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Six-day event in Pittsburgh targets discrimination in Cuba


DP Veteran
May 13, 2010
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Los Angels, USA
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Slightly Conservative
Six-day event in Pittsburgh targets discrimination in Cuba

Fidel Castro declared it nonexistent, but racism is still pervasive in a country known more for its rich culture

By Diana Nelson Jones / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 11, 2013 12:13 am

Bill Wade/Post-Gazette
Manuel Cuesta Morua, Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, Leonardo Calvo Cardenas, Juan Antonio Alvarado and Rafael Campoamor are scholars and activists who discussed discrimination in Cuba at a lecture at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, part of events presented by AfricAmericas.

Think Cuba, and images of music, dance, cuisine and the 1959 revolution come to mind. But one of the most pervasive pictures has been hush-hush since Fidel Castro declared racism and all talk of it nonexistent by fiat.

Racism in Cuba is finally at the forefront of discussion, and there is great resentment. After 53 years of repression, there are more conflicts by race than before Castro brothers’ power grab. The apologists of Castro’s regime are blind to the obvious racial disparities which place most of black Cubans at the lower end of the social ladder.
Fidel Castro in a speech on March 23, 1959, said: “One of the most just battles that must be fought, a battle that must be emphasized more and more, which I might call the fourth battle—the battle to end racial discrimination at work centers.” Castro brothers’ regime continued to exclude Cuban blacks from tourist-related industries, where they can earn hard currency. They are frequently excluded from jobs and responsible positions that require contact with tourists. They live in inadequate housing. Racism is alive and well in the workers’ paradise.
Castro, two years after his 1959 speech at the Havana Labor Rally, declared that the age of racism and discrimination was over. He will threaten with jail blacks who raise the race issue in Cuba. Carlos Moore, who wrote the book “Pichon: Race and Revolution in Castro's Cuba”, Chicago, 2008, was sentenced to prison for declaring that racism was not over in the Castroit regime. After his release from prison he took refuge into the Republic of Guinea embassy and went into exile and now lives in Brasil.
It is very easy for Castro’s cheer leaders to live elsewhere enjoying the fruits of capitalism and yet defend the Cuban dictatorship from a distance. Black American tourists who visit Cuba are shocked to see how differently they are treated from White American tourists. In numerous occasions they are stopped by the police that mistake them as black Cubans, and have to prove their foreigner status by showing their passport or other type of ID.
It is extremely hard to understand the progressive fascination with Castro brothers’ regime. What can they argue when face with the atrocities carried out by the regime? To argue that it is for the improvement of the Cuban people is equivalent to accept that violent, racist oppression is OK as long as it's done to foster and promote their lefty ideology.
Cuban dissident says racism remains a grave problem
Cuban dissident says racism remains a grave problem - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com

By Juan O. Tamayo
Posted on 05/16/2013

Cuban dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua on Wednesday called for “affirmative action” to redress what he called the “grave” problem of racism on the communist-ruled island.

“As long as the race problem is not resolved, we don’t believe that the problems of the nation can be resolved,” Cuesta Morua, who is black, said during an appearance at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

He is the latest of nearly a dozen dissidents to visit South Florida since Cuba eased its restrictions on travel abroad in January. Also in Miami on Wednesday were Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize in 2010 and Eliezer Avila.

Cuesta Morua, the 50-year-old leader of the unofficial Progressive Arc party, said there’s clear and broad agreement in Cuba that the island needs fundamental changes and not the reforms pushed by ruler Raúl Castro to improve the economy.
It is time for the world to know how blacks are treated in Cuba, how everyday their rights are violated. They are constantly followed and provoke by the police, who throw them in jail for any minor charge they can think off. Castro brothers’ totalitarian regime squelches all human rights in the island. Racism remains widespread under their regime.
Cuban blacks have many complaints about the existing racism and believe is it getting worse. Cuba’s rappers have made racial complains a major theme of their songs. Young Cubans blacks are detained and harassed by the police for no apparent reason other than their race. They are asked for identifications and interrogated. This is political profiling of black males, an abuse of power by the military regime.
The Castroit regime has told the people of Cuba for 54 years, that the United States is a racist government. What are they going to tell them now? They were tricked 54 years ago, only to find out that all the promises of a better tomorrow were just that, promises, empty promises that he never intended to keep. The majority of casualties in foreign wars ware black Cubans, and 80% of prisoners are black Cubans. The Castro brothers’ regime will not be able to use the race card again.
Afro-Cubans fight for equality under Castro regime
Harold Meyerson: Afro-Cubans fight for equality under Castro regime - The Washington Post

By Harold Meyerson, Published: June 18E-mail the writer

“More than half a century ago, Fidel decreed the elimination of racism,” said Leonardo Calvo Cárdenas. But “this just made the problem deeper and more complex.”

Calvo Cárdenas is an Afro-Cuban — a group that makes up roughly half of Cuba’s population but that is greatly under-represented in its political leadership, media and nascent business class. Calvo Cárdenas hasn’t always been on the outside looking in. “I was the director of the Lenin Museum,” he told me during a visit to Washington this month.

But Calvo Cárdenas’s days in the Lenin stacks came to an abrupt end in 1991, when he and his friend Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a historian at Havana’s Casa de Africa Museum, lost their jobs after publicly criticizing the Castro regime’s lack of democracy. The two went on to form a democratic socialist organization that the regime routinely harasses but, atypically, hasn’t stamped out.
Castro declared to the world that he had abolished racism in Cuba. Those who said the contrary were simply denigrating the revolution and were labeled “agents of American imperialism.” By denying the existence of racism in Cuba for 53 years, the regime guaranteed a safe haven for the perpetuation and growth of a rampant racism in Cuba. Cuban society continues to be today a profoundly racist society.
The social condition of the Cuban blacks has deteriorated under the Castroit regime. Nevertheless the regime keeps insisting that the revolution brought social gains to the Cubans blacks. But the reality is that the regime continued to exclude Cuban blacks from tourist-related industries, where they can earn hard currency. They are frequently excluded from jobs and responsible positions that require contact with tourists. They live in inadequate housing. Racism is alive and well in the workers’ paradise.
I make no apologies or excuses for Castro or any other dictator. I think Cuba would be a better country for its residents if we didn't isolate it. Engage and influence always seems to work better than isolating and vilifying nations. For an example look at the changes in Viet Nam.
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