Cuba's World Class Medical School Is Open to US Black/Latino Medical Students for FREE!
The "Catch"? Return and Work In Your Medically Underserved Communities
This is an MSNBC report revealing the political and medical brilliance of the US Sisters who are enrolled in Cuba's ELAM - Latin America Medical School.
Lena Horne in 1964 Singing NOW! On Cuban Videodoc about the Militant Black Civil Rights Movement:
A WBAI Radio Interview on Cuba and Its Struggle to Eradicate Racism:
23 December 2009
A 12-minute radio discussion on Cuba and its struggle to eradicate Racism. This discussion is mainly between Esther Armah of WBAI's Wake Up Call and Monifa Bandele of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the Black August HipHop Festival that hooks International HipHop artists up every August in Cuba. You will also hear a short presentation by Sam Anderson- one of the principal initiators of the "We Stand With Cuba" Declaration that you can read below.
Below is the WBAI radio program "Cuba In Focus" Roundtable on Race & the Cuban Revolution with Rev Lucius Walker, Monifa Bandele, Amiri Baraka and Sam Anddrson. It is moderated by Cuba In Focus producer Gail Walker. It was aired on December 28, 2009.
Also, please sign the complimentary petition:
"In Solidarity with the Real Anti-Racist Movement in Cuba"
WE STAND WITH CUBA!
DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ACTIVISTS, INTELLECTUALS AND ARTISTS IN CONTINUED SOLIDARITY WITH THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
We, the undersigned, express our continuing solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.
Cuban expatriate Carlos Moore and the other signers of the December 1, 2009 ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE: DECLARATION OF AFRICANAMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA do not speak for or represent the vast majority of Black radicals/progressives, nor the sentiment of the masses of African Americans in the United States. This December 1st Declaration ironically makes no mention of the 50 year US blockade against Cuba, and how it seeks to derail the progress made by Cuba thus far toward eradicating the racism created by its former colonizers - Spain and the United States.
We are disappointed that the signers of the Declaration, many whom have made important contributions to the African American struggles against racism and for democracy, connect their charge of racism to the claims of Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez and Carlos Moore, two known opponents of Cuba’s revolutionary system. Apparently, like many opportunists both Carlos Moore and Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez who resides in Cuba saw the opportunity to solicit support for their position from this select group of high profile and credible sectors of the African American community. This action is divisive and misguided.
We, the undersigned, believe that the Carlos Moore originated petition is designed to create a wedge in the African American support base for Cuba. Moore’s petition is also an attempt to dismiss Cuba as a modern example of how socialism is a practical system that ensures an equitable distribution of its resources for ALL Cubans.
For more than forty years, Carlos Moore has opportunistically roamed the globe spreading lies and slander about Cuba. Like Moore, Dr. Darsi Ferrer, who ran into trouble when he attempted to set up a medical clinic outside the state run medical system, has also sought to use race to undermine the gains, institutions and anti-racist direction brought about by the Cuban Revolution. In 2006, Dr. Ferrer went to the US interest-section and was given a US monitored email account (i.e. access to a CIA manipulated portal). Dr. Ferrer’s reactionary blog along with links to reactionary websites such as Capital Hill Cubans, Blog for Cuba and killcastro.com can be found at http://blogacionpordarsiferrer.blogspot.com.
Moore, and the signers of the Declaration, ignores the decades long struggle waged by the Cuban government against all forms of racism. This includes ignoring/denying its internationalist support of African, Caribbean and African American liberation struggles. Moreover, Moore and his followers ignore the historical and present-day fact that Afro Cubans have not been a mere passive force, but have been and are central in the struggles to make and advance the Cuban Revolution.
This attack on Cuba is an attack on a country that stood fast to its democratic, socialist, anti-racist and internationalist principles despite the great pressures from US and world imperialism, which has forced other countries to abandon these positions.
It is clearly no coincidence that this attack on Cuba, comes at a time when so many throughout the US and internationally are being victimized by the policies and crises of capitalism; and are seeing responses in Cuba and other countries throughout Latin America that seek to address the needs of the masses of people and not the banks and ruling classes as is being done in the US.
This attack on Cuba is an attack on efforts to forge Black and Brown working class unity as the cornerstone of the democratic and socialist revolutions developing throughout Latin America. It also furthers the US efforts to divide African Americans and Latinos as the major growing challenge to oppressive US domestic and foreign policies.
For five hundred years prior to the Cuban Revolution, racism was the norm in Cuban society. To expect that it would completely disappear even in fifty years is a “pipe dream.”
Indeed, as Fidel Castro, noted in 2003 in a dialogue in Havana with Cuban and foreign teachers,
"Even in societies like Cuba, that arose from a radical social revolution where the people had reached full and total legal equality and a level of revolutionary education that threw down the subjective component of discrimination, it still exists in another form."
Fidel, as noted in the December 2, 2009 Message From Cuba To Afro-American Intellectuals and Artists, described this “as objective discrimination, a phenomenon associated with poverty and a historical monopoly on knowledge.”
The criticisms about the presence of racism in Cuba are being dealt within the framework of the Cuban Government and civil society. There is and has been fierce debates and policy changes INSIDE these structures when it comes to eradicating 500 years of racism in Cuba.
Cuba’s policies against any form of discrimination and in favor of equality are grounded in the Cuban Constitution. According to Afro Cubans,
“As never before in the history of our nation, black and mestizo Cubans have found opportunities for social and personal development in transformative processes that have been ongoing for the past half a century. These opportunities are conveyed through policies and programs that made possible the initiation of what Cuban Anthropologist Don Fernando Ortiz, called the non- deferrable integration phase of Cuban society.” Message from Cuba to African American Intellectuals and Artists, 12/2/09
The people of Cuba, in electing their representatives to the National Assembly, have chosen a very diverse group, including dozens of Black Cubans prominently working in many key roles. Indeed, the National Assembly of Cuba is so racially diverse that if Cuba is was "suffering" from racism, how did these brothers and sisters get elected? Unlike as when the Congressional Black Caucus was formed in 1970 out of the necessity here in the United States to continually defend the hard won Civil liberties and the rights to equal opportunities waged for centuries by African Americans.
