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Carlos Moore Wedderburn
by Claude Betancourt, 1/4/2010

Carlos Moore was born in Cuba in 1942 to a family of Jamaican immigrants, then he left there when he was 15 and lived extensively abroad in France, Africa, and in the Caribbean.  He worked closely with Senegal's Cheikh Anta Diop, a founder of AfroCentrism, and was considered to be his lieutenant. Exiled for a number of years from Cuba, he returned to Cuba briefly in the 60's and was sent to a work camp for criticizing the Revolution on the issue of racism. He returned again in the 90's to get treatment for a cancer -- ironic given his implacable hatred for the Cuban government.

Carlos Moore is best known for his authorship of "Castro, the Blacks, and Africa," a work published in 1989 which is highly critical of the Cuban Revolution.  He was answered in this by Pedro Perez Sarduy, in "An Open letter to Carlos Moore" (1990) and by Lisa Brock and Otis Cunningham in their "Race and the Cuban Revolution: A Critique of Carlos Moore's "Castro, the Blacks, and Africa" (1991).

Moore's book is an interesting history on the topic but periodically suffers from exaggerations, which has contributed to his reputation for being somewhat erratic.  This makes it more difficult for others to raise some of the issues that he has or to build on his scholarship.  For example, he has made it a thesis of his book that Cuba's efforts in Africa were entirely opportunistic, and that primarily black troops were sent to die in Africa.   The Cuban effort in Africa was costly and occasioned some not inconsiderable reservations in Cuba but at the same time Cubans are justifiably proud of what they did to stop apartheid and many white Cuban troops fought and died there as well.

Moore has also claimed that there is no difference between Miami and Havana: both are equally racist... There are in fact many differences, given that Miami overwhelmingly self identifies as "white" (>85%) while Cuba has over 70% of African descent. The Havana establishment has AfroCubans in leadership positions while Miami still has none, though they are attempting to build a black leadership in Miami and the US is spending a lot of NED funds to promote the black cause. This is not to say there are no problems in Cuba, far from it - the 2002 Census holds that Cuba is 70% white, a complete fabrication. While the leadership in Havana and Santiago has some AfroCuban presence, that is not true in some other areas, even those with a strong African presence, where the leadership is very strongly "gallego" (of Spanish origin).  However, folks who have visited both Miami and Cuba tend to agree there is a difference not only in degree but in kind between the two when it comes to issues of race and identity. It is curious to hear many "white" Cubans in Miami echo Mr. Moore and shed crocodile tears for the poor oppressed black man in Cuba, etc, when they have done so much to destroy the Cuban economy.

Carlos Moore's relationship to US officialdom has long been the subject of speculation. "Castro, the Blacks, and Africa" is alleged to have been published with CIA funds. A document circulating in the 80's showed his fellowship funding for his period in Southern California in the early 80's -- it was from questionable sources, including USAID, a frequent cover for CIA. NED was founded in 1983 precisely because of these types of situations, where the funding for a propaganda activity was all too easily traced back to CIA.

According to a Southern Africa research group out of LA, Carlos was in fact a translator for Angola's Holden Roberto whose FNLA was funded by CIA. And during Roberto's exile in the US, Moore spent a lot of time with Roberto as he traveled back and forth between Washington and Miami, an indication of the circles he was moving in. He vehemently denies alll these charges, but perhaps the reason they persist is that he has so firmly aligned himself with the Miami anti-Castro machine and their dissidents, long nurtured by CIA and NED.

Another example of Carlos' exaggerations is his assertion that AfroCubaWeb is funded and supported by the Cuban Government. Funny, but the folks there are still wondering where those funds are! Carlos might want to Google AfroCubaWeb using the Advanced Search to the right of the main box. There he could put .cu in the box for "Search within a site or domain" and search for AfroCubaWeb. As of 4/21/09, we have precisely 8 references to this site in all of Cuba's more than 975,000 pages. And if we search for afrocubaweb.com, suggestive of a real link, we find 2 real links. Compare this to the 11,760 pages that link to Afrocubaweb.com around the world. You'd think if the comrades were funding them, they would give them better visibility. The reality is sadder than Carlos imagines, but his paranoia prevents him from seeing that. [Note from AfroCubaWeb: in June 2014, these figures are 6,610 for "AfroCubaWeb" in Cuba and 30,000 world wide]

Carlos has moved to Brazil after an extensive stay at two University of the West Indies -- at Mona in Jamaica and at St Augustine  in Trinidad, where he left a trail of disinformation.

