Race and Identity

Backside of the Cuban Identify Card with a box for “Skin”

It’s just been born and in a few hours they will register the baby with its brand new name. A few days will pass before the parents get the birth certificate and then the so-called “minor card.” Without an identification card you can’t receive products from the ration market, enroll in school, get a job, travel on an inter-provincial bus, or put your belongings in a bag-check at a shop. Every day of your life you need this document, which at the top carries a unique combination of eleven digits. On the little piece of cardboard your temporal and geographic data is registered… and also certain physical details.

It looks just like a letter on the back of the identity card, but it is an initial that describes the color of our skin. This consonant classifies us as one race or another, divides us into one group or another. Amid repeated institutional calls to end discrimination, the Cuban Civil Registry still maintains a racial category for every citizen. Along with the date of our birth, and our address, it specifies if we are white, mixed or black. The assignment of a “B,” “M” or “N,” (Blanco-white, Mestizo-mixed, Negro-black), in a nation with so much race mixing, is often the result of a functionary’s subjective judgement.

Amid so many priorities, so many rights to demand and injustices to end, it might seem trivial to demand the withdrawal of a letter on our identify card. However, its small presence doesn’t diminish its gravity. Especially when the document itself already has a photo of its holder, where you can see his or her physical features.

No citizen should be evaluated by the color of their skin, nor placed in a category according to the amount of pigment they carry in their epidermis. Such bureaucratic backwardness speaks more to prison files than civil registries. It’s not a question of melanin, but of principles.

29 thoughts on “Race and Identity


    N.Y. TIMES: Venezuelan Opposition Chief Surrenders, but Not Without a Rally – by William Neuman

    CARACAS, Venezuela — A prominent Venezuelan opposition leader surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday in the midst of a large crowd of supporters who tried to block his arrest on accusations that he was responsible for violence that erupted during recent antigovernment protests.

    Before giving himself up, the opposition politician, Leopoldo López, walked through a sea of thousands of supporters in the largest rally in more than two weeks of growing protests fueled by discontent over runaway violent crime, a stalled economy, government pressure on the news media and other issues.
    But the crowd surged through and carried Mr. López for several more blocks, until he finally arrived at a white armored police vehicle. After turning to the crowd and holding the flowers and a small Venezuelan flag over his head in a gesture of defiance, he climbed into the vehicle.

    On a building behind him were posters from last year’s presidential election, with Mr. Maduro’s mustached face looking placidly down on the scene.

    Hundreds of people surged around the vehicle, shouting “Freedom!” and “Let him go!” There was pushing and shoving, and the heavy back door to the vehicle was pulled from its hinges. Other protesters sat or stood in front of the vehicle, blocking it.

    Finally, Mr. López, who had declared his intention to surrender peacefully, spoke over a loudspeaker, urging the members of crowd to let the vehicle pass. Eventually they did, but his supporters still crowded around and accompanied it. At one point, when the crowd again refused to let the vehicle pass, he got out and boarded a black Jeep to continue the trip. The crowd around the car eventually swelled into the thousands, and Mr. López’s trip to prison took on a paradelike air.

    In a televised speech at an oil workers’ rally, Mr. Maduro said Mr. López was being taken to a jail outside Caracas “to answer to justice.”

    At the rally for Mr. López, Garcelis Montilla, 53, a merchant, said she hoped that public reaction to his arrest would bring about change. “Leopoldo’s arrest for crimes that he didn’t commit is the drop that caused the glass to overfill,” she said, using a local saying.



    YOUTUBE: What’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell (English version)

    THE GUARDIAN UK: How a first-time film-maker alerted the world to Venezuela’s student protests
    Andreina Nash, a 21-year-old student, has brought the plight of student protesters in Venezuela to global attention – with a short film she made in a day.
    The film was conceived and made by 21-year-old Andreina Nash, who was born in Valencia, Venezuela, but moved to Florida at the age of nine when her father got a job there. The six-minute sequence of stills and video of the protests is narrated in her voice – young, clear and American, but with the Spanish pronunciation of “Venezuela”. In the background, the soundtrack from Gladiator rises to a crescendo. “Sorry. I have broken so many rules,” she says. (She does not have permission to use the music.) “I just wanted to get something that was a good fit.”

