The yes and no to the Family Code collide on a street in Havana

The yes and no to the Family Code collide on a street in Havana

A scene this Thursday in the central Obispo Street, in Havana, was enough to show that the opinion of Cubans about the Family Code, whose referendum will be held next Sunday, is far from uniform.

It is not what the Government would like, judging by the resources it has been deploying for months to guide the population to vote yes, without giving space to any discordant voice. To the laudatory notes in the official press about the new norm, whose final text has been available in the Official Gazette since last August 17, these days, propaganda acts in the streets are added.

That of Obispo, this Thursday, would have been very difficult at another time, given the obligatory step for tourists that this point of Old Havana has always been. This is not the case this September, in which the volume of foreign travelers continues without picking up, and the road barely has a few passers-by in the hours of the harshest sun.

For this reason, it caught the attention of the neighbors so much that, before noon, some tables appeared selling handicrafts –decorated with posters that contained the slogan “Code yes”–, some official officials –dressed in sweaters with the same slogan– and a microphone placed in the middle of the street.

“Don’t ask me if they’re going to call the police later if I say my opinion, because that’s not democracy”

Before him, an official began to explain different aspects of the Family Code, such as the protection it would provide to the elderly. At one point, with a pedagogical concession, she asked the people around her what they thought.

“I think this is very bad,” replied an old woman who was offered the floor. “Because I understand that marriage has to be between a man and a woman, not between two men and two women,” reasoned the woman, based on her religious beliefs.

At that moment, without removing the microphone, the music that enlivened the activity through loudspeakers began to play at full volume, in such a way that it prevented the old woman from finishing hearing herself. Undaunted, the woman raised her voice higher: “I vote no, I vote no.”

In favor of her, many of those who had spontaneously gathered to listen to the official began to show up. “This is disrespectful,” a man protested, defending the old woman. “Don’t ask me if they’re going to call the police later if I say my opinion, because that’s not democracy,” cried another woman.

An official of those summoned replied, by way of sentence: “This is Revolution and now, more na’, to vote yes.

Three days before the plebiscite on the Family Code, the Government does not seem to be giving up trying to win by all means. This same Thursday, President Miguel Díaz-Canel will lead a special program on national television to defend the yes to the norm.

For tomorrow, Friday, a march has been called in the capital, with the same motto, “Code yes,” “with the participation of Havana youth.” According to a message broadcast through official networks, the concentration will be from 3 pm on G and Malecón and there will be “presence of comparsas and congas.”

Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, called on Monday to “win the battle of the popular referendum, and to win it well earned,” in the face of what he calls “the maneuvers of the enemies, of the haters,” alluding to independent opinions that contradict the official voice.

On Tuesday, it was the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, who asserted that the Family Code has served as “cannon fodder” for the “enemies” of the Revolution, who have carried out a “campaign” of misinformation about the content of the standard.

At the International Nature Tourism Event in Havana, Marrero declared that those who have taken a position against it – who have never had space in the official media – have not spoken “of all the virtues of that code, that what it does is to identify and unite the Cuban family”.

The Cuban regime does not seem to have it all with itself in the face of the third referendum called in 63 years, the first to lose.

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