04 December 2008

The Cuban "Race"

I remember sitting in Ms. Ryman’s homeroom in Union Hill High School one morning and having to fill out some kind of a form that asked what race I was. One race was white, another black, another “Hispanic” and so on.

That day, I realized that we Cubans were no longer white. All of us Cubans complained that just because we spoke Spanish, it didn’t mean that we weren’t white. Some of us where some of us weren’t, but “Hispanic” wasn’t a race, it was a language. Whatever. Cuban became my race that day. The best story that day was the confusion on the teachers face when a Chinese Cuban asked what she should put down.

So a few days ago, I get an e-mail from an Obamaniac acquaintance about an article in The Miami Herald by a Cuban author, Dr. Carlos Moore who believes that the Cuban regime is quaking in its boots because the newly elected President of the United States is black.

Dr. Carlos Moore-Cuban

Not only that, but when Mr. Obama makes good on rescinding the Bush restrictions on travel and remittances, the pressure put on the regime by the now black population, might just bring the regime crumbling down.

Now, I’m not going to argue with Dr. Moore that blacks in Cuba have it worst that the whites. I have been pointing that out for years. And one can’t argue that people of color throughout the world have been empowered by Obama’s election either. They have.

But will take issue with some of his points, Cuban to Cuban.

For example, Dr. Moore claims that the worst problem of the revolution is racism.

The bottom line is that racism is Cuba's most intractable problem.

That’s funny, I was under the impression that the worst problem Cuban have is that they're being opressed by a totalitarian regime. Would things be any better if the darker Cubans were being repressed just as bad as lighter Cubans? Forget that Cuba has been stuck in the fifties for fifty years. In America, where blacks weren’t even allowed to sit alongside of whites in the restaurants in some areas, a non white has been elected president. Why? Because of democracy.

Had Cuba remained a democratic republic like it was before Batista took it over, who knows what kind of advances in terms of race, it would have achieved. Contrary to Dr. Moore’s assertions, Cuba was not “segregated”

And it really serves no purpose to decry the historical exiles as bigots:

Many, especially the younger generation, have forsaken the racial bigotry of their parents and evinced a growing awareness that the predominantly white face (85 percent) of the Cuban-American community is a political liability in a Cuba that is predominantly black.

I have never in the many years I have been exiled heard any Cuban exile blame blacks for the revolution’s success or claim that the only reason that the regime is still in power is because it has the support of the majority of the non-white population.

Is it then fair to equate the Miami Cubans with Castro? Castro has had TOTAL control over Cuban society for 50 years. The prejudices that Cubans may have had 50 years have no bearing on reality today or are they the cause of the suffering of non-white Cubans under Fidel.

I really think that in his article, Dr.Moore, does a disservice to “our” race by throwing all exiles under the bus as “bigots”


Dr. Moore should remember that here in the US none of us are considered white. If the post Obama America can move into a post racial era, it should be a cinch for us Cubans to do the same, even he could do it.

That said, it is important for Dr. Moore to continue to educate black America as to the economic apartheid and racism that the majority of non-white Cubans are forced to endure in addition to the run of the mill totalitarian oppression.

It is important to point out Fidel Castro’s bigotry, (as opposed to the prejudices of the 1950’s Cuban society), to all the black Americans who see Fidel as a sympathetic figure and his revolution as a model for social equality.

It is also important to tell the world that 85% of the incarcerated men in Cuba are not white. And although these men are considered common criminals, the economic conditions that caused them to turn to a life a crime to survive are political and caused by an illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime.

And it is imperative that blacks in America understand that many of the leading, bravest and most oppressed dissidents are what in America would be considered black, but are Cuban.

With respected black scholars like Dr. Moore telling the truth about Castro’s revolution, with the help of American civil rights leaders, like the Reverend Al Sharpton who is now advocating for black Cuban prisoners of conscience like Dr. Biscet, Castro and his thugs will lose a strong base of support within the USA-black America.

If their efforts are reinforced by President Obama the mask of the Cuban revolution’s racial equality might finally be taken off-once and for all.

Truthfully, I was ready to dismiss Dr. Moore’s theory asm well, racist, but in reading another article by non other than Guillermo Fariñas Hernández entitled “Thankful for Obama’s Arrival”, I had to reassess my position.

Guillermo Fariñas Hernández - Cuban

According to Fariñas, since Obama was elected, the old myth that Cuba was the model for a post racist society and the US was inherently a racist country, has been shattered. This has forced the regime to revisit the economic apartheid that kept Cuban blacks from getting the better jobs-those with access to hard currency-and they have decreed that 40% of the employees that work in the hard currency stores, the “shoppings”, be non-whites.

Fariñas claims that the non-whites know that they don’t owe their jobs to the revolution, but to President-Elect Obama.


1 comment:

~Zurama~ said...

What a insightful analysis of Dr. Moore's article.

I don't agree with how he calls the exiles bigots. I'm one of those exiles and I will be proud to call Biscet, Antunez, Hernandez, etc., my president.

I think to really understand Cubans, you have to be a Cuban. I find it offensive when people of other nationalities, pretend to now what we are all about.

I get the feeling, that because Afro-Cubans stayed behind 50 years ago, with the promise of a better tomorrow, they will be key in the death of the communist regime.

I can't wait to vote in a free Cuba!