Faced with the promises of a future that never takes shape, I lean toward the prospects that begin today, toward the dreams that materialize on this day. I already had my eyes focused on tomorrow, breathed in mouthfuls of possibilities and believed the illusion of what would come. At this point, I’m betting only on the viable.
I got out of bed reversing one of those chimerical slogans–the kind we hear so much on TV–in order to make it more real. A possible world is better, I said to myself, and began to feel that we are going to achieve it. That the planet, my island and my city will find realizable solutions, not another barrage of utopias.
As the Rev. Charles Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) put it in “Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There.” –
‘You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,’ the Queen said. ‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.’
‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.
‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’
‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’
“Jam” is what Americans call “Jelly,” and “jam tomorrow” quickly became an English term for some pleasant event in the future, which is never likely to materialize. Rather like the Cuban Utopia.
Jam, in America is Jam, and Jelly is Jam only seedless. What is the point of Jelly? Well you might ask. Back in the days when most people over 60 had already sacrificed their teeth, Jelly meant that the seeds of Jam didn’t lodge under one’s dentures. (At a significant loss in flavor and Yumminess of course!)
None of which, however, truly explains your last sentence and the connection between Americans calling Jam Jelly, “and ‘jam tomorrow’ quickly becoming an English term….” etc.
This is in no way an argument or a rebuttal, simply a point of curiosity!
The incongruity between the slogan on the sign and the derelict building to which it is attached shows that – while the Cuban Communist Party has many failings – lacking a sense of irony is not one of them.
@ Iain, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ seems an apt metaphor for the entire Cuban Revolution, complete with Fidel Castro (or would that be Che?) as the Queen of Hearts.
Your picture today represents most inter city buildings in the United States sadly negated by Government as is the citizens who are forced to reside there in poverty.
@ 291RC — Returning to a theme here…. without debating with you the state of ‘most’ inner city buildings in the United States, certainly it is a sad state of affairs that buildings should be so neglected and people forced to reside there in poverty… in ANY country, no? And if the glorious socialist revolution can do no better for its citizens than an evil empire does, what exactly is the point of it? And why aren’t people free to leave in the island?
I didn’t know anyone in the US was “forced” to reside anywhere. What a crock of shit. After Katrina hit New Orleans, the most destitute did not return to our awful projects and most didn’t want to anyway. “Forced to live” someplace? Kool aid, man.
Actually, although there were a few aweful public housing projects in New Orleans, it was esentially a city of home owners, both small and otherwise. Katrina was the catalyst for getting rid of the working- and lower-middle-class black homeowners. The real estate speculators were in the process of “renewing” New Orleans. Their “New World of Possibilities” only included upscale condos. Fortunately, the current economic meltdown put an end to their greedy sugar-plum visions. Even with Obama as Prez., however, I doubt that the small (i.e. working- and lower-middle-class) black (former) homeowners will ever be afforded the possibility to rebuild their homes in the “Lower 9th” ward, for example. So, “A possible world is better!” is only slightly less ironic than “A better world is possible!”
I felt sad, reading this post today. Not because of the neclected house, but because of the
tone of the writings today. Some time ago, we spend some time in Havana. Many people we spoke told us the same story as Yoani does today and yesterday and the day bevore. All in their own way. We discovered that where are many people who liked to hear us telling about Yoanis.
To tell you the truth, many of them have names that start with an Y. They don’t have access to internet, and do not know people with cd’s or usb’s with this kind of information.
We spoke with them and felt their urge to speak about matters of interest.
‘A possible world is better’ is a fantastic slogan, both personally and politcally.
Landis, you are full of it. You don’t know what is going on in New Orleans. All of these low-income places like the 9th ward, the Bywater, New Orleans East, etc., has seen no development or plans for major condo development since the storm. Maybe you are thinking of the 73-story Trump tower in Downtown NOLA. That is nowhere near any of the low to middle-income areas, and that project is currently on hold anyway. If you knew anything about the situation, you would know that New Orleans and the Feds are working on mixed income developments for many of these folks who want to return. I am not really a fan of these projects, but a lot of people are. Speaking of the lower 9th, most residents there didn’t even own their homes, they rented. We are talking 80% of the residents or so. The value of the homes were so low that most of the actual owners took the money and ran. Anyone thinking of rebuilding likely couldn’t recover enough to build a new place anyway. Why? Because their homes were damn near 100 year old shacks. Oh, and the lower 9th wasn’t always a black neighborhood, not that any of that is relevant, but since you are into stereotypes and all…Hey, dude, stick to talking about what you know about. Again, no one is being “forced” to live anywhere in New Orleans and no one is being “forced out of” anywhere, either. Stop drinking the kool aid.
