A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
PROLOGUE TO THE CUBAN EDITION
“I don’t expect to live long enough to read my book…”, he said one day and it proved to be true because he was killed before his autobiography was published. It became a dramatic reality, on the afternoon of February 21, 1965, when he began to address an audience of about 400 Blacks and half a dozen whites.
Two men, taking advantage of a confusion caused by their accomplices, jumped from the first row of the Audubon Ballroom and fired at Malcolm X who kept standing in the face of the assassin’s bullets and then he fell to the floor – mortally wounded – while one of the killers emptied his gun into his body.
Betty Shabazz, the wife of Malcolm X and his four little children were present in the Audubon . Betty ran towards the lectern screaming: “They have killed my husband! They are killing my husband!”
At 3:45 in the afternoon, in the Columbian Presbyterian Medical Center, the following report was made: “The gentleman you know as Malcolm X is dead.”
The reaction of the whites, headed by the press, was to identify the assassins and the reason for the assassination as an act of vengeance by other Blacks, the Black Muslims, belonging to the organization Malcolm X had left during the early part of 1964.
However, the reaction in the Black ghettoes and among the closest followers of Malcolm X, his killing had a very different reason. Gradually it became known that powerful forces had their hands in it: the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were involved in the assassination because they were alarmed by the growing impact of Malcolm X and, primarily, because of his intent to internationalize the racial discrimination existing in the United States, trying to take it to the UN Human Rights Commission, through diplomats of African countries.
Using fraudulent declarations from bogus or bought witnesses, a trial was fabricated against two members of the Black nationalist organization, the Black Muslims [the Nation of Islam]; they intended to demonstrate that the assassination had been a question “among Blacks” and the investigations which should have been made of the events were not performed.
Because, in truth, it became evident that the Muslims could not have carried out the actions that were ongoing occurrences against Malcolm X: intervention and wire-tapping of all his telephone calls, following him on his trips to Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and these are just a few.
Proof revealed later demonstrates that the assassins were acting under orders of the United States government. Gene Roberts, one of the men who should have protected the life of Malcolm X, was a member of BOSS (Bureau of Special Services) an organization of highly secret police agents. [BOSS was, in fact, a covert arm of the New York Police Department.] In 1964 he had infiltrated the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), the organization founded by Malcolm X.
Malcolm X was killed when Gene Roberts was supposed to protect him. And the majority of the OAAU members are now imprisoned or dead. Gene Roberts later infiltrated another black nationalist organization, the Revolutionary Action Movement [RAM] and a group known as the Mau Mau. He culminated his activities against the most radical Black organizations, the Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party. His testimony and provocations served to jail 21 Black Panthers in New York who were in danger of being sentenced to long prison terms, accused of conspiring to blow up stores of the great city. Gene Roberts was, at last, exposed in 1970.
One day we will learn the precise role he played in the assassination of Malcolm X.
The events of 1965 demonstrated that Malcolm X was right when he told his wife Betty that the United States establishment was after his life.
For this reason the New York Times wrote, in December of 1965: “Most admirers of Malcolm are beginning to believe that he was assassinated by order of the United States government.”
But who was this man considered to be a danger to the government of the United States, to the powers that be?
Malcolm Little, because that was the surname he received from his father on May 19, 1925, was born in Omaha, Nebraska. In the great cities of the North, in the ghettoes where he lived most of his life, from the age of 15, he was a thief, drug addict, professional gambler and pimp. Simply, he touched bottom of human conditions to become, later, the dynamic leader of the Black revolution in the United States. His example was devastating, consequently his dangerousness.
“I have dedicated all the time available to this book because I believe and hope that my honest and factual account will serve an objective reader and find some social value in this testimony.
“I hope and expect that an objective leader, reading about my life – the life of a Black leader formed in the ghetto – acquires an image and clearer account of the Black ghettoes that are modeling the lives of twenty-two million Blacks who live in the United States”.
