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I love to post articles from this site. So enjoy this one by commentator James Early.
Why the African Diaspora should support Cuba

Influential pockets of America, especially the mainstream corporate media, are obsessing about Fidel Castro's health problems and possible death. The Black World must therefore pay close attention to these groups. Their gleeful reactions reveal America's not so friendly intentions towards Castro and Cuba, a land that has consistently stood by African and African American people.

Castro is justifiably revered globally as a political icon. Several reasons show why. First is his visionary leadership. Fidel did not just dream a nation free of injustice, poverty, disease and ignorance. Envisioning a country of "new man" he and his comrades with direct and consistent collaboration with Cuban citizens of all sectors brilliantly wrestled back their country-an island being exploited, debauched and corrupted by the greed and imperial domination of U.S. capitalism. And despite missteps and some failures, the self-determined national revolutionary project has transformed much of the dream into life-defining achievements in health, education, and physical security.

The Cuban Revolution, from the beginning, squarely confronted institutional racism, an ongoing social and governance transformation with a renewed national focus in the last few years in the Color Cubano project, under the ministry of culture and other special social and educational polices, instituted by the Cuban government.

In less that half a century, Cuba did not just achieve great things inside the country. It shared. A solidarity foreign policy benefited underprivileged peoples in other lands. Cuban educators, doctors, scientists, artists, athletes and analysts are winning hearts and minds across the world by contributing to the material, intellectual and spiritual uplift of all humankind. Cubans built medical facilities, trained health personnel and educated students from marginal communities"”in Africa, the Caribbean, and even the U.S. While black and white Americans were being ravaged by hurricane Katrina, Castro and the Cuban people (along with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez) offered to send doctors and supplies. But despite the failures of FEMA and the American Red Cross, the Bush Administration rejected the generous offer because of its hatred of Castro and the Cuban National Project he has led since 1959.

Most inspiring, Cubans died to liberate non-Cuban people of color. The battle fought in Cuito Cuanavale, an Angolan town, best exemplifies this. In 1988 Cuban and Angolan soldiers stopped apartheid South Africa's war machine which had invaded Angola and was bent on capturing Cuito Cuanavale, and then all Angola. The purpose? To impose the murderous Jonas Savimbi as an apartheid-defending puppet president of Angola. Defeating apartheid South Africa at Cuito Cuanavale was highly significant. It marked the beginning of the end both in the liberation of Namibia and of South Africa, and in ending Angola's nightmarish civil war.

A grateful African World defiantly insisted on thanking Cuba. Thus in May 1994, a freshly inaugurated President Nelson Mandela said to Castro, publicly, "You made this possible." And it is why the ANC had elaborated earlier, "without the . . . Sacrifice of the Cuban people . . . We possibly would not have reached the historic victory . . . Cuba remain[s] a shining example."

Castro is not immortal. He will surely die one day. However, the accomplishments that really count"”ideals of equality and justice, freedom, and solidarity which Cuba has institutionalized under his leadership"”will endure. This crucial point seems lost on some Americans: the reactionary Cuban community engaging in crass, morbid jubilation; the corporate media, enraged and vengeful, which demonizes Castro as an anachronistic dictator from a by-gone communist era, and which dismisses his profound and continuing influence on modern history; sensationalist pundits and bloggers churning out wild speculation; and the Bush-Rice foreign policy machine, issuing stale ideological critiques and politically threatening polices to "bring democracy to the Cuban people". Fury blinds these Castro-haters to the obvious: Cuba is more than the towering figure of Fidel Castro.

Cuba is no paradise. And Fidel Castro is no god, just an extraordinary statesman over the last half-century who, despite at times stumbling on some fundamentally important issues of participatory democracy, has never fallen away from the Cuban nation's solemn historical quest for true independence and self-determination. Institute for Policy Studies scholar Saul Landau, among others, respectably raises not uncommon criticisms among conservatives, liberals, and socialists about the absence of an independent press, of representative political parties, and of vigorous public dissent"”key elements of a mature modern participatory democracy that should be openly debated. However, these critical appraisals increasingly not uncommon to the U.S. press, political parties, and passive citizens, do not change a fundamental fact about Fidel Castro and Cuba: Fidel Castro's leadership and statecraft transformed Cuba into a much better, kinder, gentler society, especially for poor people of color and other historically exploited and marginalized Cubans.

Today's globe is inter-connected; developments in one country affect everyone. This confers a universal right and obligation"”to comment, responsibly, on events anywhere. So let a million analyses of Castro's health and significance bloom. Let even enraged right-wingers participate and hyperventilate. However, besides history's, only one appraisal of Castro really counts"”that of Cuban citizens. Only they will properly weigh Castro's successes and failures, and determine where their country must go. It is therefore Cuba's self-appraisal that the African World must value.