    There were three confirmed deaths of students in last week’s protests, all gunshot-related. The film shows one protester being hit over the back with a gun by an armed policeman, and then kicked in the head. At one point, Nash’s voiceover stops while the footage rolls – oblique-angled street scenes, patches of sunlight cutting across shadowy long-range views of tiny demonstrators pouring down a road, while a whip cracks relentlessly, the sound of rapid gunfire. Nash took the images from the Venezuela Lucha Instagram page, which has been documenting the violence. It is an impressive piece of film-making. How did she learn to do that?

    Previously she says she used YouTube “just to view random music videos”. Then on Thursday last week she attended class as usual in the school of marketing and telecommunications at the University of Florida. She and her fellow students were learning how to use Adobe Premier Pro. “I learned it in a day,” she says. Then the next day, “I woke up, and from 10am to 10pm I made the video. I skipped class and everything. Usually I am not good at technology. I don’t know how to check my computer for a virus. When I made the film, it was like God was moving my hands.”



  4. HUMBY says stick to Cuban topics,
    then pastes numerous examples of right wing analysis of the current situation in Venezuela.
    Same old story.
    And I’m afraid Humby, that it is a very hypocritical story.
    You paste your pastes if that’s what you want to do Humby…..
    And let the people here debate, if that’s what they wish to do…..
    Where’s the problem in that ???????

  5. humberto: not trying to divert nothing….neutral observer made a comparison to another Latin American country….I was simply trying to oblige…and we need to take a look at other Central American and Caribbean countries to really understand reality for countries in this region instead of focusing solely on political ideology issues


    HISPANICIZE WIRE: Yoani Sanchez, Maria Hinojosa and Innovative Media Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Highlight Hispanic Journalist Showcase of Hispanicize 2014
    MIAMI, Florida – February 18, 2014 – Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez and NPR’S Latino USA award-winning host Maria Hinojosa are headlining a Hispanicize 2014 Hispanic Journalist Showcase that this year focuses on media entrepreneurship.
    “We’re delighted to honor two powerful Latina journalists like Yoani and Maria, twin pillars of a Hispanic journalist showcase that is itself empowering and innovative”
    Sanchez, the acclaimed journalist who uses Twitter to fight the 54-year-old Castro dictatorship in Cuba, will join event co-chair Hinojosa as one of this year’s four Latinovator Award recipients. The Latinovator Awards recognize Latinos who have done something notable or remarkable.
    (Hispanicize 2014, the annual Latino trends event, will take place April 1-4 in downtown Miami’s InterContinental Hotel; register here:
    “Yoani’s story is inspiring and perfectly aligns with the values of Hispanic journalists and bloggers who – like her – cherish freedom of the press and democracy,” said Manny Ruiz, founder of the Hispanicize event. “We’re delighted to honor two powerful Latina journalists like Yoani and Maria, twin pillars of a Hispanic journalist showcase that is itself empowering and innovative.”

