The So-Called “San Isidro” case
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
I believe that what is happening there is a consequence of not having taken care of four fundamental issues in time:
1- The marginal conditions of some of our neighborhoods in Havana.
2-The lack of attention or delay in recognizing and using the Social Sciences.
3- In spite of Fidel’s early warning, having neglected, for a long time, the racial question.
4-Some deficiencies in our political-ideological work.
On the last three points, I have warned enough.
But as a result of my warnings, I was never called to the Round Table, and when the faces of its protagonists appear, mine is never there. In spite of having been, individually, among those who have attended the Round Table the most.
None of those who used to publish me now publish me. They have not called me anymore to Cuban Television. Luckily TELESUR gave me a job.
I have also written many works on the racial question, three books and dozens of articles, always warning about the role that the Social Sciences should play and about the importance of ideological work. I am sure you have read some of them. In them, I have had to fight many battles, so that they do not accuse me of being a racist, accept my criticisms as necessary and do not believe that because I have traveled a lot to the United States, I have brought these things from there. Of which I have been accused more than a few times. Racism and discrimination were not brought by anyone, from anywhere. They are here, because they were born, with us, as a nation. And from here we will eliminate them someday. For the glory of all Cubans. We are already working on it within a Governmental Commission, presided over by Miguel Diaz Canel, President of the Republic.
We have slums, which I know very well, because I have visited them, so that no one can tell me about them. And, in addition, because when I had to come from my town, to Havana, in October 1958, I lived, beyond the triumph of the Revolution, in the Jesus Maria neighborhood, in Vives Street No. 258 between Alambique and San Nicolas. I know the neighborhood very well, because I participated in the La Coubre, joined the Young Rebels there and worked in the Provincial Directorate of 26th of July, which was on Arroyo and 27th.
In those neighborhoods, the standard of living is very low, it always was. They are plagued by delinquents, prostitutes, and poor people, who live on the day-to-day things they can get. It does not mean that all their neighbors are prostitutes, antisocial and delinquents.
Many decent and revolutionary people also live there. But this is the environment that has always tended to dominate. In general, social relations, forms of behavior and mentality are still far removed from what is reflected in our journalistic, radio and television media. The state of the houses, the streets, the material conditions, do not contribute to generating a healthy social environment. As a result, many families struggle to move to other neighborhoods and the worst remains in the neighborhood.
Thus, attitudes, forms of behavior, colloquial language, philosophy of life are generated, all of which are very different from the environment in which most of us live and develop.
In general, there are no reading habits, interest in studying is very low, the sense of intellectual and cultural improvement is also very low. Access to the University is very limited.
Most of them are interested in earning money, or rather in having it, even if they do not seek it by lawful and moral means. Therefore, whoever offers them money, buys not a few, with relative ease, even if it is to carry out antisocial activities, and sometimes even counterrevolutionary activities.
Excessive drinking is very common among the type of person who live in this neighborhood. Rather, not a few of them are interested in partying and getting drunk. As a result, the vast majority of them, within the environment in which they live, are not interested in standing out for the positive, but for the negative, which not a few exacerbate. In their dress, their speech, their behavior, the way they behave socially, the way they treat women.
So then, the people, let’s call them normal, who live there, suffer a kind of cornering. That forces them to move away, so as not to suffer the negative consequences of being forced to live under such conditions.
The environment in which they live, tends to generate an ethic of permissibility, before any crime. A similar type of behavior is the treatment that women generally receive. Women often react in the same way, with a tendency to associate with these types of men, who some consider more “macho”. Generally, this type of woman, when receiving from the man any cultured attention, respectful treatment or delicacy, confuse them with homosexuality, as a lazy and effeminate type. This serves to fuel rude and disrespectful behavior, with a tendency to brutality towards them. Without realizing, sometimes, that they themselves contribute to the worse treatment they are subjected to. So then, feminism, the struggle for equality and recognition of women’s status, does not have much space among many of them.
They despise the laws, those who apply them, the police, in particular, they hate them and do not deserve any respect. They see them as their enemies and never as agents of order or guardians of good morals. For this reason, the tendency is not to inform on anyone, regardless of the crime they may have committed. This is considered as an act of “snitching”, lack of manhood, which many consider should be punished, even with a beating or death. Revenge is a typical phenomenon of social behavior.
They were not born this way, but, not infrequently, the example they receive at home, is forming them in this way; because, not infrequently, the same parents, inoculate them with customs, forms of behavior, values, ethics, inverse to those that the average of the society demands of them. From here also, sometimes, developed their behavior regarding education, respect to teachers, authority and government institutions.
In their eyes, the ideological work that is done is looked down upon, the work of the UJC seems to them as elitist and that of the rest of the organizations do not manage to attract them to good manners.
Fidel was very concerned about this, when he spoke several times about the racial question and generated the “Social Workers”, in view of the reality of the number of young people who neither studied nor worked. It was said that there were about 80,000 in the province of Havana. I also oriented to make investigations to know what was happening with the children in these neighborhoods. If the mothers had enough money to buy food for them, if the children had a television set and toys, etc. Trying to alleviate a social situation that could already be considered critical.
But all this remained in Fidel’s good intentions and the work that was being done was not continued. We were coming from a situation in which prostitution, drugs and these social problems were not considered to have a place in our society. But Fidel perceived them clearly from the beginning and oriented work toward them.
Today then, these neighborhoods are affected by delinquency, drugs, people without ideology, the unclassed, the marginalized, to whom we have already arrived too late. The consequences are manifesting themselves.
