After the Militant published this exchange the coalition that organized the event received a letter of apology from Dayramir González, the musician who made the comments, and issued its own letter. These letters, which take a stand against Jew-hatred, are reprinted below.
To Attendees and participants in the February 4th 2017 Memorial Tribute to Fidel Castro (Fidel: The Legacy Continues):
It has come to our attention that during one of the cultural presentations the composer/pianist, Dayramir González, uttered a brief anti-Semitic reference that was offensive to all of us who stand against bigotry.
While the program was going on with more than 450 people in attendance, the evening’s M.C.’s did not hear this remark, and so did not address it at the time.
As soon as this was brought to our attention, the NY-NJ Cuba Si Committee held a brief meeting to discuss the matter. We then got in touch with Sr. Gonzalez who immediately issued a formal apology, assuring us and everyone that the very brief remark was unintentional and resulted from his lack of command of the English language. We attach his letter for all to see.
As the organizing committee of this truly wonderful Tribute, we regret we were unable to address this matter on the spot, before it became a matter of greater misunderstanding. We further regret any pain it may have caused.
In solidarity and peace,
The NY-NJ Cuba Si Committee
To all my friends and dear friends of Cuba and all it stands for:
I am mortified to learn how my ignorance of the language caused my unforgivable misuse of the hurtful words here. I apologize from the bottom of my heart for my failure to prepare remarks in English that would convey my true feelings and my gratitude for all the support for Cuba that you have made your cause. My nervous laugh when I realized my error was even more humiliating for me.
As I mentioned that evening, I often try to be glib in English and I am not. In this case, when I reached into my mind, and into the audience, for a word, I used a word that absolutely did NOT convey my meaning. I know that that room that night was full of people most important to the normalization of US/Cuba ties and to our shared future.
I am well aware of the large number of Jewish voices in the progressive community, both historically and now, that have aided Cuba’s efforts to remain revolutionary and sovereign.
Please accept my humble apologies as we move forward together at this important time.