Distinguished members of the Congressional Black Caucus:
As an Afro-Cuban–American citizen, it’s my duty to inform you that you are being used by an enemy regime’s propaganda. It was a long and arduous road from slavery to the civil rights movement of the nineteen sixties, and the victorious ascension of Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency of the greatest country in the world. Bravo! But nevertheless, although I feel great sympathy for President Obama, it is undeniable that, after almost a century of communism on this planet, sadly enough–– and with the exception of Reverend Al Sharpton’s rather late and brief public concern about Afro-Cuban prisoner of conscience and Martin Luther King’s follower Dr.Oscar Elias Biscet––there was not a single black leader or celebrity (that I know), to utter a single word to denounce the multiple crimes and abuses of Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Erich Honneger or the Castro brothers. The brand new American president is not an exception, is he? On the other hand, he certainly wouldn’t be the first one to deal amiably with left wing tyrannies either; Richard Nixon did the same with Mao in the late sixties, and the human rights conditions of the Chinese people (specially on the country side) has not improved a bit ever since. Just look at that barbaric massacre of young students at Tiananmen Square in 1989, followed by Bush Sr. declaring China a most favorite nation. Watch the implacable prosecution of Falun Gong practitioners across that huge territory, and you’ll see that the only beneficiaries of that fake “openness” are the Chinese dictatorship and the American investors, taking advantage of the cheap slave hand labor the regime offered their foreign business partners. What makes you think that the Cuban case would be any different?
What a disappointment it is to see that upon the return from (what is left of) my motherland, delegates of the Congressional Black Caucus had nothing to say but praising words about the longest and most repressive dictatorship on the globe. Caucus member Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri even had the guts to say (New York Post, April 11): “We’ve been led to believe that the Cuban people are not free, and they are repressed by a vicious dictator, and I saw nothing to match what we’ve been told.” ––A government tour can lead you to believe anything–– were the remarks of Nat Hentoff. I may add that voluntary blindness and deafness are common among political extremist and their compassionless supporters. “When someone claims to defend human rights, you don’t expect him to defend tyrants”, wrote Myles B. Kantor in his great article “The Strange Conscience of Danny Glover” dated May 14, 2003.
On another note, I wonder how is it possible to lay flowers at a Havana memorial to Martin Luther King Jr, while visiting admirers of Fidel and Raul chouse to ignore that a biography of Dr. King – seized during the 2003 crackdown raids on independent libraries – was, among other “subversive” books, ordered burned by Castro’s judges in one-day trials. Were you ever curious to know why an Afro-Cuban disciple of Dr. King is serving 25 years in prison, and at least ask the authorities for a visit to Dr. Biscet, or meeting Iris Garcia, the founder of the Rosa Parks Women’s Civil Rights Movement?
Here is a revealing quote of my late friend, ex-Black Panther and former Cuban political prisoner Anthony Bryant. After serving twelve years in the Cuban Gulag, Tony wrote a passionate book entitled “Hijack,”(1984), where he narrated his odyssey and that of thousands of Cubans, Americans and people of many other nationalities, trapped in the cobweb of Castro’s cruel and inhuman political prisons:
“The Communists aren’t worried about anyone as much as they are about blacks, and the one they want most is the black American, the most controversial ethnic group alive. But one thing is certain; the African-American is the cream of the world’s crop. They’ve suffered through and survived a horrendous experience and now they set the social atmosphere in the U.S., which reflects on every other society on earth. That’s why the Communists are trying so hard to capture them. If the blacks in the U.S. can be made to believe that the Communists are their saviors, then the rest of the black world will follow their lead and humanity will be swept into the darkest days of its history!”
Now you tell me Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congressional Black Caucus, what would the advantages be of these negotiations of your with the Cuban tyranny for the common Cuban citizens; a little more food, soap, a pair of shoes and blue jeans sent by their families abroad? Well, I strongly feel that the Cuban people from both sides of the Florida straits deserve to have a better opportunity of participating in the economic, social AND political life of our country, without the intervention of an irresponsible, snobbish and egocentric international community doing business with our jailers.
Think about it please!
Afrocuban exiled musician and writer
National Medal of the Arts
Multi GRAMMY winner
NEA Jazz Master