Gen. Maceo & Lingering Racism in Cuba

Alberto N Jones

Antonio Maceo, center, back row.  Photo bvs.sld.cu

HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 17 — On December 7th 1896, General Antonio Maceo, the greatest son of Africa ever to live in Cuba, fell in a skirmish in Punta Brava, Havana, after rising through the ranks from an enlisted soldier to second in command of the Cuban Army of Independence.

After successfully leading the Cuban Army of Independence into its most decisive and critical battles during the 10 Year War, the Protest of Baragua and the War of Independence in 1895, during which he faced and defeated on the battleground, Spain’s most courageous, accomplished and decorated army Generals, for which he earned the honorable title of the Bronze Titan.

His outstanding leadership was tested over and over in the most diverse circumstances, in which he had the opportunity demonstrate his love of country, patriotism, fidelity and courage, which led Jose Marti, the father of the Cuban Nation, to proclaim that the power of his brain was equal to the power of the arm that held his sword.

If there was ever a role model to influence the behavior, hopes and aspirations of the Cuban youths, especially those of African ancestry, it was the Maceo family in general and General Antonio Maceo in particular, who was like a lighthouse, leading us into a safe harbor.

It is therefore very painful for hundreds of thousands of Afro-Cubans, to witness how 114 years after this tragic event, so much of the core values for which he lived, fought and died, remain unfulfilled and out of reach for too many of his children.

Racism remains a fact of life

No one in his/her right mind can deny the extraordinary educational advances that Afro-Cubans have made in the past half century.  Yet, the socio-economic gap between us and other ethnic groups has persisted and widened in many cases.

A clear and determined effort by many in positions of authority within the government or holding administrative responsibilities, have done everything within their power to segregate and relegate Afro-Cubans to the least desirable jobs, poor living quarters, stagnation, opposing their promotion and/or into positions of high visibility, all of which have been clearly identified, repeatedly exposed and denounced with limited or no success.  Racism is today, a fact of life in Cuba.

This very serious failure through neglect or indifference, lead to a spurious document entitled “Acting on our Conscience” which hit the cyberspace a year ago like an atomic bomb pretending to address this repulsive reality.

www.afrocubaweb.com/actingonourconscience.htm

In fact, it’s only purpose was to pit Black intellectuals, scholars, religious leaders and ordinary people in the Black world against each other, forcing many to take a side on this thorny issue, weakening our tenuous unity and turning everyone into losers.

This divisive, sectarian and opportunist document did irreparable harm to our struggle to earn our rightful share and social dignity in Cuba, which was founded under the banner of “With All and for the Wellbeing of All“.

Likewise, for those responsible to correct and eradicate this revolting social manifestation from our society, they should be reminded that ignoring this festering wound, not confronting head on this viper or to pretend this corrosive mental secretion will fade away, they are setting themselves up for a rude awakening, when this malignancy metastasize out of control across the island.



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