A 48-point Proposal to Deal with Racism in Cuba

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, June 29 – The Cuban civil rights organization Cofradia de la Negritud (the Negritude Brotherhood) has recently released an action plan to fight racism in Cuba. Here is the HT translation of the proposal:

The Tasks and Actions aimed at obtaining objective results aimed at the elimination of all manifestations of racial discrimination existent in Cuban society, as well as the reduction of the racial inequalities that have intensified in the last years.

We propose:

1. That the Cuban Parliament organize and carry out during the next Legislative session a Parliamentary hearing to analyze the manifestations of racism and/or racial discrimination existing in our society.

2. That the corresponding permanent commission of the Cuban Parliament present an official opinion during the next Legislative session on the existence of manifestations of racism and/or racial discrimination in Cuba.

3. The establishment of a Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Cuba, taking as their model the entity of that same name in the United Nations.

4. The creation of a National Commission to attend to, coordinate, and be accountable for the application of the Cuban State’s policies on the racial question.

5. The introduction of appropriate changes in the different levels of the educational system, applying a scientific and multi-disciplinary focus to assure that students are exposed to an effective process of values formation. This should take into consideration ethical, historical, axiological and other perspectives and strengthen values of equality and humanism, while discouraging discriminatory and hostile attitudes towards other people.

6. That specific curriculum plans be introduced at different levels of study to provide an appropriate treatment of the contributions made by African natives and their descendants to our country’s economic progress and the forging of the Cuban nationality and identity.

7. The short-term establishment of appropriate new procedures to assure that those from poor families have proportional access to the highest-rated education centers, as well as to the university careers that are not unavailable in the municipal campuses and where intellectuals, engineers, diplomats, scientists are formed.

8. Improvements in the conditions and quality of the student-instructor relationship, and in the material conditions of the schools with an elevated proportion of students from poor families, especially in the trade schools, as well as an improved social and community attention in these centers.

9. The creation of homework centers in zones inhabited mainly by poor families, to assure that interested students who lack these conditions in their homes can count on appropriate conditions for their individual preparation.

10. The establishment of appropriate practical measures based on principals of affirmative action, particularly in educational and working spheres.

11. Inclusion in the plan for housing construction contemplated in each year’s annual budget of an appropriate proportion of housing destined to better the living conditions of families who reside in shelters, tenements, slums, etc.

12. The implementation of realistic and accountable programs to diminish or eliminate within appropriate timelines the different hardships suffered by families living in conditions of misery or extreme poverty.

13. The establishment of effective short-term control and supervision mechanisms for the employment agencies and exchanges that determine workers’ access to positions in foreign currency stores, tourism, and related firms and corporations; these measures should impede them from operating as instruments of policies that are discriminatory towards the black and mestizo population.

14. The elimination of any requirements referring to skin color or the physical characteristics of applicants from announcements of employment or professional training.

15. The promotion of an appropriate treatment of racial topics in the mass media, using a scientific and multi-disciplinary focus, and taking into consideration the diverse aspects of the racial question. In the same way, the facilitation of a constructive debate in the different spaces for opinions, both those that currently exist and those under creation.

16. The incorporation of goals referring to an appropriate treatment of the racial question for organizations that carry out ideological work among their membership.

17. The implementation of appropriate measures to facilitate a more proportional and effective presence of dark-skinned people and mestizos in the artistic media, especially on television, in the movies and in the ballet.

18. The establishment of appropriate alternatives to the exclusive use of entrance examinations to obtain access to the distinct types of instruction.

19. Effective assurances that the preventive actions of the police refrain from giving the impression of procedures based on skin color stereotypes, and that there not exist any differentiated treatment of the citizenry for this reason.

20. Recognition of the legal right to exist for social and community organizations that propose to contribute to the nation’s efforts to eliminate racism, discrimination and racial inequalities.

21. Appropriate and systematic attention by social and community entities to the situation of the prison population, in coordination with the authorities responsible.

22. Consideration of the information on skin color provided in the pertinent demographic and statistical data that is routinely collected.