In these neighborhoods, in general, the revolution has not been able to reproduce itself and the counterrevolution, which has always stalked them, does not find it very difficult to attract them. If we add to this, the Pandemic and the difficult economic conditions we are going through today, I would say that we are in the most complex situation to address their problems. Although I am sure we are going to do it. Because our social policy and the interest that “no one is left helpless” are real. And they are being reinforced within the current economic policy.
They would not have been counterrevolutionaries, in their immense majority, but we, with our inattention and deficient political-ideological work, have been giving them away to the counterrevolution. Perhaps, without realizing it. So, if the revolution had managed to work more strongly against inequalities, the racial question, marginality, invisibilization; if our television and our media in general, had always been more visible of the differences, had debated more our problems, of things about which we are only beginning to talk about now, it would have been less difficult to fight against that environment and rescue its victims from the problems that now afflict them. And that the counterrevolution takes advantage of.
But we concentrate on the advances, neglecting the fact that not all of us have arrived in the same way to the current Cuban society and those have been left behind. Being the majority, blacks and mestizos, unfortunately, poor in general. They are the ones who were more directly affected by the “starting points”, farther away from the social and cultural welfare that the revolution, from the beginning, has lavished on many.
San Isidro is not the only neighborhood in Havana with these inequalities, marginalities and social disadvantages that have degenerated into the counterrevolutionary attitudes of a few.
There are other neighborhoods. And not only in the Capital.
What should we do now?
I believe that we should pay attention, with urgency, to the following issues:
1- We must pay attention to the material needs of those neighborhoods, in order to improve them. No promises, no propaganda. Just start. To make people see that their material situation begins to improve.
2- It is necessary to work on those neighborhoods with quality ideological and cultural work. Not with speeches or talks. Nor with master classes.
3- The situation of all those neighborhoods, Cuasi cuaba, La Lisa, Siboney, Atares, Luyano, etc., must be reviewed. If they have not turned around, it is because there are community projects and positive neighborhood leadership.
4- It is necessary to dust off everything that the Social Sciences have investigated and put it into execution. Formulate new projects and finish giving the Social Sciences the place they deserve, within the general scientific work and in the treatment of problems, in particular. There is scientific potential to do so.
5- The party must thoroughly review the work of the Ideological Apparatus and turn part of the tasks of its cadres in the directions that this situation demands.
6- The neighborhood of San Isidro, it is necessary to negotiate with them. See what they want. Take them to the logic of what they can ask for. And try to convince them of what cannot be given to them.
7- Formulate a strategy to help the nuclei of the party in situations of this nature. Because I am convinced that this struggle continues. And the insurmountable ones, already on the side of the counterrevolution, will continue, as long as they can, taking advantage of the complex situation the country is going through, to fulfill their purposes linked to the current US policy towards Cuba.
Biden already gave them the human rights policy, in his recent report, with which they will continue to pressure and perhaps do nothing to help the country solve its difficulties. On the contrary, they will try to exacerbate them. Generating a waiting period to see how the story ends.
Havana, April 18, 2021
Author: Pedro de la Hoz | firstname.lastname@example.org
March 4, 2021 23:03:32 PM
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
One fine day, looking for proximity between home and work, Tomás Fernández Robaina left behind his job as an accountant in a light industry establishment and joined the José Martí National Library. That was not a simple job exchange, but a radical change of life, because it was the beginning of the parallel takeoff of a substantive work in Cuban bibliography, and in the historical research related to the African legacy in national culture and the fight against discrimination because of skin color.
On the verge of 80 years of existence, five and a half decades of which he has spent at the prestigious cultural institution, Tomasito inspires respect and admiration for the impetus and passion he puts into every intellectual endeavor.
Those qualities nurtured the construction of one of his exemplary contributions to the field of island librarianship: the General Index of Periodicals. It was the result,” he recalled, “of an analysis of the indexes that had traditionally been prepared in the Library after the Revolution. As Salvador Bueno’s assistant, looking for information for the work I had to do in view of the popular literacy campaign, I realized that finding information was not very easy, because it was necessary to register a large number of directories. There were so many indexes that had been compiled that we really had to find a new way. I envisioned the project in two ways: to consolidate all the contents of the indexes that had already been compiled, and to begin to compile a repository that would include the contents of all the periodicals that were emerging”.
Having been the compiler of the Bibliografía de estudios afroamericanos (1969) and the Bibliografía de temas afrocubanos (1986) allowed researchers, professors, students and readers in general to have valuable tools of knowledge, and in his personal case, to confront sources that would be extremely useful for monographs and essays.
In 1990, one of his most far-reaching and impactful works, El negro en Cuba 1902-1958, was published. Although the author modestly stated that he was limiting himself to offering notes for the history of the struggle against racial discrimination, the documentation provided and the judgments derived from it, as well as the punctual record of the milestones, turn this essay into an essential reading.
Tomasito’s publications also include Hablen paleros y santeros, Recuerdos secretos de dos mujeres públicas, Cuba: personalidades en el debate racial and Identidad afrocubana: cultura y nacionalidad.
A member of the Cuban Association of Librarians (Ascubi) and of the Association of Writers of UNEAC-he is one of the most resolute activists of the José Antonio Aponte Commission-, Tomasito maintains, as a currency, to share what he has, to stimulate the spiritual growth of the new generations and never stop fighting to complete the work of social justice of the Revolution, especially with regard to the conquest of the fullest equality.
By Fernando M. García Bielsa
December 23rd, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The latest incidents of police brutality and racist killings in many U.S. cities are not a recent phenomenon. They are long-standing events, stemming from the days of slavery and, as now, developing alongside the violence of paramilitary and white supremacist groups.
The warlike projection of the country and its having reached the point of being permanently involved in a series of wars in various confines, has permeated the psyche of thousands of people and is reflected in a growing militarization at the domestic level. In addition to police brutality, it is clearly expressed in the proliferation of violent groups, as well as in government agencies such as the prison system, the militarization of the border with Mexico, and violence against immigrants.
