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Cuba: No Racism by Law, Racism in Reality

March 28, 2016
Plain English Version
US President Barack Obama his family and Cuban President Raul Castro look on before the start of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. March 22, 2016. Credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama his family and Cuban President Raul Castro look on before the start of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. March 22, 2016. Credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Over fifty years ago, Fidel Castro ended racism in Cuba. He declared there was none. He went even further by saying the subject was taboo. He declared Cuba to be a post-racial country.

The recent visit of President Barack Obama, a black American, was momentous. It became a new force in the conversation. It changed many things. The status of black Cubans was now front and center.

Legal racism ended when Castro took power. Schools and health care became open to all. Facts about the status of black and mixed-race Cubans paint a different picture.

The island population is about two-thirds black and mixed race. A study said that civil and public leadership is about 70 percent white. About 80 percent of the scientists, technicians and university professors are white.

A great many of the Cubans who fled Cuba through the years are white.

Most of the Cubans who came with President Obama to Cuba are white. Most of the Cuban officials who interacted with the president on the island are white. Much of the audience for the president’s speech on Tuesday was white.

There is a growing concern about what will happen as the island opens up for tourists. The new small businesses in Cuba are for those with connections. The owners are whiter than the population as a whole.

The staffs of hotels and restaurants have become whiter. A local resident said, “They talk a lot here about discrimination against blacks in the United States. What about here?”  He added: “Why are there no blacks managing hotels? You don’t see any blacks working as chefs in hotels. You see them as janitors and porters. They get the inferior jobs.”

Other Cubans say that the first black American president shows that a black person can lead. Blacks need to see that the same thing can happen in Cuba.

Source: The New York Times March 24, 2016

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