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Alberto Jones

Stealing my identity on AfroCubaWeb: the ultra right in blackface, 10/1/00

Why don't African Americans speak out against Castro's abuses
: Upper Class, get real!
,   3/25

Pissing on Jose Marti: the Elian kidnapping, 3/13/00

Elián's tragedy and El Duke's betrayal of AfroCubans, 1/23/00

Mumia, 11/99

Crooks, torturers, pseudo-politicians, opportunists, and hired killers line up against Los Van Van, 10/5/99


The Alberto Jones Column
Part I: 1998 - 1999 

Dr. Alberto Jones is a member of the West Indian Welfare Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba who now resides in northern Florida. He is an activist with strong communal ties to his homeland, Cuba, and is the director of the Caribbean American Children's Foundation as well as a director of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. He writes regularly on issues concerning Cuba, and we present his letters and columns here. Other columns are in Alberto Jones Column, Column I covering the period 1998 - 1999, Column II, 2000,  Column III, 2001 (Part I), Column IV, 2001 (Part II), Column V, 2002, Column VI, 2003, Column VII, 2004, Column VIII, 2005, Column IX 2006, Column X 2007, Column XI in 2008, and Column XII in 2009.

Castro's Slaves Rise Up: answering the CANF, 8/99
Alberto on the Coast Guard ramming, 7/99 Afrocuban conference in Miami: Un hito en la lucha contra el racismo, 11/98
Caribbean workers were `semi-slaves' in Cuba
8/98
A Cuba in Diaz Balart's Image or that of Today's Miami, 7/98 Biowar against Cuba, 7/99
Report on the West Indian Welfare Center by A. Jones West Indian Welfare Center - US branch Caribbean American Children's Foundation - AfroCuban programs


Contacting Alberto Jones

Mumia Abu Jamal, 11/99top

Although the conclusions of the Pennsylvania and US Supreme Courts reviewing Mumia Abu Jamal's case was a forseeable one, it is nevertheless shocking to see how easily a Black person can be fast forwarded to death in certain areas of the world.

Anticipating this horrendous outcome, thousands of children, women, and men, gathered around the world earlier this year, in a desperate plea for justice. Many more may gather unsuccessfully in a last attempt to stop this case, shrouded with doubts.

Do I know all the intricacies surrounding this case? No, I don't. What I do know are the historical facts of the past 400 years, in which Blacks were enslaved, lynched, entire communities overrunned and its inhabitants slaughtered, little girls bombed to bits in church, every leader of the Civil Rights movement decapitated, massive cheap drug infestation of our communities and 1/3 of our male population in the Judicial System.

Complicating even more this analysis, is the fact that this event took place in Pennsylvania, the same locality where members of the MOVE were firebombed, torching 11 of its members in their homes. Was anyone placed on death row for this heroic action?

Is it by accident or design, that the person sentencing Mumia to death is no other the Judge Albert J Sabo, who holds the PENNANT for executing more blacks (29), than any other Judge in the United States? Why is it so easy to establish "GUILT" in apparently confusing circumstances in Pennsylvania while at the same time what seems a clear cut, straight-forward case of a dead 6 year old girl in Colorado has not, and may never be solved?

Indio Hatuey and Guarina in Cuba 500 years ago, Lumumba in the Congo, Malcolm in New York, Van Troi in Viet Nam, Bico in South Africa, Sukarno in Indonesia, Nasser in Egypt, Albizu in Puerto Rico and yes, why not, El Che in Bolivia and thousands of others who paid the ultimate sacrifice knew that history would record them, not their executioners.

On the other hand, pseudo-writers/intellectuals and neo-Cubanologists, who have recently discovered how fashionable it is to create and write about presumed Human Rights Abuses of AfroCubans in Cuba, either as a source of income or celebrity, have all been so far, complicitly silent.

Whatever the outcome of this human tragedy, it proves that 2000 years after, very little have changed!

Crooks and gangsters line up against Van Van, 10/99top

Note: Miami is astir with this issue, and various music promoters and organizers have received death threats and bomb threats from the valiant right wing which is ever seeking to perpetuate their money making Cuban exile machinery.

Crooks, torturers, pseudo-politicians, opportunists, and hired killers line up against Los Van Van.
by Alberto Jones, 10-6-99

World acclaimed Tango Singer Carlos Gardel once said that "20 Years was Nothing or Meaningless". Wrong, not in Miami!

My first visit to that City during the summer of 1980, remains a clear and vivid experience. Hundreds of Periodiquitos and Cuban controlled Spanish Radio Stations littered the environment with constant threats of retribution to everyone living in Cuba and anyone living here who was sufficiently crazy to question the status quo.

Everyone in the Cuban community lived in constant fear of being labeled a Castroite, Commie, Leftie or something similar. Every one was suspect and many suffered financial and physical harm. Some less fortunate paid the ultimate price by been blown to bits, shot, or fire-bombed.

A horde of self-appointed Presidents, Ministers, Military and Police Chiefs, Mayors, Senators etc. were handsomely distributed among themselves. To be a crook, torturer, pseudo-politician, opportunist, gangster, or hired killer were some of the prerequisites for those appointments or for running an Open Mike Radio Talk Show.

One of them, Agustin Tamargo from Radio Mambi, went as far as openly requesting a THREE DAYS LICENSE - when the Castro Regime falls - to dole out retribution to all of those who stayed in Cuba and supported that hated regime.

This very disturbing statement is especially frightening to the AfroCuban community, who, because of its non-migratory tendency and the intense emigration of Cubans of Hispanic ancestry to the United States have seen Cuba become a predominantly Black country.

Are Mr Tamargo and his cohorts planning to re-enact the massacre of 1912 and the Ladder Conspiracy in Cuba or the Rosewood massacre in Gainesville, Florida?

Today, when these extreme right-wing-supremacists finds themselves reduced to chasing out of Miami an 80 year old Cuban-American woman dancer, whose sole crime was her decision to stay in Cuba, they are now bracing for an all out war against the Cuban Dance Band "Los Van Van" on Saturday, October 9th.

How pitiful? Once again, history repeats itself. This time as a tragedy! The spectacle of seeing Prime Ministers, Generals, Senators, reduced to yelling profanities with a megaphone at visiting cultural or sports citizens is simply disgusting.

But as an Afro Cuban, who experienced first hand their despicable treatment of Blacks in Cuba and elsewhere, it is highly offensive to see their attempt to enlist the Afro American community in Miami, to go out there and BOO Cuban musicians, who ironically, are predominantly Blacks.

These people, who played the most active role in decimating the Afro American community in Miami and who have morally and materially supported all Hispanic and White Police Officers who have abused or killed Blacks in questionable circumstances and who have offended and despised every Black leader in the world, still believe that Blacks can be cheated with pieces of mirror as they did when they invaded the New World.

Twenty years is not a very long time. Nevertheless, it is sufficient for most of us to establish the teratologic substance of which they are made.

Castro's Slaves Rise Up -- Defections are a reaction to a racisttop history: Dr. Jones answers the distortions - Monday, August 2, 1999

The following is a letter printed in the San Francisco Chronicle along with Dr. Jones' answer

Castro's Slaves Rise Up -- Defections are a reaction to a racist history
Miguel Angel Martinez, President of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)
 
AT THE BEGINNING of the 17th century, the western coast of Africa swarmed with slave merchants. At first, they hunted down the Africans, taking them by force in order to sell them into slavery in the Americas. Later, when the natives had all fled the coastal plains in fear for their lives, competition among the merchants grew so fierce they resorted to paying chiefs to
surrender tribal members into their hands.

At that time, Cuba was an important sugar producer. Refiners used the trapiches -- circular stone mills -- to crush the cane and produce the sugar. These were pushed by slaves -- so the workers had to be big and strong to do an effective job. Demand for slaves in Cuba was high, and when the slave ships stopped at the island on their way to Central and South America, the refiners had their pick of the strongest and healthiest. The slaves they bought were big and intelligent -- and very
expensive.

Throughout Cuba's history, Cubans of African descent have been an important part of its social fabric. They fought well in Cuba's wars of independence.  One, Gen. Antonio Maceo, -- along with Jose Marti and Gen. Maximo Gomez -- is
among the architects of Cuba's independence. Intellectuals, poets, writers, politicians, businessmen and even one dictator were descendants of African slaves. They have had power and social recognition, but even so, in some instances they were the victims of discrimination by the white population. [Like in the 1912 massacre of 6,000 AfroCubans, right?]

Then came the Castro revolution, promising equality for all, regardless of color. But the revolution's most important leaders were white. They were from the province of Oriente, which has the largest percentage of blacks on the island. The ``orientales'' were a proud and united people and considered themselves Cuban patriots. But despite their ideals of equality,
they were Spanish descendants who retained their prejudices against blacks.

The Castro revolution did indeed achieve equality for all Cubans: They all became poor. One of the thriving economies in the Americas was completely destroyed.

And what happened to the blacks, the descendants of the African slaves?

Ultimately, the leaders of the revolution banished them from government. Except for a few honorary positions, there has not been one single black Cuban in a position of power or relevance in the Castro regime. [Such as the 6 out of 24 politburo members or the heads of the communist party in Santiago and Havana, or the many members of the Comite Central, purely honorary positions, right?]

Abandoned by the revolution and afraid of the United States' history of  racism, they remained in Cuba -- without any possibility of getting dollars from relatives in exile. Although they are also willing to do anything  without complaining to step one rung up a ladder from hell, they remain the poorest of the poor.

Castro, an enthusiastic sportsman who considers sports as a public relations,  saw opportunity in Cuba's sea of black flesh. He sent his sports scouts -- his modern- day slave merchants -- throughout Cuba, looking not for basketball players, swimmers or tennis players, but for strong athletic young blacks. They were sent to military-regimented training camps until they learned their sports trade.

They again became, after more than 300 years, slaves in their own country. There is a story of a group of black young men who didn't know how to swim. They were thrown into a swimming pool for months until they learned. They
became one of the best water polo teams in the Americas.

This July, four basketball players defected from the Cuban National Team and asked for political asylum in Puerto Rico. They were desperately looking for liberty as each one of them understands it. They were afraid of their future in exile but hated the past so much that they were willing to leave behind their families, friends and their beloved country.

They were part of a slave basketball team and decided to be slaves no more.  Castro is very upset. Thousands of dollars and years of training have been lost; the slaves have escaped. The master's agents at the event in Puerto Rico are also very unhappy -- their million-dollar racket has been disturbed by a few black slaves who dare to ask for liberty. They must
be punished hard, they say, or suddenly all of them will want to be free.

Miguel Angel Martinez is president of the Cuban National Movement
and directs the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) as successor to Jorge Mas Canosa
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle  Page A19

VIVA AFRO CUBANS
by Dr. Alberto Jones, Caribbean American Children's Foundation

Editor -- After reading Mr. Martinez's piece, ``Castro's Slaves Rise Up'' (Chronicle, August 2), I am compelled to respond to his diatribe on slavery and Cuban history.

In the Cuban American National Foundation's desire to demonize and degrade everything about present-day Cuba, they mutate a racist past into the more fashionable ``Human Rights Advocacy for Afro Cubans.''

This is their latest weapon in a quest to conquer Cuba and turn it into another Miami -- one of the most segregated, drug-ravaged, bankrupt and politically corrupt communities in the nation.

As an Afro Cuban, I am deeply offended by their hypocrisy, backwardness and paternalistic, unsolicited defense of our people's rights, as opposed to their position when they were among the oppressors in Cuba. I do not need a director of the foundation to speak for us. In fact, any Afro Cuban today can stand on his/her own two feet and compete in any field of
knowledge with their cohorts.

And that is precisely what hurt them most! They have had to swallow the bitter pill of seeing that the first Latin American astronaut was a Cuban son of Africa; that slaves' descendants have now produced more individuals with higher education than those of our former masters; and that black nuns are no longer forced into a different religious order and a different dress code.

They must accept that blacks in Cuba can walk on any street in any neighborhood without being detained for "Walking While Black,'' go to beaches that no longer belong to Mr. Martinez and his friends, or enjoy a Cuban park without having to walk on different paths -- their sense of loss is understandable.

Mariana Grajales, the black woman who exemplifies the best of Cuban motherhood, said to her youngest son on learning of the death of an older brother during the struggle for Cuba's independence, ``Empinate -- grow  tall quickly to meet the needs of our country!'' This statement is more valid today than ever.

ALBERTO N. JONES
Director, Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc.

Coast Guard Behavior and Human Rights Crusaders, 7/11/99top

Recent events involving Cubans hoping to enter the US have highlighted what many people had known, that in fact we were an expendable commodity in the ongoing East-West differendo. Gone are the days when we were "Refugees", "Asylum seekers" or "Repressed Christians".

Years ago, when illegal immigration from Cuba was strongly encouraged and rewarded by the United States Government, the Cuban Government implemented harsh measures to discourage this process, for which, it was regularly accused in Geneva by some prominent personalities who made a living as Human Rights Crusaders.

Pepper spraying, handcuffing, imprisoning in the Bahamas or Guantanamo, ramming and sinking the immigrant's craft and the death of an occupant is becoming part of the Coast Guard job description. Will those Crusaders return to Geneva about that?

Biowar Against Cuba, 7/99

Dr. Jones was a veterinarian in Cuba, and so has the expertise to be discussing this long repressed topic.

The first indications in Cuba of the possibility of Bacteriological Warfare occured in 1965, when different groups of university students in different fields of biology -myself included- were sent to Europe to take emergency training in specialized studies of all aspects related to this type of aggression.

In 1971, we had our first opportunity to put to work the training we had received in previous years.

The presence in Cuba of a massive explosion of African Swine Fever, one of the most devastating swine industry illness, strongly suggested that this process was not related to normal evolution of infectious/transmissible diseases, especially because this very serious entity had not occured before in this hemisphere.

The damage that this outbreak caused may never be established. Suffice to say that hundred of thousands of pigs in the western part of Cuba died or were sacrificed as the only means of stopping this epidemic.  We had to keep this area (1/3) of the country free of pigs for the next five years, which had a substantial negative impact on the protein intake of over 4 million of people.

[for more info, check out AfroCubaWeb's backgrounder on biowar against Cuba.]

Caribbean workers were `semi-slaves' in Cuba, Miami Herald 25 August 1998top

Re Attorney Don James's Aug. 7 Viewpoints Page column, "Civilized relations with Castro do not mean acquiescence": I was tempted to put it in the trash. But then I thought about my moral responsibility to the truth as the grandson of one of thousands of victims lured to Cuba -- "The Promised Land" -- at the turn of the century as cheap, semi-slave hands to support the rapidly expanding sugar industry.

Migrants from the English-speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti were forced to live on the other side of the tracks in huts without running water, sewer, electricity, schools, health services, or jobs. There was massive malnutrition, rampant infectious diseases, chronic infant mortality, and illiteracy. All this when we had a "free press" and periodic "elections" and being black was a crime.

How can any attorney argue in a court of law that in the midst of the brutal, repressive environment that Mr. James describes, Santiago de Cuba -- with less than a million inhabitants and Jamaica's closest neighbor -- has produced in the past 40 years from oppressed ranks more black doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, researchers, engineers, scientists than Jamaica in its 500-plus years?

Therefore it's incumbent upon us to work together to improve our system of government, develop closer cooperation and support among ourselves, and struggle to improve the plight of our people by reducing underdevelopment without pointing our visionary finger or giving unsolicited advice in a blind pursuit of instant gratification, which demeans us all.

Let's be humble, work harder, share our knowledge for reasons that make us proud, and not become unwittingly part of the problem.

Alberto N. Jones
Executive Director,
Caribbean American Children Foundation

Letter, 11/12/98, Miami Heraldtop

Un hito en la lucha contra el racismo
ALBERTO N. JONES

Un hecho sin precedentes en la historia de Miami ocurrió el pasado 31 de octubre con la celebración de la conferencia Miami-USA/Cuba, Una Nueva Visión, organizada por el Centro de Política Internacional.

Este evento pretendía reunir a personas de diversas orientaciones filosóficas, sociales o religiosas, residentes en Cuba y el exterior, dirigido a analizar sin preconcepciones la problemática cubana. Lamentablemente, algunos no pudieron resistir la tentación de intentar entorpecer su marcha o promover agendas personales, ignorando de manera irresponsable el negativo impacto que esto pudiera ejercer sobre la nación y sus habitantes. 

Pero este evento no será recordado por ocasionales nimiedades humanas, sino por haber establecido un hito, al incluir en el mismo un panel afrocubano para escuchar por primera vez la opinión de los ignorados intencionalmente.

Para nosotros, afrocubanos, el esclavismo-racismo constituye quizás el tema más doloroso de nuestra existencia. Quinientos años después de la importación forzada de nuestros antepasados a Cuba, el bestial esclavismo, la destrucción de nuestros lazos filiales y religiosos, nuestra masiva incorporación al ejército libertador aportando el grueso de las bajas sólo para ver escatimado nuestro sacrificio y heroísmo mediante la escaramuza e intervención foránea de 1898 y la virtual regresión al esclavismo, dejaron huellas.

Frustrados, segregados, traicionados, miles de afrocubanos que habían luchado y derramado su sangre por la libertad de Cuba intentaron organizarse políticamente para defender sus derechos conculcados dentro de los cánones establecidos, siendo brutalmente masacrados en 1912 y sometidos durante 50 años a una ignominiosa segregación.

Cuarenta años después, Cuba puede mostrar con orgullo al mundo el mayor conglomerado de descendientes de aquellas víctimas convertidos hoy en entes que han descollado en todas las actividades del quehacer humano, ya sea educando a otro ser, descubriendo un nuevo fármaco, viajando al cosmos o fortaleciendo nuestra cultura.

¿Qué otro hecho en la historia de la humanidad es comparable a la heroica hazaña de miles de afrocubanos al derramar su sangre o entregar sus vidas en pos de la libertad e independencia de Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Sudáfrica y otros lugares de donde fueron arrancados nuestros antecesores?

Es por ello, que el resurgimiento de vestigios de racismo en Cuba, generó necesariamente violentas recriminaciones en muchos participantes en la conferencia. Pero de ahí a inferir o estructurar el análisis de este grave problema como privativo o estimulado por el actual gobierno, no es sólo falso, es cruel. La verdad absoluta, lo irrefutable, lo que todo el mundo ha reconocido, es que los afrocubanos han avanzado más en los últimos 40 años que en los 500 años anteriores.

Hago por tanto un sincero y crucial llamado a todos mis hermanos de raza, todos víctimas de ese engendro, para que analicemos nuestra historia, establezcamos quiénes, cuándo y por qué se cometió aquel holocausto y luego dediquemos lo mejor de nuestros esfuerzos --tal cual realizan españoles, árabes, judíos, chinos, etc.--, a contribuir a mitigar el dolor de nuestros hermanos en Cuba, a crear mecanismos que coadyuven a su continuo desarrollo, a demostrarles que no han sido olvidados ni están solos y evitar sobre todo que el dolor personal debido a una injusticia real o imaginaria, nos lleve a ignorar el reto de millones de nuestros hermanos, asociándonos indirectamente con nuestros verdugos.

Nadie tendrá que aleccionarnos en las actuales circunstancias. Maceo, Guillermón, Quintín, Mariana, etc., nos trazaron el camino a seguir. Los historiadores disponen del rasero por el cual seremos juzgados.

Director ejecutivo de la Fundación Caribeño-Americana de Niños.
Alberto N. Jones

Esa carta fue publicado el 12 de noviembre, 1998 en El Nuevo Herald
[for another report on this conference, see Robert Steinback's article]

Contacting Alberto Jonestop

Email: albertoj_AT_afrocubaweb.com [replace _AT_ with @]

 

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