In addition to the violent and racist tradition with which the U.S. nation was formed and the impact of imperial militarism, there are also the social fractures, polarization, and growing inequalities that this society has shown in recent decades. There are tens and tens of millions of people inserted in a vicious circle of residential segregation in unsafe neighborhoods lacking basic services.
The question of race and racism against Blacks has been a major factor in shaping American culture and policy from colonial times and the formation of the republic to the present. Much of national politics revolves around them. The historical and current location of African Americans is – in many ways – central to the country’s problems.
In turn, Black political movements and activism have historically been at the forefront of struggles for progressive change in the United States, a vast and diverse country where class and other movements have been co-opted or fragmented. This is influenced by historical reasons, immense institutional obstacles, as well as the dimensions of the country, the tensions arising from the multi-ethnic character of its population, and the growing weakness of the labor movement.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, so-called “communities of color” began to understand that society, as it existed, would never address their needs as they were perceived and felt. It was in this period that exploring their cultural heritage and building their own institutions became their greatest strength. The Black Power slogan had electrified Black communities across the country.
A dramatic transformation in the self-image of Black people began, in the context of one of the most effective social movements to date in the country, of racial pride, collective consciousness and community solidarity, with enormous repercussions in society as a whole.
After the impact of the great struggles and mobilizations of the Black civil rights movement, it became evident to sectors of power that the strength of such movements was being enhanced given the serious social problems in those communities. For this reason, since the 1960s, a whole series of government programs and assistance projects for the “development” of marginal areas and Black communities had been spreading.
Among the results of these programs was the strengthening of reformist groups and economic interests, as well as contributing in the long term to the formation of a whole layer of African American and Latino professionals and politicians with possibilities of access, public presence, and supposed representation of the interests of so-called ethnic minorities.
The Black bourgeoisie, including that which developed during the Obama administration, has continued to make false promises of inclusion. Except in the recent context in reaction to the wave of killings and police violence, organized political activism by African Americans has reached this stage after a long period of ebb.
Black groups have remained atomized, uncoordinated, focused on immediate economic and social concerns, and their energies have become diffuse, marked by the needs and life emergencies of their social bases, internal divisions, and the social polarization in their communities. External manipulations of all kinds do the rest.
The appearance of greater political influence by the Black population given the access of a few of their own to positions of some visibility has been misleading. Despite some advances in participation and representation, Blacks continue to fare worse than whites in having their political preferences and interests legislated.
The increase in class diversity that has taken place within these ‘communities’ and the nefarious role played by the Democratic Party in presenting itself as a champion of the underprivileged when in fact it is subject to the interests of the country’s financial elite, were felt.
The United States shows a growing number of very deep social divisions. Racism and the dangerous ideology of white supremacy is a serious obstacle to social cohesion, and is sometimes conducive to and at the root of serious outbreaks of violence. Demographic trends, some warn, suggest that the nation will not be sustainable in the long term unless marked inequalities between populations of diverse ethnic backgrounds are corrected.
Analyst Tim Wise said (on the Truthout website, March 2, 2012) that, in 25 or 30 years when non-whites will be half the population and the majority in several states, it will not be sustainable for the country to maintain that population as it is now. Blacks today are three times more likely to be in poverty than whites, twice as likely to be unemployed, with several times less assets and with an income less than the other half of the citizenry, and with nine years less life expectancy.
Behind that reality, repressive conceptions prevail. These are not only fed by overflowing militaristic mentalities or fears of ungovernability, but they are backed up by calculations of profit generation. These are derived from the so-called wars on drugs, mass incarceration in private prisons, outsourcing to private “security” agencies, and institutionalized repression against immigrants and marginalized populations.
The focus of repressive state activity is directed against Black groups and progressive organizations, which has led to the violation of civil liberties, the criminalization of social movements, increased surveillance and infiltration of Black, Latino and poor Muslim institutions and communities, including the deployment of undercover police, informants and intimidation in homes and public spaces.
A woman protests in New York against the ban on Muslims in Trump. Photo: Stephanie Keith/ AFP.
Muslim communities in the country face an environment of growing intolerance and hostility since the September 11, 2001 attacks. State and local police forces gather information and spy on law-abiding Muslim citizens. They become targets of violence as an extension of racism and xenophobia to our day, virtually demanding submission and near abandonment of their cultural and identity expressions.
So far, anger and despair have replaced the organizational strength and momentum of the civil rights era.
U.S. society is deeply fractured politically and across class, regional, economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural interests. Racial issues intersect with class differences and class oppression, and are often instrumentalized for political purposes. Levels of violence resurface; disparities are enormous. There are pockets of the population where people live in constant paranoia.
Even after the great rebellions against racism and the successes of the civil rights movement in the middle of the last century, including the partial dismantling of many of the legal structures that supported segregation, racial inequality remains a palpable fact. The racial chasm is widening and has not been altered by changes in government.
Racial prejudice in the United States has a strong negative impact on the lives of African Americans. It expresses itself in forms of discrimination in all areas and conditions of existence: segments of the population caught in a vicious circle of residential segregation, inferior opportunities for education or health services, marginality, increasing rates of incarceration, and discrimination in employment. Black workers receive 22% less than white workers in their wages, with the same levels of education and experience. The average income of African American households is just over half that of white households.
In most cities and urban areas of the country there are separate areas where the Black population resides,. This reflect the historical racial segregation that shaped the country and the policies created in the past to keep Black people out of certain neighborhoods. Many of these slums have high levels of poverty and face an intense and unwanted police presence.