He has mixed in local politics in Bahia, where he lives not far from the cathedral. He is viewed by some as aloof, thinking of himself as above others, almost as above certain popular and older forms of African culture. In this he was perhaps influenced by his mentor Cheikh Anta Diop, as his color-conscious cosmopolitanism recalls that of Diop who, in rightly defending Africa against the Abrahamic race theories of the colonial era, tended to overstate the antithetical view and assume that the "black" phenotype in itself necessarily entails cultural unity based on a shared historical origin. But nothing is gained by staking liberation on an indefensible exaggeration. So for example in his 1977 book "Parenté génétique de l'egyptien pharaonique et des langues négro-africaines, de l'egyptien pharaonique et des langues négro-africaines", Diop sought to show a relationship between Wolof and Ancient Egyptian -- however no non-accidental similarities between these two languages emerged despite Diop's extraordinary effort. Instead, Wolof is clearly a member of the Niger-Congo family, which is the most diverse known language group on earth, whereas Ancient Egyptian belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family, in which its closest modern relative is Coptic. Diop's views have been thoroughly debunked, as in Russell G. Schuh's, "The Use and Misuse of language in the study of African history" (1997),

In Diop's wake, other scholars have tried to link various Niger-Congo languages (especially Yoruba) to Ancient Egyptian, but with no deep success. Such orientalist efforts express a deep commitment to cultural nationalism which however tends simply to blow back colonial prejudice in the inverted form of an equally unfounded exoticism, to the neglect of historically important local cultures such as Wolof or Yoruba which have developed in situ and on their own terms through several millennia. There is a class dimension to this neglect: the exotic orientalism is the province of the elite, while it falls to the poor to maintain traditional culture. The political limits of the inversion strategy are diagnosed by Partha Chatterjee in his 1986 book "Nationalist thought and the colonial world--a derivative discourse?" Moore's hero Fe.la Anikulapo Kuti also ventured into cultural nationalism, with justified anger at Nigerian elites' neocolonial mentality, but his greatest compositions drew more from the cool well of Yoruba poetics, as well as from panafricanism.

In the introduction  to his latest book, Pichón, Carlos invokes the support he received from a long list of illustrious cultural and political figures, many of who are deceased, such as Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Malcolm X. He claims them as co-authors of his book. This and other stretches of the truth in Pichón are discussed in Some Quick Comments on Carlos Moore's PICHÓN, by Walterio Lord Garnés and David González López, 2/09. They look into the origins of the term pichón and cannot find anything negative. This may well be true in today's Cuba, but, according to other researchers in Havana, during the 20's and the 30's, pichón was used, especially in Oriente, as a derogatory term for Haitians and West Indians.

Carlos Moore is enjoyed a good success in 2009 over his promotion of Miami backed dissident Dr. Darsi Ferrer, which culminated in the Acting on Our Conscience petition signed by important AfroCaribbean, AfroLatin and African American personalities. He will continue to impress some, disgust others, and stir up the pot. However, our research indicates that those who side with him may be buying into more than they bargained for. The petition he sent around contains a Briefing calling for the support of a number of dissidents and civil rights organizations in Cuba. The ones he picked have many ties to hard right  elements of Miami's machine who have long been engaged in terrorist acts, not to support AfroCubans, but to promote the interests of the exiled Cuban plantocracy, the families who made their fortunes in slavery -- the Bacardis, the Diaz Balarts, the Fanjuls of Domino Sugar. See Acting on Our Conscience Briefing Sheet: roadmap for Diaspora support of Miami-backed dissidents, Claude Betancourt, 1/2/2010.

- Claude Betancourt

Reaccion de Carlos Moore sobre las declaraciones del Dr Esteban Morales publicadas en su blog, 12/5/11

(Ver: http://estebanmoralesdominguez.blogspot.com/2011/05/frente-los-retos-del-color-como-parte.html )

Recientemente, agencias de prensa acreditadas en Cuba, dieron destaque al artículo “Frente a los retos del color como parte del debate por el socialismo”, que tuvo cierta repercusión en medios independientes y anticastristas, como El Nuevo Herald. El autor del artículo es el académico Esteban Morales Domínguez, residente en La Habana, y fue publicado en su blog. En su trabajo, Morales ataca a Carlos Moore, investigador sobre el tema negro cubano que desde 1963 rompió con el régimen de Fidel Castro y acerca del cual pueden informarse más en esta entrevista. Desde Salvador de Bahía, Brasil, donde vive y trabaja, Moore ha respondido a Morales (Tania Quintero).

El Dr. Esteban Morales es parte de la maquinaria oficial Cubana; siempre lo fue, desde los años sesenta, cuando se graduó de la escuela de cuadros de los Servicios de Inteligencia de Cuba, y lo sigue siendo, aun mas, todavía hoy.  Últimamente, el régimen Cubano, porque está en aprietos, le está tratando de forjar una imagen de "líder negro". Eso de su “expulsión” del PCC es una farsa cuyo objetivo es darle credibilidad como “dirigente negro” con el cual el gobierno luego “discutiría” sobre la solución del problema creciente de la oposición negra;  lo mas candente y peligroso que está aconteciendo en Cuba.  Todo eso es parte de la nueva estrategia que está armando el régimen Cubano, en estos momentos, después e haber fracasado en su intento de represión brutal de la disidencia que emana de la población mayoritaria del país.

