The Tragedy of Cuban Racism
The Tragedy of Cuban Racism
February 9, 2015
By Carlos Cabrera Perez (Café Fuerte)
A group of dissidents protested last Thursday before the Cuban
Parliament located in Havana’s Playa municipality.
HAVANA TIMES — A video showing a group of Cuban dissidents protesting in
front of the Cuban parliament in Havana to demand a series of liberties
and rights has once again revealed the profound racism that continues to
exist in Cuba.
Today, 56 years after the triumph of the revolution, we hear the voice
of a woman yelling: “They’re a bunch of blacks who had no rights before
and now want everything handed to them.” The woman was referring to the
12 activists from Cuba’s Orlando Zapata National Civic Resistance and
Disobedience Front who were arrested on Thursday morning for
demonstrating to demand the elimination of the absurd Ley de
Peligrosidad (“Potential criminality law”).
In addition to being a false statement (for black people weren’t denied
everything in the past, and they aren’t offered everything today), the
woman’s comments reveal the profound contempt that some Cubans feel
towards other Cubans, equal only in their condition as victims of
totalitarianism. The woman we hear in the video, however, feels
superior, as though fully espousing a Nazi concept.
White and Absolute Power
Castroism is a form of white, absolute power. One of the sociological
bases for Castro’s triumph was the profound contempt that the sugar
industry aristocracy, the middle class and the population in general
felt towards the mixed-race dictator Fulgencio Batista Zaldivar.
In the 1980s, after the Cuban government noted that dozens of black and
mixed-race people had left the country in the Mariel exodus, Fidel
Castro made a point of increasing the number of black people and
mulattos employed by government entities. This was, to be sure, a
cosmetic rather than real measure, as none of these reached any
positions with any real power. To be fair, neither did the new white
recruits, as Castroism has always been a top-down, hermetic system.
Racism and other forms of discrimination on the basis of political and
religious affiliations and sexual orientation were not invented by the
Castro regime. The world is full of racists, intolerant people and
countless individuals who suffer discrimination. What is surprising,
however, is that a revolution that alleged to have been carried out by
the humble and for the humble should produce such racist attitudes.
This is a serious issue, revealing the problematic perspective that has
taken root in the mind of this woman and of those who think like her:
one can be black, mixed-race, homosexual or whatever one wants to be,
provided one supports the Castro regime.
This spells a terrible dilemma for a mixed-race, poor and sentimental
country saturated with empty speeches about equality and justice, intent
on the moral assassination of those who dissent, are different or
respectfully – and justifiably – decide to break with the herd that
feigns contentment and unshakable loyalty.
An Ailing Nation
Regrettably, Cuba is a morally sick nation, a victim of the totalitarian
monologue that Castroism managed to establish thanks to the acquiescence
of the majority of the population. And the regime continues with its
tired spiels about racism in the United States, despite the fact that
Barack Obama is still in office, after having been democratically
elected for a second term.
This is why it struck me as significant that, at the sessions held this
week before the US Senate and House of Representatives, most of the
testimonies from dissidents and civil society representatives came from
black and mixed-race individuals, reminding us that they are the ones
who suffered the most and were most heavily trampled on by the
deceitfully liberating stampede of Castroism.
The most recent Population and Housing Census conducted in Cuba
confirmed that black and mixed-race people are the poorest in Cuba, a
problem that will be difficult to overcome by any post-Castro
government. A future Cuba will also have to devote considerable efforts
to come in aid of an aged population, the chronically ill, alcoholics,
drug-addicts and the numerous single-mother families where fathers have
been absent for three generations.
Some will likely claim that what we hear in this video are the
regrettable statements of a single woman, faced with a group of Cubans
who demand democratic rights for all citizens, including the woman who
It’s a shame this is not an isolated incident and that it embodies the
perverse effects of a political discourse that has taken shape in the
course of more than fifty years and has sought to transform citizens
into obedient soldiers, criminalizing all dissent and labeling those who
defend a Cuba where there is room for everyone (including those who
think differently) as enemies or, what’s worse, as enemy agents (hired
by the CIA or USAID).
“They’re a bunch of blacks,” the offensive woman said. I say: They are
Cuban, just like you, Madam, even if you can’t and probably never will
see them as your equals.
Source: The Tragedy of Cuban Racism – Havana Times.org –