Now, Malcolm X is known in the entire world by the surname he took when he left the Charlestown prison in 1952 and became a Black Muslim. In this Black Nationalist movement he was revealed as a genius in oratory winning thousands of converts. But, at the same time, he became a symbol of freedom and independence for ghetto Blacks. Continuing the process, he became politically aware. That was what led him to the religion of the Black Muslims. Malcolm X studied the oppression and discrimination of his Black brothers and, in 1963, began to have doubts about the religion he supported. Clear political differences caused him to break from the organization, on March 22, 1964.
In his autobiography, dictated to the Black journalist, Alex Haley, he reveals a stereotypical image of the Black assimilated to white culture until, in jail and through the doctrine of Islam, he became a sensitive being, proud of his black skin, of his frizzed hair; he identified with his African origin and with the pain of his people. He is politicized and he assumes the ideology of a revolutionary, he becomes a MAN.
“It would probably be impossible to find a Black man, in any part of the United States, who had sunken so low in human society, as me; or a Negro who has been more ignorant or a Negro who has suffered so much anguish in life than I. But it is only after the deepest darkness when the greatest joy can rise up; only after slavery and prison can he accept the sweet acknowledgement of freedom.”
To understand the crisis of identity, alienation, hostility, discrimination, and loneliness of the United States Negro and the reason for his struggle, the autobiography, writings and speeches of Malcolm X should be read.
“I gritted my teeth and tried to pull the sides of the kitchen table together. The comb felt as if it was raking my skin off … and so stupid that I was in rapture because my hair was like that of the whites … This was my first really big step towards self-degradation … I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed into believing that the black people are inferior – and white people “superior” – that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created bodies …|
“I am not going to sit at your table with an empty plate to see you eat and say that I am a diner. If I do not eat what is on that plate, sitting at the table doesn’t make me a diner. Being in the United States does not make me an American. Having been born here does not make us Americans.”
These statements he made were, perhaps, not pleasant to the ears of many whites and some Negroes, but it was the truth of the situation of his people.
A controversial figure in life, activists of the fight for freedom of the Black people now study his writings, his speeches, his autobiography because the current active militancy in the United States has to be found in him. Then, each interprets him in their own way; but there they are, unmoving and, at the same time, with the flexibility of a constant dialectic development of a revolutionary, taken on, put into practice, enriched.
He aroused laughter and applause because he not only told the Black masses what they wanted to hear for a long time, but because he said it as one of the most eloquent and brilliant political orators of his time.
“I don’t see any American dream. I see an American nightmare.” The bitterness, hostility, animosity of white American racial intolerance is there in his autobiography and in his speeches. They are also present in his later political ideas, as the basis of the action program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the organization he founded and those ideas are what led to his assassination.
Internationalization is proposed as the struggle for the US Negro people: “And if the twenty two million US Negroes see that our problem is the same as the problem of the peoples who are being oppressed in South Viet Nam, the Congo and Latin America, then – because the oppressed of the world are a majority and not a minority –, we must confront our problems as a majority who can demand and not as a minority who must beg.”
Many have wanted to classify Malcolm X a Black racist because he spoke of Negro nationalism. When Malcolm X speaks of the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America he sometimes calls then Negroes. With this term he symbolized the exploited peoples but his position is not reverse racism: “It is wrong to classify the unrest of the Negroes simply as racial conflict of the Blacks against the whites or as a purely American problem. What we see today is, in fact, a worldwide rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressors … the revolution of the Negroes is not a racial revolution.”
To explain his belief that discrimination is a product of a system of social exploitation, he points out: “…all countries that rise up against the claws of colonialism are turning to socialism. I do not think that this is accidental. The majority of the countries that were colonial powers were capitalist countries and, today, the last bulwark of capitalism is the United States. It cannot be believed that a white person can believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. There cannot be capitalism without racism.”
The idea of rethinking the Negro as a man, as a human being, in the highest meaning of this word, and his internationalist concept of the struggle of the American people, makes him hated by imperialism; also his opposition and charges against the war of aggression in Viet Nam, Yankee invasion of Santo Domingo and the sending of mercenary troops to the Congo. But he is even more dangerous because he understood the importance of violence and, with this concept; he opened the eyes of the young American youths. He demonstrated, exhaustively, what revolutionary violence could do in China, in Algeria, in Cuba and is achieving in Viet Nam. He foresaw, at the time, the violence that would shake the Negro ghettoes in the United States and defended it as the necessary means to achieve freedom.
