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Cacha weonaDiario de Cuba and
Alen Lauzán's racist caricatures

On February 22, the Cuban dissident newspaper Diario de Cuba out of Madrid, Spain, published this cartoon by Alen Lauzán with its notably racist caricatures. The first bubble translates roughly as "Get this girl, they denied Mariana Aylwin (a Chilean politician) entry [to Cuba]" and the second bubble in response, "But how could she be so brash as to come here and get involved in politics?" This refers to a recent Cuban government decision to deny Aylwin entry as she was working with the Christian Liberation Movement, a dissident group.

In her site, Negra cubana tenia que ser, Sandra Abd´Allah-Alvarez Ramírez was the first to write about the caricatures: DENUNCIA: Viñeta racista en Diario de Cuba  2/22/2017.

These caricatures are standard fare for white Cubans, even on the island (see Colonialist images in contemporary Cuba, inspired by Gloria Rolando's recent film "Dialog with my grandmother"). Diario de Cuba has made it part of its crusade to talk about racism on the island, weighing in on all the controversies, manufactured or real. However, in several communications after the caricatures came out, they seem to have a hard time understanding their insulting behavior, despite several attempts to educate them, including one by Odette Casamayor: Odette Casamayor: Mis preguntas para Diario de Cuba  3/2/2017, where she points out that this is not Lauzán's only such caricature. Lauzán himself seems to think that it is fine to draw Chinese men with small penises - "Si dibujo un chino con sus estereotipados ojos y su miembro pequeño, ¿soy racista?". Si, lo serías, chico!

As one of our readers has pointed out, these kinds of cartoons were in full force in the period leading up to the 1912 massacre, in a press campaign designed to lay the foundations for that massacre.

Diario de Cuba, like many dissident operations, receives funding from US taxpayers via the National Endowment for Democracy, $828,831 from 2012 to 2015, the latest year for which we have data. Up until President Trump, the US government claimed to be serious about antiracism, but perhaps now, Diario will have a free hand to continue with their racist attacks at US taxpayer expense since the Donald's people are clearly at home with early 20th century racist imagery.

At any rate, judging by how Diario de Cuba is doubling down and defending the use of these caricatures, they are not on the point of changing their policies. Rather, they have their entitled surrogates write articles demanding that those who criticize them for racism explain to them how they are being racist. This is indeed strange, like a schoolyard bully insisting his victim explain to him how a punch in the face really caused pain.

Diario regularly shouts out condemnations of the Cuban government's racism without the least critical view of how things actually are in Miami, as befits the organ of the exiled plantocracy that they are. Their most recent article against racism in the Cuban government accuses the government of censuring debate on racism ('El racismo del Estado cubano ha censurado el debate sobre la discriminación racial', denuncia el CIR  2/28/2017 Diario de Cuba). While there is some truth in this, particularly during the period from 1962 to the late 90's, Cuba actually has an office dedicated to dealing with racism in Cuba, the Comision Aponte. Numerous revolutionary activists are working on the problem. When will Diario de Cuba begin to address their own racism and that of the exiled plantocracy they represent? --  Claude Betancourt, 3/2/17

Alen Lauzán Doubles Downtop, 2/22/17

The caricaturist Alen Lauzán doubled down in his blog, alen-lauzan.blogspot.com, answering Sandra Abd´Allah-Alvarez Ramírez by redesigning the original drawing as a childish insult with the following caption: "Version II ... rectification of errors and negative tendencies." Atta boy!

Revised racist cartoon

 

NED Funding for Diario de Cubatop

2013
Asociacion Diario de Cuba
Freedom of Information
$262,480 (Supplement: $2,480)
Diario de Cuba
To strengthen the ability of Cuban civil society to articulate its concerns and to promote freedom of expression. Diario de Cuba, a Madrid-based organization, will engage independent journalists, artists, intellectuals and academics in Cuba to promote greater analysis on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Cuba. Diario de Cuba will showcase this information on its digital media platform at www.diariodecuba.com.

