The Phantom Letter

Alfredo Fernandez

The Phantom Letter
The Phantom Letter

On December 9, Cuban journalist Pedro de la Hoz published an article in Granma newspaper, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, in response to a letter dated December 1, from the United States and entitled “African Americans in support of the fight for Civil Rights in Cuba.”

In this letter, according to the journalist, Cuba is accused “of being, in actuality, a racist country.”  De la Hoz alleges that the North American signers, from their misinformed point of view, are asking the Cuban government for “a greater opening of Civil Rights for black Cuban citizens.”

A reply signed by eight Cuban intellectuals including De la Hoz had been published days earlier in Granma under the heading: “A message from Cuba to the African-American intellectuals and artists.”

The reply ran without making known the contents of the declaration from the US that provoked such a response.

It astonishes me that in this 21st century the newspaper should utilize such a misleading tactic, thus giving Cuban readers free rein to speculate about the reasons that may or may not have led the African American intellectuals in the US to dare produce such a declaration.

I can only imagine that the phantom letter must be a complement to the points emphasized in the Cuban message.

The Cuban response speaks of an abstract anti-racism that ranges from Cuban support for the independence of the former African colonies to the large quantity of students from that continent who have been helped to study in Cuba over a period of more than forty years.

What, then, could the ghostly declaration be talking about?  Could it be that it’s grounded in the everyday life of black Cubans today?

Once again, I ask myself how I can think about one letter if I don’t know the content of the other.  I would like to read it, but I already know that I will have to look for it via other media.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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