This publication of his autobiography and fragments of his speeches by the Cuban Book Institute informs us that the fight of the American Negro people was symbolized in one of the leaders of most clarity, who, with a direct, simple, plain, incisive and compelling language – because it will be a page-turner. Probably we will have to reread the book – as a piece of history, a history that is still being written with the blood and sweat of the Blacks and exploited of the United States
I am what is considered in Cuba a white person although there is a saying that he who hasn’t Congo blood has Carabali (two Black tribal groups that were slaves during colonial times). Also, if you proclaim pure Spanish heritage suffice it to remember that the Moors occupied Spain for five hundred years.
Now, what is the reason for this explanation? I want to express my opinion about Malcolm X that is a difficult task for a “white” person. I was young when Malcolm X held up the banner of Black liberation. (About 5 years older than him) and I followed his teachings at every opportunity I could find. He was a truly electrifying orator. But most important of all, I realized that I was seeing a new young leader who would be a force to consider in the near future.
I was greatly impressed by his thinking and became completely convinced when he left Elijah Muhammad to stand on his own, in defense of the exploited of the world. His trips to the many countries of the world opened his eyes to widespread exploitation and the ills of imperialism but also made him a world leader in his own right.
This was something that the “establishment” could not and would not allow and consequently, the US government and its agencies plotted his assassination.
Like Che, Malcolm became a martyr of the class struggle and a symbol of freedom. As a person politically developed during the sixties, I believe that both were necessary in life: Che to the Cuban people, Malcolm to the oppressed Blacks and both to the exploited of the world.
We have lost two champions but their seeds are sown and are beginning to bear fruit.
So with strong conviction I can say:
Power to the Blacks and exploited of this world!
Socialismo o Muerte!
Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
From the blog of Cuban photographer Juvenal Balán.
The prisoner with the number 46664 and the first black president of South Africa, who spent most of those 27 years confined in a damp cell barely 2.4 metres high by 2.1 metres wide, who showed gallantry and who was not, nor could anyone break his fighting spirit that led him to become the world’s oldest political captive and an icon of the universal struggle against the hated apartheid segregationist regime that existed in his country, would now be 100 years old.
A man of universal stature who is remembered today by all because, as Fidel said in a reflection following his death: “No present or past event that I remember or have heard of, such as Mandela’s death, had such an impact on world public opinion, not because of his wealth, but because of the human quality and nobility of his feelings and ideas”.
Granma’s photojournalists had the good fortune and joy of immortalizing him with their photos. Arnaldo Santos while attending the inauguration of the new government in Namibia on March 24, 1990, where Nelson Mandela exchanged with the Cuban delegation led by Revolution Commander Juan Almeida Bosque and Jorge Risquet Valdés.
Then Liborio Noval when Mandela first visited Cuba — a year after his release from prison, met Fidel Castro personally and began a close friendship — and was present at the July 26, 1991 ceremony in Matanzas, where Fidel was decorated with the José Martí Order. It was an intimate friendship sealed in the common struggle, and it remained undisturbed, for the admiration between the two was mutual.
Fidel visited South Africa again in September 1998 – the first time was in 1994 – and I had the opportunity to immortalize these two greats of history who treated each other like brothers.
Fidel said about Mandela: “Old and prestigious friend, how pleased I am to see you converted and recognized by all the political institutions of the world as a symbol of freedom, justice and human dignity.
Mandela, on Fidel’s first visit to his homeland, said: “I am a loyal man and I will never forget that in the darkest moments of our homeland, in the struggle against apartheid, Fidel Castro was at our side.
And this relationship between the two great men, both symbols of the moral strength of principles and dignity, lasted until Mandela’s death on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95.
August 16, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Aretha Franklin won 44 nominations, 18 Grammys and 75 million records sold
The diva from Memphis had been fighting cancer for years.
Franklin still had time to make one last record, A Brand New Me.
