The Ambassador in Cuba (Guggenheim) to the Secretary of State

No. 1061

Sir: I have the honor to report that elections, corresponding in some respects to primary elections in the United States, were held in Cuba on February 28, 1932, for the purpose of designating by popular vote the executive committees of the ward assemblies and delegates from those assemblies to the municipal assemblies of the several political parties.

Press accounts indicate that these elections were attended by a considerable number of minor disturbances and irregularities, upwards of 50 protests having already been filed with the Superior Electoral Tribunal. However, it would seem that from the point of view of the maintenance of public order and observance of the electoral procedure they compare very favorably with similar elections held in the past. During the entire day the Municipal police throughout the island were not permitted to appear in uniform or to carry arms, the maintenance of order being entrusted to the army, which apparently performed its task in a satisfactory manner.

The published returns of the elections show that with comparatively few exceptions the present leaders of the Liberal, Conservative and Popular Parties are more strongly entrenched than ever in their respective districts. The Liberal “machine” worked smoothly and efficiently throughout the country, the so-called “official tendency” prevailing in nearly every section, as was also the case with respect to the Popular and the Conservative Parties. The last named party continues to be racked with dissension and most of the adherents of the Orthodox faction abstained from voting excepting in Oriente and in one or two districts in other provinces where the results would indicate that they have obtained control of the local party organizations. In many cases the results of the elections will not be definitive until the electoral boards and the courts shall have finally decided [Page 541] the appeals alleging irregularities. It is of course within the province of these bodies to order new elections where such irregularities may be proved to have existed.

The duties of the Municipal assemblies of the parties are defined as follows in Art. 285 of the Electoral Code:

To draw up the municipal program of the party;
To carry out the resolutions of the superior (provincial and national) assemblies of the party which may affect the Municipality;
To agree upon and nominate the candidates for mayor, councilmen and members of the Municipal Board of Education;
To appoint delegates to the provincial assembly of the party and designate a political member of the municipal electoral board;
To appoint an executive committee;
To make the other appointments and adopt the other resolutions fixed by the Code and by the By-Laws of the party.

When the provincial assemblies meet they will, in their turn, designate representatives to the National assemblies of their respective parties and it will also be their function to nominate candidates for membership in the national House of Representatives, for provincial governors and for provincial councilmen.

The opposition groups have continued to abstain from participation in the reorganization of the existing parties and, in so far as the Embassy is informed, they have not taken any initiative towards the organization of a new party to contest the elections scheduled for November 1932. It will be recalled that at these elections there are to be chosen one-half of the House of Representatives, the Governors of all the provinces, the provincial and municipal councils and the mayors of all the municipalities. It is understood that there will also be elected one Senator from Pinar del Río and one from Camagüey, to replace vacancies caused by death.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Edward L. Reed

First Secretary of Embassy