  7. neutral observer: You really want to compare Mexico to Cuba???? …
    Mexico: BTI World Report 2012
    The main characteristic of the Mexican regime that endured from 1929 until 2000 was the existence of a hegemonic state party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) which controlled most social organizations. This regime was the result of the Mexican revolution (1910 – 1917). Based on the constitution of 1917, the state used the revolutionary myth as the main source of its legitimacy, using this as a platform for wide-ranging intervention in the Mexican economy. (I can’t believe that you think that living in Mexico is better then living in Cuba. The government is hiding behind the “war against the catel” to eliminate organize opposition to the government.. oppression, oppression, oppression worst than Cuba)
    The transition of the year 2000 occurred without rupture, as steadily increasing discontent with the single-party PRI government fueled a surge in support for the opposition parties: the right-wing National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) and the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD). PAN candidate Vicente Fox won the 2000 presidential elections essentially on the basis of an anti-PRI vote. His victory raised very high expectations of change, but Fox’s administration managed to disillusion almost all social sectors. It failed to dismantle the old authoritarian institutions, and made little advance in the construction of more democratic ones. He continued to apply the orthodox liberal economic model, but the economy failed to grow substantially. The state’s assistance policies did not manage to reduce poverty significantly, or to alleviate the country’s enormous income disparities.
    This set the stage for polarization between those who had benefited from the new economic model and those who had suffered from it; this divide led to the highly polarized electoral scenario of 2006. The PAN candidate won the 2006 elections on the basis of a very small margin, lower than 1%, after a campaign marred by the intervention of incumbent President Vicente Fox and the business sector. This prompted PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador to denounce the elections as fraudulent, deny recognition to the new government, launch a movement of resistance against the incoming government and declare himself to be the legitimate president. This situation influenced Calderón’s decision to send the army into the streets in order to fight the drug cartels. This resolution was taken in part as a political tactic to gain legitimacy and show the opposition mobilized by López Obrador that the president had the support of the army; but it was also seen as the new president’s genuine strategy in fighting the growing power of the drug cartels. Since that time, the war against the drug cartels has become the main issue in the country, as violence has escalated to unseen levels. The violence has contaminated other criminal activities, such as kidnappings and robbery. This situation has awakened an increasing body of critical voices that consider this direct strategy in the “war” against drugs to be a mistake.

  8. Omar Fundora,

    I do not wish to return Cuba to the 1950s. It was a corrupt dictatorship run by thugs.

    I just pointed out the Cubans were a lot more prosperous before Castro, and a lot freer.

    Castro also created a corrupt dictatorship run by thugs. Just a poorer and more oppressive dictatorship.

    About all those agreements, paper is cheap, Cuba lets foreign multinationals pollute all they want in Cuba. Go to Cuba and ask around.

    And Castro won’t even discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Like the loony right, the loony left is calling pollution control a US conspiracy.

    Castro is siding with China, the world’s number one polluter.

    He likes lying about it though. Many gullible people like believing his lies. It makes them feel good I guess.

  9. Neutral observer: regarding the Cuban economy prior to the Revolution of 1959

    let me begin by noting that most of the people who express an opinion on Cuba – in the USA -do not seem to know much about Cuba … Let me clarify one item.

    Obviously there can be no objectivity when it comes to Cuba after 1959, so I want to pick on the statement that says: “Cuba will return to what it used to be.”

    So here is an aspect of the Cuba that used to be:

    Before 1959, the laws of the “free market” did NOT operate in Cuba. Between 1934 and 1959 Cuba had a state capitalist economy.

    Do you know that the US sugar quota actually was a mechanism by which the United States Department of Agriculture determined the amount of sugar that the US could buy from the island, and at what price? Even the number of ships to be used to carry the sugar were determined by fiat.

    The Jones Costigan Act (from the US) compelled the Cuban government to then allocate how much sugar cane would be grown by each colono. There was a formula established on how much every sugar cane cutter would be paid on the basis of the weight of the cane, but in concordance with the established price of the raw sugar. And that was determined by both governments.

    Do you know that the hacendados who owned the sugar mills were also chosen by the Cuban state? So, it was the state who selected the hacendado and the amount of sugar to be produced, and how much sugar was to be raw and how much refined and how much could be paid to the sugar mill worker?

    You probably have heard that after 1934 sugar mills were bought off by Cubans from Americans. That is true. BUT what is never mentioned by the exiles is why. The reason is simple: since the laws of the market did not operate, the comparative advantage was based on political access to the Batista regime. So, foreign sugar interests simply decided to get out of the business. Hence, the Cubans ended up controlling the milling process because their friends in government gave them the allocations.

    The political economy of sugar was totally and completely controlled by the two governments. And, by the way, since sugar was the pivot of the entire economy, that meant that the invisible hand did NOT operate in other sectors either — such as lending, transportation, shipping — if related to sugar.

    Before 1959, Keynesian economics were more advanced in Cuba than in the United States

    So, tell me, is that the understanding you had of what Cuba was before 1959?

    If it is not, then research the matter. Don’t take my words. Then you will see that Cubans in the island have NOT known what the so called liberal economic model was like, None of those alive in Miami ever experienced it, at least not in Cuba.