She went on to replace Luciano Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
There are few black voices left of the old guard. One of the most imposing ones has departed. Perhaps the most recognizable, the one that became immense by singing Respect and that had the pleasure of finishing off the work with other unforgettable melodies such as Natural Woman, I Say a Little Prayer or Chain of Fools, a church voice that made the leap into the commercial arena and that, after 44 nominations, 18 Grammys and 75 million records sold all over the world, became the first woman to access the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a year before The Beatles. The queen of soul, the eternal Aretha Franklin, has passed away. She was 76 years old.
Aretha Franklin’s representative confirmed to the Associated Press that the queen of soul had died Tuesday at her home in Detroit. On Sunday, information began to circulate about the singer’s admission to a hospital in Detroit, the city where she lived. It was said that she was in an extremely serious condition and that she was surrounded by her closest family and friends, as a clear sign of her impending end.
The Memphis diva had been struggling with cancer for years – even though she had never officially recognized it – and last year announced that she was retiring from show business for good. “This will be my last year. I’ll be recording, but this will be my last year of concerts. That’s all,” she said in an interview in 2017
“I feel very enriched and satisfied with where my career comes from and where it is.
All this after she was forced to cancel a series of concerts during the summer and could not be at a jazz festival in New Orleans. “Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road (because of the music tours) and rest completely for the next two months,” the singer’s team announced in a statement in March.
Elton John will be able to brag about getting her on stage one last time. She was in November in New York to raise funds for the fight against AIDS. And former President Barack Obama was able to count on the strength of her voice at the 2009 presidential inauguration, in one of her most notable and remembered public events in her homeland. She did the same with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as singing at Martin Luther King’s funeral.
Despite her health problems – for decades she had to deal with obesity and alcoholism – Franklin still had time to record one last album, A Brand New Me, a compilation of her most important songs, although this time with the collaboration of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London and the voice of a much more mature Franklin.
“Having the opportunity to work with that voice on this project has been the greatest honor and hearing a symphony orchestra involve these performances is impressive,” said producer Nick Patrick after releasing the album in November last year.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Spike Lee expects Trump to see “BlacKkklansman”, his film about the Ku Klux Klan, a passionate film, with moments of tension and comedy about race relations in the United States over the decades.
“BlacKkkKlansman,” based on the true story of an African-American police detective in the 1970s who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, hits theaters on Friday.
Lee said the film’s release is specifically scheduled to commemorate the anniversary of last year’s violent clashes between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a woman was killed.
Trump was heavily criticized last year for blaming both sides for the violence, and images of the protests are included in the film.
“I want the man in the White House to see it too. I’m not saying his name,” Lee told Reuters Television Wednesday at the film’s Beverly Hills premiere.
“When I saw the horrific act of national and American terrorism, I knew right away that I wanted to do this,” Lee said of what happened in Charlottesville.
Topher Grace, who plays David Duke – leader of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1970s – said the cast and crew were impressed by the film’s contemporary relevance during shooting.
“It becomes more timely with each passing second, unfortunately. This film should not be more timely now than it was when the events occurred, but unfortunately it is,” Grace said.
(With information from Reuters)
Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences after the death of the anti-apartheid fighter on Monday.
Author: International Editor | email@example.com
April 3, 2018 20:04:36
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
PRETORIA: Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences after the death on Monday of Winnie Mandela, a woman whom the current South African president described as “the voice of challenge and resistance in the face of exploitation and repression by the apartheid regime”.
In a message released yesterday in Pretoria, the head of state and government, Cyril Ramaphosas, further noted that “Winnie was a champion of justice and equality and that throughout her life she contributed to the struggle through sacrifice and persistent determination”.
The news of the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81, on Monday, April 2, at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reported by family spokesman Victor Dlamini. He said that “we want to communicate with deep sadness that she has passed away,” he said.
The African Union (AU), in the words of its Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also expressed shock and sadness at the death of Nelson Mandela’s second wife, reported Prensa Latina.