Las acusaciones que el Dr. Morales lanza contra mi, son las mismas que utiliza desde hace años el régimen Cubano: que yo sería miembro o, incluso, dirigente de una organización llamada “Alianza Afro-Cubana” (con la cual no tengo vínculo alguno); que yo habría sido “pagado por la CIA” para escribir el libro, Castro, the Blacks and Africa; libro que les quitó la mascara de grandes “liberadores” de los Africanos y puso en pié la cuestión de la opresión racial en Cuba, destruyendo el mito de la “democrácia racial socialista” Cubana.

Son también patrañas cocinadas por el régimen Cubano las alegaciones de que yo habría sido “interprete” del dirigente derechista y reaccionario de Angola, Roberto Holden, al cual yo habría servido de “interprete”. La verdad es que yo nunca conocí a Roberto Holden ni lo ví en mi vida.  Todas esas mentiras, cocinadas en la cocina de los servicios de inteligencia de Cuba, se encuentran alojadas en el sitio de Internet AfroCubaWeb - sitio de la izquierda marxista afronorteamericana apoyada por el régimen de Cuba. Según tengo entendido, fue el propio Dr. Morales quien ayudó a implantar ese sitio y quien sirve de fuente principal de todas las desinformaciones que se encuentran en ella. O sea, que estamos delante de un caso típico de desinformación donde el “informante” es, a su vez, el “desinformador”.

Carlos Moore
Salvador de Bahia. Brasil. 12 de Mayo de 2011

Nunca nosotros hemos hablado de Carlos como miembro de una "Alianza Afro-Cubana", porque no tenemos informes sobre eso. Si, existe un Afro-Cuban Alliance que recibe dinero de la NED. Quizas a Carlos no le gusta los articulos en el sitio vinculandolo a las organizaciones que tienen su apoyo de la plantocracia de Miami y de la NED. Esos articulos son el resulto de investigaciones que cada uno puede reproducir, no tienen nada que ver con un producto cocinado:

Una Batalla Mundial de Vida o Muerte. Primera Parte, 25/12/09 Alberto Jones

A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Part I, 12/25/09 Alberto Jones

ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE - A DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA  12/1/2009 A letter organized by Carlos Moore, signed by a number of prominent African Americans who for the first time are allying themselves with the plantocracy in Miami.

Acting on Our Conscience Briefing Sheet: roadmap for Diaspora support of Miami-backed Plantocracy dissidents, Claude Betancourt, 1/6/2010

Ademas hay que notar que el trabajo de Carlos y sus ayudantes alrededor de la carta "Acting on our conscience" se apoya sobre el trabajo de Esteban Morales, y lo citan como referencia sobre la realidad racial en Cuba. Vease el Cuba Briefing Sheet, que viene con la carta Acting on our conscience.

Hay tantos indicaciones que el sitio ese no tiene nada que ver con los servicios cubanos, que solamente alguien que no sabe nada de Cuba, como Carlos, puede creer en un tal delirio paranoico.

La Plantocracia de Miami

 

Comments on Orlando Zapata's death, 2/2010

Blacks bear the brunt of Cuba's brutality  2/28/2010 Miami Herald: "Zapata's ordeal is being spun from the other side of the coin, too -- the predominantly white and U.S.-based, right-wing anti-Castro opposition who clearly stand to score political points from the case of a black martyr. Righteous declarations can be expected from organizations such as Democracy Movement, the Cuban American National Foundation, the Cuban Liberty Council and, especially, the Cuban Democratic Directorate. Many Cuban civil-rights activists accuse these groups of working to corral and control the new internal opposition forces on behalf of interests linked to Cuba's former Jim Crow oligarchy. That's why they see U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart's ``indignation'' over Zapata's death, as much as president Raúl Castro's ``regrets,'' as a double farce. A staunch supporter of the tiny, white elite of wealth that was overthrown in 1959, Diaz-Balart can cry crocodile tears, but during his time in Congress his right-wing, pro-embargo agenda has only hindered the ability of black Cubans to improve their lot." [Some observers credit Alberto Jones and Claude Betancourt's articles for this historic turn against the Miami Plantocracy, unprecedented, to our knowledge, in any statements by Black Cuban dissident groups.]

Commentary: Against the hijacking of a Cuban martyr  2/24/2010 McClatchy: "Certainly, I do not claim to speak on behalf of Cuba's majority. But I am surely not far from that majority's truth by stating that it can hardly be struggling for the re-empowerment of the tiny, white elite of wealth that was overthrown in 1959. It is that segregationist exiled elite that these so-called anti-Castro groups so distinctly represent. Orlando Zapata Tamayo is dead. He is now a people's martyr. But those who struggled with him and shared his aspirations must not allow this brave and principled man's legacy or memory to be hijacked; certainly not by those who before 1959 despised him for being black and continue to do so in spite of their hypocritical tears. Zapata's legacy belongs to Cuba's future, and not to that of its neo-colonial, segregationist and subservient past."