James Early is a Board Member of TransAfrica Forum and the Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution.
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Perhaps it's according to island nation.

I can't count how many times I've heard Caribbeans talk about Castro and the things he's dones educationally and medically in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Years ago Castro was either supposed to go to St. Vincent or the Prime Minister was supposed to visit there, but whichever, it didn't happen. Castro was snubbed.

Newspapers weren't happy. It caused a good amount of dinner table discussions up here among people who read it.

When I was a kid I was to the Carnival up here and an anti-Castro protester, I think it was his daughter, pinned anti-Castro pins on me and that had people raving.

There are many Caribbean sympathies for Castro.
quote:
Originally posted by cypress:
Yemaya,I live in the caribbean.The Bahamas and Bermuda are 2 nations not directly located in the Caribbean and share things in common. I can relate to things in Barbados,Bermuda and of course the Bahamas.Cuba is seen as untouchable because of Castro,America has an embargo on Cuba ,so most Caribbean Governments would rather stay away from American punishments.Before Castro Afro/black Cubans were Doctors,Lawyers,politicians,seen at all levels of society.

Now most blacks are push in the background.We have to look deep.

I must say that I confused by your response. I must ask what is the basis of your assertion that Afro-Cubans were better off before Castro than after. It is my understanding that the reverse is actually the case.

Its been about 15 years sense I was in Cuba, but I must say that the Afro-Cubans I met where probably the most pro-Castro, the most sympathetic to the revolution. I had a chance to visit a nursing home, and the older Afro-Cubans I met loved Castro.

I also met a lot of Africans who where in Cuba studying everything from medicine to engineering. They had talked about Cuba and the assistance they had given to liberation struggles on the continent, such as in Angola.

This is not to say that Cuba is a utopia, but at least racism and sexism have been explicitly illegal sense the 60's. I met Afro-Cuban professionals. I went to a museum about Afro-Cuban heritage as well as a center on African religions in Cuba.

Since my visit, Cuba remains as one of the places I definitely want to go back and visit again.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
quote:
Originally posted by cypress:
Yemaya,I live in the caribbean.The Bahamas and Bermuda are 2 nations not directly located in the Caribbean and share things in common. I can relate to things in Barbados,Bermuda and of course the Bahamas.Cuba is seen as untouchable because of Castro,America has an embargo on Cuba ,so most Caribbean Governments would rather stay away from American punishments.Before Castro Afro/black Cubans were Doctors,Lawyers,politicians,seen at all levels of society.

Now most blacks are push in the background.We have to look deep.

I must say that I confused by your response. I must ask what is the basis of your assertion that Afro-Cubans were better off before Castro than after. It is my understanding that the reverse is actually the case.

Its been about 15 years sense I was in Cuba, but I must say that the Afro-Cubans I met where probably the most pro-Castro, the most sympathetic to the revolution. I had a chance to visit a nursing home, and the older Afro-Cubans I met loved Castro.

I also met a lot of Africans who where in Cuba studying everything from medicine to engineering. They had talked about Cuba and the assistance they had given to liberation struggles on the continent, such as in Angola.

This is not to say that Cuba is a utopia, but at least racism and sexism have been explicitly illegal sense the 60's. I met Afro-Cuban professionals. I went to a museum about Afro-Cuban heritage as well as a center on African religions in Cuba.

Since my visit, Cuba remains as one of the places I definitely want to go back and visit again.



Yes, many Afro students study in Cuba,to be doctors,nurses.However Cuba is still a racist society. It has sort of a caste system.In the latin speaking diasporia the Europeans/whites like African culture, in brazil,Cuba,the Dominican Republic,but theres still alot of racism towards Afro people.Its a negative attitude some white Cubans have towards Afro-people in Florida too.

Quotes from Demorcracy Now!:

Thursday, April 27th, 2000,

"Afro Cubans and Race


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
With the Elian Gonzalez story in the headlines every day, the image of Cuba on our TV screens is that of a mainly white population - Elian and his family, the Miami Cuban exile community, and President Fidel Castro himself.
So many people may not realize that Cuba is an overwhelmingly black country - as much as 80 percent, by some estimates.

Democracy Now! producer Maria Carrion recently spent time in Cuba and recorded a series of conversation by Afro-Cubans on race and racism.

The issue of race in Cuba is a complex one; some say that there are as many opinions about race as there are Cubans. Cuba is a racially mixed society, with more flexible and ambiguous racial identities and definitions - unlike the United States, where one drop of black blood has historically defined a person as being black.

Although the revolution promised to bring social equality to all Cubans, many Afro-Cubans say that racism still permeates society. And with the rise of the two-tiered tourist economy, one in which Cubans with access to dollars have a clear economic advantage over those who do not, racial inequalities are more sharply visible than ever.