2014
Asociación Diario de Cuba
Freedom of Information
$280,002
Diario de Cuba
To strengthen the ability of Cuban civil society to articulate its concerns and to promote freedom of expression. Diario de Cuba will engage independent journalists, artists, intellectuals and academics in Cuba to promote greater analysis on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Cuba.

2015
Diario de Cuba
Asociacion Diario de Cuba
$283,869
To strengthen the ability of Cuban civil society to articulate its concerns and to promote freedom of expression. Diario de Cuba will provide a platform for independent journalists, artists, intellectuals and academics in Cuba to promote analysis on social, political, economic an d cultural developments in Cuba.

 
Contacting USAID abuse hotlinetop

USAID is the last US government point of contact for the funds destined to NED, which is technically not part of the US government. Their inspector general's email is hotline@usaid.gov. One of our users sent us a copy of this note:

From: eduardo mendez
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:21 AM
To: hotline@usaid.gov
Subject: Complaint: Racism in Publication Funded by USAID

Dear Inspector General,

One of the publications that you fund and support, Diario de Cuba engages in racist conduct by publishing drawings of racist nature that denigrate and dehumanize people of African descent like myself. I am appalled that my taxpayer dollars are used to support this publication in the web. Below is an image of the drawing that has recently appeared in the publication.

Thanks,

Edward Alexander

Eduardo Mendez Alexander adds this to the point comment:

It seems that the cartoonist took as models those figures that appeared in the Cuban press circa 1912 and were used to exalt prejudices, fears, violence and outrages against a defenseless population. Check the Cuban press of those years and you will see the similarity between the drawings of that time and the one presented in this medium. The sad thing about this case is that at this point neither the editor of this medium nor many of the commentators have realized how much violence, aggression, contempt and deprecation aimed at the black - not only the Cuban, but all blacks is present in this cartoon. I have therefore lodged complaints with the USAID Inspector General, the NED, and the United Nations Office (rapporteur) for the rights of Afro-descendants and other minorities. I also consider it an affront to my person and my ancestors. I urge all those who share my sentiment to also address these organisms.

Parece que el dibujante tomó como modelo aquellas figuras que aparecían en la prensa cubana- circa 1912- utilizadas para exaltar prejuicios, miedos, violencia y atropellos contra una inerme población. Revisen la prensa cubana de esos años y constatarán la semejanza entre los dibujos de esa época y el que se presenta en este medio. Lo más triste de este caso es que a esta alturas ni el editor de este medio, ni muchos de los comentaristas, se han percatado de cuánta violencia, agresión, desprecio y minusvalía dirigidos al negro- no solo al cubano, sino a todos los negros-entraña este dibujo. Por ello he presentado quejas ante el Inspector General de la USAID, la NED y la oficina (relatoría) de la ONU que vela por los derechos de los afrodescendiente y otras minorías. Lo considero además como una afrenta a mi persona y a mis antepasados. Invito a todos los que compartan mi sentir que también se dirijan a estos organismos.


Articles/Artículostop

Las personas negras no tenemos mucho que esperar de cierto exilio cubano  3/3/2017 Negra Cubana: "Dicho esto, vuelvo a lo que me inspira esta entrada: al leer los cientos de comentarios a favor y en contra de la obra que ha destapado el debate, he re-conocido evidencias, aunque ya tenía mis sospechas, de que nosotros, negras y negros cubanos, tenemos poco que esperar de algunas personas, quienes desde fuera de la isla, desean y proyectan un “mejor futuro” para Cuba. Y lo digo por varias razones. La más importante de ellas, porque en dos muros de Facebook he leído especies de “alertas” a nosotros, intelectuales y activistas negros; alertas con las que se intenta coartar nuestro activismo antirracista y taponearnos la boca, si ello fuese posible."

