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Democracy, Fidel-style

The week's news at a glance.

Havana

The father of Elian Gonzalez was among 609 Cubans elected to parliament this week. Like all the other candidates, Juan Miguel Gonzalez ran unopposed. Gonzalez, whose son Elian was involved in an international custody battle in 2000, was among a handful of prominent figures chosen as candidates by Fidel Castro’s regime. Dissidents called the balloting a “farce,” and claimed voters felt coerced into going to the polls. Leaders of the all-powerful Communist Party said elections under Cuban leader Fidel Castro were “truly democratic and free.” Moreover, Vice President Carlos Lage said, candidates don’t have to raise piles of money to campaign.

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