Sunday, December 20, 2009

We Stand With Cuba!: African Americans Express Solidarity With the Revolution

To: U.S. Citizens



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We, the undersigned, express our continuing solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.

Cuban expatriate Carlos Moore and the other signers of the December 1, 2009 ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE: DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA do not speak for or represent the vast majority of Black radicals/progressives, nor the sentiment of the masses of African Americans in the United States. This December 1st Declaration ironically makes no mention of the 50 year US blockade against Cuba, and how it seeks to derail the progress made by Cuba thus far toward eradicating the racism created by its former colonizers - Spain and the United States.

We are disappointed that the signers of the Declaration, many whom have made important contributions to the African American struggles against racism and for democracy, connected their charge of racism to the claims of Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez and Carlos Moore, two known opponents of Cuba's revolutionary system. Apparently, like many opportunists both Carlos Moore and Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez, who resides in Cuba, saw the opportunity to solicit support for their position from this select group of high profile and "credible" sectors of the African American community. This action is divisive and misguided.

We, the undersigned, believe that the Carlos Moore originated petition is designed to create a wedge in the African American support base for Cuba. Moore's petition is also an attempt to dismiss Cuba as a modern example of how socialism is a practical system that ensures an equitable distribution of its resources for ALL Cubans.

For more than forty years, Carlos Moore has opportunistically roamed the globe spreading lies and slander about Cuba. Like Moore, Dr. Darsi Ferrer, who ran into trouble when he attempted to set up a medical clinic outside the state run medical system, has also sought to use race to undermine the gains, institutions and anti-racist direction brought about by the Cuban Revolution. In 2006, Dr. Ferrer went to the US interest-section and was given a US-monitored email account (i.e. access to a CIA manipulated portal). Dr. Ferrer's reactionary blog along with links to reactionary websites such as Capital Hill Cubans, Blog for Cuba and can be found at .

Moore, and the signers of the Declaration, ignore the decades-long struggle waged by the Cuban government against all forms of racism. This includes ignoring/denying Cuba's internationalist support of African, Caribbean and African American liberation struggles. Moreover, Moore and his followers ignore the historical and present-day fact that Afro Cubans have not been a mere passive force, but have been and are central in the struggles to make and advance the Cuban Revolution.

This attack on Cuba is an attack on a country that stood fast to its democratic, socialist, anti-racist and internationalist principles despite the great pressures from US and world imperialism, which has forced other countries to abandon these positions.

It is clearly no coincidence that this attack on Cuba, comes at a time when so many throughout the US and internationally are being victimized by the policies and crises of capitalism and are seeing responses in Cuba and other countries throughout Latin America that seek to address the needs of the masses of people and not the banks and ruling classes as is being done in the US.

This attack on Cuba is an attack on efforts to forge Black and Brown working class unity as the cornerstone of the democratic and socialist revolutions developing throughout Latin America. It also furthers the US efforts to divide African Americans and Latinos as the major growing challenge to oppressive US domestic and foreign policies.

For five hundred years prior to the Cuban Revolution, racism was the norm in Cuban society. To expect that it would completely disappear even in fifty years is a pipe dream.

Indeed, as Fidel Castro, noted in 2003 in a dialogue in Havana with Cuban and foreign teachers:

"Even in societies like Cuba, that arose from a radical social revolution where the people had reached full and total legal equality and a level of revolutionary education that threw down the subjective component of discrimination, it still exists in another form."

Fidel, as noted in the December 2, 2009 "Message From Cuba To Afro-American Intellectuals and Artists," described this as objective discrimination, a phenomenon associated with poverty and a historical monopoly on knowledge.

The criticisms about the presence of racism in Cuba are being addressed within the framework of the Cuban Government and civil society. There is and has been fierce debates and policy changes INSIDE these structures when it comes to eradicating 500 years of racism in Cuba.

Cuba's policies against any form of discrimination and in favor of equality are grounded in the Cuban Constitution. According to Afro Cubans:

"As never before in the history of our nation, black and mestizo Cubans have found opportunities for social and personal development in transformative processes that have been ongoing for the past half a century. These opportunities are conveyed through policies and programs that made possible the initiation of what Cuban Anthropologist Don Fernando Ortiz, called the non- deferrable integration phase of Cuban society." (Message from Cuba to African American Intellectuals and Artists, 12/2/09)

The people of Cuba, in electing their representatives to the National Assembly, have chosen a very diverse group, including dozens of Black Cubans prominently working in many key roles. Indeed, the National Assembly of Cuba is so racially diverse that if Cuba was "suffering" from racism, how did these brothers and sisters get elected? Unlike when the Congressional Black Caucus was formed in 1970, this effort came out of the necessity here in the United States to continually defend the hard won Civil liberties and the rights to equal opportunities waged for centuries by African Americans.

