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The media success of a regime opponent / 14ymedio, Victor Ariel Gonzalez
Posted on April 22, 2015

14ymedio, Victor Ariel Gonzalez, 19 April 2015 — “Who did you vote for?”
an older woman was asked by her neighbors. “For Chaviano,” she said, on
her way out of the polling station in the FOCSA building, just as a
reporter from this newspaper was passing by. Maybe it was a coincidence,
or maybe, after everything, the official myth that the Cuban opposition
represents nobody fell today.

Someone, at least this woman who didn’t even notice who was listening to
her, voted for “Pucho,” as Hildebrando Chaviano is affectionately
called. The opposition candidate spoke with 14ymedio in the afternoon
today, while resting a bit from the election hubbub in his 28th floor
apartment, where he lives with his wife, Susana Mas, also a journalist.

It had been a marathon day. CNN, EFE, AFP and several other chains and
news agencies had been interviewing him since the morning. One of them
that has most impressed Chaviano is Cuban Television. “It was the first
time I gave an interview,” he said. Although he didn’t recognize the
reporter, and thought that a good part of his comments in front of the
national cameras would be censored because of the content of his
discourse, the candidate was somewhat surprised by the initiative.

Hildebrand Chaviano confesses that it will be a day he won’t forget. It
is the first time a regime opponent has been presented in the elections,
and the fact has not passed unnoticed. His biography, at the entrance to
the polling place, was drafted with the worst epithets of the Electoral
Commission, starting with “counterrevolutionary.” However, this has not
stopped some neighbors from showing enthusiasm with the idea of seeing
something different this time. A few days ago, Pucho said, a voter
commented on his candidacy, “Finally I see people ashamed of this.”

There have been many other displays of affection. One of his old
neighbors – Chaviano has lived in his apartment since 1961 – has
developed a motto that everyone in the house joined in on: “Let’s vote
for Pucho because we love him so much.”

While waiting for the counting of votes, starting at six in the evening,
the opposition candidate speaks a little of what his plans are if he is
elected. First, he says, is to improve the nutritional conditions of the
elderly people in the community who are unprotected. He also anticipates
fighting for better conditions for those whose housing is in a critical
state of deterioration and who can’t get credit to make repairs.

In the long term, in a somewhat larger battle, Chaviano advocates
defining the self-employed as legal entities. Ideologically liberal – a
current he defends in the midst of the populist official attacks – the
opponent wishes to grant guarantees to private entrepreneurs to promote
the development of small local businesses.

When the vote count begins in the two polling stations where the photo
of Hildebrando Chaviano is on display, two of his friends will help, as
observers, while the ballots stack up for one candidate or the other.

Source: The media success of a regime opponent / 14ymedio, Victor Ariel
Gonzalez | Translating Cuba –

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