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The  Independent Party of Color - Leadership
Founder Evaristo Estenoz in the center in white jacket and mustache
A color version of this photo is in the Museo de la Revolucion, la Habana
© Gloria Rolando, 2001

The first independent black political party in the hemisphere, the Partido Independiente de Color, is founded in Havana on August 7, 1908 by Evaristo Estenoz (center above, below, left and right), Pedro Ivonnet, journalist Gregorio Surín, and a group of followers who were all assassinated in the 1912 Massacre

Evaristo Estenoz, as director of  Previsión, el órgano
 de prensa del Partido Independiente de Color

In 1910, the Afro Cuban traitor Martin Morúa Delgado proposes a law, the Morúa Amendment, which bans the Independiente de Color as a political party because it is said to be based on race.  He argued that since African born Cubans had been given citizenship and could vote, racial privileges had disappeared and a party based on color was unconstitutional: the Cuban myth of racial equality!  He was supported in this by the miguelista newpaper El Triunfo which initiated the strong anti-black line that the Independientes were crazed rapists favoring a Haitian style revolution.

Los Independientes were made up of many veterans of the Mambi Army, which was itself 80% to 90% of African descent. The Mambises kicked the Spaniards out from Cuba and forced the plantocracy to ally themselves with the Americans to take back Cuba from the Cubans of African descent. When the Independents challenged them again, the plantocracy massacred over 6,000 as US troops stood by and US Navy ships were on hand to provide back up. This whole history has long been passed under silence and repressed.

For the first time in the history of Cuba, Gloria Rolando offers the media images of this episode in her film, Raíces de mi corazon. For this, she and her Images of the Caribbean crew were thanked by the assembled public at the premiere in the National Library in February,  2001. This film would not have been possible without Aline Helg's pioneering work on the history of the Party, Our Rightful Share, which has been translated into Spanish in Havana.

  <==(left) Pedro Ivonnet (right, below)==>

Ivonet was of Haitian descent, one of the principal founders of the party.

The year 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the PIC. A National Commission has been set up in Cuba to oversee the commemoration.






See also:

The 1912 Massacre, AfroCubaWeb

The Independents of Color and the 1912 Massacre in the media

Noticias de los Independientes de Color y la Masacre de 1912

Claudio Menendez, PIC President in Matanzas

Documentos del Partido Independiente de Color  5/17/2008 La Jiribilla

Rafael Conte, José M. Capmany, Guerra de Razas (Negros contra blancos en Cuba), Imp. Militar de Antonio Perez, Muralla 40, Havana, 1912 [4 PDFs, 4MB total]

Mellen, Jim: Cuban Soldiers in the Spanish-American War, Small Planet

Serafin Portuondo Linares, Los Independientes de Color: Historia del Partido Independientes de Color, La Habana  1950  -  287 p PDF 4.2MB 

Panel de los Independientes de color, Academia de la Historia de Cuba


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