En respuesta a Odette Casamayor Cisneros  3/3/2017 Diario de Cuba: "Odette Casamayor Cisneros tiene todo el derecho a contestar con preguntas y peticiones a DDC la invitación que se le hizo. Pero lo que no me parece convincente es su extrañeza de verse convocada, su extrañeza de que se le "demande justificar" su opinión, tal como escribe ella, brindándole un matiz judicial."

La raza, otra vez  3/2/2017 El Anarkista: "Dice el caricaturista de marras que no ve colores cuando hace sus caricaturas, como si eso no reflejara el famoso blindness del privilegio social; y a partir de ahí sólo se suelta a esa justificación que funciona como apología de su propia inteligencia, dejando claro que no será tan poca cosa lo que le haga cambiar."

No veo colores ni razas al dibujar  3/2/2017 Diario de Cuba: por Alen Lauzán, el caricaturista - "Nunca me he autocensurado, no mido las consecuencias que pudieran traer mis caricaturas. Si dibujo un chino con sus estereotipados ojos y su miembro pequeño, ¿soy racista? Ahora bien, ¿el tema son las "narice como nudo de cobbata", las bembas grandes? Las madres de mis hijos son las chilenas más bembonas que he conocido. ¡Me encantan!"

Odette Casamayor: Mis preguntas para Diario de Cuba  3/2/2017 Negra Cubana: "Lo que más bien deseo, con la intención de entender la caricatura, el caricaturista y su aclamador público, así como la dirección de esta publicación que requiere aclaraciones, es que a los negros y las negras de Cuba les expliquen las razones de la recurrencia a esta grotesca representación del negro."

Apuntes sobre una no discusión Apuntes sobre una no discusión  3/1/2017 Diario de Cuba: "Lo peor que puede hacerse en esa no discusión que ha generado la viñeta de Lauzán y su denuncia como racista es intentar "ganarla" sobre la base de la pertinencia o no de un calificativo (¿es racista, no es racista?), porque impide pensar el problema de fondo." [Y donde se piensa el problema de fondo?]

De negros y 'weonas'  2/28/2017 Diario de Cuba: "Es curioso que los que claman racismo ante el dibujo de dos negros jineteros cubanos no presten atención a las chilenas que van a pescarlos. La acusación de racismo no las afecta, quedan fuera del debate. Pero ellas son la demanda de la oferta y el yin del yang. No existirían negros pingueros —ni en la realidad ni en la caricatura cubanas— sin esas señoritas de Valparaíso."

Polémica en torno a una caricatura  2/27/2017 Diario de Cuba: "Motivado por estas opiniones, DIARIO DE CUBA invitó a Sandra Abd'Allah-Alvarez Ramírez, Arsenio Rodríguez Quintana y Odette Casamayor a explicar sus respectivas posiciones acerca de la caricatura de Lauzán que publicamos, con la garantía de que serían publicados en este diario."

DENUNCIA: Viñeta racista en Diario de Cuba  2/22/2017 Negra Cubana: "La página de Facebook de Diario de Cuba ha compartido en el día de hoy una caricatura que, sin profundizar mucho en ella, muestra un condensado de estereotipos racistas. No les bastó con poner a un hombre negro en la posición de jinetero y que porta símbolos de la revolución cubana, sino que pusieron DOS."
 
 

Links/Enlaces top

Colonialist images in contemporary Cuba


Antiracism and the Cuban Revolution: An Interview with Devyn Spence Benson  3/8/2016 AAIHS: "On one hand, you have leaders who are making antiracist declarations. They’re publicly announcing their solidarity with Afro-Cubans and African Americans and also with global antiracist and anti-colonial struggles of the 1960s. But then at the same time, you have revolutionary cartoonists drawing Afro-Cubans in the same stereotypical way that they had in the pre-revolutionary period. You see the same exaggerated features, infantile caricatures, and minstrel-like comical sketches of black people. As I discuss in my book, many of these revolutionary cartoonists had fought in the Sierra Maestra and were part of the 26th of July Movement. They were not just peons submitting drawings to the newspaper; rather, many of them were actually close to the revolutionary leadership."

 

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