» From Cuba

Racism, Communist-Style
By Roger Rubio Lima

Camagüey. November 13, 2008. Roger Rubio Lima. The Cuban government has lost one of its favorite arguments it deployed in its unceasing zeal to denigrate the United States: the racist society they have so criticized has just elected the first black president in its history. How will they now manage to tell Cuba’s re-enslaved blacks that they must be grateful to the revolution for their equality of rights with whites?


This “equality of rights” thing is almost true: the rights of black Cubans and those of whites are equally violated, the only difference being that blacks are required to be grateful to the government for having established a regime where they are repressed and insulted not only because of the color of their skin, but simply for being Cuban. Many are those opposition activists who, because they are black, have been insulted because the authorities cannot understand how a black could possibly oppose the government.


According to their twisted minds, rights are to be bestowed, scattered like breadcumbs by those in power. They do not understand how a Jorge Luis “Antúnez” García Pérez, with his unquestionable moral integrity, can demand respect for his rights.


The communists’ zeal to make one believe that the world’s most prosperous countries are hellish places where people cannot achieve a life of wellbeing is compulsive. The proportion of blacks and people of mixed race in Cuba is greater than 60% of the population, and the propaganda about racism in the United States is directed at them.


A joke I heard a long time ago mocks this propaganda.


A black man tells a white friend about his decision to emigrate to the United States. The friend says to him: “Are you crazy? Blacks aren’t worth anything over there.”


“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” says the man, determined. “I’m not planning to go into business selling ‘em.”


Cuban society is historically less racist than American society. Since the era of the Mambí independence armies, both blacks and whites have fought for Cuba’s freedom. During the republican era, we can find that blacks held political office in this country. So much so, in fact, that in 1940 a president of mixed race was elected, 68 years before the historic election of Barack Obama in the United States.


With the Communist revolution’s victory, the black and mixed race population has been less represented among those in power than it was in 1959. Today, only 19% of the Deputies in the Assembly of Popular Power are black or of mixed race; 19% to represent 60% of the Cuban population.


The most important lesson that this presidential election has taught Cubans is not exactly about the issue of race. It is that Cubans have seen once again how, in a democracy, citizens are able to vote for change. It is beautiful to see how countries can change direction through an act of such a popular nature. We Cubans anxiously await the day when we will be able to elect the president of our Republic, and when the prospect of change will not cause the panic it does today, when many citizens have been fined and punished for wearing items bearing the word “CAMBIO,” or “CHANGE.”

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