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Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Cuba
by Eugene Godfried, 6/04

Marcus Mosiah Garvey is the founder of the internationally known "Universal Negro Improvement Association", abbreviated U.N.I.A. The movement’s newspaper was  "NEGRO WORLD".

Garveyism in Cuba was primarily, although not exclusively, a movement of the British West Indian immigrants. Garveyites stimulated the West Indian immigrants to maintain their sense of "IDENTITY" and to survive in an often times hostile environment.

UNIA’s objective in Cuba was focused on the protection of the labor - interest and to enhance the social well-being of immigrants from mainly anglophone, as well as francophone and other groups in the Caribbean who were brought to Cuba from 1910 onward in order to work on the sugar, coffee, cocoa, and other estates. By being immigrant - centered, in that sense, the movement was not considered a threat to public order by the eurocentric elite.

"LA CHAMBELONA UPRISING" OF 1917 – Seventeen British West Indian workers were murdered by soldiers in Jobabo, Las Tunas. UNIA defends Brittish West Indian immigrants against abuse by employers and labor- recruiters in the canefields. President Mario Menocal, consequently, issued a Presidential decree ordering repatriation of "braceros", hand-laborers, since they were posing a threat/danger to public health and were a public burden to the nation.

BLACK STAR LINE, founded in 1919.

Captain Joshua Cockburn piloted the Black Star steamer "FREDERICK DOUGLAS", into Sagua La Grande, Las Villas, before continuing to Havana in early December 1919.

At the beginning of 1921, Reverend George Alexander MacGuire, Chaplain General of the UNIA, became the first member of the Association’s executive council to make an official trip to Cuba. Before returning to New York in early March 1921, he visited a dozen (12) divisions in Cuba, sold Black Star stock, and collected contributions to the Liberian Construction Loan.

Marcus Garvey visited Cuba in 1921: Marcus Garvey arrived in Cuba in March 1921, along with HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS, and JOHN SIDNEY DE BOURG (UNIA’s international organizers).

1927: Fifty (50) Cuban chapters’ are registered with the UNIA parent body in New York, U.S.A.

Garveyite leaders in Cuba gave social assistance to immigrants during economic crash of the 1920’s. The Movement in Cuba then urged the British government to provide better support for its West Indian subjects living in Cuba.

Because of internal conditions of the movement outside of Cuba, it is noticeable that the movement gradually disappeared in Cuba in the decade of the 30's.

Marcus Garvey died in 1940.

The ideas of Marcus Mosiah Garvey were of great interest to the later to be formed Rasta movement in Jamaica, therefore he was a predecessor to the Rastas.

The Rasta movement has a significant presence in present day Cuba, thanks to the work done and examples set forth by Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, who is adored by a cross section of the Cuban youth and people.


BETWEEN RACE AND EMPIRE: African-Americans and Cubans before the Cuban Revolution, edited by Lisa Brock and Digna Castañeda, includes 

Marcus Garvey in Cuba: Urrutia, Cubans, and Black Nationalism by  TOMAS FERNANDEZ ROBAINA
  UNIA History at UNIA-ACL Comunidad Rasta en Cuba  su pagina sobre Garvey seria de fotos en Cuba, donde la congregacion salio de la Ciudad de la Habana, atraveso por toda la isla hasta llegar a las Montañas del Cobre, donde se establecio la casa oficial de Rastafari en Cuba, la O.C.R. (also in English on same page)

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