Also joining in the condolences was Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Yavad Zarif, who addressed his condolences to the South African people in general and to the supporters and all those who follow the thought and beliefs of the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Alluding to the four long decades of struggle against apartheid alongside Mandela, he noted that Winnie’s death had caused South Africa and the world pain.
From a closer latitude, Evo Morales, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, expressed his solidarity with the South Africans for the loss of the one considered by many “mother of the nation” of South Africa.
Morales’ message on Twitter states that the second wife of South African leader Nelson Mandela “was and will be a symbol of the struggle for freedom and equality.
In 1994, after the first democratic elections, Madikizela-Mandela was appointed deputy and vice-minister of Art and Culture. Since then, she had been a member of parliament and remained a leading figure in the African National Congress (ANC), the governing body in South Africa since the first democratic elections after the end of apartheid, in which she won together with Mandela’s victory in 1994.
The South African government announced yesterday that on April 14 Winnie Mandela will be sent off by her people with state funerals, after President Cyril Ramaphosa visited her family in Soweto to express his condolences and support directly to them.
By Marylín Luis Grillo
Posted: Wednesday 04 April 2018 | 09:35:06 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It was a single shot from a Remington-Peters rifle. Martin Luther King Jr. had fallen in Memphis, Tennessee.
Hours earlier, in a sermon, as if in anticipation of the bullet that tried to quell his throat, he had said to the congregation of the city: “We have difficult days ahead of us […] Like everyone else, I would like to have a long life. […] But that doesn’t worry me now. I just want to do God’s will. And he has allowed me to climb to the top of the mountain. And from there I saw the promised land. I may not get to her with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will reach the Promised Land. And I’m happy about it. Nothing worries me.
Luther King, who at the age of 39 had won the Nobel Peace Prize, had led a non-violent struggle for the civil rights of the African-American community, which had become the banner of hope… King did not die, because dreams do not die, they only come true.
The results of their struggle are not yet complete. Fifty years after his murder, the United States is still convulsed by inequality. The latest statistics illustrate that African-Americans suffer three times as many expulsions and school dropouts, their average household income is half that of white families, and with only 13 percent of the population, El País reported, they account for 40 percent of drug arrests.
A study by the Inequality of Opportunity Project also concluded that racial income disparities are one of the most persistent issues in American society, and that the racial identity to which one belongs marks the opportunities for study, work, salary levels, and social advancement from generation to generation.
Black people are also three times more likely than whites to be victims of police in the United States, and in 2015 alone, for example, with Barack Obama in the White House, law enforcement officers killed more unarmed blacks than armed whites. Faced with an Afro-descendant, the trigger is pulled without much attention.
Police repression, increasing inequality, debates in society about the role of identity groups, and Trump’s racist rhetoric are some of the factors that have led to the resurgence of movements like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the birth of others like Black Lives Matter.
“No Justice, No Peace” said one of the posters that flooded the streets of Sacramento a week ago protesting the death of another black man by police, 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was shot down in the Californian capital on suspicion of breaking car windows and running around with a cell phone in his hand, which officers said they mistook for a gun.
Police opened fire up to 20 times on Clark and eight bullets hit him, seven from behind. The video of the arrest hardly shows whether the young man was approaching the officers or not. They do not order him to freez, or to lie on the ground, after the first order to show his hands, they immediately shout “gun” and shoot. The city has been shaken up again, but it is not enough.
This is a good time to remember Luther King. Less than two weeks ago, her nine-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee, was repeating the mythical words “I have a dream. She called for “a world without weapons”. His father, Martin Luther King III, son of the pastor, announced Friday the launch of a global initiative to encourage young people to focus on non-violence to resolve their conflicts.
The struggle continues, but it must be carried to its end; “from the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” Dr. King would say. He was the same one who never stopped spreading faith because he had died: no bullet can kill dreams.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
Published August 37, 2013 21:39:36 CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017 | 10:25:08 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It was a blast, revalidating the struggle of many, raising the awareness of others and forming ranks in a social movement involving blacks and whites because it was for the civil rights of all. It also awakened those who were still lethargic after hundreds of years of outrage and submission.