Unlike the signers of the December 1, 2009 Declaration, we have not forgotten that in the struggles against colonialism and apartheid, when Africa called, Cuba answered. Unlike other friends of Africa, Cuba provided assistance to the people of Southern Africa, without brokering one deal for access to resources or anything else. Cuba‘s solidarity with the people of Southern Africa in the 1987/88 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola was the decisive turning point in the defeat of apartheid. We remember and applaud Cuba's provision of teachers, technicians, doctors and other medical personnel along with free medical training to the young people of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. During the past forty years, more than 35,000 African youth have been trained free of charge while studying in Cuban medical and technical schools as well as universities.

We the undersigned believe that the true callous disregard for the rights of citizens is taking place here in the United States, with Hurricane Katrina being the most glaring proof. In contrast Cuba was among the first countries to offer human and material aid during this crisis in 2005, aid that was in turn rejected by the U.S. government. The U.S. Government continues to spend billions of dollars on war abroad while neglecting African Americans and the poor who are generally subjected to substandard health care and education, the lack of decent and affordable housing, urban street violence and police brutality, crippling unemployment and jobs that people need to live decently.

Cuba is the ONLY country in the world to provide free medical training to United States students wishing to become doctors; providing full scholarships that include tuition, room, board and ALL incidentals. Many of these students are African Americans whose dreams of becoming doctors in order to serve their communities would never have been realized.

We the undersigned call on African Americans to stand up in support of the Cuban Revolution and call on the U.S. Government to end its blockade on the Cuban people. We also call for African Americans to build a united front in the United States that addresses the ongoing historical callous disregard for the rights of African Americans and all people who are subjected to gross negligence in America.

We call on the signers of Carlos Moore's Declaration to withdraw their names as an act of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and recognition of the valiant and consistent efforts by Cuba to eradicate racism.

In closing we reaffirm our respect for the Cuban people's right to self-determination and sovereignty.

We the undersigned STAND WITH CUBA!

Long Live The Cuban Revolution!

Abayomi Azikiwe, Detroit
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

S. E. Anderson- Brooklyn, NY
Activist/Educator/ Black Left Unity Network*

Kazembe Balagun, New York, NY
Writer/activist/ Outreach Coordinator -Brecht Forum

Amina & Amiri Baraka, Newark, NJ
Activists/Writers/ Educators

The Rev. Luis Barrios, PhD, New York, NY
Afro-Boricua- Human Rights Activist, Priest & Professor
Department of Latin American Studies
John Jay College of Criminal Justice- City University of New York

Judy Bourne, JD, US Virgin Islands
Activist Attorney

Jean Damu, San Francisco, CA

Lena Delgado de Torres, Binghamton, NY
Doctoral Candidate, Sociology Department
Binghamton University

James Early, Washington, DC
Board Member of TransAfrica, Institute for Policy Studies and US-Cuba Cultural Exchange and Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution

Herman and Iyaluua Ferguson- North Carolina/New York
Activists/Educators /Malcolm X Commemoration Committee

Franklin Flores, New York, NY
Artist/Activist, Casa De Las Americas NYC

Joan P. Gibbs, Esq.- Brooklyn, NY
National Conference of Black Lawyers

Gerald Horne, JD, PhD- Austin, TX
Activist/Historian/ Author

Basir Mchawi, Bronx, NY
Chair of the International African Arts Festival

Rosemari Mealy, JD, PhD- Brooklyn, NY
Educator/Activist/ Author of Fidel and Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting

Saladin Muhammad- Rocky Mount, NC
Black Workers For Justice

Tony Menelik Van Der Meer- Boston, MA
Activist/Educator รข€¢ Africana Studies Department
University of Massachusetts Boston

Norman Richmond, Toronto, Canada
Activist/Radio Journalist

Prof. Harold Rogers, Chicago, IL
Chair, Emeritus, African American Studies Dept
City Colleges of Chicago

Aishah D. Sales, Adjunct Professor, Peekskill, NY
Dept. of Mathematics Westchester Community College (SUNY)

William W. Sales, Jr., PhD.- Peekskill, NY
Associate Professor Africana Studies Department Seton Hall University

Brenda Stokely, Brooklyn, NY
Million Worker March Movement, Labor/Community and Anti-war Activists

Tim Thomas, Oakland, CA
Community Building Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity East Bay

Willie Thompson, San Francisco, CA
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, City College of San Francisco

Askia Toure, Boston, MA

Tontongi, Boston, MA
Editor of the Review Tanbou, Boston, Massachusetts

Roy Walker- Chicago, IL
Advocate of Philosophical Consciencism

Michael Tarif Warren, Brooklyn, New York
Activist Attorney

Hank Williams- New York City
Freedom Road Socialist Org/OSCL and CUNY Graduate Center
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* Organizational affiliations are for identification purposes only

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