The relationship between AfroCuban dissidents and the Miami hard right has been explored in 

A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death
. Part I, 12/25/09 by Alberto Jones
Cuba Briefing Sheet: roadmap for Diaspora support of Miami-backed dissidents, 1/6/2010 by Claude Betancourt
Invoking MLK and Rosa Parks in Cuban Exile Politics, 5/30/09 by Claude Betancourt
Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez: another manipulated dissident? by Claude Betancourt, 12/20/09

In this last two articles we find out that the Cuban Democratic Directorate which Moore singles out for opprobrium is very much tied in to the support for Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" and Dr. Darsi Ferrer, two leading AfroCuban dissidents. In fact Ferrer was the subject of the petition that Carlos Moore orchestrated among African Americans and Afro-Latins.

James Early has responded to the above Carlos Moore articles in The State of Race in 21st Century Cuban Socialism: Two Opposing Views Outside Cuba, 3/1/10.

Articles, Interviews

Me siento afortunado de haber vivido  2/22/2010 Tania Quintero: Entrevista con Carlos Moore.

«Me siento afortunado de haber vivido» - Carlos Moore, el investigador que luchó contra la manipulación racial del castrismo.  5/11/2009 Cuba Encuentro: "La segunda vez que lo vi [a Fidel Castro], fue en medio de la calle, en La Habana, y aproveché para decirle que no concordaba con lo que él decía, que el racismo había desaparecido en Cuba. Fui a parar ante el Comandante Ramiro Valdés; firmé una "confesión" negando que hubiera racismo en Cuba, y se me envió a un campo de trabajo en Camaguey. Fue en esa ocasión en que, para mi, terminó la luna de miel con el régimen."

CARLOS MOORE: Putting context to Cuba's racial divide  4/21/2009 McClatchy: " Brought to light in 2008, the first comprehensive, officially-sanctioned document addressing the issue of race in Cuba under the Revolution, The Challenges of the Racial Problem in Cuba [2], paints a stark picture of the situation that exists even now in 2009 for the blacks. This graphic, 385-page document, supported by a bounty of hitherto unpublicized statistics, speaks of neglect, denial, and forceful resurgence of racism in Cuba under Communism. The publication shows a growing impoverishment of the population as a whole, but it emphasizes that black Cubans are disproportionately affected. The old segregationist Cuba is gone, according to this document, yet, somehow the country's leadership continues to be predominantly white (71%). A majority of the country's scientists and technicians are white (72.7%), even though both races have equal rates of education. The same whitening process affects Cuba's universities at the professorial level (80% at the University of La Habana). In the countryside, the land that is privately held is almost totally in the hands of whites (98%), and even in the State cooperatives blacks are almost nonexistent (5%). A robust percentage of able-bodied Cubans with jobs are white, whether male (66.9%) or female (63.8%). In contrast, the overall employment rate of blacks who are fit to work is startlingly low (34.2%). We are left to conclude that most able-bodied black Cubans are unemployed (65.8%)."

http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200902/20090210_moore.html
Interview with Carlos Moore on Tavis Smiley, 2/10/09
Dr. Carlos Moore is an ethnologist and political scientist, specializing in African, Latin American and Caribbean affairs. He researches and writes on the impact of race and ethnicity on domestic politics and inter-state affairs. Following exile from his native Cuba for opposing the Castro regime's racial policies, Moore has lived and worked in many countries, including the U.S., Senegal and, his current base, Brazil. He holds two doctorates from the University of Paris 7, France and is fluent in five languages.

Some Quick Comments on Carlos Moore's PICHÓN, Walterio Lord Garnés and David González López, 2/09

Excerpts from www.walterlippmann.com/docs2346.html

...Moore was not only born a black person, but furthermore, the son of immigrant blacks in a very poor area of a country in which racism could be openly expressed. Worse yet, he was the very darkest-skinned among his siblings (only later in life would he learn that he was the product of his mother’s extra-marital love affair).

He was also the victim of transitory yet nearly-fatal expressions of physical abuse by his mother, whose love he nevertheless desperately craved. All this would suffice to explain his rebellious attitude vis-a-vis everything which surrounded him in childhood –family, neighborhood, school, and the icons of Cuban national culture. Even if such a wounded person believes that, with maturity, he or she has managed to come to terms with his/her original conflicts, the scars usually continue to inflict some kind of pain and to account for paranoid reactions and at-times distorted visions...


...The title of the book itself, Pichón, is purportedly “Cuba’s most derogatory term for blacks.”;[7] “the word in this country [Cuba] that is more negative than the N word in the United States”,[8] or, as the author himself argues, a term which conveys a “scorching message of hate”[9], because –in the words attributed to his step-father— it refers to “di picney of a jancrow”[10] –a buzzard’s chick.

Yet, for as long as both co-authors of these comments (David Gonzalez and Walterio Lord, both over 60 years of age) have lived in Cuba and travelled extensively throughout it, we have never heard anyone attach this very specific, derogatory meaning to the word pichón, even after interviewing people from the area of north-east Camagüey province. Pichón is, literally, a small bird (of whatever flying species) which has not left its nest.