On August 28, 1963, the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation for black people in the United States, the end of slavery, was observed when a crowd, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King and other leaders of the black people’s struggle and social and labor movements, marched on Washington and gathered at the National Mall at the foot of the imposing statue of Abraham Lincoln.
“I have a dream,” he said in his speech to what he called the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of the nation, and he called out with utter crudeness that a century later “we must face the tragic fact that the black man is not yet free. He was chained by segregation and discrimination, “living on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” he was “an exile in his own land.
The dream? that the words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence will apply to each and every American as a guarantee of the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These were denied to “citizens of color” who had been given a bounced check from a bankrupt justice. But this marginalized, humiliated, separated people, who were denied every opportunity, even the most basic, knew of their right to open the doors of justice, to cast aside racial injustice and to build “the solid rock of brotherhood.”
The time was urgent, warned Martin Luther King, and also alerted his people and the rest of the United States: “1963 is not the end, but the beginning” (…) “There will be no rest or tranquility in America until the black man establishes his citizens’ rights. The winds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
Three national television networks, for the first time, covered the march for jobs and freedom in together. The message reached the entire nation that a melting pot was being said, the pot that had mixed all the peoples who had come to its shores and built a powerful country, but that was one of the great lies. The Black ingredient, even the original peoples, the “red skins”, had been taken out of society. That media coverage was proof that it was time for change.
There Joan Baez and Bob Dylan sang, as did the gospel performer, Mahalia Jackson, who carried the feeling of the crowd with I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned. Many spoke, including Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, recalling his years as a rabbi in Berlin under Hitler, who said – according to The Guardian – that his great people, who had created a great civilization, had then become a nation of silent spectators to hatred, brutality and mass crimes and cried out: “America cannot become a nation of spectators. America must not remain silent.”
On August 28, 1963, and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, a door was opened. It was hardly mentioned in the 64,000 pages of debate and congressional hearings that gave way to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which put on paper what it should be and yet was not; but it was a touch of the target.
Enemies took it into account. Cointelpro, the program of espionage and infiltration into the social movements of the time, made him its target. William Sullivan, the FBI’s assistant director of domestic intelligence, recommended: “We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous black man in the future of the nation.”
Hot summers came and their street uprisings, many more marches and actions, unity with the anti-war movement, and rejection of the Vietnam War, which they also used as their favorite cannon fodder for blacks and Latinos. Martin Luther King was in that fight for all.
Little by little there were achievements, even a middle class of “coloured” men and women emerged, their numbers increased in universities, they became professionals, their faces already appeared as leading figures in Hollywood films, they showed, even more, their value in the sports world, where the image of a black fist is vivid as a symbol of Black Power, the power of black people.
Blood flowed – that of Martin Luther King himself in April 1968, that of Malcolm X, that of George Jackson, that of many others – Mumia Abu Jamal is still in prison and those who chose more radical methods of struggle are being persecuted. Other leaders in an ongoing struggle were highlighted, as the Lincoln Memorial speaker said as the summer of 1963 ended: it was only the beginning…
And 50 years later, what?
Present at the rally at the National Mall on Saturday, August 24, 2013, which brought together no less than 100,000 Americans of all colors, generations and ideologies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s oratory piece, were the parents of Trayvon Martin. He was the 17-year-old boy shot dead in the chest by a white vigilante in Florida on February 26, 2012. It took protest marches in many American cities and a lot of work to have the perpetrator arrested and put on trial, and almost now, in July, a jury of five white women and a Latina declared him “Innocent.” Not a few posters in front of Lincoln’s statue again called for justice for what is perceived as a hate crime.
Police in New York and other U.S. cities are accused of practicing stopping and frisking bystanders, most of whom are black or Latino, and preferably young, for no reason. They are stopped because of racial profiling. African-Americans make up seven times more than whites among the prison population, which is already the highest in the world. In the United States, it is known and recognized that they invest more in prisons than in schools….