Hi, Arda, You’re right, I should have been less cryptic. Since Cuba is, in a sense, a crazed “looking-glass” world, where “Newspeak” inverts normal values, “Alice” provides interesting parallels. Liberty, for example, means the state monitoring and controlling your every significant move. A few grams of beef every 50 years makes you better off than the down-trodden masses in the capitalist world.
As the inauguration approaches, the reaction of the “loony-left” – not just Castro, but also Chavez, Morales and Ortega – in South America to Obama will be interesting. I predicted last week in the Spanish EL PAIS that the demagogues would still find the new US administration more useful as a pretext for their own failure than as a friend. The following day, Chavez “got his retaliation in first” by telling Brazil’s Lula that Obama’s declarations were just the same as those of George Bush. Doubtless the President Elect, too, smells of sulphur but, if you’re waiting for a positive response from the likes of Castro and his groupies – don’t hold your breath :-))
If you still think that Castro and Che were the answer, please take a look at a new documental aired recently. 50 Years of Communism.
Sorry Seana, the message was not intended for you.
There is no cuban Utopie….There is only the Thomas Morus´s Utopie.
And there is in no way a good intention behind these slogans.
It´s insane the way the government keeps on playing “the winner” with propagandas.
It´s like if they were trying to convince themselves of that what they are constantly repeating.
Instead, they could invest that wasted money on printing good books for examples… a couple of editions would be more useful!
Nanuary 18, 2009
YES ! A possible world, is better
An EXPMPLE AT:
Why Castro regime fears Obama administration, 12/1/08
BY CARLOS MOORE
Since Nov. 4, Cuba has been experiencing a bad case of the Obama Blues. The election of the United States’ first African-American president was conspicuously downplayed by the Cuban media. President-elect Barack Obama’s victory went unheralded in Granma, the official mouthpiece of both the government and the ruling Communist party; it was relegated to the back pages.
On the streets, however, ordinary Cubans were reported to be exultant. All of a sudden the Cuban people no longer hated the “enemy.”
This shunning of an event of such global impact may surprise people accustomed to Havana’s outspokenness regarding American leaders. In my view, Havana’s silence betrays more than uncertainty about Obama’s future policies. Cuba, I am inclined to believe, is nervous about the impact that a black president in the White House could have upon its own black population.
On Nov. 15, Fidel Castro, referring to Obama in passing and refraining from mentioning his name, spoke of ”a simple change of leadership in the empire.” He sneered at those ”who entertain illusions about a possible change in the system.” However, his uneasiness was already apparent on the eve of the presidential election, when he rather clumsily wrote that, “Obama, the democratic candidate, is part African, and the color black and other physical traits of that race predominate in him. He is no doubt more intelligent, educated and level headed than his Republican rival.”
Although that off-handed comment may seem trivial, reports from inside Cuba have reinforced my suspicion that, contrary to the sentiments of the streets, the Cuban regime is experiencing great discomfort with the turn of events in the United States. Anthropologist Maria Ileana Faguagua Iglesias reports a racist outburst toward Obama by a Communist Party official and former military officer: ”He will be the worst ever American president,” said this apparatchik, “because he is a Negro, and they are worse than the whites!”
What is eating away at Cuba’s leaders? Very little makes sense without knowledge of Cuba’s demographic metamorphosis from a white to a black majority in the space of half a century. The black population was 35-45 percent of the total Cuban population when Castro triumphed 50 years ago. Four years later, the panicky flight of some 15-20 percent of the island’s white population, fearing the new regime’s sweeping socialist reforms, left Castro at the head of a country with a de facto black majority. For the next five decades, the darkening shade of Cubans would increase steadily and create unanticipated problems for the social reformers who launched the Revolution.
Cuba has maintained that the Revolution eradicated racism, abolished discrimination and established a unique ”racial democracy.” However, in 1994, in the overwhelmingly black area along the seafront in Central Havana, angry, rock-throwing crowds took to the streets, shattered windows and attacked the police. The regime shuddered; this was the closest thing to a race riot Cuba had seen since the Revolution. Only Castro’s arrival at the scene kept the violence from escalating out of control.
Cuba reacted to this explosion by allowing a mini-exodus of more than 32,000 predominantly black rafters to leave for South Florida, thereby presenting the Clinton administration with a near-crisis. In the absence of the charismatic Castro and with the presence of a widely admired black president in the White House, might the occurrence of another such racially charged event spin out of control?
Judging from signals coming out of Cuba, the leadership fears so and may be wary of Obama’s proposed open-door policy. Cuba does have reason to fear. Brought to light in 2008, the first official document addressing the issue of race in Cuba under the Revolution, ”The Challenges of the Racial Problem in Cuba,” paints a stark picture of the real situation of blacks in Cuba 50 years after the Revolution. Although Cuba’s downtrodden benefited from the social benefits in education and health that the Revolution introduced, this graphic, 385-page document, supported by a bounty of hitherto unpublicized statistics, speaks of neglect, denial and the powerful resurgence of racism in Cuba under Communism.
The old segregationist Cuba is gone, but the country’s leadership continues to be predominantly white (71 percent), according to this document. The publication shows a growing impoverishment of the population as a whole, but it emphasizes that black Cubans are disproportionately affected. In the countryside, the land is almost totally in the hands of whites (98 percent). A robust percentage of able-bodied Cubans with jobs are white, whether male (66.9 percent) or female (63.8 percent). In contrast, the employment rate of blacks who are fit to work is startlingly low (34.2 percent). We are left to conclude that most able-bodied black Cubans are unemployed (65.8 percent). The statistics show that a majority of the country’s scientists and technicians are white (72.7 percent), even though both races have equal rates of education.
What has caused such racial disparities after five decades of radical change? Blacks overwhelmingly blamed ”racial discrimination” in hiring and promotion (60.8 percent) for these stark contrasts. An overwhelming majority of Cubans of both races agreed that ”racial prejudice continues to be current on the island” (75 percent). Ironically, among whites the disparities were attributed to blacks being ”less intelligent than whites” (58 percent) and ”devoid of decency” (69 percent).
Mounting frustrations explain why a growing number of black Cubans (currently estimated at 16 percent) favor the creation of specifically black political parties to achieve equality. The 1.5 million-strong Cuban-American community, of which a significant portion in South Florida voted for Barack Obama (35 percent), is watching things closely. Many, especially the younger generation, have forsaken the racial bigotry of their parents and evinced a growing awareness that the predominantly white face (85 percent) of the Cuban-American community is a political liability in a Cuba that is predominantly black.
Lifting the current ban on travel to Cuba and on sending of remittances to the island would incite hundred of thousands of these moderate Cuban Americans, as well as other U.S. tourists, to travel to the island and spread the news about a changing America where whites will be a dwindling minority in the coming decades, where democracy works and where minorities are making healthy strides toward gaining power and wealth while creating the basis for a truly multi-racial society.
Such circumstances would place unbearable strain on the regime’s ideological armor. Many analysts believe that the Castro regime is not prepared for that Brave New World and may find it threatening. An open-door policy toward the island and the lifting of the embargo measures that President-elect Obama has promised would ultimately discredit and potentially destabilize the regime. Simply put, an Obama administration would dissolve the anti-American posture that has united Cubans around their government for the past fifty years.
Cuba’s race question is bound to become a core civil rights issue in Cuban-American relations. Not without reason, the post-Fidel leadership has already begun to warn of what it calls a possible ”new form of ideological confrontation” and fret over the possibility of what it calls ”racial subversion” waged by the United States. I believe the post-Fidel managerial elites fully understand that the only way for them to hang on to power is to consolidate support among the majority population, which implies broadening black participation in the political leadership, the economy, the media and cultural institutions. In the current circumstances, to continue disregarding the racial aspirations of the black majority, as has been done in the past, would be tantamount to suicide.
The bottom line is that racism is Cuba’s most intractable problem. Only an arrangement implying effective power sharing between the island’s two dominant groups can prepare the ground for a reversal of Cuba’s socio-racial conundrum. This would call for an entirely new institutional framework that includes the reinvigoration of civil society, the implementation of robust racial affirmative action policies in all spheres, the revival of independent cultural and social institutions, an independent media and free press and the existence of autonomous political movements, associations and parties.
None of this is possible without a profound revamping of society, the establishment of the rule of law by an impartial judiciary that enforces respect for internationally accepted norms of civil and human rights, the holding of a national referendum whereby Cubans may freely determine the sort of society under which they wish to live and the holding of national multi-party elections for all elective offices. Paradoxically, the example set by the once-considered arch-rival United States has become attractive to Cuba’s have-nots and may now act as further incentive to press for democratic changes. Cubans evince a growing interest in the civil-rights movement that paved the way for what many call the “Obama miracle.”
As black Cubans draw a balance sheet of their gains and losses under the Revolution, comparing them with the steady strides of African-Americans in the wake of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, they may find many reasons to feel cheated. Cuba’s leaders may, therefore, have cause to fret over a reinvigorated American democracy and the restoration of U.S. prestige in the world. Cubans are less likely now than ever to believe that the United States is bent on invading them or restoring the hated white rulers of old. The latter, too, have been visited by change, as the aging, die-hard and ultra-right anti-Castro militants give way to liberal-minded Cuban Americans more concerned about success in America as citizens than commitments to doomed crusades on behalf of former racial entitlements or the recovery of their grandparents’ former luxury mansions.
A black American president whose moderate and humane views have garnered worldwide sympathy and support sharply undercuts the legitimacy of a 50-year-old confrontational policy that relied heavily on mass black support. The unfreezing of American-Cuban relations, which Obama has also promised, may indeed prove threatening to a leadership that may be looking at the future through the barrel of its own gun. Suddenly, all of the claims the Castro regime has made over the years to buttress its resistance to change seem to be unraveling. A black man in the White House may predictably accelerate the ticking of Cuba’s social reform clock.
So, does Cuba have an Obama problem? The answer is a resounding yes.
Carlos Moore, ethnologist and political scientist, wrote Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba.
Carlos Moore letter to Raúl Castro, 12/17/08
Posted on Wed, Dec. 31, 2008, Miami Herald
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil December 17, 2008
Your Excellency Army General Raul Castro Rúz President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers Palacio de la Revolución Plaza de la Revolucion Havana, Cuba
I am obliged to frame this as an Open Letter because it is the only way I may get through to you directly. Moreover, I want my fellow citizens and those worldwide who are interested in the vital problems of our times to hear what I am about to say.
You are a descendant of Europeans born in Spain; I am a descendant of Africans born in the Caribbean. We are both Cubans. However, being Cuban confers no specific privilege on either of us as human beings. What it does confer is the right to have a say in the affairs of the country of our birth. So, I avail myself of that right unapologetically.
I am aware of the vast differences that separate our respective ideas about life, social relations, and how the affairs of our country must be conducted. We also differ in how to interpret the daily realities that negatively impact the lives of most Cubans. But you as the president of our country, and I as a citizen, share a common responsibility: to shoulder the burden of shaping our present and molding the destiny of our nation. Regardless of class, gender, race, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, whatever Cubans do or refrain from doing will determine the future for all.
I have always upheld and respected our national sovereignty. That is why I steadfastly opposed any measure that could have endangered Cuba’s independence or hurt the best interests of its citizens, whether it be an economic embargo or threats against our national territory. However, those same reasons have made me an advocate for the inalienable right of the Cuban people, or of any other people for that matter, to shape their future and manage their own affairs through representative institutions and elected officials. The latter are chosen in truly free and fair democratic elections. During such elections, different ideas are debated and organized movements and parties with differing political platforms and social proposals vie for power. I believe that only then can a people exercise the right to choose whatever suits them best. Therefore, I am against any form of dictatorship or totalitarian system, whether it be led by the so-called Right, or by what is designated as the Left. I certainly do not share the opinion that democracy is a luxury reserved for the rich.
I will not beat around the bush to express my strong conviction that racism is our country’s most serious and tenacious problem. It has stood the test of time and is constantly on the rise. It is a phenomenon that gains new ground and expands its influence over our body politic, cultural life, and economy.
Notwithstanding the grandiose but vacuous speeches, or bombastic but no less deceitful declarations on the alleged elimination of racism and racial discrimination, wherever we look in socialist Cuba our eyes are confronted with a cobweb of social and racial inequities and racial hatred against black people. No doubt, these issues were bequeathed to us through centuries of oppression. The Revolution that empowered itself in 1959 merely inherited them. However, the revolutionary leaders showed themselves particularly inept at correctly interpreting that reality. In the final analysis, these leaders were men and women from the white middle class that had always dominated the country, monopolized its political life, and determined the direction of its economy.
Rather than destroy the legacy of white supremacy and its concomitant racism, the Revolutionary government contributed to the solidification and expansion of it. It did so when it declared the nonexistence of racism, the eradication of racial discrimination, and the advent of a “post-racial” socialist democracy in Cuba. Actually, the leaders of the Revolution that enacted so many beneficial social changes for our country and the people who wholeheartedly supported the revolutionary process both remain bound by the same brutal past birthed by racial slavery. The latter was imposed on the Americas by Europeans, and from its monstrous womb emerged a racist society. As a consequence, Cuba is a country that speaks with two totally different voices—one white, and one black—although at specific moments of our common history, these voices have spoken in unison.
Socialist Cuba is the only country in the world to have publicly proclaimed that it had eliminated racism and racial discrimination and empowered its black population. As a result, the revolutionary government repressed, persecuted, and forced into exile those blacks, whether intellectuals or working class, who argued the contrary. The latter were forced into labor camps, prisons, mental hospitals, or driven out of the country. They were branded “reverse racists,” “black racists,” “counter-revolutionaries,” or “agents of imperialism,” and even accused of being “instruments of the CIA.”
Prominent black Cuban thinkers such as Dr. Juan René Betancourt Bencomo and Professor Walterio Carbonell paid a heavy price for having challenged the racial doctrine erected and maintained by the State for five decades. That doctrine consisted of denying the existence of racial oppression and racism in Cuba under the Revolution. Nowadays, many eyes are trained on this supposed “post-racial democracy” as people seek to understand why the revolutionary regime destroyed those who refused to endorse this “Big Lie.”
In Cuba, the Revolution succeeded in demolishing the old privileges of a corrupt oligarchy that was submissive to foreign interests. But, to this day, the black population, now a majority in the country, is unwillingly confined to playing second fiddle. Some black notables do ascend to visibility, but only do so with the blessing of the dominant white elite. This merely confirms the subordinate station of blacks in Cuba after 50 years of Socialist Revolution. Such is the reality, and to deny it is to perpetuate the “Big Lie.”
Racism is the last frontier of hatred among humans, and race is the most profound and lasting divide. Racism dictates who enjoys predetermined entitlements and privileges; it guarantees racially protected access to society’s resources. It equally determines who is to be denied access. In Cuba, as throughout the world, racism is an arrangement whereby resources are racially differentiated and selectively distributed. It is the racial monopoly of political power that allows it to self-perpetuate as a structure of racial entitlements. Therefore, we are addressing a permanent modus operandi, not an anomaly. This structure of total power works wonderfully well to ensure the permanent domination of one race over another and operates to the absolute detriment of the latter.
Power in Cuba is white. Racial discrimination against black Cubans is strengthening day by day and becoming more pervasive. Why is this so? Racism is constantly being reinforced in Cuba, and everywhere else, for the same exact reason: because it works. It works on behalf of those who on account of racism benefit from the privileges and entitlements accrued to their race. Were it not so, racism would have vanished from our landscape thousands of years ago.
The purpose of this letter is to contribute to the current debate in our country about our nation’s future at this juncture of its existence. Cuba must now meet the challenges of the new millennium with truly innovative policies to solve the problems afflicting its society. With this purpose in mind, I propose a set of minimum measures that seem necessary to jump-start a process whereby, ultimately, antiracist and nationalist Cubans will challenge and overcome the burden of the past. That past is evident in the racial inequalities and inequities that weaken national unity, particularly when Cuba, for the first time, has the possibility to peacefully resolve its 50-year old quarrel with the United States.
But it would be hypocritical and immoral to demand the end of the embargo/ blockade the U.S. unfairly imposed on Cuba, without the leaders of Cuba also committing to lift the embargo/blockade that was imposed on the majority of the country’s population since the beginning of the Revolution. Both embargoes/blockades should be simultaneously lifted, without preconditions from either side.
This letter is meant to contribute to the above, so that our country, now under your control, may find the best way to achieve a consensus that could cement our national unity. As a first step, I specifically suggest that the government, without further delay, embark on the following measures:
· Establishment of a social state of legal rights as a precondition of democratic exercise of Cuban citizenship; prohibition of all discriminatory practices, whether they are based on political views, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation; freedom for all political prisoners and imprisoned conscientious objectors in Cuba.
· Lifting of the ban which was established against the black organizations or “Sociedades de Color,” historic institutions that are part of the cultural heritage of black Cubans and that constitute essential differentiated spaces for blacks in Cuba; restoration of the rights to exist and to organize for black groups, in accordance with the rights to exist in Cuba of organizations that represent other ethnic groups (such as the Chinese, Basque, Galician, Jewish, and Arabs); approval for any black organization (cultural, social, sports, student, political, or artistic in nature) aimed at combating racism and racial discrimination.
· Rehabilitation of all black historical figures and banned black thinkers dead or silenced throughout the history of Cuba, before and after the Revolution, as well as the publication of the works by black militants who advocated for the cessation of racism and racial discrimination in Cuba (Rafael Serra, Evaristo Estenoz, Pedro Ivonet, Ramon Vasconcelos, Gustavo Urrutia, Juan Rene Betancourt Bencomo, Walterio Carbonell, etc.).
· Official condemnation of the genocide perpetrated by the Cuban state in 1912 against the black population, a fact that to date the state has not officially recognized; rehabilitation of the political agenda of the Independent Party of Color (PIC) and its historic leaders, (Evaristo Estenoz, Pedro Ivonet, and others) for the sake of the restoration of the historic national memory.
· Approval for the creation of autonomous national body of black Cubans, in the form of a National Foundation for promoting economic development of the black population (FUNAFEN), to address the grave socioeconomic problems confronting black Cubans. This new organization would be able to obtain funds from the Cuban government and from international sources to improve the housing conditions in the poorest neighborhoods, and create new programs earmarked to provide specific professional training for young Afro-Cubans to prepare them for the demands of the national and global economy.
· Adoption by the Cuban state of new measures with regard to the remittances from abroad, an estimated $1.5 billion yearly, of which less than 15% reaches the hands of the black population. Reduction of the tax burden on these remittances (it is currently 20%, and it should be 10%). Fifty percent of the latter tax collected by the government should be automatically awarded to the FUNACEN since remittances from abroad are conducive to the soaring of racial inequalities in Cuba.
· Authorization for the convening of a National Congress on Racism and Racial Discrimination by autonomous organizations within Cuba, without interference from the branches of power; authorization for Afro-Cuban intellectuals and activists to participate in a roundtable of Cuban nationalists from inside the island and the diaspora, with the aim of discussing strategies to combat racism in Cuba.
· Authorization to create a National Overseer to monitor the racial situation in Cuba and to act on behalf of the elimination of racially discriminatory practices of all types, whether in governmental agencies or in the private spheres.
· Adoption of measures and concrete policies that bring dignity and respect to the phenotype associated with the black race, which is the object of denigration and ridicule in Cuba, especially in the cases of black women; positive projection of the Afro-Cuban phenotype in all major media, cultural manifestations, and forms of artistic representation, in order to counter the racist derision concentrated primarily on the racial traits associated with people of African descent (nose, lips, skin color, hair, body type, etc.).
· Formal criminalization of racism and racial discrimination in all areas of national life without the right to bail, as it has been established in Brazil through the Cao Law; proposal to the Cuban National Assembly for new legislation specifically designed to punish any type of discriminatory manifestation or racial humiliation in public or in private spaces.
· Massive recognition of the black woman and her extraordinary contribution to the national dignity, for she has suffered and continues to endure doubly the consequences of racial and gender discrimination; launching of a national campaign for the re-assessment of the Afro-Cuban female phenotype; authorization to create a self-governing Organization for Afro-Cuban women totally independent of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), and with the permission and capacity to pursue independent and foreign financial support.
· Recognition of the existence of organic majorities in Cuba, with particular attention to race and gender, that will have to be reflected in all government and decision-making institutions that affect our political, economic, and cultural life, given that at least 60% of the population in Cuba is estimated to be of African descent; creation of a mechanism that can guarantee the progressive representation of black Cubans at all levels and instances of the country, and that, to begin, must reach 35% within the next five years in all key positions of: the Party; the Government; the Parliament; the Mass organizations; the leadership of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior; mass communication organizations (especially the television and movie industries); the tourist industry; and mixed (private/government) firms created with foreign capital.
· Official recognition and respect to all Afro-Cuban religions, recognizing them as equal to other religions in Cuba, through the installation of a mechanism of permanent dialogue between the political leadership of Cuba and those religions, as has effectively been done with Christian religions. Placing Afro-Cuban religions in the position that is legitimately theirs would advance the process of national and cultural identity. Immediate cessation of all official and unofficial practices that lead to the commodification, folklorization, and exploitation of Afro-Cuban religions toward touristic ends, attaching adequate legal consequences to prevent discrimination of these religions, as befits a secular country.
· Imposition by law of the teaching of the history of Africa and of all peoples of African origin in the Americas, akin to Law 10639/03 in Brazil; publication of all world recognized reference books that elucidate the history of Africa in all aspects, and those that also bring to light the history of racism; development of studies and research about Afro-Cuban issues in history and in society, with the goal of strengthening national unity and raising the self-esteem of blacks; creation of departments of Afro-Cuban studies at the universities in Cuba, and extra-mural centers for ethnic-racial studies nationwide.
· Implementation of public policies of affirmative action as a global strategy capable of bringing socioeconomic equality to those citizens who, due to their racial origin and because they are descendants of formerly enslaved populations in Cuba, have suffered disadvantages historically construed. This affirmative action policy would be a concrete way to bring about some type of moral reparation to the black population in Cuba.
· Implementation of a national census based on modern objective criteria to determine race, given the fact that the census results of the last fifty years do not merit any trust. The new national census would develop a base from which it will be possible to evaluate the extent to which social inequities have disproportionately affected the Afro-Cuban population.
Personally, I am satisfied that you are aware of the gravity of the moment. I am sure you are also aware of the limited options that any leader in your position would have at this crucial time. Nonetheless, you do enjoy a number of favorable circumstances that can be exploited if the goal is to save the social gains that the people of Cuba achieved through the Revolution of 1959. For instance, I consider it beneficial, both for you and for our nation, that you are not the traditional charismatic leader. That fact can allow you to be a much more pragmatic and realistic head of state who is capable of recognizing danger when he sees it. Furthermore, I am convinced that the many Intelligence networks at your command, as well as the myriad research units the revolutionary regime created over the years to analyze social changes in Cuba and test the pulse of its population, has provided you with enough empirical data to conclude that something new is taking place in the collective consciousness of black Cubans on the island. This “something” may not be satisfied except through the effective empowerment of blacks, as a people, acting through independent grassroots organizations.
The time has come to drastically and expeditiously change the situation of blacks in Cuba. Those who never held power and continue to confront enormous problems in their daily survival feel a sense of urgency. It is dangerous to continue pretending that “Blacks in Cuba have no interest in power,” and to further postpone the enactment of measures that would really empower those who constitute Cuba’s majority. Profound changes have to be effected now. There can be no more excuses or strategies to postpone a real change that could dramatically, comprehensively, and permanently alter the socio-racial panorama of Cuban society. There is no time to waste. Every minute of delay is an open door to unforeseen situations that could become uncontrollable once they materialize.
The possibility of a complete break with the past is within your reach. So is the opportunity to do what no leader before you has dared to do: to work for the effective empowerment of those who, for more than three hundred years, have been living in a Special Period and a state of Permanent Emergency.
I have spoken on my own behalf, and only in my name. However, I know that the opinions expressed in this letter are echoed by ideas that are being increasingly formulated in Cuba.
I know that you know it, too.
Respectful nationalist regards,
Carlos Moore Ethnologist and Professor of International Relations
Amicus Plato dice:
18 Enero 2009 a las 22:06
Don’t count your chickens before the are hatched.
A stitch in time saves nine.
He that goes barefoot must not plant thorns.
An. Hungarian proververb.
Cuba: from “A better world is possible” to “A possible world, is better”. My grandmother who lives in Cuba says the same. People are tired of promises….
@ Amicus Plato
Your posts are long, but well worth the read. Thank you.
I Hope change is in Cubas near future. For too long the general population have been repressed and told to make “SACRIFICIO”. This Blog is a great window into the realCuba. More Cubans need to stand up for their rights and demand better from their government. Many interesting and thought provocing posts , thanks people for caring about Cuba.
I AGREE, the Cuban people should take to the street and protest against the government as soon as the death of Fidel is officially anounced. .
Moore posits some interesting points and good food for thought, but he also seems to be hung up on race issues. That said, I have no problem with that as that appears to be his focus in life – social justice for blacks in Cuba under democratic principles. Suerte Sr. Moore!
Patricio, my daughter was down there rebuilding some of the homes, though across Lake Ponchartrain, in Mississippi; she went into the city often enough to know what was going on. Also, one of my former students, who subsequently became a developer, one without a conscience, apparently, reported with relish buying up real estate in the black wards in preparation for developing upscale condos. I have no reason to disbelieve him, though he’s probably in an untenable position now, just like many of his South Florida brothers. B.T.W., since you claim to know all about New Orleans, what was it that you did to help in the recovery?!
At least with Obama, some of the folks who wish to return may no longer be “Waiting for Godot.”
My writing is with informative aim.
When we look about Cuba we are to think in % because so many Cuban peoples and so different way of think.
I going to give my opinion abut Cuba and I ask sorry if I offend anybody.
Cuba is a nation in paper or in protocol, but in reality is not a nation, I said Cuba is an artificial nation, same as Democratic Germany was.
Democratic Germany was a nation in paper or in protocol but in reality Democratic Germany was an artificial nation created by Soviet Union.
Why (in 50 years) so many Cuban organizations in USA have been not progressed in throw away family Castro dictator ship?
a-Because Cuban organizations erroneously part in a base that Cuba is a nation when in reality Cuba is an artificial nation.
b-Because Cuban organizations erroneously part in a base to see a future Cuba were exist inequality (Cuban American citizens – Cuban no access to American citizens.)
An artificial nation has characteristics.
One is when Cuban people renounce by millions a Cuba citizen front a USA judge to opt for USA citizen.
Remember that Cuban people, inside Cuba Isla have the consecutive experience of 2 dictator ship, “(Batista and family Castro.)”
Second is when Cuban people don’t have any guarantee (if they give their life for new democratic government) that new Cuban government will not be another dictator ship.
Third is the example of Haiti and Santo Domingo that they don’t give to Cuban people persuasive example of independent nationalistic democratic progress when we see Dominican and Haitian illegally immigrate to USA; When we see social injustice and poverty and discrimination between (Haiti, Dominican with American citizen) and (Haiti, Dominican with not American citizens.)
You see any Puerto Rican in rafter or container illegally immigrates?
You see Puerto Rican mothers cried because his son or daughter dead treating to illegally emigrate (eating by shark)?
You see dictator ship in Puerto Rico?
You see PR paid in devaluate money?
You see PR illegally in USA?
In my opinion Puerto Rico status is more superior that independent (Cuba, Haiti, Santo Domingo.)
I am not, as some government can teach national pride to another country in base of which the other country has inequality base? Example: Cubans American citizen – Cubans are not American citizen)
Perhaps, it is going to say by force to million Cuban Americans and descendants to him of Cuban Americans who resign to the citizenship of the USA so that they decide on the Cuban citizenship?
I think so that is not practical.
We have to remember that in South Florida we have the second more important city of Cuba by # of Cuban bond and descendent.
Cuba is not china o Viet Nam. Cuba is 90 miles of USA.
The Cuban local transmission radio is easy to hear in South Florida, at the same time south Florida local radio transmission is easy to hear in Cuba Isla.
In the Cuban case, the difference is irreversible therefore up is necessary up grade Cuban to the USA citizenship, if it is that we want true democracy and justice in the island of Cuba.
I am going to give a simple example of discrimination between Cuban USA citizen and Cuban is not USA citizen.
USA citizens have mobility, Cuban with not USA citizen don’t have mobility.
My opinion, the contacts family – family between Cubans USA citizen and Cubans are not USA citizen is the best way to generate another human exodus of Cuba and Haitians towards the USA, that meaning more potential for Cuba State free Associate of USA.
I remember by precedent, when USA has a Democratic president (family Castro dictatorship) look a way to send a Cuban – Haitian human exodus to USA.
Time may be give mi reason; Time may be doing give me no reason.
Meanwhile “Cuban, Haitian and Dominican” illegally immigrate died, they give me a reason.
In God we trust.
Support Cuba Free State of USA.
si usas el dominio tambien usa lo que dice tu pueblo