They Keep on Ranting about the Issue of Racism in Cuba (I)

Elio Delgado Legon

Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro back in 1991.  Photo:
Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro back in 1991. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Ever since the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, different US governments have used every kind of violent method to try and pull the plug on the Revolution.

Starting from the Bay of Pigs; the boom in armed groups who carried out all kinds of atrocities, such as the hateful murders of farmers, teachers, literacy teachers; the cruelest acts of sabotage against the Cuban people, such as the murders and forced disappearances of Cuban diplomatic employees abroad; bombs in Cuban hotels so as to damage national tourism, without caring about how many innocent people had to die in the process; as well as hundreds of assassination plots against key revolutionary leaders, mainly against Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

This whole series of attacks, plus their rigid economic, commercial and financial blockade which has caused many difficulties and shortages among the Cuban people, hasn’t managed to achieve anything but unite our people even more with regard to the Revolution.

The current US president Barack Obama, undoubtedly an intelligent man, realized that the US would never be able to reverse by violent means Cuba’s history so that our country once again becomes a capitalist state with a multi-party political system.  He thus decided to change strategy and work instead on winning over different sectors in Cuban society, making them believe that socialism isn’t the best thing for them and that they should head towards capitalism instead.

The US has tried this many times before using different techniques with our youth, but it hasn’t been successful. Furthermore, they’re trying to win over the Afro-descendent sector, which is very large here in Cuba, for their counter-revolution.

You have to be very naive, or seriously compromised by the imperalist policy against Cuba, to write articles such as that by Mr. Alberto N. Jones entitled “The persistence of racism in Cuba”, published on Havana Times on August 25th.

Completely out of touch with reality, the article uses expressions such as “heated issue of racism in Cuba”, or “the fear of the Cuban government to recognize and confront the increased racism in the country.”

The author recognizes the Revolution’s successes in many sectors, to then go on and ask: “How can we explain to ourselves, that racism, which is much easier to eradicate, has been able to survive and reproduce…?”

Further on in the article, he talks about “the persistence of super macista, sectarian and segregationist mentalities that reside in the minds and hearts of many Cuban government officials…”

Which is followed by their “unwillingness to change course.”  Finally, he gets to his point, which is that imperialism wants Cuba to change its course.

He also mentions “absurd decisions” without supporting this with facts or even mentioning the decisions that have been made. This kind of article only tries to create the idea of chaos and institutional racism in readers, when it has been, and is, the complete opposite, ever since the Revolution won. Our national constitution dedicates three articles to this subject: 41, 42 and 43 which prohibits and punishes any kind of discrimination. There is probably no other constitution like ours in the entire world that is so explicit with regards to this subject.

Anybody who knows about a proven case of racism, has to report it; but, how can you accuse a government who has two black vice-presidents, where the president of Parliament is black, the president of the Supreme Court is black, in the State Council, which has the highest level of State representation, there are nine black members and in the Party’s Political Bureau, which is the leading force in society, there are five, between being black and mestizo, of being racist?

I really can’t understand how you can accuse a government who lost over two thousand of its children born in this country in the fight against South Africa’s white army, which had repressed the black population in that country and in Namibia and who threatened to take over Angola.

What would the Africans reading this article have to say? Those people, who will eternally be grateful to Cuba for having helped them win their freedom. I don’t know what names they’d use to call the author of the article in question.

(To be continued)

16 thoughts on “They Keep on Ranting about the Issue of Racism in Cuba (I)

  • Consent,

    If your view of science is the experiment, you assume an independent variable the researcher controls. Sure, the causal relationship is separated from a real-word setting, so the scientist can proceed with her experiment innocently. If a relationship is found, she publishes a paper. Some other agent will use it in the real world, so the scientist can feel deeply satisfied, and still innocent, at the relationship she found. This held for Stalinist science as well as today’s U.S. science, funded by Monsanto or by Pfizer.

    Before we celebrate the achievements of the allegedly diverse community of scientists, let us instead pray for more instances of truly objective science. They are fragile and fertilized by skepticism, not by celebration.

  • Elio resorts to the familiar diversionary tactic of the historicos of touting Cuba’s internationalist credentials when criticised on its internally-practiced racism. The conscious progressive will not fall for the trap. Cuba is to be praised for its internationalism but that does not exempt Cuba from critical scrutiny when it comes to its internal racial practices.

    Elio also needs to be educated on the worldwide history of internationalism. The Haitian revolutionaries after the triumph of the Haitian revolution even enshrined in their constitution that any person fleeing similar conditions of slavery would be granted asylum in Haiti. People of African descent would be granted citizenship. The Haitians further went on to offer soldiers to Bolivar and established themselves as the 1st internationalist fighters in the liberation struggles of Latin America.