From there, it evolved to designate a Cuban whose parents were immigrants, who is also referred to as a pichón of a given foreign nationality, though not necessarily in a derogatory way. Moreover, Moore’s change of mind with respect to the word –“for once, the term pichón exploded in my mind with a keen pride, a vengeful joy”[11]— when he thought of getting an important post back in Cuba seems much too sudden to be credible.[12]. It is not infrequent to hear someone refer to Fidel Castro as a pichón de gallego (that is, the child of someone from the Spanish province of Galicia), a phrase at which no one would raise an eyebrow in Cuba. Giving Moore the benefit of the doubt, one might accept that this was a very local (derogatory) meaning of the word at a given point in time, if this were the only problem appearing in the book, related to Moore’s peculiar interpretative memory...

See www.walterlippmann.com/docs2346.html

See also Walterio Lord Garnés and David González López

 Black revolution stirring in Cuba 

Nazma muller, Trinidad Express
Sunday, March 29th 2009

Nazma muller talks to Carlos Moore.

Carlos Moore was born in Cuba in 1942, the son of Jamaican immigrants. As a child, he was called pichón, which means offspring of a corbeau. With the Revolution, he and most blacks assumed that, as Fidel Castro had promised, racism would end. At that time, 35 per cent of the people were black. With the exodus of 20 per cent of the white population to the United States, non-whites became the majority.

Moore was one of many black Cubans who protested against continued discrimination in the early days of the Revolution, and was jailed or sent to labour camps. He fled Cuba in 1963.

During more than 30 years of exile, Moore specialised in African, Latin-American and Caribbean affairs. He was a senior lecturer at the Institute of International Relations of UWI in St Augustine for six years. He was in Trinidad last week to launch his new book, Pichon: Race and Revolution in Castro's Cuba.

He's heard that I'm a Fidelista and has come to the interview armed with a book, Desafiós de la Problematica Racial en Cuba (Challenges to Racial Problems in Cuba).

I don't get a chance to ask a question because he's off and running as soon as we sit down...

CM: Raul Castro is trying to undercut Fidel. It's a big power struggle right now. Raul's sending a powerful message to the black population that he's going to undo what Fidel did in terms of race. In his last book (100 Hours with Fidel) with [Ignacio] Ramonet, Ramonet told him, "You know, this race thing..." And Fidel says, "Well, you know, we thought we had solved it. It's behaviour, it's discrimination and it has nothing to do with the State." But Raul is saying, "No, this is not true. This is structural. The discrimination is structural. So this book [Desafios de la Problematica Racial en Cuba] is a bomb.

 NM: Why would Raul allow this book [Desafios] to be released?

CM: They brought it out under the foundation that is bringing out a lot of studies about race. It's good because it's full of statistics. Seventy-six per cent of the people are black. If you cannot deal with that, you cannot deal with the real Cuba. Access to power, Page 248: "the access to institutional power by blacks and mestizos is impaired because of a wide array of factors, among which is racial discrimination". They're no longer talking about people on the streets; it's structural. Which means that everything that Fidel Castro has been saying is a lie. So this book is saying that racism has been growing and it's now a threat to the stability of the country. If, in the next five years, you don't have an explosion in Cuba, I would be the first one to be surprised. 

NM: But, but, why then does Cuba offer scholarships to Caribbean students?

CM: Because Cuba has a policy on the Caribbean-I've studied the papers on this policy. I've even reported on Fidel Castro's speeches. He said "that so-called Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which is nothing but a former colony of the British and is now a colony of the Americans, and will always be a colony". I quoted things like that because Castro does these things. They have this absolutely arrogant attitude and this is why they can do this [indicating a letter of protest about Moore which the Cuban ambassador sent to the Barbados Nation after he spoke at UWI in Cave Hill]. They would never dare do this in Brazil, threaten the newspapers and call the university. I am on TV and radio in Brazil all the time. When Raul Castro was in Brazil, that is when they published my open letter to him. 

NM: Why is this discrimination happening?

CM: The Revolution started out doing things. The first ten years were spent opening up access to everything. When Castro took power in 1959, 35 per cent of the population was black. He was brought to power by the white elite. They loved him. They used to call him La Gran Esperanza Blanca-the great white hope. Because Batista was darker than you. 

NM: You're kidding.

CM: Batista used to straighten his hair. He came to power through a coup d'etat. He imposed himself on the people. 

NM: Batista's race is never mentioned in any book.

CM: Because if you bring up Batista you have to explain the struggle that happened. The white elite said, We do not want a black monkey as president. Somebody has to overthrow him. And Castro said, I will. This is the part of history that people don't know. Batista was a tyrant, he was in the hands of the mafia, in the hands of the US, but that's not why the whites were against him-they too were pro-American. They did not want a black man as head of state. Did you know he was the only head of state who could not go into the white restaurants? He was banned from the white beaches and the white clubs in Cuba. 

NM: So why didn't he de-segregate everything? He was president.

CM: Because Batista never had the cojones to do a de-segregation-he knew the whites would turn against him and overthrow him. And they did it anyway. So he was constantly bribing parts of the white elite. There was so much racism in the 1950s. Batista had support among some of the black population. In Castro's first statement after the Revolution, he says he was fighting to bring power back to the rightful race. 