Unlike the signers of the December 1, 2009 Declaration, we have not forgotten
That in the struggles against colonialism and apartheid, when Africa called Cuba answered. Unlike other “friends” of Africa, Cuba provided assistance to the people of Southern Africa, without brokering one deal for access to resources or anything else. Cuba’s solidarity with the people of Southern Africa in the 1988 Battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola was the decisive turning point in the defeat of apartheid. We remember and applaud Cuba’s provision of teachers, technicians, doctors and other medical personnel along with free medical training to the young people of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. During the past forty years, more than 35,000 African youth have been trained free of charge while studying in Cuban medical, technical schools and universities.
We, the undersigned, believe that the true “callous disregard for the rights of citizens” is right here in the United States, Hurricane Katrina being the most glaring proof, while Cuba was among the first countries to offer human and material aid that was- in turn -rejected by the U.S. government. The U.S. Government continues to spend billions of dollars on war abroad while neglecting African Americans and the poor who are generally subjected to substandard health care and education, lack of decent and affordable housing, urban street violence and police brutality, crippling unemployment and jobs that people need to live decently.
Cuba is the ONLY country in the world to provide free medical training to United States students wishing to become doctors; providing full scholarships that include tuition, room, board and ALL incidentals. Many of these students are African Americans whose dreams of becoming doctors in order to serve their communities would never have been realized
We, the undersigned, call on African Americans to stand up in support of the Cuban Revolution and call on the U.S. Government to end its Blockade on the Cuban people. We also call for African Americans to build a united front In the United States that address the ongoing historical “callous disregard for the rights” of African Americans and all people who are subjected to gross negligence in America.
We call on the signers of Carlos Moore’s Declaration to withdraw their names as an act of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and recognition of the valiant and consistent efforts by Cuba to eradicate racism.
In closing, we reaffirm our respect for the Cuban people’s right to self-determination and sovereignty.
We, the undersigned STAND WITH CUBA!
Long Live The Cuban Revolution!
(names in boldface are the originators of the Declaration)
• S. E. Anderson- Brooklyn, NY
Activist/Educator/Black Left Unity Network*
• Kazembe Balagun, New York, NY
Writer/activist/ Outreach Coordinator -Brecht Forum
• Amina & Amiri Baraka, Newark, NJ
• The Rev. Luis Barrios, PhD, New York, NY
Afro-Boricua-Human Rights Activist, Priest & Professor
Department of Latin American Studies
John Jay College of Criminal Justice- City University of New York
• Judy Bourne, JD, US Virgin Islands
• Otis Cunningham, Chicago, IL
Activist/former member of the National Committee Venceremos Brigade, Co-author of the review article, Race and the Cuban Revolution: A Critique of Carlos Moore's "Castro, the Blacks, and Africa"
• Jean Damu, Berkely, CA
• Lena Delgado de Torres, Binghamton, NY
Doctoral Candidate, Sociology Department
• James Early, Washington, DC
Board Member of TransAfrica, Institute for Policy Studies and US-Cuba Cultural Exchange and Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution
• Herman and Iyaluua Ferguson- North Carolina/New York
Activists/Educators/Malcolm X Commemoration Committee
• Franklin Flores, New York, NY
Artist/Activist, Casa De Las Americas NYC
• Joan P. Gibbs, Esq.- Brooklyn, NY
National Conference of Black Lawyers
• Gerald Horne, JD, PhD- Austin, TX
• Dedon Kamathi- Los Angeles,Ca
Producer Host of 90.7 fm KPFK's "Freedom Now"
• Kumasi- Southern Calif.
founder of Patrice Lumumba Coalition(1979) and So. Calif. Representative, Black August Coalition, and Coordinator of Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation (so. Cal.)
• Basir Mchawi, Bronx, NY
Chair of the International African Arts Festival
• Rosemari Mealy, JD, PhD- Brooklyn, NY
Educator/Activist/Author of Fidel and Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting
• Saladin Muhammad- Rocky Mount, NC
Black Workers For Justice
Brother Zayid Muhammad, Newark, NJ
National Minister of Culture, New Black Panther Party
• Tony Menelik Van Der Meer- Boston, MA
Activist/Educator • Africana Studies Department
University of Massachusetts Boston
• Norman Richmond, Toronto, Canada
• Prof. Harold Rogers, Chicago, IL
Chair, Emeritus, African American Studies Dept
City Colleges of Chicago
• Aishah D. Sales, Adjunct Professor, Peekskill, NY
Dept. of Mathematics Westchester Community College (SUNY)
• William W. Sales, Jr., PhD.- Peekskill, NY
Associate Professor Africana Studies Department Seton Hall University
• Banbose Shango, Washington, DC.
All-African People's Revolutionary Party (GC)
Co-Chair, National Network on Cuba
• Brenda Stokely, Brooklyn, NY
Million Worker March Movement, Labor/Community and Anti-war Activists
• Greg Thomas-Syracuse, NY
Associate Professor, English Department, Syracuse University
Editor, PROUD FLESH: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness
• Tim Thomas, Oakland, CA
Community Building Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity East Bay
• Willie Thompson, San Francisco, CA
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, City College of San Francisco
• Askia Toure, Boston, MA
• Tontongi, Boston, MA
Editor of the Review Tanbou, Boston, Massachusetts
• Rev. Lucius Walker, Harlem, NY
IFCO/Pastors for Peace
• Roy Walker- Chicago, IL
Advocate of Philosophical Consciencism
• Michael Tarif Warren, Brooklyn, New York
• Hank Williams- New York City
Freedom Road Socialist Org/OSCL and CUNY Graduate Center
For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Organizational affiliations are for identification purposes only
Declaración de los activistas, intelectuales y artistas afronorteamericanos en solidaridad permanente con la Revolución Cubana Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, expresamos nuestra solidaridad permanente con la Revolución cubana.
El exiliado cubano Carlos Moore y demás signatarios del documento emitido el 1ro de diciembre de 2009 titulado ACTUANDO POR NUESTRA PROPIA CONCIENCIA: DECLARACI"N DE APOYO DE LOS AFRONORTEAMERICANOS A LA LUCHA POR LOS DERECHOS CIVILES EN CUBA no refleja las ideas ni representa a la gran mayoría de las personas negras radicales y progresistas, ni tampoco los sentimientos de las masas de afronorteamericanos en los Estados Unidos. Irónicamente, esta Declaración del 1ro de diciembre no hace referencia al bloqueo que desde hace 50 años los Estados Unidos le ha impuesto a Cuba, ni a la manera en que trata de frustrar los avances alcanzados por Cuba hacia la erradicación del racismo creado por sus antiguos colonizadores: España y los Estados Unidos.
Nos sentimos defraudados al ver que los signatarios de esa Declaración, muchos de los cuales han hecho significativos aportes a la lucha de los afronorteamericanos contra el racismo y a favor de la democracia, vinculan sus acusaciones de racismo con las declaraciones hechas por el Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramírez y Carlos Moore, dos conocidos opositores del sistema revolucionario cubano. Obviamente, como muchos otros oportunistas, tanto Carlos Moore como el Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramírez, quien reside en Cuba, se percataron de la oportunidad de solicitarle a este grupo selecto de sectores destacados de la comunidad afronorteamericana, que gozan de credibilidad, que apoyara su posición. Esta es una acción equivocada que promueve la división. Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, creemos que la petición de Carlos Moore está destinada a crear una brecha en la base de apoyo de los afronorteamericanos a Cuba. La petición de Moore es también un intento por desacreditar a Cuba como un ejemplo actual de cómo el socialismo es un sistema viable que garantiza la distribución equitativa de sus recursos entre TODOS los cubanos.
Durante más de cuarenta años, Carlos Moore ha viajado de manera oportunista por todo el planeta, diseminando mentiras y calumnias sobre Cuba. Al igual que Moore, el Dr. Darsi Ferrer, quien se vio en problemas cuando intentó establecer una clínica fuera del sistema de atención médica estatal, también ha tratado de utilizar el tema de la raza para socavar las conquistas, las instituciones y la orientación antirracista de la Revolución Cubana. En el año 2006 el Dr. Ferrer acudió a la Sección de Intereses de los Estados Unidos, donde se le otorgó una cuenta de correo electrónico supervisada por los Estados Unidos (es decir, acceso a un portal manipulado por la CIA). El blog reaccionario del Dr. Ferrer y sus vínculos con sitios web reaccionarios como `Capital Hill Cubans, `Blog for Cuba' y `killcastro.com' pueden ser hallados en el sitio http://blogacionpordarsiferrer.blogspot.com.
Moore y los signatarios de la Declaración ignoran las décadas de lucha del gobierno de Cuba contra todas las formas de racismo. Llegan a ignorar o incluso negar el apoyo internacionalista brindado por Cuba a las luchas de liberación de los africanos, los caribeños y los afronorteamericanos. Además, Moore y sus seguidores ignoran el hecho histórico y actual de que los afrocubanos no han sido una mera fuerza pasiva, sino que han sido y son un elemento crucial en las luchas por construir y hacer avanzar a la Revolución Cubana.
Obviamente, no es ninguna coincidencia que este ataque contra Cuba tenga lugar en un momento en que tantas personas en los Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo, víctimas de las políticas y las crisis del capitalismo, estén encontrando respuestas en Cuba y en otros países de América Latina, los cuales tratan de satisfacer las necesidades de las masas y no de los bancos ni de las clases gobernantes, como ocurre en los Estados Unidos.
Este ataque contra Cuba es un ataque contra los esfuerzos por forjar la unión de la clase obrera negra y mestiza como piedra angular de las revoluciones socialistas y democráticas que están teniendo lugar en toda América Latina. Enaltece asimismo los esfuerzos de los Estados Unidos por dividir a los afronorteamericanos y los latinos, quienes desafían cada vez más las políticas opresivas nacionales e internacionales de los Estados Unidos.
Durante los quinientos años que precedieron a la Revolución en Cuba, el racismo fue la norma en la sociedad cubana. Esperar que desaparezca completamente, incluso después de cincuenta años, sería una "ilusión". ¿Quién es Carlos Moore?
La Alianza Afrocubana de Carlos Moore, la Asociación Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana y las Bibliotecas "Independientes" por Cuba han sido los receptores de los fondos de la NED. La NED fue creada para canalizar lo que anteriormente habían sido los fondos de la CIA, el problema fue que sus fuentes continuaban filtrándose a la prensa, y el Congreso decidió suministrar el financiamiento de una forma más abierta.
Las relaciones de Carlos Moore con los círculos oficiales de los Estados Unidos siempre han sido objeto de especulación. Según se ha dicho, el libro Castro, los negros y África fue publicado con fondos de la CIA. Un documento que circuló en la década de 1980 reveló el origen del financiamiento que la asociación le había suministrado a Moore durante su estancia en el sur de California a principios de la década de 1980 , dicho financiamiento provenía de fuentes dudosas, incluida la USAID, que con frecuencia fungía como fachada de la CIA. La NED fue fundada en 1983 precisamente por este tipo de situaciones, en las cuales el financiamiento de una actividad publicitaria fácilmente podía atribuírsele a la CIA.
De hecho, Carlos era el traductor del angolano Holden Roberto, cuya organización, el FNLA, estuvo financiada por la CIA. Durante el exilio de Roberto en los Estados Unidos, Moore pasaba mucho tiempo con él, pues este viajaba constantemente de Washington a Miami y viceversa, lo cual revela el tipo de círculos en los cuales él se movía.
Como expresara Fidel Castro en el año 2003 durante un diálogo sostenido en La Habana con maestros cubanos y extranjeros:
"Aun en sociedades como la de Cuba, surgida de una revolución social radical donde el pueblo alcanzó la plena y total igualdad legal y un nivel de educación revolucionaria que echó por tierra el componente subjetivo de la discriminación, esta existe todavía de otra forma".
