Racism in Cuba – Also Against Dogs?

Dmitri Prieto

HAVANA TIMES — Last Monday, anxious to hear about the new National Assembly, I turned on the TV and began listening attentively.

After news concerning our parliament, I was surprised when the announcer started talking about a “Pan-American Contest of All Races.” I wondered whether this was something new related to racial integration… but why such an explicitly biological term?

As it turned out, it was about dogs – a competition involving all types of dogs, their aesthetics, their skills, and other details such as breeds and categories.

Obviously, there were no mutts (or “mestizos,” to be politically correct). But think about it: Though our country is one where mixing has become almost a part of our national identity, at this Pan-American dog competition, only purebreds were allowed. The Führer would have been salivating, thankful for the gratuitous continuation of his legacy

How much do those breeds cost? Silence. That question is never asked. Instead, from the proud owners and the respectable public we hear: “Don’t bother the dogs. They have to be brushed and combed. Their hair has to be conditioned.”

While Cuban TV screens showed the complex treatment of canine esthetics, along with the delicacy of these dogs’ faces and the stunning outfits of their owners, I thought about social exclusion – this mixture of hyper-competitiveness, poorly concealed bourgeois wastefulness, and the aesthetics of “exclusivity” and the power elite.

I thought about how that sense of hierarchy that — raised to the institutional level — simply and automatically prevents any child from a slum from taking their four-legged friend to the festival “of all races.”

I thought about that sense of hierarchy that the bureaucrats (hierarchical by nature) authorized to openly and blatantly conspire against the most sincere expression of love.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

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One thought on “Racism in Cuba – Also Against Dogs?

  • Why? because its true

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