14ymedio, Havana, 10 May 2021– Cuba’s head of state dedicated a tweet this Sunday to congratulate Cuban mothers on their day and was mocked by hundreds on the social networks. Miguel Díaz-Canel’s message was disturbing not so much because of its words as because of the image that accompanied it.
“Congratulations to all Cuban Mothers, whose love for the family is also the support of the nation. Our love and admiration. #CubaViva #SomosCuba,” wrote the first secretary of the Communist Party.
The image that sparked the controversy shows three white women, two with blonde hair and one redhead, dressed in long-sleeved plaid shirts and hats, a scene that seemed more likely to have been taken from a Nordic country than from this Caribbean island.
So distant from the reality that Cuban mothers live every day in the streets of the country, the unfortunate photograph did not appear only in the tweet. The president chose the same one to send as a postcard with his signature to women considered personalities of culture, sports, science and politics.
The presidential publication sparked dozens of memes with images of northern countries but with recognizable phrases in scenes from Cuba. For example, this one with a very blond couple taking pretzels from the oven: ” The colleagues from the Kneading the Revolution bakery join in the congratulations on this day.
Others use photographs from series and movies such as Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings: “The president of the Yoruba Association of Cuba can’t help but echo your congratulations to Cuban mothers.”
From her Twitter account, Finca Marta (Marta’s Farm) replied that the women in the photo (mother and two daughters) “are all three peasants” and “get up every day at 5 am to work and soil their hands with dirt.” Without going any further, they are farm workers, as confirmed by this newspaper, with sources close to the “agroecological” company, located in the municipality of Caimito, Artemisa.
“They are as Cuban as most,” Finca Marta insisted in another tweet. “They suffer the rigors of scarcity and hardship and fight day by day for their family and for their country. They stand in lines and have uncertainties. How should they appear? Dirty, lining up?”
“But it is a tweet from the Presidency, not from Finca Marta, which enunciates and talks about all Cuban mothers,” said designer Roberto Ramos in the controversy. “My black neighbor also gets up at 5 am, to grab an A40 (bus) and go off to fight for food her children. She’s Cuban too!”
After more than 60 years of a policy of “equality” that claimed to defend the Cuban Revolution, racism is still in force on the Island. When Raúl Castro assumed the presidency, one of his policies was aimed at including black people in public office and in the media, mainly on television.
In 2019, the regime approved the National Program against Racism and Racial Discrimination, entrusted to a government commission directed by none other than Díaz-Canel and created with the objective of “combating and definitively eliminating the vestiges of racism, racial prejudice and racial discrimination that persist.”
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