No amount of revisionist history or support from Black Lives Matter can erase the past or the ongoing racism of Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution in Cuba. Fortunately, dissidents on the island are bringing black agency back despite having no international support from leftist groups who supposedly fight for racial equality.
Fidel Castro ended 76 years of black agency in Cuba, how Cuban dissidents are bringing it back , and the price they are paying to do it
The Spanish Congress of Deputies on January 19, 1880 voted to abolish slavery in Cuba. The last vestiges of slavery ended in Cuba by royal decree on October 7, 1886. Juan Gualberto Gómez Ferrer, a free Cuban black, and leader of the independence struggle defended the rights of Black Cubans for his entire career.
Between 1886 and 1892 in Cuba, free black people were able to organize into a network of societies formally founded by Gómez Ferrer in 1892 in the “Directory of Colored Societies” to press for black social, economic and political advancement in Cuba. Gómez Ferrer represented Havana in the Cuban House of Representatives (1914–1917) and Senate (1917–1925).
The Central Directory of Societies of Color would spend the next seventy six years pushing for Black advancement in Cuba.
All of this came crashing down with Castro’s communist revolution. Cuban black nationalist Juan René Betancourt in his essay “Castro and the Cuban Negro” published in the NAACP publication The Crisis in 1961.
“Of the 256 Negro societies in Cuba, many have had to close their doors and others are in death agony. One can truthfully say, and this is without the slightest exaggeration, that the Negro movement in Cuba died at the hands of Sr. Fidel Castro.” … “Yet this is the man who had the cynical impudence to visit the United States in 1960 for the purpose of censuring American racial discrimination. Although this evil obviously exists in the United States, Castro is not precisely the man to offer America solutions, nor even to pass judgment.”
Between 1898 and 1959 the relationship between Black-Americans and Black-Cubans was based on their being part of an international black diaspora. This relationship ended when the Castro regime ended autonomous black civil society in 1962, and consolidated totalitarian rule.
It was replaced by Castro and his white revolutionary elite allying with Black elites in the United States, and Africa while criticizing racism in the United States. This ended black agency in Cuba for decades, replaced with a policy based in obedience, submission, and gratitude to the white revolutionary elite, and this was reflected in official propaganda with racist tropes.
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