NM: But the music of Cuba is black. Santería [a Yoruba-based faith that is often compared to voodoo or obeah] is so powerful. Even white Cubans are Santeros!

CM: Do you know it was banned for 30 years? It went underground. Castro destroyed the black clubs. The black civil movement was destroyed by Castro. 

NM: For someone who has been in awe of Fidel Castro for half her life, this is difficult to accept. What you're saying points to a huge gaping hole in his intellect. How could he have fought for social justice and be a racist? What you're saying means that this racism is something that is part of his being, something he learnt from small. He could not, intellectually, get over it.

CM: He could not get over it. And you must understand what happened. Castro was brought into power by his class. He was groomed from day one. He went to Jesuit schools, Spanish schools. He had no relationship with blacks at all. From when he was a child to when he was in university, Castro didn't know the black population. 

NM: So what would your advice to Mr Obama be on the Cuban situation?

CM: Lift the embargo. Get out of Guantanamo. Give it back to the Cubans. Listen-you have no idea how happy the blacks in Cuba were when Obama was elected. All across the island they were celebrating. There were signs all over the place: "Si podemos..." (Yes we can...). 

NM: Are you saying there is a counter-revolution being started-a real revolution?

CM: That is what I'm saying. The [Cuban] Revolution died in its first ten years. That's what people are not seeing. It's like when [Soviet Union president Nikita] Khrushchev said, "I have something to announce to the Communist world. Stalin killed close to 15 million people." People cried, people fainted. They didn't know what to do. This is what is happening today. 

NM: But the blacks in Cuba are educated. In Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, people are duped and exploited by politicians because they are not educated. This is not the case in Cuba.

CM: Listen-Cuba is the most policed state in the world. There are police everywhere. The people live in fear. It is not a matter of putting you in jail; it's a matter of executing you. If you try to leave Cuba, they execute you. Why do you think so many people risk their lives trying to run away? Right now you have black people living in caves in Cuba because there's no housing. You don't have whites living in caves. The police system in Cuba is so strong. Cuba is a powerful country like Israel. The Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, is comparable to that in Cuba.

NM: Why haven't we seen a military coup by the army if it's 85 per cent black?

CM: It's not that easy. This thing about every Cuban being armed is a myth. The army has say, 95,000 men, led by generals. Of the 138 generals, only 35 are black and they are not division commanders. How can you mount a coup in that situation? I'll tell you how. Raul Castro is in charge of the army, don't forget that. Fidel's pre-occupation has always been the Party. What Raul is doing is replacing Fidel's men in the Party with his own men, who are all military. Raul knows where the danger comes from. You know what the danger is in Cuba and where the coup can come? Exactly how Batista did it in 1933. Something happens, like the Maleconazo, in 1994 when thousands of blacks poured into the streets of Havana. They broke up the place, burned cars, looted. Castro told the police to retreat immediately. No shooting. If they had shot a single black, that would have been it.

Castro spoke on TV, asked them to calm down. He said he would come and solve their problems. Only Castro can do that in Cuba. Talk, and have the people calm down. Raul can't do that. So if that explosion takes place anywhere in Cuba-if that had happened in Oriente, the whole place would have gone up. But it happened in Havana where he could contain it.

That's Raul's nightmare. If there's a Maleconazo 2, he has to take this army, whose ground troops are 80 to 85 per cent black. He's going to have to use it for the first time inside of Cuba. Never has the army been used inside Cuba-they have always fought abroad. Raul is doing things to distance himself from the explosion that is coming. This is his last chance to convince the population that he is their hope for change.

Sixty-six per cent of blacks are unemployed. Imagine, you fight in Angola and come back home and you're unemployed. When that situation goes off, there's going to be bloodshed. And Obama knows it. He's afraid of something happening in Cuba because he knows that means two to three million refugees fleeing to America. Jamaica will be pulverised within the first three weeks because no fewer than 200,000 people will flee there. The first 10,000 blacks who come in there will overwhelm the services.

Eight million Cubans are black. Of that two million are what they call pichon, their parents come from the rest of the Caribbean and they're trying to get out now, to go to Trinidad, Barbados.

NM: Well, Mr Manning has been pushing for Cuba to be one of the main items on the agenda at the Summit of the Americas. I think perhaps he's aware of what's happening, as a black man visiting Cuba.

CM: I don't think he's aware [he steupses]. He's pushing the Cuba agenda because all of Caricom-these are client states, nothing but client states.

-- www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/print?id=161458594

Carlos Moore letter to Raúl Castro, 12/17/08

Carlos Moore was answered in this and other matters at James Early: Carlos Moore's Outcast Vision and Dangerous Deceit  12/28/2009 AfroCubaWeb

Why Castro regime fears Obama administration, 12/1/08

BY CARLOS MOORE

60.carlos@gmail

Since Nov. 4, Cuba has been experiencing a bad case of the Obama Blues. The election of the United States' first African-American president was conspicuously downplayed by the Cuban media. President-elect Barack Obama's victory went unheralded in Granma, the official mouthpiece of both the government and the ruling Communist party; it was relegated to the back pages.