Fidel, como expresara en el `Mensaje desde Cuba a los intelectuales y artistas afronorteamericanos' el 2 de diciembre de 2009, describió esto como "una discriminación objetiva, un fenómeno asociado a la pobreza y a un monopolio histórico del conocimiento".
Las críticas acerca de la existencia de racismo en Cuba se discuten en el marco del gobierno cubano y de la sociedad civil. Existen y ha habido intensos debates y cambios de política dentro de estas estructuras relacionados con la erradicación de 500 años de racismo en Cuba.
Las políticas cubanas contra toda forma de discriminación y a favor de la igualdad tienen como base la Constitución de Cuba. Según los afrocubanos:
"Como nunca antes en la historia de nuestro país, los negros y mestizos han hallado, en el proceso de transformaciones emprendido en el último medio siglo, oportunidades de realización social y personal, sustentadas en políticas y programas que han propiciado el despegue de lo que llamó el antropólogo cubano Don Fernando Ortiz la impostergable fase integrativa de la sociedad cubana." `Mensaje desde Cuba a los intelectuales y artistas afronorteamericanos', 2 de diciembre de 2009.
El pueblo de Cuba, al elegir a sus representantes a la Asamblea Nacional, ha seleccionado a un grupo muy diverso, que incluye decenas de cubanos negros que se desempeñan de forma destacada en muchas funciones claves. De hecho, la composición racial de la Asamblea Nacional de Cuba es tan diversa que si Cuba estuviese "enferma" de racismo, ¿cómo ha sido entonces que estos hermanos y hermanas resultaran electos? Algo diferente ocurrió cuando se creó el Caucus Negro en el Congreso en el año 1970, dada la necesidad que había aquí en los Estados Unidos de defender constantemente las libertades civiles arduamente conquistadas y el derecho a iguales oportunidades por los cuales los afronorteamericanos han luchado durante siglos.
A diferencia de los signatarios de la Declaración del 1ro de diciembre de 2009, nosotros no hemos olvidado que en las luchas contra el colonialismo y el apartheid, cuando África lanzó un llamado, Cuba respondió. A diferencia de otros "amigos" de África, Cuba le brindó ayuda al pueblo de África del Sur, sin negociar ni un solo acuerdo para tener acceso a recursos ni a nada más. La solidaridad de Cuba con el pueblo de África del Sur en la Batalla de Cuito Cuanavale librada en Angola en el año 1988 marcó un momento decisivo en la derrota del apartheid. Recordamos y aplaudimos el hecho de que Cuba haya ofrecido maestros, técnicos, doctores y otro personal médico, así como educación médica gratuita a los jóvenes de América Latina, el Caribe, África y Asia. Durante los últimos cuarenta años, más de 35 000 jóvenes africanos han sido educados gratuitamente en las escuelas de medicina, los institutos tecnológicos y las universidades cubanas.
Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, pensamos que el verdadero "insensible desprecio por los derechos de los ciudadanos" está justo aquí, en los Estados Unidos, siendo el Huracán Katrina la prueba más evidente de ello, pues Cuba fue uno de los primeros países en ofrecer ayuda material y humanitaria, la cual fue, en cambio, rechazada por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos. El gobierno de los Estados Unidos continúa gastando miles de millones de dólares en las guerras que libra en otros países, mientras desatiende a los afronorteamericanos y a los pobres, quienes generalmente están sometidos a una atención médica y una educación de inferior calidad, a la falta de viviendas decentes y asequibles, a la violencia urbana y la brutalidad policial, a un desempleo agobiante y a la falta de los empleos que la gente necesita para vivir decentemente.
Cuba es el ÚNICO país del mundo que les brinda educación médica gratuita a los estudiantes estadounidenses que desean convertirse en médicos; que ofrece becas completas, que incluyen la matrícula, el alojamiento, la comida y TODAS las demás contingencias. Muchos de estos estudiantes son afronorteamericanos cuyos sueños de convertirse en médicos para prestar servicio en sus comunidades nunca habrían podido materializarse.
Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, exhortamos a los afronorteamericanos a apoyar a la Revolución Cubana, y exhortamos al gobierno de los Estados Unidos a que ponga fin al bloqueo contra el pueblo cubano. Igualmente instamos a los afronorteamericanos a que constituyan un frente unido en los Estados Unidos con el fin de enfrentar el actual e histórico "insensible desprecio por los derechos" de los afronorteamericanos y de todo el pueblo, quienes están sometidos a un burdo abandono en los Estados Unidos.
Exhortamos a los signatarios de la Declaración de Carlos Moore a que retiren sus nombres, en un acto de solidaridad con la Revolución cubana y en reconocimiento a los esfuerzos constantes y valientes de Cuba por erradicar el racismo.
Al concluir, reafirmamos nuestro respeto al derecho del pueblo cubano a la autodeterminación y la soberanía.
¡Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, ESTAMOS CON CUBA!
Here is a Message about race, racism and race relations in contemporary Cuba. It is from some of Cuba's most prominent Black intellectuals and artists. It is done to counter the lies and dis-information being spun out by Cuban exile hustler Carlos Moore, the Rightwing Cuban cabal and the Us government. Feel free to duplicate and distribute widely.
NOTE: Here is an essay by one of Cuba's leading Black intellectuals: Prof. Esteban Morales Dominguez. It clearly delineates how the Cuban People and the Cuban government is struggling against all forms of racial discrimination.. Dr. Morales Dominguez is a University Professor of Economics and Political Science who specializes in topics related to U.S. economics and foreign policy. He is currently with Havana University's Center for U.S. Studies (CESEU).
by Esteban Morales Domínguez
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
There are many sides to the conflict between Cuba and the United States, mainly if we take into account the American political interest in subverting
Cuba's revolutionary society, be that by attempting to spearhead social processes in the island, or robbing Cuban political leaders of their function at the front of internal changes in order to subvert the socialist regime.
Drafted in 2004 and 2006, the so-called "transition documents" display unlimited criticism of every process under way in the island, seeking to project the worst possible image of Cuba's overall national life.
