Aspiring candidates for political office complain about harassment in Cuba

The leader of the opposition youth group Somos Mas, Eliecer Avila, wants to run for office in his neighborhood in Havana, but he can't. 

Avila, 31, is among the activists who fear that the socialist Cuban government will try to block democratic candidates from winning during the municipal elections in October. 

Campaigning is already illegal in Cuba, where the Communist Party dominates all realms of government and industry.

The president of the National Electoral Commission of Cuba, Alina Balseiro, said officials will accept candidates who meet the qualifications even if they are opponents of the Communist Party. Avila said the government is finding other ways to limit the voters' choices. 

Avila said that those who have been brave enough to plan to run against a Communist candidate are being harassed. He said authorities searched his home about three months ago. They told him they were investigating him for weapons and drugs possession. 

The pending investigation disqualifies him from running. Avila believes the attacks mean the government fears opposition candidates.  

Avila is not the only candidate who believes he is being attacked. Activists claim there are candidates all around the country who are experiencing intimidation. Rolando Columbie Patterson, of Antilla, in Holguin, was sentenced to six months of house arrest, Cubanet.org reported according to Manuel Cuesta,  of the Progressive Arc Party. 

Election day is Oct. 22. and the runoff for candidates who registered 50 percent of the vote will be held Oct. 29. 

Local 10 News Andrea Torres contributed to this story. 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.