In such an atmosphere and because of such deep-rooted prejudices, any activity, no matter how innocent, in which a Black man is involved generates suspicion, alarm and often danger to his life. Consider also that the rate of Black citizens in prison is five times that of white citizens. Despite being only 13% of the population they constitute 40% of all incarcerated men.
Highly peaceful neighborhoods coexist with others where violent death ravages the usually poor. Entire communities of Black, Latino, Muslim or Asian populations feel their communities are under increasing police occupation.
U.S. society has not been able to address the root causes of the outrage and anger that consume millions and are behind the recent powerful demonstrations against repression and racism. Neither politicians nor public institutions have established effective government programs to mitigate at least these gross inequalities, ultimately produced by the prevailing capitalist system.
On the other hand, what that society has done quite effectively is to divide and co-opt many of the struggles and organizing efforts that were going on in those communities.
The re-emergence of a “new Jim Crow,” that is, of a climate of brutal segregation, based on the mass imprisonment and repeated police killings of unarmed Black men, shows that the old systems of repressive control have increased in the present, always maintaining the dividing line of skin color.
In contrast, white hate groups, nationalists and racists, as well as their armed paramilitary branches, proliferate and carry out violent actions, often being overlooked or even in collusion with authorities in certain regions. Many of President Trump’s words and actions have seemed to encourage such groups.
All of this demagogic rhetoric, which has a fascist slant and is a mirror of the country’s war policies, encourages desperate sectors to organize themselves into militias to wage crusades of various kinds. It is a propitious environment when more than 300 million firearms, many of them of high caliber, are in the hands of the population, when a part of the hundreds of thousands of war veterans live with their frustrations, resentments and traumas of their war experiences.
In this context, hundreds and hundreds of right-wing armed militias throughout the country are operating, whose ideology and motivations are a combination of paranoia, fear and aggressive claims of their rights to carry firearms, receptiveness to elaborate conspiracy theories and extreme anti-government anger. Many claim that the country’s government has been subverted by conspirators and has become illegitimate, and therefore see themselves as patriotic by organizing themselves paramilitarily, confronting the authorities, and fomenting racial warfare.
Many authorities, in conjunction with the media, continued to criminalize protests and progressive groups, going so far as to characterize minor actions as violent crimes and even “terrorism.
Raising alleged “security” interests, the so-called program to Counteract Violent Extremism (CVE) was begun under the Obama administration (2009-2017), that openly resembles the repression against radical groups and the COINTELPRO program of the 1960s and 1970s, and that was added to the actions deployed after the passage of the Patriot Act in October 2001 and other actions.
On the basis of sections of that law, federal agencies are able to make more and more inroads into areas of civil and personal life. The FBI, for example, can demand information such as telephone and computer records, credit and banking history, etc., without requiring court approval and without being subject to controls on the use that the feds make of such personal information.
Abuses and violations of the law often occur. Such is the case when attention is drawn to controversial sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which allow for the conduct of mass spying on Americans communicating abroad. Recently the National Security Agency (NSA) has admitted to improperly collecting several hundred million phone calls from U.S. citizens.
According to William I. Robinson, a specialist on these issues, in his January 2018 article Global Police State, as war and state repression are privatized, the interests of a wide range of capitalist groups converge around a political, social, and ideological climate conducive to the generation and maintenance of social conflict.
For some time there have been signs that the government was anticipating the possible occurrence of serious civil problems and disturbances.
A video entitled “The Urban Future and its Emerging Complexity,” created by the U.S. Army to be used in the training of special forces, is revealing of the mentality and attitude in state entities regarding citizenship and the so-called “problems” that the government must be prepared to face through the use of martial law.
Already in 2008, a report from the Army Defense College stated that in the face of the possibility of a wave of widespread civilian violence within the country, the military establishment planned to “redirect its priorities under conditions of exemption to defend domestic order and the security of the people.
In its 44 pages, the report warned of the potential causes of such problems, which could include terrorist attacks, unanticipated economic collapse, loss of legal and political order, intentional domestic insurgency, health emergencies, and others. It also mentioned the possibility of a situation of widespread public outcry that would trigger dangerous situations and that would require additional powers to restore order.
In recent years, the U.S. state has radically expanded its punitive and surveillance capabilities. To limit protests, control dissent and popular opposition, as part of the well-known actions of the FBI and local police forces in previous decades, the system used administrative and legislative methods, espionage and covert infiltration, discrediting actions, massive “preventive” arrests, police attacks even against authorized peaceful protests, and so on.
The FBI’s budget for funding undercover agents, much of it within progressive organizations, rose from $1 million in 1977 to several tens of millions today.
In the United States, Black deaths are not a flaw in the system. They are the system.
Racism, whose historical cause lies in the pursuit of the most brutal exploitation as a means of enrichment, is also in its essence and necessarily a cultural phenomenon. That is why it does not end with the elimination of the economic bases that sustain it.
By Ernesto Estévez Rams
July 5, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The kidnapping of the black from the white is not exclusive to a single country with a slave-owning or slavery-like past; rather, it is the rule. In Cuba, it can even be sought from what is sometimes considered our first literary work, Mirror of Patience, written by an acriolated canary. [from the Canary Islands]
The story, in the words of Eduardo Torres-Cuevas, is an aesthetic recreation of a lie and, at the same time, the creation of a myth. The first, associated with the fact that the work tries to hide the context of smuggling that causes the events portrayed; the second refers to the intention of enhancing the heroism of the Bayamese Creoles.