Small surprise then that a given internal behavior is fostered in order to undermine the progress of the Cuba revolutionary process, engaged as it is in a number of pressing challenges. Among the topics covered by those documents is the race issue, pioneered by certain alleged scholars who, for all intents and purposes, are nothing but henchmen, subordinated to the U.S. administration' s anti-Cuban policy. Some, not all, of the black men from the other side of the Florida Strait try to portray Cuban blacks and people of mixed race as victims in their own land. It goes without saying that the victimizers are none other than the Cuban state, government and Communist Party, since there's a distinct trend to tag those living on this side of the political spectrum as little more than sheep or stupid people devoid of any personal will.
Involved in this endeavor to manipulate the race issue in Cuba as a target of political subversion are individuals like Enrique Patterson, who links this topic either to matters of governance or to an anti-establishment political potential he claims to be boiling among nonwhite Cubans. Enrique Patterson was a former professor of Philosophy with Havana University's Marxism-Leninism Department before he left the country in 1990, to reappear shortly afterwards at the LASA Congress in Washington with two officials from, it seemed, the State Department. Who was covering his expenses and the purpose of his presence there may be easily deduced. Settled in Miami, he is now devoted to writing about the race issue in Cuba, his way of thinking a perfect match with the aims of the U.S. Government. A similar role as manipulator is played by Ramón Colás, leader of a Mississippi- based Race Relations Project, and the journal Islas, until recently in pursuit of contacts to produce materials on the race issue from inside Cuba.
The Miami Herald, in turn, continues to be a storing chamber of every article published in the United States on this subject.
It's true that much remains to be done in Cuba before social inequality disappears once and for all as a problem still hovering over white and black people alike. The latter are more affected, mainly as a result of the uneven historical backgrounds that the various races comprising today's Cuban society had in 1959. It would be foolish and all but anti-scientific to believe that 450 years of colonialism and neocolonial exploitation can be erased in almost 50 years of Revolution, radical though this process may have been.
In line with the social policies enforced by the Revolution, everyone's right to education, health, social security and employment was recognized. This measure benefited all poor citizens, the vast majority of whom were black or from mixed racial descent.
Not that everything is to our complete satisfaction. It is also a fact that, despite being amply addressed by the top leader of the Revolution in 1959, this issue was not properly followed-up on and was, instead, hushed-up in later years, given the prevailing opinion that an egalitarian social policy which treated all races the same, and a far-reaching set of principles conducive to full equality for all Cubans were enough to solve these problems. This premise was totally unmindful of the terrible fallout that such assumptions could bring in tow both from the material and subjective points of view.
We must bear in mind, that in the early 1960s the U.S. government started a true war of aggression against the Cuban Revolution. The race issue began to draw attention as a potential bone of contention among the revolutionary forces, taking into account the difficult battles they were expected to face.
However, without agreeing with the so-called "theory of the one-eyed man" who is king in the land of the blind, I don't think any country in this hemisphere, including the United States itself, has done as much for justice, egalitarianism and racial equality as Cuba.
Likewise, I have not heard, since before 1959, of any government allied to nonwhite people, or any state or government from which those ethnic groups have received more than just demagogic speeches. Few, if any, concrete actions were made to take them out of their deprived areas and to give them free medical care and education, real hopes of decent housing, a good job, and personal dignity, let alone a chance to be treated on an equal footing when faced with justice. This is a reality still suffered by most African-Americans in the United States.
Black people in Cuba struggle everyday in open spaces, of which there are many, without letting themselves be deceived by those who should first of all relinquish that racist, poor replica of a republic. It was designed to look like the Cuba of the 1950s, which the Cuban-American extreme right has built for the Miami-based black Cubans. Most of them are yet to leave behind the same place they had back in Cuba's neo-republican days, only 50 years later. And forget about black people's progress regarding access to power, only available to the wealthy whites, much like it was in Cuba before the Revolution. Yet, other forms of discrimination still hang over Cuban whites who, regardless of their wealth, stopped being "white" to become "Hispanics" when they arrived in the United States. Therefore, just like Carlos Moore, many admit to the presence of racism and discrimination within the Cuban population in the United States.
On the other hand, Cuban nonwhites work from a vantage point because they're aware of their status. That is why we can say with absolute certainty that the number of black people in Cuba who make it to the power structures increases by the day, as does the number of white people willing to share such power. After all, that was one of the Cuban Revolution's goals. That's the true platform for assuring equality, and the rest will be solved in good time, helped by the existing political dynamics and the will of both Cuban black people and the vast majority of whites. Not that black Cubans are living in a dream world, thinking everything will come as a godsend: they know that rain and snow are the only things they can expect from heaven; everything else calls for a lot of wrestling.
The main battle facing Cubans of black and mixed racial ancestry, then, is to keep building the society which opened so many doors to them, and also, why not, share the power with the nonwhites in a milieu marked by unique realities and opportunities. This is unquestionably more feasible in today's Cuba than anywhere else, at least in our hemisphere. And again, I'm including the United States where, despite its civil rights movement and matchless wealth, 90% of African-Americans still live below the poverty level.
What's the plan of those in the United States, and particularly in Miami, who sell the victim's speech to Cubans in the island? Plainly and simply, to burden them with forms of struggle that never worked for them in order to establish organizations, factions and sects of discontentment as they sweeten them with USAID money, only to put them to work in the end for the heralds of racism in Washington and Miami, a sorrowful mission already undertaken by some U.S.-based black Cubans.
I don't think they do so without knowing they are betraying their fellow human beings; it's just that lining their pockets is more important. Like it or not, they have thus become pawns of the same Miami mafia whose only aim is to recover whatever properties and privileges they left in the island. Paradox: those privileges included discriminating against black people in Cuba.
Actually, there in the background of their speech -the victim's- lies the intention that these nonwhite Cubans work for counterrevolutionary subversion, that is, to undo the political, social and economic process which has made it precisely possible for those ethnic groups to attain a social status in their country that very few of them could only dream of, the existing problems notwithstanding.
