Some Cubans will vote in their first democratic elections this Sunday. But they won’t be electing anyone in their own country. Instead, they will vote in Spain’s parliamentary elections because they are among the more than 25,000 Cubans who took advantage of a 2006 Spanish law that grants citizenship to the foreign-born grandchildren of Spanish emigrants.
More than 12,000 Spanish citizens living in Cuba requested mail-in ballots for Sunday’s parliamentary election, according to Spanish news media reports. Among them are expected to be some who were born Cuban and recently became Spaniards.
“All Spanish citizens have the right to vote,” whether native-born or naturalized, said an official at the Spanish consulate in Havana who declined comment on what percentage of the 12,000 might be naturalized Cubans.
Retired University of Havana professor Enrique Lopez Oliva said he assisted two acquaintances, a father and son who became Spanish citizens, with their absentee ballots “because they were not accustomed to so many political parties.”