But it can also be read in other ways. In the work, black appears, fundamentally in the figure of Salvador Golomón, an “Ethiopian worthy of praise”, who puts an end to the unfortunate life of the buccaneer Gilberto Girón, kidnapper of Bishop Cabezas de Altamirano. With this courageous action, the black man achieves his freedom. Salvador’s virtue, in the eyes of Silvestre de Balboa, author of the poem, is to have served the white masters courageously in a battle for commercial reasons – for a traffic from which he did not benefit at all – in which he was only a participant in his condition as a slave. Black was seen through the eyes of white, this time in his utilitarian function.
Racism, whose historical cause lies in the search for the most brutal exploitation as a means of enrichment, is also in its essence and necessarily a cultural phenomenon. That is why it does not end with the elimination of the economic bases that sustain it. It endures over time beyond the elimination of the explicit or implicit laws that codify it, beyond the economic relations that need racism. And discrimination is not completely stopped unless the cultural fabric that supports it and which, in many cases, forms part of the structural core of countries is also stopped.
Nations such as the Cuban were shaped from the Christian Eurocentric with a significant racist component. Significant actors in the formation of this nationality saw the black as a factor of social backwardness. The Creole elites justified concrete proposals for eugenics and other more genocidal proposals.
Such racist positions, whether in their most extreme or most paternalistic variants, were the norm among defenders of the colony, annexationists, reformers, or autonomists. But racism was also present in pro-independence sectors, despite our most distinquich heroes and the profoundly anti-slavery roots of our deeds. Martí’s preaching of thinking of an inclusive and peerless republic in all its ethnic diversity did not mean by far the acceptance of an anti-racist stance by the frustrated society that emerged from the war of independence.
The intervening power favored actors who shared its anti-black vision. From the elites, Cuba’s progress was to “whitewash” it, appealing equally to processes of “advancing the race” by means of mestizaje, as to relegating the black “to his place”. Such ideas, projected from the class hegemony of the subordinate bourgeoisie of imperial power, were also used as a mechanism of fear to justify violence against components of the humble masses of whites, blacks and mestizos. They were used to justify crimes like the killing of thousands of Black people during the 1912 uprising. The fear of the Black people, which had been stirred up as a mechanism of domination in the colony, was transferred to the nascent republic for the same purpose.
The black, in the neo-colonial republican design that emerged, was a symbol of incivility, backwardness, and a hindrance to the nation’s progress. Its culture was not such, it was ignorant, lascivious, perverse and incompetent, and to the same extent that its rebellious presence in authentic Cuba was unstoppable, it made more of an effort to create its “white”, “civilized” variant, whether in music, theater or literature. That perspective is still there in sectors of the Cuban social imaginary, even after 60 years of systematic effort to change it from the political power that the Revolution gave to the dispossessed, including in them the black.
Any process of gestation of the national, essentially symbolic, necessarily generates an organic intellectuality to that effort. We know the white intelligentsia, most of them representatives of sectors of the owning class within the Creole population. The memory of the black woman was largely lost, either through the lack of her own written testimony or through an exercise that she sought to forget. But, although recovering it for the social imaginary is difficult, we have the emancipatory duty to continue doing so. We still have a debt to the Aponte of our history and we will not succeed in crowning our aspirations until we pay it off.
These shortcomings persist despite years of effort to study the country’s black roots and the intellectuals who have made and continue to make this study the reason for their scientific endeavors. Studies to which the Revolution managed to incorporate the Black himself from his literate empowerment, as a prying into his past and shaping his history. This systematic effort to discover our Black history has not been accompanied by the same success, in spite of all the progress that has been made there too, in its incorporation into the educational systems. Nor is the generation of tangible and intangible symbols of that memory sufficient.
Beyond laws and concrete efforts to eliminate the economic and social roots of racism, the Revolution set in motion gigantic cultural decolonization processes that are still in progress today. Entire spaces in society acquired dark colors, especially in artistic culture, but far beyond it. Never before in the history of this country has a more monumental effort been made to incorporate the Black, not as something grafter on, but as an essential part of the trunk of what is Cuban. This was done at the same time as the methodological tools were being developed to achieve this, based on the urgency of taking the sky by storm here too. Like all emancipatory social processes, much was achieved in a very short time and it was also erred as a result of doing and, also, not doing enough.
The special period, with the social and economic processes that it unleashed, gave rise to processes of re-marginalization of tangible and symbolic areas of Cuban society that joined others that had never ceased to be marginal, where the Black presence is marked. This pointed to structural problems of inequality or vulnerability, associated with skin color, which have not been resolved in our society. Racism is still present in Cuba today, because it underlies, often dormant, in the social consciousness of not a few compatriots and is invisible in not a few social and even institutional spaces.
Today, the symbolic marginalization has as a new component the influence of colonizing globalization. It is in this context that the fight against racism in Cuba also acquires even more peremptory connotations and scope, as part of the common cultural front against the onslaught to which we are subjected as a nation.
We also see this marginalization in the loss of civility reflected in reprehensible social attitudes, the rise of misogynistic lyrics in songs and other manifestations. When this phenomenon occurs, the underlying racism tends to re-visit it in terms of race: the Black is antisocial, the Black is the ill-mannered, the Black is the uncivilized… This image is reflected in common places that persist among us, such as when it is associated with doing things right with “let’s do it like whites” or when a person is reproached for behaving like “a Black man”.
In our current society, wide spaces, where racism has been defeated, coexist with others where it persists and expands. We can proudly see tremendous advances in this fight against racism: firstly, its banishment as a phenomenon inherent to a capitalist society, but we also have to recognize its stubborn permanence as a real social phenomenon.
We recognize our formal dress, symbolically legitimized for protocol and official acts, in the very Cuban guayabera, but also in the jacket and tie imported from white and symbolically exclusive Europe, and none other. We do not incorporate into the garments accepted as formal the beautiful clothes of our African heritage. It is a simple and “innocent” example of all those symbolic dimensions of racism that go unnoticed among us.
