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    The Persistence of Racism in Cuba

    The Persistence of Racism in Cuba
    May 21, 2016
    By Alberto N Jones

    HAVANA TIMES — The 1994 rafter crisis, changed the face of the Cuban
    emigration and the strategy of the United States government to puncture
    and weaken the Cuban government, when the predominantly white emigrants
    suddenly became black and brown.

    Surprised, the mass media in the US was not reluctant to declare that
    the new emigrants did not look like Cubans anymore, as it debunked the
    myth of the 60’s that Cuba was a nation of white millionaires without
    social issues.

    The late AM Radio personality Agustin Tamargo had argued that the Cuban
    government remained in power through the large presence of blacks in the
    armed forces, police, personal security and other repressive
    institutions, for which he requested a three days license to dole out
    retribution when it falls.

    The Cuban American National Foundation held meetings in Washington and
    Miami to evaluate this demographic change, which led to the recruitment
    of blacks with higher education in the US and in Cuba. They organized
    seminars and courses in peaceful resistance at black universities and at
    the Martin L. King Center in Atlanta, where they were organized into
    independent librarians, independent farmers, independent journalists
    etc., with branches in Cuba.

    Two public meetings in Miami and Washington organized by the Center for
    International Policy of the John Hopkins University in 1999 and 2000
    with participants from Cuba and abroad demonstrated the existence of a
    plan to exacerbate racial divisions in Cuba.

    Attempting to impede them from laying the basis for another massacre of
    blacks as the one that took place in Cuba in 1912, I shelved my limited
    knowledge in animal pathology and environmental health and safety, to
    venture into the complex journalistic world without previous knowledge
    or advisors.

    I published over a hundred articles among which it is worthwhile to
    highlight, Una Cuba en la imagen de los Diaz-Balart 1998, Un hito en la
    lucha en contra del racismo 1999, The attempt to divide Cuba along
    racial lines 2001, Desenmascarando a los promotores de la Guerra racial
    en Cuba 2007, Una batalla mundial de vida y muerte 2009, A sincere and
    painful apology to the US Congressional Black Caucus 2009, How was I
    drawn into Cuba’s racial issue 2011, and Afrocubans relations with
    Florida 2013., Cubanews@yahoogroups, Havana Times, Cuba Journal, La
    Alborada and other blogs played an outstanding role in spreading these
    denunciations. The Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald, Daytona Times,
    Daytona News-Journal, Florida Times Union, Florida Sun Sentinel, the
    Record, Tampa Bay, Washington Post, Listin Diario, Jamaica Gleaner, the
    Star, the Observer, the New York Times and others, contributed
    decisively to reach a wider audience.

    Meanwhile in Cuba…
    Paradoxically, while this battle was taking place outside of Cuba, on
    the island the most retrograde, racists, neo-racists and
    segregationists, unleashed a cruel attack against blacks by absorbing
    every possible job with access to hard currency in tourism, joint
    ventures, corporations, high level jobs and international scholarships.
    Police intimidation increased on Obispo Street in Old Havana and in
    Varadero and other tourist areas. The obstruction of black related
    activities was stepped up, as was the masking of black history, culture
    and education and the restricting of entry into certain professional

    The result is graphic, irrefutable and devastating. Black neighborhoods
    are like war zones, the disproportion in the incarcerated population,
    level of prostitution and poverty are permanent testimony.

    Prominent visitors from the US Congressional Black Caucus, artists and
    intellectuals from around the world who have historically supported the
    Cuban Revolution, expressed serious concerns to high ranking government
    officials, many statistical studies were carried out and numerous
    journalistic and literary works have severely judged this behavior.

    The literary works by black intellectuals are carefully scrutinized,
    delayed, they do not circulate freely and some documentaries have never
    been shown or they were shown in the wee hours, when most people are in bed.

    Obtaining financing from the Cuban Institute of Arts and Cinematography
    (ICAIC) for black historical and cultural projects is extremely
    difficult and the National Folkloric Dance Group has been on the verge
    of collapse. Meanwhile the life of a pimp and a psychopath were financed
    and distributed widely alongside other vain, violent or semi
    pornographic imported films.

    Most Cubans understood and accepted the abolition of racial, ethnic,
    cultural and other societies and social organizations when they were
    fused into Social Clubs. What is near impossible to explain is the
    quiet resurrection of the Arab Society, Chinatown, Synagogues and
    Asturian Societies with their commercial wing with restaurants, B&B and
    hotels, which allows them to do social work among their members.

    No black or mestizo society has been recreated and the Ministry of
    Justice has done everything possible to keep former black emigrant
    societies from functioning, or from repairing of buildings and operating
    cafeterias and restaurants like the other above mentioned groups.

    In the legal environment, the population is alarmed to see how easily
    blacks can be accused and condemned for crimes they did not commit or
    when they are guilty their sentences are more severe than their peers.

    The sum of these factors, are the root cause of the increased racist
    expressions in Cuba. From the use in employment centers of codified
    words like “people with nice features”, the limited presence or absence
    of blacks in areas with access to hard currency, the shameful job
    opening on a blog for Whites Only and the repugnant and disrespectful
    newspaper article following president Barack Obama visit to Cuba “Black,
    are you Swedish”? and the appearance of Swastikas with a call to kill
    blacks in Havana without any repercussion, denunciation or the capture
    of the perpetrators by the authorities, are taking the country closer to
    the abyss.

    In the year 2006 erupted in the blogosphere the controversial letter
    “Acting on our Conscience”, which was signed by close to 60 black
    intellectuals, including the late Abadias Nascimento. No other action
    intended to weaken black unity in and out of Cuba have had such a
    negative impact on the country.

    Multiple articles in which I proposed actions that could mitigate these
    ills and denunciations from unconditional friends of Cuba, fell on deaf
    and arrogant ears and have placed the future and national unity at risk.

    Let’s rid ourselves of foolish arrogance by going to the heart of this
    tragedy in Center Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Marianao and
    others, before an uncontrollable social explosion dooms the pompous
    visits by dignitaries, international accords and development plans of
    the country.

    Source: The Persistence of Racism in Cuba – Havana –

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