The bottom line is that Cuban blacks and people of mixed race have no use for such "victim's speech", nor do they need it. Therefore, those in the U.S. would better use their time and effort to come up with a speech of their own so they can help themselves survive in the midst of the racism which is characteristic of American society and especially of Miami.
In Cuba we know exactly who's a friend and who's an enemy.
"Latinos" by Cuban artist/writer/singer Aconcha Sanz Averhoff
A CubaNews translation by Robert Sandels.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba is the only country where blacks and mestizos have the state and government as allies. If there had never been a revolution, we blacks would have had to make one in order to reach the level that many of us have reached.
Ana Margarita González and Rafael Hojas Martínez
It would be absurd to think that in Cuba, there are no racial problems, negative stereotypes, discrimination or racism, not just as burdens but also as something that society, in its imperfection, can still produce.
A recent declaration, promoted by some African-Americans in alleged support of the struggle for human rights in our country, manipulates the issue of race and magnifies it hoping to show that in Cuba, the racial problem is similar to that of any other country in this hemisphere, which is not true.
This is the opinion of Dr. Esteban Morales, political scientist and essayist and signer of a statement that Cuban intellectuals sent to their African-American colleagues reflecting on the truth of this controversial issue.
“The fundamental weakness in the [African-American] declaration is that it was based on the same accusations made by the US government: that we have a totalitarian dictatorship here, that we are a country without human rights that is undemocratic for blacks, blaming the government and its political leadership for the problems.
“The humanitarian policy of the Revolution has helped to overcome this problem. There is no institutional racism. That is a phenomenon carried on and reproduced over a relatively long time that we neglected to address. We idealistically proclaimed it resolved in 1962, but it was only hidden and re-emerged in the midst of the economic crisis.
“Contrary to what they are suggesting, in March 1959, Fidel Castro himself recognized in several speeches the existence of racism and discrimination that had to be resolved, considering them a social evil.
“He took up the issue again in a speech during the Special Period in the UNEAC congresses and pedagogical meetings, and his approaches are still very relevant.”
Why do those statements persist?
Professor Morales admits, “We have made mistakes. The first: to imagine that because of the policies of the Revolution, racism would slowly disappear like other burdens we inherited. Cuba is possibly the most advanced country in its eradication, especially of the inequality and injustice that comes with it, but 50 years of revolution, however radical it may have been, are not sufficient to end a problem from 450 years of colonialism.
“All Cubans have to continue struggling against that deformity in the areas of education and culture to promote an awareness that the problem exists and must be solved. We cannot speak of an integrated general culture if it is not resolved, but the Cuban reality is far removed, for examples, from that of the United States, which is the most racist society the universe has known in spite of having elected a black president.
“We have in our country many shortcomings in the teaching of history. Multicolor does not enter the textbooks, as it should; the racial issue is not mentioned or explained. There is almost no instruction about Africa, Asia, the Middle East, which severely hinders children from leaving school with a deep sense of what the roots of Cuban culture are. These difficulties are being discussed in national commissions established for that purpose.
“The second error was not to take variable skin color into account. It is an index of social differentiation defining the boundaries of the racial groups that formed the country.
The Spaniards came by choice; the blacks were brought in slave ships, gathered on the west coast of Africa or sold by their own tribes. Their lot was slavery, which on this side of the world took on color because, while in the classical world, the slave could be blond and blue-eyed, here they were Indian and black.” From the mixture of these and others emerged the Cuban color.
“Today, you walk the streets of Havana and understand what I am saying. Although at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology there are a number of young blacks, in our neighborhoods you find many marginal people who cannot receive the benefits that the Revolution has provided.
“And they cannot do it because they start from different places. This can be seen in a number of parameters of everyday life: housing, job quality, the role played by institutions, access to public and business positions, and above all, to the so-called new economy.
“The level of democracy and civil rights we have achieved is the same for all racial groups and the degree to which we must perfect them is for everyone. Some people can take better advantage of them than others can because they are in a better position to do so.
“The racial problem in our country is not simply an economic one. It touches on everything and politically, the issue must be on the agenda of the organizations and be debated.”
So, another attack on the Revolution?
Returning to the statement of those African-Americans, Professor Esteban Morales stated categorically, "Those people latch onto these difficulties to attack the Revolution, but Cuba is the only country where black and mestizos have the state and government as allies. If there had never been a revolution, we blacks would have had to make one in order to reach the level that many of us have reached.
“I am convinced that some who signed that statement do not know what they signed; they were subjects of manipulation. There was one person who asked that his name be removed because she realized that there were distortions in the statement that tried to twist reality and inject itself into our internal debate to convert it into a dissident discussion.”
Is the aid Cuba gives to African nations evidence that the Cuban Revolution is not racist?
“It is evidence as is the fact that Cuban doctors, teachers and technicians -- black and white -- reach the remotest corners of the world to help the needy. However, that is practical evidence lacking in theory because, while we do it, we do not discuss the racial issue in an open, full and profound deep way, which we must do internally.
“There is a contradiction in that; it seems to be demagoguery. We deal well with the issue abroad, we are friends of blacks, Indians and the vilified of the world but here, there was a certain atmosphere of social repression where one could be accused of being a racist and divisive for even talking about it. We thought that there was no problem, that we did not need to discuss it, that it would eventually be resolved through a seriously humanistic policy. It is clear that, even as capitalism is ended, racism remains in the consciousness, in institutions and in the people’s way of life.”
There are experts who assure us that the statement could affect the Obama administration. What do you think?
"We cannot know exactly what effects it will cause. Obama has always wanted to distance himself from the racial issue. He did not even present himself as a black presidential candidate. He tried to circumvent it and he succeeded.
"But Obama has fallen back on the conditioning and criticism against Cuba and the statement goes in that direction. The document signed by these people is being discredited as shown by the fact that signatures are being added to our statement while some are being removed from theirs.There much sensitivity to this issue in the United States.”
At times, there is an emphasis on numbers to gauge the representation of blacks are in our organizations. ¿Eso es una demostración de racismo? Is that a demonstration of racism?
