Skip to comments.What about Black Cubans' Subjugation, Mr. Robinson?
Posted on 09/20/2002 5:18:07 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Dear Mr. Robinson,
We met last month in Boca Raton, Florida. I introduced myself when you left the restaurant we both dined at that night.
It wasn't the appropriate occasion to tell you that your writings are a source of confusion. I'm confused that a man who claims to care about people of color ignores the subjugation of black people 90 miles from America.
I refer to your writings on Cuba, wherein you ignore the systematic violation of black Cubans' human rights, romanticize the white autocrat who has violated them for 43 years, and denigrate the victims of Fidel Castro's autocracy.
An example of the last aspect is in your most recent book, "The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other" (2002). You refer to "Miami's self-exiled Castro-hating Cubans," an ugly phraseology that belittles the Cuban Diaspora and the tyranny which caused its existence. Did you refer in previous decades to "France's self-exiled Franco-hating Spaniards" or "Spain's self-exiled Pinochet-hating Chileans"?
In "Defending the Spirit: A Black Life in America" (1998), you assert that black Cubans "are demonstrably better off under Castro than they were under the Batista dictatorship." Enrique Patterson, on the other hand, observes that "the Cuba of today is worse than the Cuba before the revolution in terms of the standard of living, the economy, and human rights."
Have you met Enrique Patterson? He's one of those "self-exiled Castro-hating" Cubans in Miami, and he's a black man.
Patterson was nine years old when Castro came to power in 1959. When he criticized Castro's support for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Patterson lost his job, lost a scholarship to study abroad, and was barred from leaving Cuba.
He later joined human rights organizations and co-founded the Cuban Democratic Socialist Current in 1992, resulting in periodic arrests. "I am certain that because of my race, I was the first member of the group that the political police went after," Patterson recounts in "Remembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora," edited by Andrea O'Reilly Herrera.
Knowing that Patterson had asthma, Castro's secret police threatened imprisonment for his next "crime" and added, "medicine is for revolutionaries! We won't even have to kill you; you'll die on your own." Faced with this dire likelihood, Patterson fled his homeland.
Have you met Ramon Colas? He's another "self-exiled Castro-hating" Cuban in Miami, a former prisoner of conscience, and a black man. Here's what he has to say about Cuba under Castro: "At a particular time in my life, I walked alongside this new system, until I realized it had turned me into a modern slave, subjected to unjust laws [e.g., "enemy propaganda" and "disrespect"], discriminatory practices which made me a non-person."
Have you met Vicki Ruiz Labrit, Marcos Lazaro Torres Leon, or Omar Lopez Montengro? They're also "self-exiled Castro-hating" black Cubans in Miami, and there are so many more.
And then there are the black prisoners of conscience who languish in Cuba, like Jorge Luis Garcia Perez and Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. There are the rappers like Humberto Cabrera who courageously denounce their subjugation by Castro.
Where is your solidarity for them?
In "The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks" (2000), you recount meeting with Castro in 1999 and write how his eyes "shone with intelligent intensity" and revealed "an inferno of intellect and determination." These words make me think of two men you cite in "The Debt": W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson.
When Joseph Stalin died in 1953, Du Bois and Robeson responded with panegyrics. Du Bois wrote, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Robeson wrote, "Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands."
Their affection was shameful, Mr. Robinson, and so is yours.
He had it right - the country they called home when exiled not the country they fled.
If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)
Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.
Is that more clear?
You didn't really say this did you? :)
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