Some monuments erected in the bourgeois neo-colonial republic have not been adequately intervened to re-describe them in the light of an anti-colonial and revolutionary vision of our history.
We carry with us the consequences of those centuries in which the Black, culturally speaking, was forcibly inserted into a society shaped from the white and its codes. Their culture, as an everyday attitude, is still seen by many as peripheral, another reality not incorporated into a supposed white root; it is perceived as a culture of folklore. It persists in segregating certain social behaviors, such as Black behaviors. The most explicit reaction on the part of those attacked to this symbolic aggression is then reduced by some to a supposed threat to social coexistence.
A relentless struggle must be waged, on the real economic, social and cultural levels, against racism, which not only persists but threatens to advance. It must be fought with the tools that we have used and are using in all these years of immense and insufficient effort. We have a tremendous arsenal of ideas that we didn’t have before, which is also the result of what has been done since the Revolution, and which we can and must incorporate into this battle, the one we owe to all the Salvador Golomóns of our history. They did not fight to reproduce patterns of exploitation, but to open up paths to seek full human potential. We owe it to ourselves, regardless of color, all the children equally of Martí and Maceo, of Camilo and Almeida.
George Junius Stinney Jr. was convicted in March 1944 of the murder of the two girls, ages 11 and 8, in a speedy trial by a jury of white men. George was executed in the electric chair on June 16 of that year.
By Raúl Antonio Capote | email@example.com
August 4, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A boy looks scared into the camera of the Clarendon police photographer. After long hours of brutal interrogation, he had just confessed to a crime he had not commit.
Whoever pressed the shutter of the camera captured the pure image of fear and innocence; George Stinney’s police photo is not just any photo.
Stinney was a boy from Alcolu, Clarendon, a small town in South Carolina. His life was the life, you might say, of an African-American boy in that region.
George was tending the family’s cows with his sister Amie that day when two white girls, Mary Emma Thames and Betty June Binnicker, approached them to ask about some medicinal plants they were looking for. George and Amie did not know the plants, so the girls went on their way.
Hours after the meeting, the girls’ parents, concerned, went out to look for them. George offered to help when they passed by his family’s farm and told the parents about the conversation he had with the girls.
The bodies of the girls were found near a Missionary Baptist church, showed signs of sexual abuse and had been killed using a 25 kg wood.
The police arrested George and took him in for questioning, in a process that involved many irregularities, physical abuse and psychological torture. The child was not represented by any lawyer and was not allowed the company of his parents, despite being a minor, he was only 14 years old.
They said that he had confessed to the crime, but no evidence of the confession was ever produced, it was the word of the police against that of the black child. His sister–witnessing that Stinney had been with her all afternoon, so she could not commit the crime–was threatened and harassed, so she had to flee the area in the face of the real possibility of being lynched, as some villagers had promised to do.
George Junius Stinney Jr. was convicted in March 1944 of the murder of the two girls, aged 11 and 8, in a speedy trial by a jury of white people. George was executed in the electric chair on June 16 of that year.
In 2014 the case was reviewed and justice ruled that the boy had not received a fair trial and he was found not guilty. The problem is that this verdict came 70 years too late.
By Natalia Plazas
June 20, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In 1921 Tulsa, the city Donald Trump chose to resume his campaign for the presidency, was the scene of one of the most atrocious massacres in U.S. history against the Black community. Nearly a hundred years after the event, the facts remain virtually unknown to society.
Donald Trump hit the nail on the head when he decided to resume his campaign for reelection in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tens of thousands of his supporters await him there, but there is also a growing call for remembrance and justice from activist groups who remember that that city has not healed the wounds of the worst massacre in the country’s recent history against the African-American community.
On the night of May 31 to June 1, 1921, an entire neighborhood was razed to the ground and 300 black citizens were killed. The massacre began when a white crowd came to lynch a black man accused of sexually assaulting a white woman. That, supposedly, was the trigger for the tragedy, but history has revealed a much more perverse situation.
In the 1920s, the Greenwood neighborhood, a black enclave in the city of Tulsa, was noted for its economic prosperity. The distribution of land after the end of the American Civil War had benefited some African-American and Native American communities, and as a result Greenwood had become stronger, despite being segregated, like any black neighborhood at the time.
From ‘Black Wall Street’ to a neighborhood in the ashes
Such was the commercial and economic success forged in Greenwood that it was commonly called the ‘Black Wall Street’, but soon its good fortune would bring it ruin. Members of the white community began to view their neighbors’ bonanza with suspicion and, interested in occupying their land during the railroad expansion, decided to attack the neighborhood.
On the night of May 31, a crowd of white men, supported by local authorities and even police, arrived in Greenwood and charged at the African-American population and their homes. The mob burned down homes and businesses to the point that when the situation calmed down hours later, at least 35 whole blocks had been left in rubble.
The blow took away the good fortune of the neighborhood forever. In the wake of the event, Greenwood’s recovery has been frustrated by the creation of laws promoting zoning or by building restrictions. Today in Tulsa, the social gap between blacks and whites is notorious. According to a Human Rights Watch report, poverty is almost three times higher among black citizens than among white citizens.
A Donald Trump rally ignites misgivings in a remote society
With Trump’s visit, originally scheduled to coincide with the celebration of Black Independence Day on June 19 [Juneteenth] and postponed amidst national protests against racism, the call for historical recognition of the victims and economic reparations for their descendants has intensified more than ever.
Less than a year before the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa incident, justice has yet to be established, despite the fact that the case has even been brought before the U.S. Supreme Court. Both lower courts and the high court have dismissed the claims. Currently, only two survivors of the massacre are still alive.