Even to the casual observer, it is quite apparent that coveted jobs in the tourist industry - such as hotels, travel agencies and restaurants - are mostly held by non-black Cubans. Yes, there are some black Cubans - but they are likely to be working as cleaners or porters, for example.

Although racism was never legislated in Cuba - even before the revolution - stories abound about non-legal segregation. Along Havana's seafront, bathhouses used to separate blacks from whites. And Copelia, Cuba's famous ice cream parlor, was built a few years after the revolution after complaints that ice cream stores would not allow Afro-Cubans in."



http://www.therealcuba.com/Page21.htm
quote:
Originally posted by ma'am:
Perhaps it's according to island nation.

I can't count how many times I've heard Caribbeans talk about Castro and the things he's dones educationally and medically in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Years ago Castro was either supposed to go to St. Vincent or the Prime Minister was supposed to visit there, but whichever, it didn't happen. Castro was snubbed.

Newspapers weren't happy. It caused a good amount of dinner table discussions up here among people who read it.

When I was a kid I was to the Carnival up here and an anti-Castro protester, I think it was his daughter, pinned anti-Castro pins on me and that had people raving.

There are many Caribbean sympathies for Castro.


Not really,Some caribbean nations might feel that Cuba has been abit hard done by America with the policies and the embargo that has Cuba in poverty.People tend to really feel for the people, but most people know the evils of Castro.Many Caribbean Prisoners sit on death row in Cuba for simple reasons.
The Cuban government already killed many caribbean Coast Guard/ people crossing their boarders.
Last edited {1}
quote:
Originally posted by jazzdog:
Sorry, but its hard to believe that life in Cuba is so good that people will actually convert a car into a boat to float across the ocean to get to this country. Obiviously the people taking a chance with their lives and the lives of loved ones must have a different take on life in wonderful old Cuba.


How many of those people are Afro Cubans? Not many. Been to little Havanah lately? The Spaniard Cuban families lost a lot of their land and wealth once the revolution took place. So of course they are going to come here, where WHITE skin privilege still rules. They can simultaneousely gain from minority,'Latino' status where helpful because they are from a Spanish speaking country.



Cuba still has it's race issues, just like any other country, particularly those that formerly had a slave economy. A few cadre I know just visited and said "We still need an African Revolution" which I assumed from study alone, but it is silly for African people globally not to recognize the benefits 'we' have recieved from and within Revolutionary Cuba.
Such as the Afro-Cubans have a lower rate of infant mortality than Afro-Americans.....this info was posted on the Black commentator some time ago.
They have a 98% literacy rate....
I have to agree that Cuba is not perfect, but neither is the US. Cuba has done more with less than the US. What I would like to know what is so bad with Cuba that isn't so bad with the country that we live in?? Every nation has problems. There are voting issues and debates going on in the US right now dealing with gerrymandering. Come on. You have to give examples of why Cuba is extremely bad, Jazzdog.
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
Such as the Afro-Cubans have a lower rate of infant mortality than Afro-Americans.....this info was posted on the Black commentator some time ago.
They have a 98% literacy rate....
I have to agree that Cuba is not perfect, but neither is the US. Cuba has done more with less than the US. What I would like to know what is so bad with Cuba that isn't so bad with the country that we live in?? Every nation has problems. There are voting issues and debates going on in the US right now dealing with gerrymandering. Come on. You have to give examples of why Cuba is extremely bad, Jazzdog.


Understand I agree with every statement that you have maded about the US, but to express some belief that supporting a revolution in Cuba helps blacks in this country is not really accepting of the honest truth about living in this country. In fact the only reason I believe most people think highly of Cuba is that it is among a handful of nations that continue to thumb their nose at the US, however that does not make them a desireable place to hang ones hat.

The nice thing about living here is that when we screw up and elect an idiot, we can actually call him an idiot and get away with it, does that freedom exist in Cuba with Fidel or does one risk a visit in the night. While the numbers posted are impressive, obiviously the people fleeing to this country in converted cars are looking for and desiring something else,and why give examples when examples land in Florida every week, no doubt many who get here probably have doubts but they have yet to catch a converted car floating back to Cuba.
Jazzdog,

You are thinking oof the 'us' in the Africans in Amerikkka sense.

I am thinking of the 'us' in the global Pan African struggle sense.

Cuba has assisted on so many levels in the struggle for African independence and in it's development. I have yet to meet a person from the continent who didn't know a doctor or teacher from Cuba that they personally had some kind of cotact with.

If you don't think Cuba's contribution with the African Liberation struggle(in Angola and Congo in particular) helped us globally then...


Hmmm let's see, how did the U.S. helped with the global Pan African struggle. Oh, they sent the CIA to assasinate and caused coups everywhere.
sck

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