Racist Practices and Behaviors Make a Comeback / Mackandal – Manuel Aguirre Lavarrere

Social and racial equality in Cuba was grossly embezzled and supplanted by the greed of political power. To understand the achievements and chimeras of this equality that is nothing but virtual, it is essential to submerge ourselves in the discourse of Fidel Castro during the “Second Declaration of Havana”, in 1962, where he talked, among other things, about ending unemployment, gambling, vices, and corruption, which are all present in Cuba, today. Castro also alluded that racism was settled in Cuba. After more than fifty years, this has been proven one of the most distressing lies for the Cuban regime.

While the existing laws contained in the Labor Code, which were consequently included in the Constitution of February 24, 1976 and later amended in 1992, take the right to work, social security, welfare, and others, to the constitutional level, establishing in Article 3 that “all citizens able to work regardless of race, color, sex, religion, public opinion or national or social origin, have the opportunity to get a job with which they can contribute towards the goals of society and the fulfillment of their needs”, the day-to-day practices in Cuban society show that opportunities are limited for Afro-Cubans.

The “Second Declaration of Havana” synthesizes the history of the struggle against racial discrimination during much of the Republic, the efforts made by the former Socialist Party (PSP) and the way in which it understood the issue of discrimination and its solution to this problem in Cuba. There are some fundamental points such as the integration of public spaces and the nationalization of education into one single system, administered by the State, where racial equality is established. However, this is a complicated phenomenon: words will be useless without first taking into account the training of workers, which conflicted with the organizational structures of the unions. All these measures, plausible at the time, unfortunately vanished because they were not enforced in a country willing to whiten its society and to refuse opportunities to blacks.

This political irresponsibility brought consequences: within education, the workplace and public spaces, the political illusions of the Revolution, which was most concentrated in exporting its ideology, assumed that racism had been struck a deathblow.  But it lost sight of this issue in relation to private spaces, interpersonal relations, and public opinion.  Consequently these areas were kept outside the vision of an inclusive logic, turning the characters implied into puppets of the desires of others, whether it is the State, Ministry of Labor or any other entity.  As a result of this political recklessness, the stigmas that perpetuate racist practices and behaviors in schools, the workplace, and public spaces are very alive and continue to dominate our entire society.

Published by Primavera Digital, July 19, 2012, Year No. 5
www.primaveradigital.org / Space for all / Made in Cuba

Translated by Chabeli

31 July 12012