By Alberto N Jones
HAVANA TIMES — The announcement made by the Cuban Attorney General about the most-talked-about case of Yanay Aguirre Calderon has resulted in shameful inactivity and official complicity with the growing racism that is taking over the country.
The 6th year Law student at Havana University was harassed by a collective taxi driver Roberto Reguidor Contreras, who attacked her with racist slurs on July 10th. Now, the Attorney General has declared that this infamy has been settled at the Playa Police station with an apology from the accused and a 500 CUP (25 USD) fine.
I ask is Cuba becoming South Africa, Israel or the United States, where white people are immune to any act they commit against black people.
Since when are crimes in Cuba dealt with at police stations and not in a Court?
I ask, is a 500 peso fine an acceptable sanction to reprimand a racist who has confessed his crime, which only converts him into a catalyst for other undercover racists knowing that, if they are caught they only have to pay 500 pesos to heal their insults?
Why is the growing racism that is eating away at the fabric of our nation not included in school curricula, the arts, radio and on TV, it isn’t even a subject for discussion on the nightly Mesa Redonda program, instead of tiring themselves out talking about problems that have nothing to do with Cuba?
Why convert a psychological, moral, behavioral problem that requires society to receive a thorough education into a simple police case?
The driver is just as guilty of this despicable act as the authorities who know the facts and have given him a complicit spanking and the long article by Vivan Bustamente which turning to Party laws, decrees and statutes, the Constitution and even invoking Jose Marti, tries to cover up this disgraceful act in vain.
It attempts to ignore the negative impact that racial conflicts have had in Cuba, when these disagreements gave rise to the 1868 insurrection which led to the Pact of Zanjon vile murder of General Quintin Banderas in Arroyo Arenas and the massacre of more than 3000 members of the Partido Independiente de Color in 1912.
These should serve as a warning for the unpredictable and serious consequences this will have for the country, where an influential sector of Cuban government continues to perpetuate segregation, marginalization and the impoverishment of a sector of society.
The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves is one of Cuba’s unconditional friends as well as the Congressional Black Caucus in the US and hundreds of Afro-American intellectuals who are loyal friends of Cuba who have all denounced these scandalous attacks on civic dignity in vain, which many Cuban government officials have tried to disqualify with pre-fabricated responses.
If this weren’t true, then why is it that there are still segregationist language-related terms used such as “People with Fine Features”, “Martianos and Maceistas” “Palestinians” etc., to identify and segregate some Cubans?
Which intellectual, teacher or high-ranking government official could explain to the national poet Nicolas Guillen that specimens of this nature still endure and are breeding in the land where he wrote “Tengo”?
If the country’s most important institutions are refusing to value the opinions and complaints of its people, will the country be able to survive with the tarnished, loathsome image and the continual explanations that international organizations demand?
One hundred and fifty years ago, on October 10th 1868, a respectable, brave Cuban, Carlos Manuel de Cespede took on the historic role of freeing his slaves in Demajagua. Today, thousands of Cubans are calling out for another Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and a new Demajagua, which will give them back their dignity and establish equality among all Cubans which is what Marti, Maceo and Mariana all died for.
It’s in our hands to rectify mistakes, to reject dogmas and prejudice or to burn together on the pyre of hate and division.