    The Soviets were also extremely generous in their internationalism to Africa and the rest of the Thirld World. But revolutions can degenerate, become even perverted. Today’s survivor of the Soviet Union, Russia, is a haven of neo-Nazis and virulent racists. So has been the former GDR (East Germany). Indeed, the head of the neo-Nazis there is the former head of the Young Communist League! All over Eastern and Central Europe racist and fascist groups have been thriving, and China is not far behind. So the conscious and vigilant progressive is not fooled by the fallacious arguments that internationalism exculpates or exonerates Cuba from racism.

    As for trumpeting the token appointments of some geriartic black yes-men into their cosmetic positions, we are neither impressed nor fooled. It took 40 years for Fidel to appoint even a black man as VP, and Lazo Hernandez, with all due respect, is of no consequence within the Cuban power structure!

  • If I had as George suggests, been recognised as a counter-revolutionary my wife and I would have been jailed. George lives in a make-believe world where everything that is good is socialist and everything that is bad is due to “imperialists” – there is no balance in his view or recognition that most of humanity does not belong in either of his two described groupings.
    Yes, it is correct that being stopped by the MININT State Police as a married couple because one of you is black and the other white is humiliating. When it has occurred four times in the street and another time when in a taxi, it has to be recognized for what it is. Racism!

  • In saying that he was in the US perhaps I was only expressing a hope Informed Consent. I would rather have Kennedy Earle Clarke as somebody else’s problem!

  • Elio reminds us of the role that Cuba played in the defeat of apartheid. He has every right to be proud of Cuba’s achievement, but that does not, by itself, prove the absence of racism in Cuba. In my own country we know that many Canadians lost their lives in the defeat of Nazi Germany. But during that time and for years after Jews faced restrictions on access to housing, education and careers in Canada.
    In the US many Union soldiers lost their lives in the defeat of slavery. But racism persisted in the North as well as the South.

  • …after reading many posts from Kennedy, I’m not so sure he’s from, or in, the USA

  • George, I lived seven years in Cuba and never got carded on the street for ID. I am white. My black friends, both government supporters and others who do not support the Castros, and especially their kids, could tell you many stories of being asked for ID on the street for no reason whatsoever. Black foreigners who don’t look so obvious as foreigners and locals have the same fate, at least in Havana. Black Cubans who hang out with white foreigners, or even white Cubans that can be confused as foreigners, are targets for such humiliating treatment. Racial profiling is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed and not addressing it may be the real counterrevolutionary behavior.

  • Have you considered that the reason you are stopped is because you are a counter-revolutionary influence on Cuba? I would say they are doing their job very successfully. Kennedy’s points are well made. There is no place on Earth that has not been sullied by the issue of “race”, the “White” imperialists made sure of that. It is well known, as Dr. Jones has repeatedly articulated, that the U.S. is trying to use the issue of “race” to destroy the Revolution. Elio is right to defend Cuba against this threat. Where I part company with him is in attacking Dr. Jones who is the first to defend Cuba when called on to do so. I disagree with Dr. Jones that racism is an easy thing to remove for the reasons I have stated below. However the Revolution must continue to address the issue as part of the revolutionary process. That it must do this whilst defending itself against divide and rule destabilization by the Empire on the same issue makes it all the more harder. Elio believes Dr. Jones is being naïve in writing so strongly on the subject, playing into the hands of the enemy. Personally, I believe the Revolution is strong enough to confront these issues.

  • Yet again Kennedy Earle Clarke you utilize these pages as a pretext for giving a political rant about your own country, the United States of America. As one who is a declared Republican, go and relate your problems to Donald J. Trump your candidate for Presidential election. He will remedy all your problems -as he says: “believe me”.
    The racism in the US is not the cause of the racism in Cuba which is the subject of the article. As I related from personal experience, racism is active in Cuba.
    As for the claim that racism is a crime against the very state that employs the State Police that practices it, there lies the difference between communist double talk and reality.

  • The problem is that those who are accusing Cuba of racism, have to examine their hypocritical horns. There is a country where the K.K.K.the most terrorist racist organization on the planet is still alive and endorsing candidates and they cannot offer a word of condemnation; I would invite the Carlyle Mac.Duff’s and the Informed Consent’s to read the book, “Slavery by another name.” And then return to accuse Cuba about Racism.

    Look at how they treat their first Black President? Look at the shameful way, insults are hurled at the most intelligent and educated President in the history of their Republic’s history, look at the disrespect hurled at the man on Face Book ( let us get the Black bastaed) and then they have the gall to criticize where no criticisms and accusations are due, in order to overshadow their own ills? Where were these naysayers of Cuba when she was sacrificing her best sons who were liberating the Black children of South Africa, Namibia and Angola from the worst of the worst form of racism on Planet Earth?

