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Cubans publicly debate prejudice against blacks

Cubans publicly debate prejudice against blacks
Web posted at: 2/14/2010 2:10:5
Source ::: AFP

HAVANA: Half a century after Fidel Castro's revolution claimed to have
done away with racism, Cubans are publicly debating a stubborn strain of
discrimination and prejudice that associates blacks here with quarrels,
crime, and rum. "I am not racist, but I don't want my daughter to have a
black boyfriend. No way!" said Celia, a 52-year-old former teacher of
mixed race. "When she became a young lady, I told her: 'I married your
father to go forward, not backwards.'"

Experts discussed the problem on local television for the first time
just recently, but ordinary Cubans readily acknowledge that racism is
pervasive in Cuba, a former Spanish colony and the destination of
hundreds of African slaves. "If 20 blacks pass by, the police will ask
18 of them for their identity cards. If 20 whites pass by, they will ask
two of them," said Yeimi Mora, a 35-year-old housewife, explaining the
situation to a white friend as she walked through a street in the center
of Havana.

Daniel Casanova, a slender 29-year-old mulato who works in a cafeteria,
and Carmen Leon, a blond 41-year-old Spaniard, hold hands on their
strolls through town. But they complain that the police stop them in the
street "for being a black-white couple."

"They ask him for documents and they ask us how many years we've known
each other and whether we are married. First on one corner, then the
next, and on it goes like that five times over," said Carmen, who works
in Spain but has had a long-distance relationship with Daniel for a year.

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily (14 February 2010)
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Americas&month=February2010&file=World_News201002142105.xml

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