    In fact, the Cuban revolution of 1959 raises a number of interesting issues.

    For example, do you realize that the Cuban revolutionary government wanted to get rid of the sugar quota (the whole Jones Costigan system) and allow the REAL market to determine who produced sugar in Cuba and how much?

    So, Fidel Castro the radical revolutionary was preaching to the conservative Republican Eisenhower administration the beauties of the market! What the US government did, of course, was to say – you dont like the quota system – well, we are taking you out of it and we will NOT buy sugar from you.

    And do you realize that those who benefitted from the quota system (all of whom are now in Miami) opposed the revolutionary regime on the basis that they did not want market forces to determine whether they could continue producing sugar?

    Things are seldom what they appear.

    Consider the following:

    Why do you suppose the United States government was so upset when Cuba decided to start selling sugar to the Soviets and other countries?

    Because it meant a link to Communism? Hardly. Because the Cuban revolutionary government defied the Jones Costigan act which was perfectly calibrated so that the market of sugar will remain stable, without anyone producing MORE than they were told by the US Department of Agriculture. To preserve the system was in the interests of those who could NOT compete in an open and truly free world market in sugar. The Cubans knew that they could out-compete others. But the sugar interests in the sourth of the Us and in the beet producing states could not afford that. So how did they defend higher prices for sugar? Simple: scream Fidel is a Communist, and he’ll keep the state capitalist format.

    As usual people tend to approach Cuba from an ideological standpoint without paying any attention to reality.

  10. neutral observer:

    CIA World Report: Cuba has signed the following treaties to protect the environment

    Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

    signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

  11. Omar Fundora

    Anybody can make up lies, including Castro, and his lies are repeated by Castro groupies around the world, including the UN. I just stick to the facts I know about.

    Cubans hate the Castros, not me. I just sympathize with their plight.

    Have you lived in Cuba?

    Before 1959, Cuba was one of the world’s most prosperous countries. A place where immigrants came to work and prosper.

    Now most Cubans dream about escaping and living like an average Mexican, like John Bibb correctly observed.

  12. neutral observer: You hate the Castro’s so much that you are in denial about facts….political oppression in Cuba is a reality and recognized around the World as such. But, there are good people in Cuba that with their ingenuity have made possible for people to live despite suffocating State to People controls denying the right to free expression. There is more to Communist Cuba then the Castro’s you hate and this Cuba has won the respect and recognition around the World because of the contributions of the Cuban People to humanity

  13. Neutral observer: everyone is not trying to escape….I know people that have had the opportunity to leave the island and they simply say NO…..the majority of people that want to leave give the excuse of political reason ( and it may well be one of the reasons, I am sure of it), but, the majority leave to go to a Richer country where even if you live in poverty and discriminated against, your economic well being is better…this has being the number one reason around the World for people wanting to emigrate to another country. it does not help Cuba to be only 90 miles away from a country with the largest economy….

  14. China and Brazil GHI is at 5.0
    China Gross National Income/ Capita: $6300
    Brazil Gross National Income/Capita: $7600
    The 2007–08 and the 2010–11 food price crises exacerbated these problems. Although the Latin America and Caribbean region was considered relatively stable and capable of absorbing external shocks, the food price crises significantly raised food inflation in most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Before the crises, most countries in the region were on track to reach the Millennium Development
    Goal of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015; with the food crises, many countries experienced setbacks in their progress toward this goal. The impact has been greatest on net food-importing countries—specifically, Mexico and Central America—as well as on poor consumers in peri-urban and rural areas.

    Prevalence of Underweight and Stunting in Children Younger Than Five Years (%),
    various years from 2004 to 2010

    Cuba: 3.5 and 5.6 respectively
    Mexico: 3.4 and 15.5 respectively lower is better for both countries..

