Cuba racism charge rebuffed

Cuban and U.S. activists are strongly protesting a letter circulated among prominent African Americans alleging systemic racial discrimination in Cuba. The letter was circulated by Cuban exile Carlos Moore and actively supported by right-wing Cubans living in Miami.

The letter calls attention to the case of a Cuban doctor, Darsi Ferrer, who AfroCubaWeb says is "long a darling of the hard right in Miami." The letter alleges among other things that the socialist island employs a "racial system."

Several Afro-Cuban academics and artists responded immediately to the letter, dismissing the claim of systemic racial discrimination and pointing out that its legal and institutional basis had been overcome by Cuba's 1959 revolution.

"It is probable," they write, "that those who signed the document also ignore the fact that from the earliest days following the popular victory of 1959, the institutional and legal bases that sustained a racist society were dismantled."

They continue: "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."

The Cubans indicate that despite considerable progress, problems persist, a phenomenon they say Fidel Castro spoke about several years ago as the persistence of subjective discrimination associated with "poverty and historical monopoly of knowledge." The Cubans also point to the foreign aid Cuba has rendered African countries, particularly Southern Africa, at the cost of thousands of Cuban lives, as further proof of a strongly anti-racist stance.

African Americans activists and scholars have also responded with a "We Stand With Cuba" statement calling the letter "divisive and misguided." The statement says, "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." The statement can be found here.

According to James Early, who visited Cuba recently along with Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, Cuba is in the midst of an important discussion of racial discrimination. Early says there was "no doubt among themselves or among us that an important ideological and political debate about race and discrimination and what is to be done is under way, but in the context of the broader debate and policy formulation among all Cubans about all aspects of improving their revolution."

Communist Party USA Executive Vice Chairman Jarvis Tyner pointed out that Cuba more than any other country has made big contributions toward combating discrimination and training Black doctors, scientists, engineers, computer scientists and other workers. "I recall over 25 years ago visiting a dental clinic where all the dentists were Black women," he said. "There were probably more Black dentists in that room than in all of New York City at the time."

U.S.-Cuba relations have improved somewhat as indicated by an ease in travel restrictions. The Cuban government, however, has noted a recent uptick in hostile actions. Negotiations on travel are due to resume in February.






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  • The U.S. imperialists will stop at nothing to disparage the gains of the 1959 Cuban revolution. Thank goodness for people like Jarvis Tyner who know better.

    These false hoods should not be of a surprise as negotiations continue to lift the travel ban from the U.S. to Cuba. As progressives in the U.S. we must maintain the pressure for our government to end the embargo and work in peace with the people and government of Cuba.
    Que viva la revolucio`n! Que viva Cuba libre!

    Posted by Frank Valdez, 12/31/2009 4:46pm (6 years ago)

  • Cuban policy in governing has,since its revolution,been not only institutionally non-racist,but it has been consciously,deliberately anti-racist.
    This has resulted in a deep,planned effort to reverse the effect of centuries of institutionalized racism,inherited from Spanish colonialism.
    Historians,scholars,artists and above all,working-people who are activists and makers of history have a long and valiant history supporting this activism both from international sources and determined efforts from Cuba and its revolutionaries.
    Nowadays,as a fresh wave of activists, empowered by the miracle of the microchip at the fingertips of the working-class,cementing the unity of the working peoples' inner core from Ecuador,Nicaragua Cuba,Venezuela,Honduras,Bolivia,and St.Vincent with the long support of Negro Harlem,right-wing liars,terrorists and mercenaries like Moore shake in their heeless boots.
    This juggernaut of working-class progress has been formalized and institutionalized and documented in these pages by Emile Schepers,as he covered the UNASUR and the African Union meet,hosted by President Chavez of Venezuela the weekend of Sept. 26-27,2009.
    Add to this that,the major player,Jacob Zuma,President of South Africa led here. As listed in brother Schepers's article,one of the meeting's declarations read:Initiatives to meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals,to fight terrorism,drug and human trafficking,the arms race,piracy,"racism,racial discrimination,xenophobia and all forms of intolerance,"and to advance the rights of women migrants,indigenous people,the elderly and disabled.
    Sound like an institutionalized racist agenda supported by Cuba?
    This wise leadership,with its distinct African influence, set its next summit in Libya,2011.
    Sign the petition "We Stand With Cuba" in brother Sims's article,today.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/29/2009 12:36am (6 years ago)

  • The bogus claims that the Cubans are practicing instutionalized racism is genuinely exposed by your article. Also your article demonstrates the need to intensify the struggle in our country for the normalization of relations with Cuba. This must continue to be an integral part of our struggle to defeat the ultra right politically.
    Also I recall the Cubans (working with the then Soviet Union) providing us with the first Black astronaut.

    Posted by Frank Chapman, 12/25/2009 1:32am (6 years ago)

  • I agree. Just another attempt from the right-wing fascists to attempt and discredit the Revolution. I'm sure the right-wing media will try to blow up these accusations as well!

    Posted by Vinnie the Red, 12/22/2009 2:59pm (6 years ago)

  • The Gusanos will stop at nothing , they have good teachers in their rightwing christofacist masters. For over 50 year they have tried everything to bring the revolutuin to its knees and have failed

    Posted by Red Grandad, NC, 12/21/2009 11:28am (6 years ago)

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