The brief reflections in this article are based on an empirical analysis, rather than a strictly scientific one, about what will happen in Cuba’s upcoming constitutional referendum. I believe that the constitutional project being discussed today will be approved, most likely without any significant changes to the original draft presented by the constitutional committee who were responsible for writing it.
However, I don’t believe that it will receive almost absolute support at the polls, and when I use the term “almost absolute”, I’m referring to something like what happened in 1976 with the last constitutional referendum. Back then, over five million voters voted YES while just over 50,000 voters voted NO.
I don’t think we can expect to see a similar result, especially because Cuba isn’t what it was back then and because problems of political participation are directly linked to a lower turnout. The last elections had the lowest turnout in the history of the People’s Power, under 90% for the first time.
That was in spite of there being a generational gap and the revolutionary and socialist political agenda continuing, according to political discourse and official media. And we can also add the fact that Cuba’s tradition of political participation in nearly 60 years of revolution hasn’t been marked by referendums, so there isn’t a broad political culture about the effects of participating in them or not, and what the consequences of voting for one option or another are.