    Mexico and Cuba GHI
    Decrease of 50% or more for Mexico between 1990 and 2012 and for Cuba GHI of less than five

    Note: An increase in the GHI indicates a worsening of a country’s hunger situation.
    A decrease in the GHI indicates an improvement in a country’s hunger situation.
    1990 1996 2001 2012
    Cuba <5 6.5 < 5 <5

    Mexico 7.9 5.4 <5 <5

    In other words, Mexico has caught up with Cuba in preventing hunger and not the other way around as you believe

  15. Definition of Hunger according to World norms agreed upon by all the Nations of the World:
    Concepts of Hunger
    The terminology used to refer to different concepts of hunger can
    be confusing. “Hunger” is usually understood to refer to the discomfort
    associated with lack of food. FAO defines food deprivation,
    or “undernourishment,” specifically as the consumption of fewer
    than about 1,800 kilocalories a day—the minimum that most people
    require to live a healthy and productive life.2
    “Undernutrition” goes beyond calories and signifies deficiencies in
    any or all of the following: energy, protein, or essential vitamins and
    minerals. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of food—
    in terms of either quantity or quality—poor utilization of nutrients
    due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these factors,
    which are in turn caused by household food insecurity; inadequate
    maternal health or child care practices; or inadequate access
    to health services, safe water, and sanitation. “Malnutrition” refers
    more broadly to both undernutrition (problems of deficiencies) and
    overnutrition (problems of unbalanced diets, such as consumption
    of too many calories in relation to require

  16. Humberto: Lopez is a Right Wing extremist who has no problem using violence. The reason for the violence is because his group has being marginalized in Venezuela and he wants to win support from the other opposition groups by intimidation…he is a typical Right Wing leader in Latin America who believes in using any means to stay in power including death squads…the Venezuelan opposition to Maduro’s Administration is better off without Lopez’s group….he represents the past and not the future of the Venezuelan People….

  17. ***
    Cuba’s biggest problems aren’t racism or pollution. Cuba’s biggest problems are named Fidel and Raul Castro! And their dysfunctional communist regime. And their theft of liberty and economic prosperity from the Cuban People. 60 years ago Cuba was a better place than Mexico. Now most Cubans live in poverty as slaves of the evil state. Mexican people live better than Cubans! Thanks for nothing, crooks!
    Las problemas mas grandes en Cuba no son racismo o pollucion. Las problemas mas grande en Cuba se llaman Fidel y Raul Castro! Y su desfuncional regime communista. Y su robo de libertad y prosperidad economica de la Gente Cubano. Hace 60 anos Cuba fue un lugar mejor que Mexico. Ahora la mayoria de los Cubanos viven en pobreza como esclavos del estado malo. Los Mexicanos viven mejor que los Cubanos! Gracias por nada, ladrones!
    John Bibb

  18. Omar Fundora:

    I forgot to mention that Cuba is opposed to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, in support of China, the world’s biggest polluter, other allied polluters, and because Cuba itself doesn’t want to reduce pollution.

    This whole quality of life routine is for Castro’s foreign groupies.

  19. Omar Fundora:

    Every Cuban is trying to escape or is helping someone escape.

    That is what I would call a very disturbed “quality of life domain”

    Everything you write about Cuba is nonsense. From health care to old age care, Cuba is the pits for most Cubans. And hunger is far more common than in Mexico or Brazil.

    I know you want to believe the nonsensical propaganda you paste here, but I suggest you go live in Cuba to find out what it’s like.

    I agree with you that materialism is not the answer, but Che and Fidel were two of the world’s biggest materialists. They believed materialism was the whole answer. Why do you think they destroyed churches and oppressed the religious?

    But Castro couldn’t provide the material goods, hence all this other nonsense about the environment and quality of life.

    For your information, Cuba is a toxic wasteland where the complete lack of environmental regulation is used to attract foreign capital.

    I suggest you look for another socialist paradise to fantasize about, like North Korea.