But Trump’s arrival has not only put the spotlight on a forgotten chapter of American history. His desperate attempt to revive in Oklahoma an image that has deteriorated in recent months due to the economic impact of the pandemic has highlighted the differences between his supporters and those who demand changes in the treatment of the African-American community.
“Any protester, anarchist, agitator, looter, or small-time person who goes to Oklahoma, please understand that they will not be treated as they have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a very different scene,” the president said before embarking on the trip to Tulsa.
The comment, which his critics call conflictive and divisive, comes at a time when the rejection of racial violence in the United States shows its greatest increase in decades, with weeks of massive demonstrations in multiple cities around the country that have also reached the doors of the White House.
The protests against racism, supported in different latitudes of the planet after the assassination of George Floyd, have also gained strength in the field of sport
Author: Alfonso Nacianceno | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 2020 00:06:46
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Donald Trump attacked the Black football players, members of the well-known NFL, because a group of them were kneeling on the ground to hear the national anthem, in protest against racial segregation.
U.S. law requires the military to perform its usual salute. All other citizens, including athletes, must remain standing, facing the national flag, with their right hand resting on their heart, while the anthem is played.
By not following this guideline in different facilities, Trump, although there was no clause in the NFL regulations, pressured the organization’s directors to punish all players who expressed themselves in this way against racism and inequality.
In light of the current events in the convulsed American scene, when this Tuesday would be the burial of George Floyd in the middle of the incombustible protests, the United States Soccer Federation (US Soccer) will open a debate to on ending the controversial rule of prohibiting its athletes from taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, the spokesman of the entity confirmed.
If the rule were to be repealed, it would immediately cease to have any effect. The measure came to life when Megan Rapinoe, four-time U.S. women’s national team champion and Golden Ball winner, knelt on the field in solidarity with American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who in the same gesture in 2016 sparked the anger of Trump, who pushed him out of the NFL
Rapinoe’s solidarity with the expelled player was the reason used by the president to radicalize the ban on kneeling on the ground.
The protests against racism, supported in different latitudes of the planet after the murder of George Floyd, have also gained strength in the field of sport, an important aspect of American national life. This is not only because of the rivalry that exists between the teams of disciplines that are widely followed by the population, but also because athletes are symbols that awaken empathy.
The quality of Black athletes in the United States is internationally recognized; many have been the protagonists of feats remembered throughout the world. Today, even though major competitions have been halted by the pandemic in that country, it is to be hoped that, when they return to action, there will also be a revival of protests in the stadiums, and knees on the grass.
July 15, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Trump generates a wave of outrage: absolutely racist and anti-American. It’s not something you should hear from the President of the United States.
Regeneration, July 15, 2019. A few hours ago, Trump attacked four congresswomen who lead the popular opposition to his government. It’s a series of Twitter messages where the U.S. president tells them to “go home.
Trump doesn’t say names, but it’s very clear who the attack is aimed at.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s response from New York:
It is important to keep in mind that the words of today’s President, who tells four congresswomen of color to “return to their own country,” are the distinctive language of white supremacists.
Trump is comfortable leading the Republican Party into racism, and that should worry all Americans – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Racist and anti-American.
For her part, Senator Harris pointed out that the subject is old-fashioned and is still heard in the streets, but it is not something that should be said by the president of the United States.
“It’s absolutely racist and anti-American. And it’s an old trope – going back to where you came from that, you know, you might hear it on the street, but you should never hear that from the president of the United States,” Harris told the media.
Trump Against U.S. Congresswomen
“Return to your crime-infested countries,” wrote the U.S. president.
The response was not long in coming from dozens of Internet users, from citizens to politicians and the media.
“Attitudes such as these would be scandalous in any country in the world, but apparently, the American president acts outside of civility and proper political behavior,” postulates an American citizen.
The U.S. president does not name any particular person.
But among those mentioned would be Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent.
White nationalism, xenophobia and chauvinism. Disgustin.
Among the reactions, there is no hesitation in describing Trump’s statements as “despicable” and “repellent.”
What is certain is that three of the attacked congresswomen were born in the United States and one of them arrived at twelve years of age.
In this sense, they accuse the statements of “unmasking once again their white nationalism, xenophobic and chauvinism .
-It’s disgusting,” she points out.
Women’s collective opposing the object of the attack on Trump
Trump would have dedicated this diatribe to the female collective known as ‘The Squad’:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman from New York. Born in New York, of Puerto Rican descent.
Just like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, from Michigan, born in Detroit, has Palestinian parents.
In the case of Ilhan Omar from Massachusetts [wrong in the original, ed. Omar is from Minnesota], who arrived as a refugee from Somalia at the age of twelve. And she was the first Muslim woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 2016.
Finally, Ayanna Pressley, from Massachusetts, an activist woman of black descent.
The politics of division is how this Administration works. We are here to serve our country. Our families are here. Our children are here. We are here. I’m with my sisters.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Despite the attempts by the occupant of the White House to marginalize and silence us, know that we are more than four people.”
“We follow the mandate to defend and represent those ignored, excluded and abandoned. Our squad is big. Our squad includes anyone who commits to building a more equitable and just world. This is the work that we want to go back to . Given the size of this squadron and this great nation, no one will be able to silence us.”
That’s how the four U.S. congressmen responded: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, to the campaign of racist epithets launched against them by President Donald Trump who has offended simultaneously with his orders to armed agents to terrorize immigrants in the United States. and communities across the country.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, paraphrasing Trump’s campaign slogan promoting his re-election, accused him of trying to “make America white again (instead of powerful)”.
