Finally, Cuba Seems to Be Grappling with Racism, and, Oh my, Race!

It’s about time. It seems that researchers from the University of Havana are now at least acknowledging the fact that racism exists in the Island and that, no, good will and ignoring race and racism as atavistic or residual legacy from the past won’t be sufficient.
Here goes, because it’s very brief, the transcription of Racism in Cuba from the Cuba Transition Project.

This January Esteban Morales, a senior researcher at Centro de Estudios Hemisfericos, University of Havana, was interviewed by Patricia Grogg from Inter Press Service (IPS) in Havana. The University of Havana, as well as other educational institutions in Cuba, are run by the Castro government. Following are excerpts of the interview translated by the staff at ICCAS.
• We need to perfect our civil/democratic rights, not only for the Cuban blacks, but for the whole of society.
• Cuban social and revolutionary projects did not take into account race.
• During the special period in the 1990s, we realized that the blacks were suffering most.
• In today’s Cuba it is not the same to be poor and white than to be poor and black.
• The subject of racism in Cuba reemerged with a vengeance in the 1990s. While the government claimed that the issue of racism has been resolved, in reality it is not.
• Cuba lacks racial consciousness. For whites that is not important because they have always been in power but the blacks must have racial consciousness to fight against racism and to find a place in society.
• Racial discrimination remains in people’s minds in the family, in interpersonal relationships and even in Cuba’s institutions.
• The problem of racism in Cuba should be included in the agenda of the forthcoming Congress of the Communist Party.
• What is affecting us in our external image is the fact that our discourse does not conform to our reality. Until very recently, we were emphasizing that there were no racial problems in Cuba.


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