  20. Race was not used to stratify a society until the 1800’s. The English, in particular, are responsible for making Race more of an institutionalized identity then it was in the past. It later helped supported the economic apartheid of capitalism and gave support to slavery in the United States. Herodotus in discussing the habits, customs and origins of different groups and noting variations in skin colors, specifically tells us that this hardly matters… but, not to the Right Wing Republicans and Tea Party membership (there are exceptions, but, few) in the United States. The Republican/Tea Party is mainly an all white political party who opposes immigration reform and defend the economic apartheid in the United States. The “racial discrimination” in Cuba is a people to people problem and not a State to people problem. Minorities in the United States wish they would be accepted in the standard white culture of the United States the same way they are accepted in the Standard Cuban Culture….this is a serious social problem in the United States…

  21. Reality check for activism…(World Watch Institute – U.S.).
    The Cuba Paradigm
    Cuba has a very low per capita income, yet in the non-materialistic, quality of-
    life domain, it excels. Thus Cuba represents a paradox. It is a materially
    poor country that has First World education, literacy, and health care. It is
    rich in human development resources and low in environmental burdens,
    but its standard of living, and therefore its fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions,
    is very low. Cuba has maintained its human service programs—free education,
    old-age support, basic nutrition, and free health care—throughout its
    Special Period. In 2006, Cuba was the only country in the world rated as
    having “sustainable development” in WWF’s Living Planet Report.38
    Fidel Castro has said that “consumer based societies are incompatible with
    the saving of natural resources and energy that the development and preservation
    of our species require,” and Cubans simply have less of all material
    goods than people in industrial countries. They have much smaller homes
    (about 150 square feet per person in Havana compared with the U.S. average
    of about 800 square feet). Fewer than 10 percent of Cubans have private
    cars. They rarely fly. The consumption of common consumer personal goods
    is very limited. Yet Cubans don’t need to fear cancelled medical insurance.
    They know their children will be educated without being saddled with student
    loans. Cubans are not weighed down with enormous debts. They know
    they will not go hungry or homeless.39
    “We need a global energy revolution,” according to Mario Alberto Arrastia
    Avila, an energy expert with the energy information center Cubaenergia
    in Havana. “But in order for this to happen, we also need a revolution in
    consciousness.” A clear revolution of consciousness would involve the acknowledgement,
    strongly resisted by richer nations, that CO2 emissions are
    directly related to material consumption. Cuba represents an alternative,
    where material success as measured by energy consumption is secondary,
    while other quality-of-life issues are given priority. The message is clear: humanity
    will survive and can even thrive in a resource-constrained world if it
    learns from the Cuban example.

  22. Racial and ethnic identity are critical parts of the overall framework of individual
    and collective identity. For some especially visible and legally defined
    minority populations in the United States, racial and ethnic identity are
    manifested in very conscious ways. This manifestation is triggered most
    often by two conflicting social and cultural influences. First, deep conscious
    immersion into cultural traditions and values through religious, familial,
    neighborhood, and educational communities instills a positive sense of ethnic
    identity and confidence. Second, and in contrast, individuals often must
    filter ethnic identity through negative treatment and media messages
    received from others because of their race and ethnicity.
    These messages make it clear that people with minority status have a
    different ethnic make-up and one that is less than desirable within mainstream
    society. Others, especially white Americans, manifest ethnic and
    racial identity in mostly unconscious ways through their behaviors, values,
    beliefs, and assumptions. For them, ethnicity is usually invisible and unconscious
    because societal norms have been constructed around their racial,
    ethnic, and cultural frameworks, values, and priorities and then referred to
    as “standard American culture” rather than as “ethnic identity.” This unconscious
    ethnic identity manifests itself in daily behaviors, attitudes, and ways
    of doing things. Unlike many minority cultures, there is little conscious
    instilling of specific ethnic identity through white communities, nor is differential
    ethnic treatment often identified in the media of white cultures. As
    we discuss throughout this chapter, everyone benefits from the development
    of a conscious ethnic identity and benefits as well when multicultural frameworks
    are used in their learning environments. In Cuba because the culture is more inclusive then the United States, ethnic identification is not as important as it is a necessity in the United States because as recent as 1965, it was the law in a lot of communities to discriminate against blacks, but, other minorities where also victims of discrimination and expected minorities to integrate into the “standard white culture” if they expected to have the similar benefits as whites. Drivers licenses, employment applications and other documents expect you to provide them with Race, ethnicity, weight, color of your skin, height, etc. Human civilization has made Freedom impossible no matter where you live in the World. Communists do not have sole ownership of this form of oppression, it exists also in so called Free Societies as well.

