Cuban state media goes after our first black president



(My new American Thinker post)

President Teddy Roosevelt once told a campaign audience that weakness invites contempt. Let’s just say that those words apply to our new friend Raul Castro, who keeps going out of his way to show the world that it was President Obama not him who really wanted to do the wave at the baseball game.

First, Raul Castro skipped President Obama’s arrival. We heard all week that it was the first presidential visit to Cuba since President Coolidge. Historic? I guess that Raul didn’t get the memo or doesn’t care about history.

Second, Raul Castro watched  the president of the U.S. praise his education and health care system. Incredibly, President Obama read the regime’s talking points from A to Z. What was the point of President Obama doing this?

Third, Fidel Castro jumped into the act and wrote an op-ed in the state media blasting President Obama. Let’s call that column: “Don’t meddle in Cuba” or I will shoot one of those Soviet missiles against your plane like I did in the missile crisis!

Finally, the state-run media (La Tribuna de la Habana) hit one right over the Rays’ centerfielder head with an attack on President Obama that would have a lot of Democrats screaming “racista“:

The Havana Tribune, a state-controlled Cuban newspaper, has added insult to injury following Fidel Castro’s scathing criticism of President Barack Obama upon his departure from the island. In an editorial, the title of which refers to President Obama as “negro,” an opinion columnist has accused him of “inciting rebellion.”

The article is titled “Negro, ¿Tu Eres Sueco?” which roughly translates to “Black Man, Are You Dumb?” (The idiom “pretend to be a Swede” means to play dumb, hence the title is literally asking, “Are you Swedish?”) The author, who is black, goes on to condemn President Obama for meeting with Cuban pro-democracy activists and “subtly” suggesting that the Cuban Revolution needed to change. “Obama came, saw, but unfortunately, with the pretend gesture of lending a hand, tried to conquer,” Elias Argudín writes.

“[Obama] chose to criticize and subtly suggest… incitations to rebellion and disorder, without caring that he was on foreign ground. Without a doubt, Obama overplayed his hand,” he continues. “The least I can say is, Virulo-style: ‘Negro, are you dumb?’”

Virulo is a white pro-Revolution comedian.

I would add a couple of things:

1) The slang “negro tu eres sueco” is a clear suggestion that Obama is not black. What skin color are Swedish people? I would translate it to the Cuban equivalent of calling Obama an Oreo cookie, i.e. black outside and white inside; and,

2) No one takes a cheap shot like that against President Obama without the editorial consent of Fidel or Raul Castro. This is the worst thing that I’ve heard about a U.S. president in years, especially the one that they negotiated with.

So what’s going on?

Maybe Fidel Castro was angry that President Obama did not salute him and he pulled a few strings at the state-run media.

Maybe Raul Castro is showing Cubans, and the Latin American left, that he is the one in charge.

Time will tell, but one thing is clear to me. We can add Raul Castro to the growing list of world leaders who have zero respect for President Obama.

“Hope and change” took a fastball between the eyes this week!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

1 thought on “Cuban state media goes after our first black president”

  1. The gist of the idiom “hacerse el sueco” has nothing to do with the fact Swedes are white, and the comment directed at Obama did NOT imply he wasn’t black or black enough. If anything, it emphasized his blackness. Batista looked less black than Obama, but he was also called “el Negro” by some, and cartoonists in Cuba portrayed him as blacker than he was.

    The malicious little phrase hurled at Obama, obviously with regime approval, was both dismissively racist and implied the Castro people aren’t buying or receptive to even very mild and friendly-like suggestions of democratic reform. It doesn’t matter that they know Obama wasn’t serious about that; the message wasn’t so much for Obama but for another target audience, in this case the domestic market (the idiom is too esoteric or too Cuban for a foreign audience).

    This particular instance may have been somewhat miscalculated, in the sense that it depended too much on the writer being black as cover when he’s just an official mouthpiece anyway, and it may not have been anticipated that the comment would be picked up on outside of Cuba. Also, the regime may not fully realize the degree of sensitivity to any kind of racist dog whistle that now exists, certainly in the US, which is why, for instance, it went so far as putting out a cartoon showing the black dissident Berta Soler literally as a gorilla. Still, it gets a pass on these things because the double-standard is very firmly entrenched, and it is not about race or human rights anyhow–it’s about political ideology and agenda.

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