« | »

Blacks Finally Notice Fidel Castro’s Racism

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, left, visits President Fidel Castro in 1993, back when black intellectuals regarded the Cuban leader as a liberator of the oppressed who brought better healthcare and education to the poor.

Black activists launch rare attack on Cuba about racism

Onetime supporters of the Castro revolution now question the regime’s civil and human rights record.

By Richard Fausset

January 3, 2010

Reporting from Atlanta

… A group of 60 African American artists and thinkers have launched a rare — and some say unprecedented — attack on Cuba’s human rights record, with a particular focus on the treatment of black political dissidents.

In a statement issued in November, luminaries including Princeton professor Cornel West, actress Ruby Dee and director Melvin Van Peebles criticized the Communist government for its "increased violations of civil and human rights for those black activists in Cuba who dare raise their voices against the island’s racial system."

The statement, "Acting on Our Conscience," was denounced by the Cuban government.

It was a far cry from those heady moments in 1960 and 1995 when Fidel Castro visited Harlem, receiving on both occasions a kind of hero’s welcome as liberator of the oppressed.

Over the decades, many black intellectuals have spoken favorably about the regime’s ability to bring better healthcare and education to some of the island’s poorest residents. A number of prominent figures, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Danny Glover, have visited the island.

What has changed, some of the statement’s signers say, is a heightened understanding outside Cuba of the plight of the island’s large black population, which remains increasingly marginalized economically and underrepresented in the highest echelons of government…

The CIA World Factbook says that blacks are 35% of the Cuban population, but many observers say that figure is probably above 60%. (The discrepancies arise from the way the Cuban government counts and classifies race.) The ratio of people of color has grown since the Castros took power, as wealthier whites fled for Miami and elsewhere…

The Castro government has long treated racism as an issue solved by the revolution, which promised equality for all. But despite the Castros’ early and overt denunciation of racism, it continues to be a pernicious presence in Cuban daily life. Sawyer offered one example, noting that kinky black hair is commonly referred to as pelo malo, or "bad hair."

However, Sabatini said, civil rights-style groups have been cropping up on the island to address racial issues. A number of black Cubans have also been at the forefront of the broader social movements critical of the government.

The "Conscience" statement called for the release of one black activist in particular, Darsi Ferrer, a physician who the group contends is a political prisoner. The Miami-based anti-communist group Plantados said Ferrer was arrested last year on trumped-up charges of illegally possessing a few bags of concrete, and is awaiting trial in prison…

Behold their courageous statement (a pdf file):



We, the undersigned, join the growing international outcry against the unjust imprisonment by Cuban authorities of Dr. DARSI FERRER, an internationally known Afro‐Cuban civil rights leader and courageous man who for 17 days has endured a hunger strike and placed his life at risk to draw attention to the conditions of racism and racial discrimination in Cuba that has hitherto been ignored.

We support the position of the Honorable Professor ABDIAS NASCIMENTO, historical leader of the Black Movement of Brazil, and others from around the world, who are demanding Dr. Ferrer’s immediate release from imprisonment.

Moreover, we also support the demand that Cuba recognizes Dr. Ferrer as a political prisoner, rather than a "common criminal", as is now the case. (See Professor Nascimento’s Open Letter ‐attached). Dr. NASCIMENTO’s joint letter to the Heads of State of Cuba and Brazil, respectively General RAÚL CASTRO RUZ and President LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA, is unequivocal. He requests of Cuba’s President that he intervene to stop the unwarranted and brutal harassment of black citizens in Cuba who are defending their civil rights.

Similarly, he requests that Brazil’s President immediately prevail on the Cuban government to safeguard the rights of Cuba’s most oppressed citizens who, in this case, happen to be more than 62% of the total population.

Professor NASCIMENTO has been a long standing supporter of the Cuban Revolution and government, but he, like we, cannot be silent in the face of increased violations of civil and human rights for those black activists in Cuba who dare raise their voices against the island’s racial system. As of late, these isolated, courageous civil rights advocates have been subject to unprovoked violence, State intimidation and imprisonment.

As African Americans, we know firsthand the experiences and consequences of denying civil freedoms on the basis of race, and we certainly understand what racial discrimination is and does to people. We have not tolerated it for ourselves, and will certainly not acquiesce in its perpetration against any other people. For that reason, we are even more obligated to voice our opinion on what is happening to our Cuban brethren a few miles away.

We support Cuba’s right to enjoy national sovereignty, and unhesitatingly repudiate any attempt at curtailing such a right. However, at this historic juncture, we also do believe that we cannot sit idly by and allow for decent, peaceful and dedicated civil rights activists in Cuba, and the black population as a whole, to be treated with callous disregard for their rights as citizens and as the most marginalized people on the island.

Racism in Cuba, and anywhere else in the world, is unacceptable and must be confronted!

We call on the authorities and Government of Cuba to immediately and unconditionally free our brother, Dr. Darsi Ferrer.


Of course it is about race. That is all some people live for.

You would think the signers people would have noticed the lack of freedom for all the people in Cuba over the last fifty odd years.

That is, apart from Cuba’s high-toned rulers.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Blacks Finally Notice Fidel Castro’s Racism”

  1. TwilightZoned says:

    “… A group of 60 African American artists and thinkers have launched..an unprecedented-attack..with a particular focus on the treatment of black political dissidents.”

    These race baiters are now moving right along with a new world government where they can use their shake-down tactics on other countries to further line their own pockets. “ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE” my behind.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Someone cue our front line race baiters / shake-down artists for the gang bang.

    What can they possibly gain…….health care, welfare or maybe a piece of the action?

  3. beautyofreason says:

    So I guess they don’t give a hoot about non-black people who have an interest in human rights.

    Glad to know the Sharptons of the world keep their eye on the prize:
    it’s not about what a person does to help their fellow man – it’s about how much melanin a person has in their dermis. Only after it reaches a sufficient concentration do these race-obsessed groups recognize human rights.

    I’m reminded of Philadelphia, when several years ago I awoke in my hotel to the sound of a loudspeaker blaring from a protest outside of City Hall, comprised exclusively of black men and women. They were holding signs demanding housing and they accused the government of racism and injustice. I don’t remember the exact screed. But the one sign that angered me was an huge banner held by several people, stating “every black soul is precious,” alongside some accusation about the government.

    I guess the non-black souls don’t count?

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    Racist phonies!

  5. canary says:

    May be a new young LA Times wrote this.

    Dr. Ferrer was in Cuba for all Cuban’s being mis-treated, He did not single out Afro-Cubans, but said the wonderful treatment of tourists, and all Cubans got bad treatment. Everyone knows they only open stores for tourists. Cubans may enter to visiting, but Cubans not allowed to purchase anything in the stores.
    Cuban gets what their food from government, and have to stand in line all day for an asprin, and come back the next. My old friend got in trouble for going into stores holding up things and yelling to the tourists we can’t buy these things. They busted in her home, and took her father away for a week. Her family helped her escape. She was a dark skinned zealous Republican

    And did the reporter forget the Obami Org delegation of Afro-American
    Politicians and CZARS were all smiles, gushing and raving how wonderful Cuban’s have it. How Castro treats them well, and it’s a wonderful country, and the U.S. must drop the ban and allow tourists to Cuba.

    Dr. Ferrer was not biased in his civil rights work there, and he sure deserved the Noble Peace Prize more than Obama did.

    Dr. Ferrer statements on only Tourists in Cuba treated well.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »