This is the heartbreaking story of the passengers of the SS Saint Louis liner, who in order to escape persecution by the Nazis, decided to travel to Havana, and then to the United States, but upon arrival at the Cuban port, under pressure from the U.S. government, were denied
Author: Dolphin Xiqués Cutiño | firstname.lastname@example.org
March 17, 2020 13:03:41
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
This is the heartbreaking story of the 937 passengers of the SS Saint Louis liner, who in order to escape the persecution by the Nazis, decided to travel to Havana, and then to the United States, but upon arrival at the Cuban port, under pressure from the Yankee government, were denied disembarkation.
Most of the passengers were Jewish families who, with the arrival of the Nazi party to power, began to be harassed: Their synagogues and properties were burned, they were constantly harassed and, moreover, they risked being detained only because they were Jews.
Also traveling were four Spaniards and two Cubans who were not Jews. Almost all of them carried their visas in order issued by the Cuban Embassy in Berlin at a cost of $200 or $300 each, a fortune at that time.
The SS Saint Louis set sail from the port of Hamburg on May 13, 1939. Gisela Felman was 15 years old when she embarked on that unknown adventure and “she remembers her father begging her mother to wait for him but she was tenacious and always replied: I have to take the girls away for safety.”
“So, armed with visas for Cuba acquired in Berlin, 10 German marks in their bag and another 200 hidden in their underwear, they headed for Hamburg and the St Louis.
The voyage took place with the usual normality of passenger ships. Games, dances, dinners, walks on deck and that its captain Gustav Schroder kept so that women, men and children could enjoy the comforts on board, knowing that those families had suffered enough on German land.
Everything was ready for the passengers to disembark. But big was the surprise when the authorities showed up on board the ship and informed the captain that nobody could go ashore.
The Jewish immigrants were unaware that eight days before the departure of the ship from Hamburg, the then president of Cuba, Federico Laredo Bru, under pressure from the Yankees, had denied the landing permits by means of a decree. Now, in order to enter Cuba, it was required to have an authorization from the Secretary of State and another from the Secretary of Labor and to pay a $500 bonus, except for the tourists.
Of course, the Jewish refugees could not comply with the new entry regulations because they had left Germany with what little value they had left. And now they had nothing of value with them, only their lives.
Only 28 passengers were able to disembark without problems, including the four Spaniards and the two Cubans.
The SS St. Louis remained in the Havana watershed for almost a week while the lives of the 909 Jewish refugees were traded as if they were just another commodity. They were fleeing from Nazism and were caught by capitalism.
On June 2, President Laredo Bru ordered Captain Gustav Schroder to leave the port of Havana. As the ship was leaving, thousands of Havana residents came to see them off, offering their solidarity and thus showing that the Cuban people were with them.
The ship set sail escorted by two Navy boats and set course for Florida, but there they refused to receive them as they did in Puerto Rico. The captain then telegraphed the authorities in Canada, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Argentina, among other countries, to persuade them to take in the Jewish immigrants, but they all refused entry.
Almost a month after his departure from Germany, the SS Saint Louis had to set out for Europe and after long conversations some Jews were accepted by Great Britain, Holland and France, confining them in internment camps. The remaining passengers disembarked on June 17, 1939, in Antwerp, Belgium.
The epilogue to this heartbreaking story goes back to the German invasion of western Europe in May 1940: approximately 670 SS Saint Louis refugees were caught by the Nazis and died in concentration camps. Some 240 survived years of starvation, abuse, and forced labor.
Cartel Magazine, June 11, 1939
Juventud Rebelde, March 29, 2009
By Carlos Lazo
Professor, creator of the Dream Factory project.
March 15, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
This essay was originally posted to Facebook by its author.
Sisters and brothers who live in Cuba: we do not hate them. In fact, the vast majority of us Cubans who live in other countries love the Cubans who live in our land deeply. I often receive messages from compatriots on the island who ask me why the resentment of those who left against those who stayed is so strong. This question is supported, in part, by what they see on the Internet. Much of what is published on social networks is saturated with resentment and cruelty towards our people. But this is not the case. We Cubans who live abroad love and do not forget the family, friends and neighbors who live in our land. This relationship transcends ideologies.
But I understand why so many ask me the same question. There is a small part of the Cuban community abroad that exacerbates hatred and promotes punitive measures against our people. This group of brothers and sisters seeks to increase the pain of the Cuban family inside and outside of Cuba. Although reduced in number, they are complicit in the cruel restrictions implemented by the United States government that penalize Cubans here and there.
They devised and supported the cancellation of trips by U.S. airlines to airports in the interior of the island. They publicly advocated the prohibition of remittances from third countries to Cuba. They express it loudly; not only do they oppose the family contacts between the two shores, but they demand that the son who emigrated, stop helping the old mother who stayed on the Island. Some even speak of a naval blockade and even an invasion. Given this reality, it is logical that many Cubans inside Cuba have the perception that their compatriots outside Cuba want the holocaust of the Cuban people.
Right now, confronted with the global pandemic that the planet is suffering, several of those people have publicly expressed their desire for the coronavirus to wipe out the land of their birth. It is painful to see how they say it in public, on the social networks, jubilant and mocking in the face of the misfortune of others. Taking the containment of the virus as a justification, voices are heard that even advocate the total cancellation of flights between Cuba and the United States. Ironically, nations such as Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and others have already reported dozens of cases of the epidemic. However, nobody is asking for the closure of flights to those countries, but they are demanding the liquidation of trips between Miami and Havana! They have not been able to completely sever the ties between the Cuban family here and there and are now manipulating the fear of the epidemic to achieve their goals.
Compatriots of Cuba, for every brother who is confused or sick with a grudge, there are thousands of us who believe in love. We love the adopted country that one day received us with open arms, but we also love the motherland that gave us life. Instead of punitive measures that intensify suffering, we advocate cooperation between our nations. We do not want walls that separate us but bridges that unite us.
As for us; we are not a pack of wolves. As a people, we have a common destiny and a duty: to help each other in misfortune. But even if hatred were to rob us of our tenderness and turn us into a pack, we would still do anything to save our cubs, which are the Cuban children for whom we are responsible.
And if, in the worst case, an epidemic of oblivion were to strike us, if we were all to end up demoralized – those here and those there – orphans of humanity and transformed into wolves, even then, an ancestral instinct of homeland and love would rise up from our hearts to remind us of the unforgettable: that we are members of the same pack!
There is no Marxist who knows Marx’s work inside out and does not fight for social justice; if one rationally assumes his postulates, but does not vibrate in the face of injustice committed against other human beings, in any corner of the planet
by Enrique Ubieta Gómez
March 14, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
There is a drawing that imitates a photo, Karl Marx appears in a pitusa, a red pullover and leather jacket. Under his arm, he carries a volume of his masterpiece: Das Kapital. The Genius of Trier looks at us as he walks, impatient. The poster bears a legend, written in English and Russian: “I am back”. In another poster, Marx himself, now full-length, appears with a couple of university students; the professor and his students are almost dressed alike. This is recent propaganda by the Russian Communists. They’ve made one of Lenin’s as well. Sitting down, he holds a modern laptop on his knees and feverishly writes one of his revolutionary articles. The drawings connect, no doubt, with young people. They are doors that invite to be crossed.
On March 14, 137 years ago today, the greatest social thinker in history physically ceased to exist. His mark on modern culture is so profound that it is not necessary to know his work in depth to breathe its air. Humanity, whether it knows it or not, has assimilated many of his discoveries, just as, without having read or studied Copernicus or Darwin, it “knows” that the Earth is round and understands that evolution is a key factor in nature. The intellection of his work is, however, arduous: it demands dedication, study. Marx set out to understand capitalism, and he discovered its fundamental laws, in force despite its changes. He also discovered the path to overcome them. From a theoretical point of view, he was a man of action. But we are not given in simplifying capsules, nor in manuals.
His work demands active readers, creators. It demands native revolutions, capable of readjusting their paths, time and again, as Martí requested, in order to avoid the sieges and traps of Capital, its military, financial and media tentacles, and to conquer spaces of freedom, anti-colonial at first, and anti-neocolonial later. Fidel explained it as follows: “Marx’s theory was never a scheme: it was a conception, it was a method, it was an interpretation, it was a science. And science is applied to each concrete case. And no two concrete cases are exactly the same. The Cuban Revolution had the genius of Fidel, and a well-established tradition, whose roots go back to the independence and anti-imperialist thinking of José Martí and Antonio Maceo. It extends through a long list of combatants in the 20th century: Carlos Baliño, Julio Antonio Mella, Rubén Martínez Villena, Antonio Guiteras, Jesús Menéndez, Frank País, Ernesto Che Guevara…
There is no Marxist who knows Marx’s work inside out and does not fight for social justice. if one rationally assumes its postulates, but does not vibrate before injustice committed against other human beings, in any corner of the planet.
Ethics and science are basic assumptions. That is why in 2001 Fidel reaffirmed: “We will never renounce the principles we acquired in the struggle to bring all justice to our country by putting an end to the exploitation of man by man, inspired by the history of humanity and by the most preclarified theorists and promoters of a socialist system of production and distribution of wealth. It is the only one capable of creating a truly just and humane society: Marx, Engels and later Lenin. 137 years ago today, Karl Marx physically abandoned us. But no one will ever be able to bury him.
By Ramón Sánchez-Parodi Montoto
He was appointed head of the Cuban Interests Section in the United States, between September 1977 and April 1989. He then served as Cuba’s deputy foreign minister until 1994. And from then on he served as Cuban ambassador to Brazil, until 2000. In addition to his activities as a Cuban government official, Sánchez-Parodi is a journalist and writer.
March 13, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The results of the primary on March 10 certainly point to Joseph Biden becoming, in less than two weeks, the absolute frontrunner among the Democratic contenders for the highest office in the United States. Biden is now assured of the necessary and sufficient conditions to accumulate the support of the 1,991 delegates that will guarantee him to be proclaimed on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention (July 13-16 in Milwaukee), as the Democratic Party candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Senator Bernard Sanders, the only other contender still active in his presidential bid, has only an open arithmetic probability of accumulating the number of delegates to be nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate. Since that option is practically unattainable, Sanders has only to give up his aspiration. Therefore, the question to be solved is how and when Sanders will give up his electoral efforts. That decision will be the result of discussions and negotiations, not necessarily public, between both campaign teams, the two challengers and the Democratic leadership.
Among the issues to be considered in these decisions is the time factor, which has begun to run since the March 10 primary results, especially in Washington and Michigan. [These are] states where Sanders was unable to repeat the magnitude of his 2016 primary victories over Hillary Clinton. This decision is important. Once it is made, it will change the pace and content of the election campaign because the cross-party confrontation will be over and the confrontation will be between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and particularly between Donald Trump and Joseph Biden.
Of the six states that held primaries on Tuesday, March 10, Biden won three of them by an absolute majority: Michigan (52.9%), Missouri (60.1%) and Mississippi (81%). He also won in Idaho with 48.9% of the vote and a lead of nearly seven thousand votes.
Michigan is a state in the north-central part of the country and will be one of the most disputed states next November. Sanders had won it in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton, when he beat her by winning 49.68%, with a lead of about 18,000 votes. [This time] Biden beat Sanders by more than half a million votes and more than 16%. In Missouri, Biden received 60.1% of the vote against 34.6% for Sanders and a lead of about 170,000 votes. In Mississippi, a state with a very large African-American community, Biden won with 81% of the vote, which is equivalent to more than 160,000 votes.
The results of the Washington primary were disappointing for Sanders. There he had defeated Clinton in 2016 when the election was held in the form of a caucus with 72.72% of the votes. Now he won again, but by a slim margin of 0.2%. The other victory was in North Dakota, which only brings a total of 14 delegates to the National Convention. The victory (if you can call it that) was by a margin close to 14% and less than 2,000 votes ahead: By 2016 Sanders had won that state by about 19%.
With these results, the idea is gaining ground in the minds of Democrats that the goal to be achieved in the November election is to prevent Trump’s reelection, putting aside differences over the electoral agenda on issues such as health care; the establishment of a tax on the rich; the solution of the problem of the university debt; the changes in the national security system and other measures proposed by the “progressives”, “socialists”, “communists” (choose the adjective that you find most convenient and appropriate) that the representatives of the “establishment” consider “radical” and “threatening” to society.
In fact, the results of the primaries held on February 29, March 3 and March 10 are a direct effect of the fears that the dominant sectors within the Democratic Party had about the possibility that Bernard Sanders could accumulate enough delegates to be nominated as a candidate for the presidency in the elections next November. In the last two weeks, we have witnessed an incessant media campaign and political pressure on the various Democratic groups to close ranks and “stop” Sanders.
The problem for the Democratic leadership is how to make this campaign bear fruit in November by transforming it into a mass movement to express at the polls the will to prevent Trump’s re-election.
For now, we can only wait for the “dust” of this political storm to settle so that we can glimpse the future of the current U.S. election campaign.
By Juan Morales Agüero email@example.com
February 18, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
When one attends a youth meeting and listens to its participants discuss the varied and complex palette of issues that color contemporary Cuban society, one appreciates that the word future transcends mere rhetoric to become something accessible and concrete in what they believe in. “Your future, today,” says their motto.
At the 11th provincial stocktaking assembly, the “Future of Cuba. Congress of the Union of Young Communists (UJC) of Las Tunas, he took the microphone and expressed his ideas for a good part of the social spectrum of the territory: students, teachers, peasants, workers, leaders, technicians, religious… It is that the young people of today seem to be in possession of the gift of ubiquity, that which favors being present everywhere at the same time.
This was made clear at the meeting held at the theater of the University of Medical Sciences of the territory, in the presence of José Ramón Machado Ventura, Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party; Susely Morfa González, First Secretary of the National Committee of the UJC, and other leaders and guests from different bodies.
Rafael Alberto, a cooperative member from the Jesús Menéndez municipality, revealed the “secret” of how he managed to make his base committee grow with six militants: by making them fall in love with the day-to-day work of the organization. He spoke of the link between the agricultural work on his farm and academic programs, and of Cubasolar’s contribution to taking advantage of renewable energy.
Julio César, a doctor from Majibacoa, spoke of the potential of a grassroots committee to make itself felt within its radius of action: they collaborate in the construction of an old people’s home, work in a productive area, organize circles of interest, and train in the fight against drugs.
Yuniela Comendador González, president of the Martí Youth Movement at the University of Las Tunas, told how they use social networks to disseminate the work of Cuba’s National Hero. So, they called for a selfies contest and uploaded the winning photos to their Twitter and Facebook profiles.
The role of the UJC in these times was the topic addressed by Eduardo Antonio Rondón Martínez, president of the FEU at the University of Medical Sciences. “We militants have the duty to leave prepared in the academic, but also in the political and ideological [sense] And to be willing to go where we are needed once we graduate. And to bring optimism to the communities”.
Elizabeth de la Cruz, from the Construction and Assembly Company, told how militants from her center – and others who are not yet militants – have made voluntary work with the victims one of their calling cards. Even the micro 8 in Santiago de Cuba were some to contribute to the construction of houses. And they also traveled to Havana when the tornado hit several of their communities. In Regla, they left the indelible mark of their solidarity.
Speaking in the discussion, Susely said that “among the admirable things about this assembly is that no comments are like any other, and that there is a correspondence between what they say and what you do every day. We must fight on all fronts. And today social networks are an important front. From that space we must also fight the enemy. And be alert to any sign of manipulation.
For his part, José Ramón Machado Ventura made clear the absolute confidence the Party has in the vanguard youth organization. This is all the more so at the present time when the process is underway. In his words he endorsed what the participants had said, encouraged them to continue and said: “We know we can count on you”.
The assembly constituted the delegation of the province for the final session of the 11th. At the same time, it elected the new Committee and Provincial Bureau of the UJC, at the head of which Anier Arnedo Sánchez was confirmed as the first secretary in the territory.
The Minister of Communications, during the balance sheet of the Informatics and Communications Business Group, highlighted the need to encourage human capital and undertake projects that increase income
by Yaditza del Sol González | firstname.lastname@example.org
February 19, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Establishing alliances that promote productive linkages between different Cuban enterprises, implementing services to citizens, with priority given to government management and electronic commerce, as well as accelerating the safe development of technological infrastructure and encouraging research, development and innovation programs, are actions that respond to a single strategy: the implementation of the policy of computerization of society.
This was the opinion of the head of the Ministry of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, who highlighted the need to encourage human capital and undertake projects that increase income. In this sense, he referred to the possibilities of exporting Cuban software, with a guaranteed quality, and in the deployment of proposals that are connected with foreign investment.
“The challenge is to diversify services, make them attractive, study which ones we can offer in the international market, all from the resources we have. In view of the economic situation of the country and the tightening of the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba, we are called upon to manage financing and seek foreign currency. [We must do this] either by using measures to make state-owned companies more flexible or by means of productive chains. This not only contributes to the monetary stability of the country but also to the very development of business.
During the assessment of the Informatics and Communications Business Group, the Minister called for a close follow-up of the e-government program. [This is] because once the present stage is over, “we are entering a more complex phase, where the provincial and local governments must guarantee the updating of the website’s contents and motivate the citizen to be at the center of the transformation of the management they carry out”.
With respect to cyber security, he said that there is a demand for digital certificates in the country and yet there is no consolidated marketable supply from computer and communications companies. The use of these certificates by the institutions allows us to increase the security codes and protect the exchange of information, an essential tool in a scenario where Cuban users are increasingly connected.
As Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has mentioned on several occasions – the Minister emphasized – we must be able to make better use of the financial resources at our disposal to enhance the process of computerizing society.
By the end of 2019:
7.1 million Cubans were connected to the Internet, representing 63% of the country’s population
More than 143,000 homes were connected to the Nauta Hogar network
More than six million active lines are supported by the mobile phone network on the island, and 70% of these connections were made through smartphones
Source: Global Digital Report 2020 and Etecsa
March 11, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Charter flights will arrive at Frank Pais International Airport in Holguin, operated by Bahamasair, which will connect the U.S. with the interior of Cuba
Holguín – With no regular flights and the imminent cessation of charters – both from the United States – the Frank País International Airport in the City of Parks will receive the Bahamasair airline, whose aircraft will arrive at this facility from the 19th of this month, with two weekly frequencies connecting Miami with the interior of the country.
The aircraft on this route will always make a stopover in the Bahamian capital, Nassau. They will fly here Thursday and Sunday, arriving at 12:30 p.m., returning to the southern Florida city an hour later, said Miguel Peña Peña, director of “Frank País.
“This is the first time that flights from Bahamasair are taken to our airport, although it has links with Havana for some years. Two days before their planes land here, something similar will happen in Santa Clara, Villa Clara (in central Cuba). To complete their charter flight, the national airline of the Bahamas will use Boeing 737-700 planes, which have 138 seats,” added Peña Peña.
Since last December, the U.S. government eliminated the access of regular U.S. airlines to cities in the interior of Cuba and next March 10 something similar will happen with the charter modality, thus hindering family ties and the normal flow of passengers between both countries, under the pretext of depriving Cuba of any kind of economic income.
At present, aircrafts from Canada, the United States, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Russia are arriving at the “Frank País”. The largest number of travelers comes from Canada and there has been a rise in Russian visitors in the recent past.
>Since last December, the U.S. government eliminated the access of regular U.S. lines to cities in the interior of Cuba and next March 10 something similar will happen with the charter mode, thus hindering family ties and the normal flow of passengers between both countries, under the pretext of depriving Cuba of any kind of economic income.
At present, aircraft from Canada, the United States, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Russia are arriving at the “Frank País”. The largest number of travelers comes from Canada and there has been a rise in Russian visitors in the recent past.
By Isairis Sosa Hernández email@example.com
March 10, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
During this Monday’s special Round Table, where the measures adopted by Cuba to face the threat posed by the rapid and broad international expansion of the new coronavirus were reported, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said that we can be concerned and concerned about the epidemic, but what we really have to do is prepare for an eventual entry of the virus into our country.
So, Así de Fácil wants to show you today how we can make a nasobuco or mask at home and offer you some advice on how to use it.
A piece of cloth and two pieces of elastic is what you will need to make this simple mask. Another model that we also propose, uses only fabric and does not use elastic, as they are usually worn in medical institutions. The images will show you every step.
As I always say, if you have children at home, encourage them to participate in the making of the mask so that they can enjoy how wonderful it is to create something with our own hands. See you next week to continue turning a simple idea into a great solution. Don’t miss out!
If you are a healthy person, you only need to wear a mask if you care for someone suspected of carrying the virus.
Also wear a mask if you have a cough or sneeze.
Facemasks are only effective if combined with frequent hand washing.
Before you put on a mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
Avoid touching the mask while you are wearing it.
To remove your mask: take it off from behind, without touching the front.
To reuse it, they recommend ironing it after washing it, as the virus cannot withstand high temperatures.
After handling a used mask, wash your hands immediately.
By Sylvia Weinstein (January 1993)
Photo by Walter Lippmann.
The Dec. 5, 1992, issue of the People’s Weekly World has a review by Tony Monteiro of the film “Malcolm X.” The review is unusual because it actually has some “nice” things to say about Malcolm X. Monteiro dropped the Stalinist newspaper’s former nonsense that Malcolm was a “racist-in-reverse.”
That’s what the Communist Party used to call him. That’s what the Stalinists called all Black nationalists, including members of the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam because he was opposed to racism and white U.S. imperialism. He left the Nation because he was moving toward socialist ideas and because he wanted to get involved in the massive movements of Blacks who were fighting for their civil rights. Malcolm X wanted to bring that fight to the North.
If anyone wants to know what the world Stalinist movement thought about Malcolm X when he was alive, and even six years after his assassination, all you have to do is read long-time Communist Party leader and prominent historian Herbert Apthecker’s book, “Afro-American History—The Modern Era.”
It was written in 1971 and covers all of the major modern Black leaders up to Martin Luther King and Huey P. Newton. Out of 324 pages, there is not one word, not one whisper of Malcolm X.
Fidel’s visit to Harlem
The most amazing part of the article is that it gives Malcolm X credit for having gotten a room in Harlem’s Hotel Theresa for Fidel Castro in 1961. Although this story is intended to be complimentary to Malcolm, it is not based on fact.
I was there at the time and played an active part in the efforts of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York City to establish deeper links between revolutionary Cuba and American Blacks.
In October 1961, Fidel Castro and the Cuban delegation had come to New York to address the United Nations. They first took up residence at a mid-Manhattan hotel that catered to delegations from poor countries.
But as soon as it became clear to the powers-that-be that the Cubans were not about to cave in to imperialist demands that they change their revolutionary ways, the news media began a campaign to slander the Cubans. The press issued a flood of stories about $100-dollar call girls visiting the Cuban hotel headquarters. They even featured stories that had the Cubans plucking chickens and cooking them in their hotel rooms.
Finally, Castro called for a halt. He threatened to go to sleep in Central Park rather than stay in such a hotel. He said that he had had plenty of experience sleeping in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, and sleeping in the park would be more natural. Of course, this also made the headlines.
Fair Play for Cuba
We were then members of the Socialist Workers Party who had helped form the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. One of the committee’s national leaders was my friend Berta [Greene. Later Langston]. She proposed to the Cuban delegation to the United Nations that they move from the fancy white hotel they were being abused into a Black one in the heart of Harlem.
Berta told them that such a gesture of solidarity with African Americans would be greatly appreciated in Black America.
Berta contacted the Hotel Theresa and made arrangements to reserve a whole floor for the Cuban delegation. The Cubans accepted the arrangement immediately. The CIA and State Department went crazy! Suddenly Castro was being flooded with offers from many other hotels. There were even offers of free space—but Fidel said “no thanks.” He and the whole delegation then moved into the Theresa.
The Theresa was an historic hotel in the heart of Harlem. It was the first time that any United Nations delegation had ever stayed in Harlem. Fidel Castro—along with Juan Alameida, the head of the Cuban Armed Forces—would walk along the streets of Harlem, shaking hands, drinking orange juice at a hot-dog chain called “Nedicks,” and talking to the people in the streets of Harlem.
The press was silent about this news event. But they did print a photo of the Soviet Union’s limousine, which was about a block long, driving up to the Theresa. It was probably the Soviet delegates’ first time on 125th Street!
At the reception
It was the Fair Play for Cuba Committee that gave the reception for the Cubans at the Theresa on Oct. 2, 1961, not Malcolm X. My friend Berta arranged that, too.
That night, thousands of people lined the streets around the Hotel Theresa hoping to get a look at Fidel. We were on the 7th floor, and every time anyone went near the window, thousands of people on the ground would cheer.
We refused to allow any cops or reporters onto the floor. We had guards at every elevator and exit. At about nine o’clock I was told to go wait outside the Hotel for the caterer’s delivery truck. They were bringing refreshments and food. I was also told not to speak to any of the press.
As I went outside, the photo bulbs began to flash, and reporters started asking me what was going on upstairs. I just kept saying, “No comprendo.”
The next day, there it was in the headlines: “One hundred-dollar call girl at Castro reception says she ‘no comprende.’” I was astounded to be called a one-hundred-dollar call girl. I did not deserve it.
So the story in the People’s Weekly World that it was Malcolm X who arranged for the Cubans to go to the Hotel Theresa and who gave a reception for Fidel Castro and Che Guevara was untrue. I have no idea where it came from. In fact, neither Malcolm X nor Che Guevara attended the reception.