“That was a failed effort, an error in our thinking about how representativeness could be achieved, but the problem is more complicated. We have many black people who are still not counted as black.
“There exists the whitening phenomenon, and if you are black and do not present yourself for what you are, you are taking an unethical demagogic position. It is fundamental in Cuban culture that people be taken for what they are. The challenge is in forming a consciousness in which there is no racial prejudice, stereotypes or racism.
Cuban writer and art critic Guillermina Ramos Cruz with Cuba's world-famous artist Mendive
“We have to create all the conditions for educating boys and girls in this process. We have to create other conditions in the cultural sphere, in empowerment and economic equality.
Between you and me, there can be economic equality but not social equality, legal equality and not social equality. Social equality is something that is much more complex.
“It does not mean anything that we are all born in the same hospital, that we go to the same recreation centers, to the same schools. From the social point of view, the issue is more profound. It is a phenomenon transferred from generation to generation, which implies having awareness that equality is the project. The lack of it is what we collide with every day.
“Social equality is an integrated system in which individuals have to manage their identity. I am a Cuban, an intellectual, a party militant and a black; that is my identity.” All mixed.
Critical Commentary On Ron Walters'Defense/Rationale of Carlos Moore "Decalartion"
In Late December 2009, Prof Ron Walters, one of the 60 (now 59) who signed on to the reactionary Carlos Moore instigated "Declaration of Conscience" statement against the Cuban Revolution's efforts to end racism in Cuba, published his rationale on why he signed the Declaration and its "importance" in our struggle for"Civil and Human Rights" in Cuba. You can check it out at: www.thedefendersonline.com/2009/12/18/racist-or-revolutionary-cuba’s-identity-is-at-stake
We have collected below a few critical commentary on Prof Walters' essay:
PROF GERALD HORNE:
U.S. imperialism has done quite well over the decades by dint of a useful trick:
There are numerous regimes that have problems of one sort or another but what Washington does is focus like a laser-beam on those with whom it has seemingly insoluble problems then demand that its citizenry join the lynch mob--or run the risk of being denounced as being 'soft'.
Eritrea is in first place in jailing journalists and its human rights record is probably just a mite worse than its antagonist, Ethiopia. Gambia--where a number of African-Americans have roots--bans political opposition (as do, effectively, Cameroon and a host of others)and even goes as far as monitoring and harassing the exile population in the U.S. itself. Swaziland has a form of oppression of women surpassed in its sickening sweep only by the U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. In Honduras, the African population on the eastern coast have been a special victim historically and had the most to gain from the rise of the left there, recently disrupted by the government in Washington to which recently heralded petition signers on 'race' in Cuba pay taxes. In the U.S. ally that is Colombia, the Africans been a special victim of the militarization sponsored by Washington.
I await a petition by African-Americans on one of these--or other--nations and, just as important, stop-the-presses coverage in the 'Miami Herald.'
My good friend, Dr. Walters, and those who have signed the petition on Cuba have fallen into a convenient snare (picking on Washington's antagonists, which is guaranteed to bring publicity)--but it is exacerbated by others.
For example, there is the convenient fiction of the Walters' article that Marxists--allegedly--ignore 'race', which somehow manages to ignore events in Southern Africa in recent dacades (not to mention today, as I write).
Then there is looking at Moscow in 1989, when the Communist Party is on the verge of being ousted, for evidence of this party's alleged perfidy on fighting racism. Of course, a better example would have been looking at Moscow well before then (e.g. the beginnings of Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, an educational initiative that compelled the airlift of Kenyans that brought Barack H. Obama, Sr. to the University of Hawaii)--but we know all too well that before this magic date of 1989, there were few in the U.S. sufficiently courageous to even *travel* to the then Soviet Union for fear of being red-baited.
As ever, international relations is a complicated field. In the U.S. particularly, there is a reluctance--even a blindness--to acknowledge that what has contributed to this nation's downward spiral was precisely its Cold War policy of avid support for weaponizing Islam in Afghanistan and elsewhere and allying with China in an anti-Soviet bloc--epochal events little commented on by the mostly intimidated chattering classes, as they were unfolding. Today, there are no good options in Afghanistan which bids fair to derail the Obama presidency, while China is on course to replace the U.S. as the planet's leading power.
I would recommend that those who have been drafting objectionable petitions on Cuba, falling victim to the odious Carlos Moore, think long and hard before pursuing further this perilous path, lest they--once again--become 'useful idiots' for U.S. imperialism and, instead, dig deeper and mobilize around the more profound problems this nation (and notably: the African) faces--problems that do not routinely receive coverage in the 'Miami Herald.'
When I first went to Cuba in 1992, I was told that not many Americans and scant numbers of Black Americans were coming to the island. I as a Black man was such a rarity I was often mistaken for Cuban with positive [being admitted into museums for FREE] and negative [being stopped trying to enter my hotel daily] results. Times, I am told since, have changed. A growing number of Black Americans are visiting the island now, and this would include "liberals."
My first visit was sparked by disaffections at home with the US and some of my white activist friends saying what a paradise Cuba was: I wanted to see. The month-long visit changed my life, but I also found it wasn't a paradise, however much I wanted to remain there for longer and take in more of the lessons I was learning.
It would seem to me that aside from being some sort of US-conspired/orchestrated attack on the revolution, this critique on Cuba and race is peculiarly an American liberal phenomenon: perhaps these folks are thinking they can export WE SHALL OVERCOME to a totally different context - it was this totally different context that I benefited from completely as teaching me, as James Baldwin wrote, "what it is to be an American." But not all Americans want to learn this, rather: they want to impose models, like missionaries, on other peoples.
The only comparison to what is happening I can think of is the wonderful, discursive essay "Caliban" from the early 70's and the author's criticism of the left and right of the West, and how both brutally approach the global South with some form of manipulation.