Trump had tweet with irony: “How interesting to see the “progressive” Democratic congresswomen, who come from countries where the governments are a complete and total catastrophe telling us, with screams and aggressively, how we should exercise our government in the States Why don’t you go back to those places that you’ve completely come to? less and crime-ridden where they come from to help fix the situation, Trump asks them the same way.
“Go back to where they came from? Let it be known that three of the congresswomen attacked by the President were born in the United States. Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez, is a native of the Bronx, in New York. She is the youngest woman elected to Congress; Ayanna Pressley, born in Cincinnati, is the first congresswoman to be born in Cincinnati. She is an African-American) representing the state of Massachusetts. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit is Palestinian-American; together with Ilhan Omar, they are the first two Muslim women to occupy seats in the Congress”.
Omar has been a U.S. citizen for more than a year. Melania, Trump’s third wife and current first lady, is a native of Slovenia.
Trump’s racist tweets have come to unite the fractured Democratic Party and quickly activated a demonstration of support for the four brand-new congresswomen, now collectively being called called “the squad.” Although it was the first formal reprimand of the House of Representatives Representatives to a president in office in more than a century, we must bear in mind that Pelosi blocked a more serious motion that tried to censure Trump.
Trump redoubled his verbal attacks against the four congresswomen whom he accused of being socialists and communists. These were typical attacks of the era of the McCarthyism. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as the first Trump’s attorney was Roy Cohn, who served as a lawyer for Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, at a time when he destroyed thousands of lives with his policies of anti-communist persecutiopn.
Probably, the use of racist rhetoric to ignite your white electoral base is one of Trump’s campaign strategies. In his book “Black History of the White House,” American University Profesor Clarence Lusane wrote, “For many Americans, the ‘white’ of the White House has implied a great deal. more than the color of the mansion; it has symbolized the tonality and the source of dehumanizing cruelty, domination and exclusion that have defined the long narrative of white people’s relationships with people of color in America.”
Last week, the four congresswomen who so clearly challenged Trump gave a press conference, in which they denounced the racism experienced by them and people of color in the United States. in general, noted the president’s policies on the detention of immigrants, family separation and the threatening raids of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A major article by journalists and activists Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan was published on the DEMOCRACY NOW website on July 19 with the title “President Trump redefines the concept of the White House”, provides important elements of analysis of the crucial racial conflict undercurrent that is resurfacing with his “cheerful” twitter and his band of jackals.
June 22, 2019.
This article can be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as a source.
By Juana Carrasco Martín
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“For the first time, a woman will appear on U.S. bills.” “The face of Harriet Tubman, a former slave and abolitionist militant, will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bills. On April 20, 2016, almost at the end of Barack Obama’s presidential term, these were headlines in the U.S. and world press – because of the power and globalized scope of the U.S. currency.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1820, escaped from inhumane captivity in 1849, and went on to organize slave rescue networks, many of them to Canada. During the American Civil War (1861-1865) she served with the Union army as a cook, nurse and even a spy. At the end of her life, Tubman – who died in 1913 at the age of 93 – helped organize movements for women’s suffrage.
Precisely, the new bill was to be circulated no later than 2020 to commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.
A discriminatory designation for women was to be broken, and Tubman’s election to place her alongside other American heroes who are honored in the monetary system was not easy. The consultations lasted almost a year, [there were] thousands of proposals, and in the end, the finalists included First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the legendary leader of the movement against racial segregation and civil rights of the 1950s, Rosa Parks, the courageous young woman who, on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, as racist laws and customs dictated.
But, if in 2016 the then-Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew had already seen a photo and proof of design of the bill with the face of Harriet Tubman, why are there still no effective steps to replace the paper money that has General Andrew Jackson as the protagonist, even if it is moved to the reverse [side] as agreed?
Jackson also has a history: Owner of hundreds of slaves who worked on his Hermitage Plantation, he began in the military camp during the War of Independence against the British. He earned the rank of general by waging war on the Indians, first on the Creek, who called him Jacksa Chula Harjo, which means “Jackson, old and fierce”, and on to the Seminolas, among whom he was known as “sharp knife”. As the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson stood out especially for having signed the Indian Removal Act, guaranteeing the theft of their ancestral lands and provoking a march toward Oklahoma in which thousands of natives died, and he was given the name of “Trail of Tears.
In 2016, Twitter overflowed with predictable messages from conservatives and traditionalists – not to say also racists – who saw the decision as an affront from the forces they called “politically correct”.
There werer also tweets in favor of the inclusion of the ex-slave. A historian commented in the Huffington Post: “In 2016, the United States faces serious problems related to poverty, inequality, and racism. The arrival of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill will not solve these problems. Its purpose is to present itself as a vivid and powerful symbol of freedom, equality, and inclusion. It is up to us citizens to make use of it.
But then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in 2016 that he opposed the decision that honored Tubman. He called it “pure political correctness”. Rejecting the measure was already an insult to both women and the African American population, and he multiplied it by suggesting that Harriet Tubman should be on the two-dollar bill, [which has been] discontinued in the U.S. monetary system.
What is real now is that the current Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, said last Wednesday, May 22, that plans to replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill by abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman are on hold until at least 2026.
Mnuchin was questioned by Massachusetts Democratic legislator Ayanna Pressley, who told him: “The American people understand the importance of representation on the banknotes of the world’s most powerful economy. … Do you support Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?” and the cantifleus came as a response: “I have not made any decision since it refers to that decision not being made, in, as I have said (…) until 2026 probably.”
The representative reminded him that there was a national community process, to which Mnuchen argued: “again, it is a decision of the Treasury Department. Now my decision is focused on security functions”, referring to the fact that they could not be falsified…
Andrew Jackson is an admired president and perhaps even Donald Trump’s favorite. Some historians claim that Jackson had an arrogant and difficult character…