23. A differentiated attention to the country’s provinces, to permit in an effective manner a diminishing of the diverse inequalities between the most developed and the most backwards areas; this attitude should be expressed in the policies and data published each year.

24. That the racial question no longer be considered a taboo theme, but that a constructive treatment of it on the part of diverse social actors should be promoted.

25. The design of a new scientifically founded racial policy that takes into consideration the avatars of the historical evolution of the racial problem, and can serve as a secure bridge towards the full integration and dignity of all Cuban men and women.

26. The implementation of adequate mechanisms and procedures to permit improved economic possibilities for poor families, taking as a starting point their demonstrated initiative and capacity.

27. That the institutions that study the life and legacy of Jose Martí promote among the Cuban population a closer study and familiarity with the Apostle’s ideas on the racial question in our country.

28. That the entities charged with studying the life and legacy of Antonio Maceo promote among the Cuban population a greater study and better knowledge of the Bronze Titan’s ideas regarding the racial question in our country.

29. The development of diverse types of relationships, particularly of the people to people variety, with the African countries and the African Diaspora, in correspondence with the real possibilities.

30. Awarding the honorable title of “Mother of our Country” to Mariana Grajales Coello in well-deserved recognition of her unique foundational attitude and as a symbol of the contribution of Cuban women, especially mothers, to the formation of an elevated patriotic spirit among the Cuban people.

31. The realization of scientific and sociological investigations regarding aspects of the racial issue, guaranteeing at the same time that the results be adequately shared with the public and serve as instruments in developing State policies on the topic.

32. Effective social and community attention to the contingents of workers who are permanently working outside of their provinces, in coordination with the organizations that they belong to, so as to foster the growth of these workers as citizens.

33. The realization of appropriate events for reflection on the ideas expressed by the Cuban president regarding the racial question in the book “One Hundred Hours with Fidel.”

34. The establishment of norms to assure the existence of a well-trained functionary or cadre in each province with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of national policies on racial matters in that province.

35. Permission for the creation of religious spaces where the religious systems of African roots can be institutionalized if they so desire.

36. Promotion of the sale of products and services for beauty care that take into consideration the specific physical characteristics of the black and mestizo population.

37. The establishment of measures to better satisfy the nutritional requirements of young children from families whose incomes are clearly insufficient.

38. Release of new editions of the works of the principal exponents of Cuban antiracist thought, as well as of authors who have expressed in a relevant manner the ideals and values of the Cuban black population.

39. Appropriate incorporation of the debate on the racial question into the process of discussion of important topical events by the political and mass organizations.

40. Inclusion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination into the national program of commemorations every year.

41. More efficient social and community attention focused on better conditions for the elderly, particularly in poor families.

42. Incorporation by the Federation of Cuban Women into their plans and actions in support of non discrimination in gender attention, of the related question of discrimination suffered by non-white women in diverse spheres due to their racial condition.

43. Incorporation into the orientations and actions of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) of the question of discrimination against non-white men and women workers in some sectors of labor activity.

44. Incorporation of the racial question into the discussions and actions of the University Students’ Federation, especially the insufficient presence of non-whites in certain careers and areas of University activity.

45. Consideration in the policies of the country of the concept that respect for diversity can be an appropriate route towards solidifying national unity.

46. Promotion, under conditions of equal opportunity, of the development of relevant cultural manifestations through which the descendents of Africans express their spirituality and their manners of perceiving reality.

47. The establishment of appropriate short-term policies and measures that effectively limit the expression of diverse types of inequality existing today in the fundamental attitudes of the younger generation of Cuban men and women.

48. Establishment as a prioritized social objective of the country’s policies the principal of real and effective equal opportunity for all male and female citizens.


3 thoughts on “A 48-point Proposal to Deal with Racism in Cuba

  • Sir

    Step no. 1 should be for the Cuban government to remove the three racial categories used on the ID card of all Cubans. They are White, Mixed, Black.

    In a system where all are supposed to be equal, that is a sham and a crime.

    Yours truly,

    Leo Nasager

  • If the African Cuban would finally get off his/her knees and struggle..This could end

  • Racism (like sexism) is a specific manifestation of classism. (Yet, classism almost never gets any press.)

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