  23. Racial and ethnic identity are critical parts of the overall framework of individual
    and collective identity. For some especially visible and legally defined
    minority populations in the United States, racial and ethnic identity are
    manifested in very conscious ways. This manifestation is triggered most
    often by two conflicting social and cultural influences. First, deep conscious
    immersion into cultural traditions and values through religious, familial,
    neighborhood, and educational communities instills a positive sense of ethnic
    identity and confidence. Second, and in contrast, individuals often must
    filter ethnic identity through negative treatment and media messages
    received from others because of their race and ethnicity.
    These messages make it clear that people with minority status have a
    different ethnic make-up and one that is less than desirable within mainstream
    society. Others, especially white Americans, manifest ethnic and
    racial identity in mostly unconscious ways through their behaviors, values,
    beliefs, and assumptions. For them, ethnicity is usually invisible and unconscious
    because societal norms have been constructed around their racial,
    ethnic, and cultural frameworks, values, and priorities and then referred to
    as “standard American culture” rather than as “ethnic identity.” This unconscious
    ethnic identity manifests itself in daily behaviors, attitudes, and ways
    of doing things. Unlike many minority cultures, there is little conscious
    instilling of specific ethnic identity through white communities, nor is differential
    ethnic treatment often identified in the media of white cultures. Everyone benefits from the development of a conscious ethnic identity and benefits as well when multicultural frameworks
    are used in their learning environments. Cuba is different than the United States in that whites make up the main stream or “standard American culture” while in Cuba the “standard Cuban culture” is more inclusive and racial polarization is not institutionalized like it exists in the United States. But, this “standard American culture” supports the capitalistic economic apartheid and therefore is necessary until now. The United States is being going through a transitional shift from racial identity to ethnicity identity for a very long time. In job applications, State I.D. or driver’s licenses they request the color of your skin and ethnicity is requested along with race. We all belong to the same race, which is the human race, but, we do have ethnic differences depending where we come from in every country, including Cuba, who has their own “standard Cuban culture”. Modern Human civilization has made impossible for people to be Free no matter where they live and the more variables that can help identify a citizen such as race, color of skin, appearances, weight, height, age, sex the greater the power of the State over the person. Private employers use this same information used by the State for oppression or security to discriminate and exploit their fellow man.


    YOUTUBE: Venezuelan Government raids illegally the offices of opposition party Populal Will headed by Leopoldo Lopez

    REUTERS CANADA: Venezuela raids opposition party office, expels three U.S. diplomats – by Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth

    CARACAS – Venezuelan security forces raided the headquarters of an opposition party accused of fomenting nearly a week of violent protests, witnesses said, as the country expelled three U.S. diplomats on charges of conspiring with demonstrators.

    Presumed military intelligence officers burst into the opposition Popular Will party office and attempted to forcibly remove several activists after throwing tear gas inside, according to party officials.

    “The intelligence officers arrived and began to harass us,” said party activist Adriangela Ruiz. “They threw tear gas, took computers and tried to take away several people.”

    The government has issued an arrest warrant for Popular Will’s founder, Leopoldo Lopez, 42, the U.S.-educated opposition leader accused of murder and terrorism in relation to the violent demonstrations of the past week.

    He has been the main instigator of the demonstrations that have energized Venezuela’s opposition, but show few immediate signs they will achieve their goal of ending the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

    Student protesters have taken his lead and are now promising to continue demonstrating around the country.

    Videos sent to the media by Popular Will, which could not be independently identified, showed men entering the party’s premises, waving guns and kicking down a door.

    Students protesting outside the building then prevented the gunmen from taking anyone away, a party worker said.

  25. N.Y. TIMES: Editor Who Wrote of Racism in Cuba Loses His Post, Colleagues Say – by RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD – April 5, 2013

    MEXICO CITY — The editor of a publishing house in Cuba who wrote a critical article in The New York Times opinion section about persistent racial inequality on the island, something revolutionaries proudly say has lessened, has been removed from his post, associates said on Friday.