On the streets, however, ordinary Cubans were reported to be exultant. All of a sudden the Cuban people no longer hated the ``enemy.''

This shunning of an event of such global impact may surprise people accustomed to Havana's outspokenness regarding American leaders. In my view, Havana's silence betrays more than uncertainty about Obama's future policies. Cuba, I am inclined to believe, is nervous about the impact that a black president in the White House could have upon its own black population.

On Nov. 15, Fidel Castro, referring to Obama in passing and refraining from mentioning his name, spoke of ''a simple change of leadership in the empire.'' He sneered at those ''who entertain illusions about a possible change in the system.'' However, his uneasiness was already apparent on the eve of the presidential election, when he rather clumsily wrote that, ``Obama, the democratic candidate, is part African, and the color black and other physical traits of that race predominate in him. He is no doubt more intelligent, educated and level headed than his Republican rival.''

Although that off-handed comment may seem trivial, reports from inside Cuba have reinforced my suspicion that, contrary to the sentiments of the streets, the Cuban regime is experiencing great discomfort with the turn of events in the United States. Anthropologist Maria Ileana Faguagua Iglesias reports a racist outburst toward Obama by a Communist Party official and former military officer: ''He will be the worst ever American president,'' said this apparatchik, ``because he is a Negro, and they are worse than the whites!''

What is eating away at Cuba's leaders? Very little makes sense without knowledge of Cuba's demographic metamorphosis from a white to a black majority in the space of half a century. The black population was 35-45 percent of the total Cuban population when Castro triumphed 50 years ago. Four years later, the panicky flight of some 15-20 percent of the island's white population, fearing the new regime's sweeping socialist reforms, left Castro at the head of a country with a de facto black majority. For the next five decades, the darkening shade of Cubans would increase steadily and create unanticipated problems for the social reformers who launched the Revolution.

Cuba has maintained that the Revolution eradicated racism, abolished discrimination and established a unique ''racial democracy.'' However, in 1994, in the overwhelmingly black area along the seafront in Central Havana, angry, rock-throwing crowds took to the streets, shattered windows and attacked the police. The regime shuddered; this was the closest thing to a race riot Cuba had seen since the Revolution. Only Castro's arrival at the scene kept the violence from escalating out of control.

Cuba reacted to this explosion by allowing a mini-exodus of more than 32,000 predominantly black rafters to leave for South Florida, thereby presenting the Clinton administration with a near-crisis. In the absence of the charismatic Castro and with the presence of a widely admired black president in the White House, might the occurrence of another such racially charged event spin out of control?

Judging from signals coming out of Cuba, the leadership fears so and may be wary of Obama's proposed open-door policy. Cuba does have reason to fear. Brought to light in 2008, the first official document addressing the issue of race in Cuba under the Revolution, ''The Challenges of the Racial Problem in Cuba,'' paints a stark picture of the real situation of blacks in Cuba 50 years after the Revolution. Although Cuba's downtrodden benefited from the social benefits in education and health that the Revolution introduced, this graphic, 385-page document, supported by a bounty of hitherto unpublicized statistics, speaks of neglect, denial and the powerful resurgence of racism in Cuba under Communism.

The old segregationist Cuba is gone, but the country's leadership continues to be predominantly white (71 percent), according to this document. The publication shows a growing impoverishment of the population as a whole, but it emphasizes that black Cubans are disproportionately affected. In the countryside, the land is almost totally in the hands of whites (98 percent). A robust percentage of able-bodied Cubans with jobs are white, whether male (66.9 percent) or female (63.8 percent). In contrast, the employment rate of blacks who are fit to work is startlingly low (34.2 percent). We are left to conclude that most able-bodied black Cubans are unemployed (65.8 percent). The statistics show that a majority of the country's scientists and technicians are white (72.7 percent), even though both races have equal rates of education.

What has caused such racial disparities after five decades of radical change? Blacks overwhelmingly blamed ''racial discrimination'' in hiring and promotion (60.8 percent) for these stark contrasts. An overwhelming majority of Cubans of both races agreed that ''racial prejudice continues to be current on the island'' (75 percent). Ironically, among whites the disparities were attributed to blacks being ''less intelligent than whites'' (58 percent) and ''devoid of decency'' (69 percent).

Mounting frustrations explain why a growing number of black Cubans (currently estimated at 16 percent) favor the creation of specifically black political parties to achieve equality. The 1.5 million-strong Cuban-American community, of which a significant portion in South Florida voted for Barack Obama (35 percent), is watching things closely. Many, especially the younger generation, have forsaken the racial bigotry of their parents and evinced a growing awareness that the predominantly white face (85 percent) of the Cuban-American community is a political liability in a Cuba that is predominantly black.

