Titled Acting On Our Conscience: A Declaration of African-American Support for the Civil Rights Struggle in Cuba, the November 30 statement was signed by a group of 60 academics, artists, professionals, and others. Signers include actress Ruby Dee Davis, Prof. Cornel West, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. An article reporting on the statement appeared on the front page of the December 2 Miami Herald. It was run together in that same issue with an opinion piece by Carlos Moore, a longtime opponent of the Cuban Revolution, who is credited with initiating the declaration.
The statement claims the Cuban government is carrying out unwarranted and brutal harassment of black citizens in Cuba who are defending their civil rights. It cites an October appeal by Brazilian professor Abdias Nascimento that calls for the release of Darsi Ferrer, another longtime opponent of the Cuban Revolution who has been incarcerated since last July.
Ferrer, an Afro-Cuban doctor, operated the so-called Center for Health and Human Rights, to put an end to the boastful myth about the successes of the government in the field of health, as he said in a 2006 letter to Marc Masferrer, a well-known right-wing opponent of the Cuban Revolution. Masferrer quotes Ferrer as saying, I call on all Cubans to bury this regime.
Carlos Moore is an Afro-Cuban writer who turned against the revolution. He left Cuba in 1963. His book Castro, the Blacks, and Africa, published in 1988 with a grant from the Ford Foundation, charges that the 1959 Cuban Revolution was essentially a victory of the anti-imperialist segment of the white Cuban middle class.
His latest book Pichón contains pictures of Moore with Malcolm X, the U.S. Black rights fighter Robert F. Williams, and even Fidel Castro. Moore suggests that Malcolm X was a backer of his views. But he doesnt cite a single statement by Malcolm, who was an outspoken supporter of the Cuban Revolution, to support that.
Two online petitions are being circulated that counter the claims of Moore and others who align themselves with the imperialist campaign against Cuba. These include In Solidarity with the Real Anti-Racist Movement in Cuba, which can be found at www.petitiononline.com/RaceCuba/petition.html; and Declaration of African American Activists, Intellectuals and Artists in Continued Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, which can be found at www.petitiononline.com/withcuba/petition.html.
Record of Cuban Revolution
The real record of the Cuban Revolution is an example of how racism and all forms of exploitation and oppression can be confronted when the working class wields the instrument of state power.
Cubas prerevolutionary history was marked by a legacy of imperialist domination. It was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, which existed on the island until 1886. The U.S.-backed government of Fulgencio Batista, until its downfall, maintained a system of Jim Crow-style racist segregation.
In January 1959 working people in Cuba toppled the Batista dictatorship and established a revolutionary government. Many blacks in Cubawhich is a country whose majority today is of African descentwere prominent leaders of the revolution and blacks overwhelmingly supported the overthrow of capitalism and the working class taking power.
The revolution immediately began combating racism by outlawing discrimination and segregation. Distinctions based on race were erased from the constitution. And more importantly, the revolutionary government saw to the swift implementation and enforcement of the law through workers and peasants militias.
The revolutionary Cuban governments record of combating racism is also exemplified in its internationalist mission to Angola, where 375,000 volunteer troops helped defeat the invading South African apartheid forces between 1975 and 1991. At a speech in Cuba in July 1991 Nelson Mandela described the victory over the South African army as a turning point in the struggle to free the continent and our country from the scourge of apartheid!
By eliminating the source of institutionalized racismcapitalismthe Cuban Revolution opened the door to unprecedented gains by blacks and their fuller integration into all aspects of society, even though many deep-rooted prejudices remained.
We cant leave it to chance to correct historical injustices, said Fidel Castro at the Third Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in 1986. It has to be the work of the party; we have to straighten out what history has twisted.
The decision of the Communist Party of Cuba in 2007 to establish a commission to commemorate the Independent Party of Color in Cuba, a chapter of Cuban history in the fight against racism that was drowned in blood in 1912, is an example of how the revolutionary leadership continues to advance the discussion of how to confront the challenge of combating the legacy of racism today.
The recent attacks on Cuba for racism come in the context of a deepening world depression, which exacerbates inequalities and places major challenges before the leadership of the Cuban Revolution. The record of the revolution over 50 years has been, and continues to be, to address these challenges.
At a recent session of the Cuban National Assembly of Peoples Power, President Raúl Castro reaffirmed the governments commitment to eradicating the legacy of racism. I personally believe its a disgrace how insufficiently we have advanced in this, Castro said. I will use all my influence to make sure these harmful prejudices keep giving ground until they are eliminated for good, and that women and blacks are promoted to leadership positions at all levels on account of their merits and professional training.
Defend the Cuban Revolution!
Cuban doctors in Haiti respond rapidly to crisis
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