Only 21 percent of their youth reach high school or college, compared to 37 percent of whites. Budget cuts in major cities declared bankrupt and in federal spending itself, that of the entire nation, affect the public school system and, of course, scholarships or university credits. It goes without saying that communities and neighborhoods where poor or low-income minorities live are among the hardest hit by teacher layoffs. During Barack Obama’s tenure alone, more than 300,000 school jobs have been lost – with a high proportion of these being African-American teachers and staff. Public education will be of even poorer quality, which means that there is no future sown there.
The unemployment rate in 2012 was 13.6 percent for the African-American work force, while the white unemployed made up 8.1 percent. Of the 45 million Americans who receive food aid because they are poor, more than 25 percent are black.
Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States will speak today, August 28, in honor of Martin Luther King. But it is well-known that the president is only an image in a House that is still white and protective of the interests of the powerful 1% against the 99% who – without distinction of race – have declared themselves in struggle and have also begun a path to close the gaps of class inequality, as the Occupy [Wall Street movement] which has been marginalized.
Now, in the southern states, even in other regions, electoral districts are being reconfigured and the black population is once again segregated from the vote, even having to pay to register. It also is the population with the lowest income, thereby discouraging voting. There is only one black senator among the top 100 in Congress, and 43 representatives in the House of Representatives, among 435…
Therefore, the validity of the thought of the civil and pacifist leader: “I have a dream: that one day this nation will rise up and live the true meaning of its creed. We hold this truth to be self-evident: All men are created equal.
Martin Luther King will continue: “Even though we face difficulties today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
Author: Gabriela Ávila Gómez | firstname.lastname@example.org
20 March 2018 21:03:48
Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of birth: 27 July 1979
Date of Death: March 14, 2018
Occupation at the time of her death: Sociologist and councillor in Rio de Janeiro
Political affiliation: Socialism and Freedom Party
Alma Mater: Catholic University PUC and Federal University Fluminense (master’s degree)
Photo: Taken from TN.COM
“Another murder of a young person who may enter the Military Police account. Matheus Melo was leaving the church. How many more will it take for this to end?” That was the last message on the social networking site Twitter from Rio de Janeiro city councilor Marielle Franco, who paradoxically became the next victim just 24 hours later.
Criticizing the military intervention ordered a month ago by the de facto president, Michel Temer, the activist had emerged from an act of defense for black women and was riding in a car when the shooting began.
According to the Brazilian daily O Globo, the goal was to reach the councilor, who was shot five times. The driver also died in the accident and only one of the advisors who accompanied her survived.
The event caused a stir in Brazil, as she was a woman respected and admired by Brazilians for being a fervent advocate for social causes. There have been several marches and mobilizations called by political parties and social movements under the slogans “Luto e luta” (Mourning becomes fighting), “Murdering police, they will not silence us” or “Warrior woman who died for the people”. Demonstrations were also held in Argentina.
Marielle Franco was a woman, young, black, a favela woman, but she managed to make all these elements – still discriminatory for many – her driving force in the struggle, and from every possible platform she dedicated herself to raising her voice against racism, machismo and the abuses committed by the police in Rio de Janeiro.
The activist was born and raised in La Maré, one of the most violent slum complexes in Rio. At the age of 18 she became pregnant and dropped out of school, but later she attended night classes. Thanks to a scholarship, she obtained a degree in Sociology from the Catholic University PUC, one of the most prestigious in the country. She also held a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Federal University of Fluminense.
One of the events that marked her in her youth and that defined her later line of work was the death of her best friend due to a stray bullet in the Maré; this led her to work on the denunciation of violence within the favelas.
In 2006, she became parliamentary assistant to Marcelo Freixo, He was an emblematic deputy who fought terror unfounded by militias in the favelas. Years later, Franco headed the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro.
At the time of her death, Franco was a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), and on this political platform she became the fifth most votes for municipal legislator in 2016.
Both the councilor and the PSOL were among the biggest critics of the military intervention ordered by Temer.
In this context, Franco became the rapporteur of a commission set up in the Rio municipal chamber to report on possible abuses committed by the military in this intervention.
She gained respect and admiration for the ideas she promoted: that of a greater presence of women, especially black women, in politics, the defence of human rights and her denunciations of the abuses committed under the pretext of stopping the violence in Rio.