However, it was true that Malcolm X took the initiative to return the Cubans’ solidarity gesture. It was widely reported in the news media that Malcolm went to the Hotel Theresa and met with Fidel Castro. I do not know what went on, but Malcolm X was then a leader of the Nation of Islam, and it is highly unlikely that he was swayed towards socialism at that time.
However, the fact that Malcolm X did visit Fidel Castro at the Theresa had an enormous effect on the Black community of Harlem.
At any rate, Malcolm X does not need the Communist Party to make up fairy tales about him. They would do well to read Malcolm X speeches, review his real life—and acknowledge where they were wrong about Black nationalism and Malcolm X.
FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint Publishing Association
To order your copy of FIGHTBACK!
Send a check for $25.00 plus $5.95 for shipping and handling to:
60 29th Street #429
San Francisco, CA 94110
Please be sure to include your name, address, city, state and zip code.
PHOTOGRAPH of Sylvia Weinstein taken 1990s, in San Francisco, California
By Julio Martínez Molina
February 5, 2020
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Reality TV is a hoax in its own right.
The format of reality favors performance (of all kinds, of course, with weight for the moral component), it is self-understood from the logic of simulacra and upholds the matrix line of the participant’s need to configure an image that presupposes the generation, or not, of empathy. It’s an image that, clearly, is worked on in accordance with the interests of the reality story and not in accordance with the legitimate identity profile of that person.
There cannot be much of the real in a television whose “truths” are simulated, something that can be validated in the context of fiction but is potentially antithetical to what would be sold as a record of the real.
There is nothing ethically contributing in a reality television conceived from the prism of the culture of human discard and in accordance with the hegemony of the patriarchal narrative about women seen as objects and not subjects. In a reality television that defends social Darwinism and ethnic exclusion, hostile to otherness, and tends to idealize the physical canon of the ideal body and the beautiful face according to Western taste in terms of a story of the humiliation of those who do not belong to such molds. In a reality television that clings to the morbid component in its constructions, given to base as a model of interaction the insubstantiality of a dialogue based on the puerile procedure of a child of a few years who began to understand words.
The medium reaches the exponential degradation of its discourse through its format. It’s incredible but at the same time understandable in cathartic times. And there’s the public self-exposure of the privacy of the individual in social networks. (It cannot be forgotten that the cultural phenomenon of marras emerges as a response from the media to the impetus of new technologies and the Internet and the subsequent television crisis, when the which supremacy in home entertainment is diluted). It is followed and applauded by a captive spectator and whose audiences mark the forefront of rating today on a planetary scale.
It’s been onty forty-seven years since An American Family (PBS, U.S. public television, 1973), the seminal bastion of the concept of reality show that was born in Europe in the second half of the nineties. It began with the first Big Brother broadcast in the Netherlands in 1999 and later extended to the entire world. This format is currently betting with greater force on human competitiveness: not understood as an incentive to an ameliorative impulse of the individual, but as the cancellation and moral liquidation of the other.
The orgasmic moment of reality feeds on the emotional agony of the contestant. The Cathodic Coliseum asks for the death of the gladiator, by lance or eaten by the lions. It demands it (death here, of course, is the moral collapse of the adversary or competitor). This is because the ideological construct of the format conditioned it to such an attitude, It extends from the iteration of an ideology that chose to divide the participants -by induction to those who receive it-, between inferior and superior beings.
The communicating vessels of such precepts are linked to fascism, the formulas of the extreme right raised in Europe during the same years of the emergence of the phenomenon of reality television and the splitting and dividing trumpet perception of the world.
As a consequence, we are faced with a communicative product of notoriously reactionary essence, at least in its confrontational aspect. It’s less explicit but also tangible in the realities of following celebrities, inside their mansions and a lifestyle of a luxury unthinkable for most people. They represent, therefore, a media backing to the ideology of inequality, one which is dangerously in force in a world that cries at its cleanest for its elimination.
In the same way, many of the reality television programs -especially the first variant mentioned above-, appeal to the most primary reflexes and instincts of the species. They use the inherent scopic drive of the human race to redirect its gaze towards ethically reprehensible territory. It aims to manipulate the emotional system of the less cautious viewers in a blatant way. And also of the participants themselves. Several of these have resorted to the last option of suicide, after suffering emotional breakdowns when they were violated by an industry built on the exploitation of “disposables.” when they were ignored by this theater that denigrates the sensibility and spirituality that ennobles and identifies human beings.