The Walters article shows how confused even very erudite people can become
on these issues. He is cynical about official Cuban statements on racism,
but assumes that claims by US leaders that they are really interested in
human rights can be taken at face value. He also misunderstands Marxism's
attitude toward race and racism. Only bone-headed dogmatists could claim
that because Marxists elevate the issue of class above that of race, that
racial justice should not be fought for. Marx himself said "Labor in a white
skin can not be free as long as labor in a Black skin is branded" Zola2642@aol.com
WALTER LIPPMANN, Los Angeles, California:
These are a few notes on Ron Walters' recent Cuba commentary:
Ron Walters' discussion of racism in Cuba raises important issues, but misses many aspects of the Cuban treatment of these complex and difficult themes. Perhaps Ron Walters is unfamiliar with the considerable Cuban literature on race, racism and how they play out in Cuba today. Coming from the United State of America, where racism is a central facet of the social and political culture, and where ignorance of Cuban reality is maintained through a travel ban, that's not surprising.
In my opinion, people from the United States ought to be careful to avoid thinking that the experiences and lessons of life in the US can be applied to every other country on earth without taking into account that country's history, culture and experiences. I believe Ron Walters has made that kind of error here.
The United States didn't elect its first Black president until 2008, in the third CENTURY after gaining its independence from the United Kingom. Cuba, which had and continues to have racial problems of its own, elected its first black president in 1940, at a time when the island had only achieved formal and juridical, but not practical nor actual independence, from the United States of America. Actual independence, I would argue, only began on January 1, 1959, with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
Though I am non-Black, and can't discuss racism with the same personal experience foundation that blacks can, I've attempted to follow these issues for many years. I've traveled to Cuba and stayed for extended periods of time. In addition, I direct an Internet-based news service, CubaNews, available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
Part of the work of the CubaNews list is to locate Cuban materials on these themes, and to make translations of them for the English-speaking public. Even as fierce an opponent of the Cuban Revolution as Carlos Moore has found himself citing my work and my personal website regarding these issues, as you can find in his recently-published autobiography, PICHON. (see the footnotes to the book)
Among the accomplishments of the CubaNews list has been locating and translating from Spanish to English articles on racism, a continuing problem, from the contemporary Cuban media. I'll cite a few examples and hope that Ron Walters, and anyone else interested in these matters, will take a look at what Afro-Cuban authors have had to say about them. Citations below.
Esteban Morales: Cuban Color
Esteban Morales: Challenges of the Racial Problem in Cuba:
Esteban Morales: Anti-Cuban Subversion - The Race Issue
Miguel Barnet: Preserving Memory:
David Gonzalez and Walterio Lord:
Some Quick Comments on Carlos Moore's PICHON:
The Independent Party of Color:
The Teachings and Lineage of Walterio Carbonell:
Esteban Morales: Malcolm X - An Unyielding Revolutionary:
Fernando Martinez Heredia: Malcolm X Still Speaks to Us
Fernando Martinez Heredia: The Meaning of a Centennial
Fernando Martinez Heredia:
Social diversity is not a weakness of the nation,
but a very important element of its wealth.
Alberto N. Jones: Unmasking the Promotors of Racial War in Cuba
There are many, many more, but these are a few to get an interested reader started.
Finally, Makani Themba-Nixon of the Praxis Project, one of the sixties signatories to the letter, has publicly withdrawn her signature.
RAUL CASTRO ON RACISM & SEXISM DECEMBER 2009
English translation by CubaNews.
Edited by Walter Lippmann
KAREN LEE WALD: <<I sent a shorter excerpt by CubaNews of this part of President Raul Castro's speech at the end of the National Assembly session on Dec.20th.
What follows is my own somewhat loose translation of the complete section on race and gender, which words or phrases added in brackets to clarify certain points.
I believe this has not in any way changed what Raul was saying, but instead makes it clearer.
Nevertheless, anyone who has any doubts about any section and knows Spanish should compare it with the original in Spanish, which was sent out earlier to Cuba Inside Out and is available online.
It is certainly not the first time these issues are being raised: Fidel spoke amply and eloquently on this topic at the Third Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) in 1986; informal groups like Magin discussed these issues in 1992; universities, the Ministry of Culture, the Radio and television networks and others delved into the question of how effectively Cuba is dealing with race and gender issues repeatedly since that time; individual Black Cuban artists and intellectuals have written, talked and done films about it. But the problem is far from solved, as Raul Points out.>>
<< [Regarding]...the elections that took place today within this assembly to cover vacancies in the Council of State, including two slots for vice president, one of them [is now] occupied by a woman for the first time. [She] is the general comptroller of the Republic. [Election to these positions] are in just recognition of the revolutionary and professional trajectory of those elected, [as well as] the expression of our clear intention to increase [the] representation of the ethnic and gender components of the Cuban population in leadership posts [to reflect their actual composition in our society].
Personally, I believe the insufficient progress along these lines over 50 years of Revolution is an embarrassment, despite the fact that 65% of the technical labor force is composed of women, and that the citizenry forms a beautiful racial rainbow without formal privileges of any kind [for any racial group].
But these [privileges] persist, in practice, as Fidel pointed out in the closing of the 2003 Pedagogical Congress. [He pointed out] that even in societies like Cuba, derived from a radical social revolution, where the people attained full and total legal equality [emphasis added] and a level of revolutionary education which lessened the subjective component of discrimination, this still exists in another form. Fidel describes it as objective discrimination, phenomenon association with poverty and a historic monopoly of knowledge.
For my part, I will use all of my influence so that these harmful prejudices will give way until they are finally eliminated, and women and blacks are promoted to leadership posts at all levels because of their merits and professional preparation.
It is not a question of jumping to an extreme, but of really proposing for ourselves, without improvisations, to comply strictly with what has been established for years in cadre policy and is one of the fundamental objectives of the Revolution.
It is necessary to select and prepare our pool of cadres with this perspective, to take into account the ethnic nd gender composition of our population.
Through my own experience I have seen for myself that women make better administrators than men, and I believe that in the next five years we should aspire --completely intentionally -- to considerably increase the number of posts of any kind occupied by companeras in every sphere of national life.
These are questions that are not achieved by a simple decree, nor would that be appropriate. It will take us some more time still, but basically what is required is raising awareness of the matter, demanding and acting consequently..>>