Today, most Western nations allied with the United States do not consider Cuba to be a democracy. However, there is some level of democracy in Cuba.
Municipal elections were restored in Cuba in 1992. The electoral process in Cuba differs greatly from that found in most democratic countries.
The Cuban Communist Party controls who can run for elections. Candidates' names and qualifications are posted for the public to see, but they are not allowed to actively campaign.
The Cuban Government says that this is to avoid encouraging "demagoguery and false promises," or establish a dependency on foreign capital, especially that of the US, by political candidates.
After the new National Assembly was chosen, one third of elected candidates were not members of the Communist Party.
There is a great deal of confusion on whether or not elections such as this National Assembly one would qualify as "democratic" by the US's standards.
We were first told that the number of candidates matches the number of positions, so one can only abstain. In Cuba, we were told that you can vote yes or no on a candidate. Those who receive less than 50% voting yes are not elected.
What would happen in the event that a candidate recieved a great number of "no" votes is unclear, because it has never really happened.
There are several major concerns the Cuban Government has with allowing democracy. First, the US, in order to lift the blockade, demands not just acceptance of "democracy" in Cuba, but capitalism as well.
It is important to remember today that there can be more than one view of what democracy is. The United States' position as the last superpower is such that virtually every other country in the world accepts its opinions on what democracy is and what countries are and are not democratic.
Some would say Cuba is controlled solely by the Communists, but many Cubans argue that the US is controlled in the same manner by corporations. Many people have also compared the many similarities in political freedom between Cuba and Mexico. Yet Mexico does not make headlines for not allowing political freedom because it is allied with America (see the Unequal Treatment? page).
If Cuba feels democracy would positively impact the country, then it still does have progress to make. But Cuba is certainly not the world's last single party nation.
Video by a professor at the University of Havana: