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Articles on Cuba

BlackLight online
http://www.blacklightonline.com

This American site concentrates on black gay politics & culture.  They have several articles on Cuba which have proved controversial and of uneven quality but nevertheless say some things that need to be said. There is a consistent stain of criticism of the Cuban government, often simplistic.  We hope that in the future, the authors delve more into root causes and start talking about ways to remedy these.

Articles on Cuba

"Racism in Cuba and The Failure of the American Left by Sidney Brinkley "
http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubaracism.html

Lisa Brock has written a knowledgeable response to this article: Response to Sidney Brinkley's article entitled "Racism in Cuba and the Failure of the American Left."

Feedback from one brother in Cuba: "Some very true points that hurt us all, but it becomes boring when they blame Castro for everything. Seems to me the author is obsessed with Fidel.  Nevertheless; there are things there that should be said."  

Reality in Cuba is far more complex than what is presented here, but perhaps as the site matures and the authors gain more experience with Cuba, they can make a deeper contribution towards resolving the issues there and especially those here that impact Cuba.  For example, racism is reviving in Cuba thanks to the money that comes in from foreign sources and goes to the lighter skinned Cubans, thereby creating inequalities, intense social stress, and a blame the victim psychology. Money is pouring into Cuba from Spanish sources into Spanish Cuban organizations such as the Asociacion Catalan and the Sociedad de Andalusia, which in itself is not a bad thing, but does lead to social stress.   The largely white Cuban American exiles in Miami and elsewhere send over $800 million/year. Blacks have no such foreign support, leaving the government to foot the bill and try and balance the inequalities. The author might want to look into why so many African Americans don't even know anything of the demographics of Cuba or of its intense African culture and perhaps then do something about that.  Even in Florida, African Americans, who suffer from the extreme racism of the Miami Cuban right wing, do not know that Cuba has a Black majority and their elected representatives vote for the genocidal embargo. 

Before accusing the Cuban government of being all-white, the author should at least be aware that 6 of 24 politburo members are black, as are the first secretaries of the Party in Havana and Santiago.

One of the main diatribe in the article is directed against a situation where some waiters ignored the author in a restaurant but rushed to the aid of some whites who came in.  The author does not understand the class basis for this action, but even reports that the waiters thought he was AfroCuban, as most folks there do when someone is Black as there are so few Black tourists. They ignored him as they would any Cuban, since there would be no tip in it for them.

However, the author is entirely correct in his assessment of the absence of AfroCubans in the tourism industry -- there is major discrimination by the eurotourism firms and there is no reason for the government to tolerate this, nor does it ina  number of hotels not owned by large euro organizations nor does it on some occasions when it becomes egregious.  On others, nothing is done, but then the pace of development of this industry means that it is playing catch up in a situation where the eurotourism firms are taking the lead.

For more on the issues around racism in Cuba, see our Race & Identity section.

"Gay Cuba Then and Now: A Talk with Gisela Arandia Covarrubia"
http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubagisela.html

A brief interview dressed up with information from AfroCubaWeb.  The author does not build on the issues which he has Gisela Arandia brings up, such as the fact that homophobic attitudes in Cuba have to do with both hispanic and caribbean culture.  In Jamaica, for instance, gays are killed and the murder is not even investigated by the police. While we are not aware of murders of gays in Cuba (there could well be some), they would certainly be investigated. Cuba has a far lower crime rate than Jamaica and other Caribbean islands and a murder there is still a shocking event much discussed instead of the routine event it has become elsewhere.  This digression aside, we have it on reliable authority that the interview was not made directly with Gisela Arandia and so if they are quoting her it was via some third party where words may have changed!

"Havana in the 1990's: No Longer Choosing Between Thieves or Faggots" by Amaury Fernandez Lopez
http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubahavana.html
A translation into English of a relatively recent article, apparently from Cuba. Gives a good street view of life in Cuba today.  Seems to say that Cuba is exceptionally homophobic, but goes on to describe a number of expressions of the gay life in Havana today... expressions which would certainly not be tolerated in some other Caribbean or Latin countries!

"The Issue of Race in Love and Sex"
http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubarace.html
More sabroso street comments.

"The Queens of Cuba"
http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubaqueens.html
Brief article with photos.

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