

    All these things occur in nations where there's freedom of association,

    multiparty systems, the free press etc.

    So, my dear friends, I'm like Buridan's ass, unable to make one choice

    of the other. But since I don't want to suffer the same fate as the

    creature in that fable, I'm opting for a third choice.

    It's not the one of Tony Blair but of the ant who — from below — tries

    to awaken its sisters, brothers, friends, colleagues, partners, enemies,

    etc. to desire to be free in a wider (albeit modest) sense of the word.

    I'd rather concentrate my energies in participating in the creation of

    an alternative.

    Anyway, I'm going to keep thinking about it. Maybe sometime in the

    future I'll change my mind. It's comforting to me to think that my

    decision isn't particularly important, as it's the people as a whole who

    must choose or create their future. I don't know if that will happen

    through democratic elections or though some other means.

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