    The author, Roberto Zurbano, in an article published March 23, described a long history of racial discrimination against blacks on the island and said “racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.”

    On Friday, The Havana Times blog reported that Mr. Zurbano had told a gathering of Afro-Cuban advocates that he had been dismissed from his post at the publishing house of the Casa de las Americas cultural center, leaving the implication that the dismissal was connected to the article. Other associates said Mr. Zurbano told them he had been removed but would continue working there.

    Reached by telephone in Havana, Mr. Urbanism would not comment on his employment. “What is The New York Times going to do about it?” he asked. He angrily condemned the editors of the opinion section for a change in the headline that he felt had distorted his theme.

    The article’s headline, which was translated from Spanish, was “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” but Mr. Zurbano said that in his version it had been “Not Yet Finished.”



  26. WIKILEAKS BARBADOS – “Cuba’s Big Black Lie” – Afro Cubans catching hell

    ¶3. (U) Moore’s lecture followed on the heels of the publication of an open letter he wrote to Cuban President Raul Castro entitled “Cuba’s Big Black Lie.” In the letter and in his lecture, Moore derided as deceitful past declarations by Cuba’s ruling elite that racial discrimination in Cuba had been eliminated. “Wherever we look in socialist Cuba,” Moore contended, “our eyes are confronted with a cobweb of social and racial inequities and racial hatred against black people.” In his lecture, Moore shared that, as a young man, he had strongly supported the revolution and been a devotee of Fidel Castro. However, this support quickly turned to disillusionment because of what Moore called the revolutionary government’s ineptness at destroying the legacy of white supremacy and racism against Afro-Cubans.

    ¶4. (U) Moore was among those imprisoned for protesting the revolution’s refusal to advance racial integration. He said he spent 28 days in jail, and was subsequently sent to a labor camp for 7 years before escaping to the Embassy of Guinea and eventually making his way to the U.S., after which he lived in exile in several countries for 35 years, still a committed Marxist with strong criticism both for America’s Cuba policy and for Cuba’s institutionalized racism.


  27. NEW AMERICA MEDIA: ‘Obama Effect’ Highlights Racism in Cuba – Louis E.V. Nevaer Posted: Dec 15, 2008

    Editor’s Note: Barack Obama’s victory has made Cubans more willing to speak out against the institutional racism that exists half a century after Fidel Castro established a “color blind” egalitarian society.

    “Cuba, I am inclined to believe, is nervous about the impact that a black president in the White House could have upon its own black population,” writes Carlos Moore, a black Cuban of Jamaican ancestry and author of “Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba,” in the Miami Herald.

    Since the first days of the revolution, Fidel has been aware of the racism that permeated Cuban society. “In the daily life of defense, loyalty, brotherhood, and shrewdness,” Fidel wrote in January 1959, “there has always been a Negro standing beside every white man.”

    Castro envisioned a “color-blind” society, an aspiration that dated back to the 19th century liberator Jose Martí who fought to end the vestiges of slavery as part of severing ties with Spain. But there was paradox in Castro’s declarations: Castro, the son of European immigrants from Galicia, Spain, was a white man who had overthrown the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, a light-skinned mulatto born to parents who were both of mixed race.

    In the decades that followed, Castro’s vision of giving Cuban blacks equal opportunities was thwarted by the realities of race outside the island nation: Soviet and East European allies preferred white Cubans, and these were granted scholarships to study for advanced degrees throughout behind the Iron Curtain. The growing disparities between white Cubans and black Cubans remained a lingering problem throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

    It was the official policy of the government to deny the existence of racism, arguing that Communist “egalitarianism” made discrimination based on race “an impossibility,” simply because it was incompatible with a socialist state. This was a polite fiction. As Alejandro De La Fuente wrote in his authoritative book, “A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba,” (The University of North Carolina Press, 2000) the color of one’s skin determines the life one leads in Communist Cuba.



  28. Obama is celebrated in the United States for his skin color, so I can’t get too excited about this. It’s an identifying characteristic like height and weight but, as you say, if there’s a photo attached, it’s not really necessary.

    There are far bigger battles to fight in Cuba than this one.

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