In the palace of the Municipal Chamber, where the activist’s remains were veiled, the steps were covered with flowers and banners.
Many organizations and personalities around the world have called on the Brazilian authorities to explain this brutal act, which they describe as a “political assassination”.
In the midst of the investigation, based on the hypothesis of premeditated murder, it emerged that the ammunition that ended Marielle Franco’s life was part of lots sold to the Federal Police of Brasilia in 2006. This fact that opens another discussion and raises the question: was it the activist murdered by the police?
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
November 13, 2017
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
For a long time, Colin Kaepernick became a true symbol in the United States against the racial violence that the policemen inflict on black people, and that has led to murders.
The American football player’s stand cost him his career in the NFL, since he remains without a team and he himself denounces the fact that he is being made the victim of a “conspiracy” by the competition.
In spite of this, the icon does not abandon his struggle, and has obtained the recognition of being named “man of the year” by GQ magazine.
Attacked directly by Donald Trump, and seconded by almost all of his NFL teammates who popularized the gesture of kneeling while the US national anthem was played, Kaepernick is already almost a martyr of the racial struggle.
The ex-Quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers will express with words his fight in a book. And presumably that, his word, is the most valuable and complicated thing to obtain from him.
Good proof is that he has even preferred not to give an interview to GQ for that report in which he is named “man of the year”, although at least he has had the deference of posing in various photos through the streets of Harlem, in New York.
The magazine announced that Kaepernick will be featured on its cover and will be honored as “man of the year”, highlighting his social and racial struggle and his already legendary gesture of August 27, 2016, when he refused to listen standing to the United States national anthem.
Solidarity with Yanay, discriminated against because of the color of her skin
Posted on July 7, 2017 • 11:32 by Ariadna Pérez Valdés
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Since the publication, last Monday, of the article “Discriminated against on the basis of skin color”, we began receiving multiple messages from our readers through social networks, the website, section Buzón abierto [Open Mailbox], and phone calls. For the most part, these showed outrage at what happened, and supported Yanay, the Artemisa student, in her complaint.
It is worth noting that, in a few hours the item was positioned among the most read in our web edition and has remained so during the week.
The initial statements focused on astonishment and outrage at the fact that in 21st century socialist Cuba there was evidence of a scourge that many believed was eradicated: racism.
“This guy offends so many good Cubans who fought and gave their lives to sweep away these manifestations,” says Eddis Armin Pérez Calzadilla.
“We cannot allow such a serious offense: we are all equal here,” says Ana Griselda Rodríguez, neighbor of Santiago de las Vegas in the capital.
“It is an affront not only to the girl, but also to our society,” said Internet user Marco Velázquez Cristo, “because such conduct harms the dignity of the people and the values we defend. This is unacceptable.”
Then the comments got hotter, because they claimed that the action was a crime punishable under our laws, and urged Yanay to make a formal complaint. Most opinions demanded a punishment for the driver of the vehicle, on the understanding that such attitudes should not go unpunished.
“I hope the courts act strongly against the driver. For the young woman, a hug. We are not black or white, we are Cubans,” wrote Ibrahim Almaguer Legrá, via email.
Rivera warns that these racist behaviors have gone too far, not only among the boteros [self/employed car owners offering public transport service], but even in the paladares [private restaurants] with their employees. “The problem goes far beyond,” he said.
Another forum writer, Enrique Martinez, said, “Wow, now do not tell me that there is no evidence or that it is her word against his. The important thing here is to reject such an attitude. People can and must punish him. If Cubans contributed to doing away with apartheid thousands of miles away, how can a racist person be allowed to display his arrogance here. At least let’s make him swallow his racism.”
Among the many opinions, only that of a reader who calls himself Esteban does not see anything alarming in the story. “He did not ask her out for being black, but because he was ending the tour and she got offended when he called her by the color of her skin.”
We must add that a few minutes ago we received a call from the “Jose Antonio Aponte Committee” of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) taking an interest in the facts and congratulating our team for the publication.
The senders want to know what happened to the driver and what will the authorities do. They and we “expect a STRONG response.”