    An horrific racist system which their country supported to the point of supplying that country with nuclear weapons like they did to Israel in the Middle East, to make this Apartheid country the policeman of the African Continent? Cuba is the only country I have visited where I observed racial harmony being practiced. Elio, I look forward to reading part (2) of your presentation. Is there another country on the Planet which has the practice of RACISM a crime against the State in their Constitution? Is this a fact in the so-called Democratic country in the world? Name me just one country in the world where this is so!!.

  • Thank you IC. I think you miss the point, I am a big fan of science as are many people of all backgrounds. There is a reason I use quotes, “race” is an artificial construction. Is science “race” neutral? One could argue that there are “race” specific epistemologies making science as we know it today a “White” construct, some people even argue for “ethno-mathematics”. However this is not my point, as I said “race” is an artificial construct and individuals should be free to relate to and engage with whatever disciplines they wish. The quirk of history that I am referring to is that the great bulk of “knowledge” that we refer to in school and wider society, with the possible exception of the arts, is referenced to “Whites”. This Euro-centricism, unconsciously or consciously, effects our conceptions of “race”. One of the most beautiful things about the Cuban Revolution was the throwing open of opportunity for people of all backgrounds to study disciplines to the highest level. My father was a mathematical prodigy, he got a scholarship to the top colonial school for gifted children in his country. There they were expected to become mechanics or other such vocational professions. There was never any expectation that they might become scholars in their own right. This was an example of colonial racism, but even with so called equal opportunities, internalisation of Euro-centricism means that people are either not encouraged, or they themselves do not believe that they can or should be aspiring to reach the top of professions that are largely dominated by “Whites”. Further, and this is the crux of my point, when they do, they are to often seen as being raised up out of the general backwardness of their “race” due to the Euro-centric context. This to my mind is the biggest obstacle to eliminating racism. Note I am backtracking from my stance of burn science and all of Western Civilization, perhaps I should be more militant.

  • Elio has a naivety which makes him appear to be a simple but likeable soul. His lack of recognition of racism in Cuba is demonstrated when he writes:
    “Anyone who knows about a proven case of racism, has to report it”
    So next time the MININT State Police stop my wife and I of mixed races during a brief visit to Havana and going about our legal business – we should report it to whom?

  • What a silly world view you have. Talk about “reverse” racism. Lol, that pesky white science brought forward by Galeleo, Newton, Einstein, Darwin. “A quirk of history” makes their contribution no less momentus. Instead of focusing on this “quirk” of yours. We should be focusing on eliminating racism, empowering the downtrodden, and making access to education easier.

    Science is, or should be, race neutral. It’s a simply a way we query the natural world to learn how it works. The outcome should be the same, and indeed is, when the experiments are conducted by white or black scientists.

    Why not celebrate the work and achievements of existing black scientists. A good example is one of my favorite celebrities today, the astrophysicist, Niel DeGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. A famed educator and communicator of science, He is one of the leading voices in promoting science in a mainstream environment. His job is made harder by racists of all stripes, including you George.

  • You know you’ve entered Bizarro World when Barack Hussein Obama is described as a right-wing agent of capitalism. Seriously? He’s a Marxist, but of the cultural kind, not Cuban. He went to Columbia University, the home of cultural Marxism in America, you think maybe that had some influence on him?

    President Obama, evil agent of capitalism. I haven’t had such a good laugh in years.

  • This article saddens me for its short sightedness as usually I am the first to applaud Elio for defending the Revolution. The problem Elio is Euro-centricism. You can put this down to a quirk of history, however we still have to negotiate it. When it comes to constructing our countries, what does one have to study? One has to study “White” peoples’ work. I know of at least one non-“White” whose dream was a world without “White” technology, a world of magic (or as the Jamaicans call it: “science”) and nature. In other words, a world constructed on non-“White” foundations. I am not so extreme as this, I recognise the benefit in many “White” constructions. But this quirk of history that makes them “White” as opposed to “Black” is one of the most pressing obstacles to ending racism. It is a quirk of history that leads to the idea that “Black” people are inherently backward and in need of raising like children to do better. It is the reason so many of them are in jail. I personally do not know what the solution to this is. Maybe in a few hundred years when half of all cutting edge science is done by “Black” people the world will be different. But this last statement is premised on exactly the fallacy that I am pointing out, the superiority of “White” culture. I will still defend Cuba as a country whose “Gallegos” have done more than any “Whites” to end racism. And note I have not even touched on the resurgence of racism brought about by the end of the Soviet Union and the resulting necessary compromises made with capitalism such as reliance on first world tourism. Coming to grips with Euro-centricism is the challenge we all face, it does not help if “Gallegos” like Elio are wilfully blind to it.

  • Alberto was one of the first to alert the world to the nefarious plans of the empire to use “race” to destabilize, divide and rule Cuba. I personally have no doubt about his commitment to the revolutionary process.

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