Lifting the current ban on travel to Cuba and on sending of remittances to the island would incite hundred of thousands of these moderate Cuban Americans, as well as other U.S. tourists, to travel to the island and spread the news about a changing America where whites will be a dwindling minority in the coming decades, where democracy works and where minorities are making healthy strides toward gaining power and wealth while creating the basis for a truly multi-racial society.

Such circumstances would place unbearable strain on the regime's ideological armor. Many analysts believe that the Castro regime is not prepared for that Brave New World and may find it threatening. An open-door policy toward the island and the lifting of the embargo measures that President-elect Obama has promised would ultimately discredit and potentially destabilize the regime. Simply put, an Obama administration would dissolve the anti-American posture that has united Cubans around their government for the past fifty years.

Cuba's race question is bound to become a core civil rights issue in Cuban-American relations. Not without reason, the post-Fidel leadership has already begun to warn of what it calls a possible ''new form of ideological confrontation'' and fret over the possibility of what it calls ''racial subversion'' waged by the United States. I believe the post-Fidel managerial elites fully understand that the only way for them to hang on to power is to consolidate support among the majority population, which implies broadening black participation in the political leadership, the economy, the media and cultural institutions. In the current circumstances, to continue disregarding the racial aspirations of the black majority, as has been done in the past, would be tantamount to suicide.

The bottom line is that racism is Cuba's most intractable problem. Only an arrangement implying effective power sharing between the island's two dominant groups can prepare the ground for a reversal of Cuba's socio-racial conundrum. This would call for an entirely new institutional framework that includes the reinvigoration of civil society, the implementation of robust racial affirmative action policies in all spheres, the revival of independent cultural and social institutions, an independent media and free press and the existence of autonomous political movements, associations and parties.

None of this is possible without a profound revamping of society, the establishment of the rule of law by an impartial judiciary that enforces respect for internationally accepted norms of civil and human rights, the holding of a national referendum whereby Cubans may freely determine the sort of society under which they wish to live and the holding of national multi-party elections for all elective offices. Paradoxically, the example set by the once-considered arch-rival United States has become attractive to Cuba's have-nots and may now act as further incentive to press for democratic changes. Cubans evince a growing interest in the civil-rights movement that paved the way for what many call the ``Obama miracle.''

As black Cubans draw a balance sheet of their gains and losses under the Revolution, comparing them with the steady strides of African-Americans in the wake of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, they may find many reasons to feel cheated. Cuba's leaders may, therefore, have cause to fret over a reinvigorated American democracy and the restoration of U.S. prestige in the world. Cubans are less likely now than ever to believe that the United States is bent on invading them or restoring the hated white rulers of old. The latter, too, have been visited by change, as the aging, die-hard and ultra-right anti-Castro militants give way to liberal-minded Cuban Americans more concerned about success in America as citizens than commitments to doomed crusades on behalf of former racial entitlements or the recovery of their grandparents' former luxury mansions.

A black American president whose moderate and humane views have garnered worldwide sympathy and support sharply undercuts the legitimacy of a 50-year-old confrontational policy that relied heavily on mass black support. The unfreezing of American-Cuban relations, which Obama has also promised, may indeed prove threatening to a leadership that may be looking at the future through the barrel of its own gun. Suddenly, all of the claims the Castro regime has made over the years to buttress its resistance to change seem to be unraveling. A black man in the White House may predictably accelerate the ticking of Cuba's social reform clock.

So, does Cuba have an Obama problem? The answer is a resounding yes.

Carlos Moore, ethnologist and political scientist, wrote Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro's Cuba.

Bibliography

Castro, the Blacks, and Africa, 1989, (Afro-American Culture and Society, Vol 8)
by Carlos Moore    Click for pricing & to buy  ==> Amazon.com
African Presence in the Americas by Carlos Moore (Editor), Tanya R. Saunders (Editor), Shawna Moore (Editor), Tanya R. Sanders (Editor)      Click for pricing & to buy  ==> Amazon.com 
Fela, Fela : This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore Published 1985 (Publisher Out Of Stock)<

Cuban Race Relations (1991) also out of stock


O RACISMO ATRAVÉS DA HISTÓRIA:
DA ANTIGUIDADE À MODERNIDADE

Carlos Moore Wedderburn (PDF)

 

Some Quick Comments on Carlos Moore's PICHÓN by Walterio Lord Garnés and David González López  2/15/2009 Walter Lipmann: "Walterio Lord Garnés [Havana, 1948] and David González López [Havana, 1947] are collaborators attached to the Centro de Estudios de África y Medio Oriente in Havana and to the University of Havana’s Cátedra “Amílcar Cabral” de Estudios Africanos. They have written dissertations at home and abroad and published works about African and Afro-Cuban cultures in Cuban and foreign publications. Because Walterio Lord’s father was born in Barbados, since birth he was affectionately/jokingly called pichón de barbadense or pichón de jamaiquino. David González recalls that, because his grandfather came from the Canary Islands, his father was affectionately/jokingly called Pichón de isleño."

Related Links

For a great background article, see A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Part I, 12/25/09 Alberto Jones

 


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