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Raúl Castro

From a speech discussing racism and sexism in Cuba, reported in  Granma: "Personally, I consider the insufficient advance on this matter in 50 years of Revolution to be a disgrace"

Es preciso caminar hacia el futuro, con paso firme y seguro, porque sencillamente no tenemos derecho a equivocarnos, 12/21/09
Discurso pronunciado por el General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros, en la clausura del IV Período Ordinario de Sesiones de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, el 20 de diciembre de 2009, "Año del 50 Aniversario del Triunfo de la Revolución"

...Las elecciones realizadas en el día de hoy por esta Asamblea para cubrir las vacantes en el Consejo de Estado, incluyendo dos vicepresidencias, una de ellas por primera vez ocupada por una mujer, que a su vez se desempeña como Contralora General de la República, constituyen además de un justo reconocimiento a la trayectoria revolucionaria y profesional de los elegidos, la expresión de la intención manifiesta de elevar la representatividad de la composición étnica y de género de la población cubana en los cargos de dirección.

Personalmente considero que es una vergüenza el insuficiente avance en esta materia en 50 años de Revolución, a pesar de que el 65 por ciento de la fuerza laboral técnica se compone de mujeres y que la ciudadanía forma un hermoso arcoiris racial sin privilegios formales de tipo alguno, pero subsisten en la práctica, como expresara Fidel en la clausura del Congreso Pedagogía 2003, que aun en sociedades como la de Cuba, surgida de una revolución social radical, donde el pueblo alcanzó la plena y total igualdad legal y un nivel de educación revolucionaria que echó por tierra el componente subjetivo de la discriminación, esta existía todavía de otra forma. Fidel la calificó como discriminación objetiva, un fenómeno asociado a la pobreza y a un monopolio histórico de los conocimientos.

Por mi parte ejerceré toda mi influencia para que estos nocivos prejuicios sigan cediendo espacio hasta ser finalmente suprimidos y se promuevan a cargos de dirección a todos los niveles, por sus méritos y preparación profesional, a las mujeres y los negros.

 


Raul Castro and his wife, Vilma Espín, carried out programs to train women and blacks for leadership positions. She passed on in 2007.

"Raúl Castro stated that if a person is denied entry to a hotel because he or she is black, then that establishment should be closed, thus applying our laws, even if the installation concerned is a joint venture." -- On Gender and Racial Equality, 3/00


Raul Castro - ON GENDER AND RACIAL EQUALITY

Sat, 18 Mar 2000 (date sent)

ON GENDER AND RACIAL EQUALITY
Not by improvising

• Vice President Raúl Castro gives a special speech on this subject at the 7th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women

BY RAISA PAGES (Granma International staff writer)

IMPROVISATIONS lead to failure in policies aimed at achieving gender and racial equality, affirmed Vice President Raúl Castro during his speech at the 7th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), which he described as a wide-ranging and dynamic meeting because it put secondary matters aside and went straight to the heart of the matter.

Having admitted to the female audience that he used to be a chauvinist, the vice president and second secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party commented that it is a fact that those discriminatory traditions cannot easily be eliminated from our culture, which is of immense spiritual wealth.

However, he argued that he was not satisfied with the results of the drive to promote not only women but also blacks and mixed race Cubans to leadership positions within the government and Party.

Referring to issues raised in FMC assemblies in Havana City and Santiago de Cuba, the island’s two largest cities, Raúl Castro stated that if a person is denied entry to a hotel because he or she is black, then that establishment should be closed, thus applying our laws, even if the installation concerned is a joint venture.

He confided that, in his office, he has on display a photo from the 1940s, published by Bohemia magazine. It was taken during a session of the House of Representatives, and four historic figures appear sitting together: Juan Marinello, an eminent white intellectual, and three black men: Salvador García Aguero, outstanding speaker and a Cuban diplomat after 1959; Jesús Menéndez, a trade union leader in the sugar industry; and Lázaro Peña, a tobacco worker who led the Cuban workers' movement after the triumph of the Revolution.

They were educated in the ideological values of the Communist Party of that era and, even while in the underground movement, they made efforts to include in their ranks a representation of the Cuban people’s ethnic diversity. He mentioned that the same procedures had also been followed in the former Popular Socialist Party.

Raúl told the audience how recently, on arriving at a meeting of a governmental commission set up to support and solve the capital’s problems, he exclaimed: "This is a meeting of chauvinists," because apart from two women ministers--one for foreign investment, and the other for science, technology and the environment--there were only two other women in a group of 60 officials.

He clarified that people should not be elected simply on the basis of their gender or ethnic background if they are not properly trained, that this process must be managed and controlled, and that reserve lists of leaders for both government and Party need to be reviewed, so as to prepare and train those persons in leadership tasks.

Some European countries approach the question of gender equality through legislation and quotas but such a system does not solve these kinds of problems.

The vice president posed the question as to who could be a better administrator than, for example, a woman who manages the family budget, after noting that studies of teenagers demonstrate that the girls are more mature.

He stressed that we must open our minds to this issue and noted that this is one of the political-ideological tasks for the Cuban Communist Party, at a time when administrative tasks are being overhauled.

Raúl insisted on the need to appoint more women at the various levels of government and the Party. Out of the country’s 169 municipalities in the country, very few People's Power bodies are led by women, while at territorial level there is only one woman at the head, in the central-eastern province of Camagüey.

The closing session of the women’s congress ratified Vilma Espín and Yolanda Ferrer as FMC president and general secretary, respectively. This Cuban non-governmental organization has more than three million members.

Taking advantage of the fact that the closure of the Congress coincided with International Women's Day, Raúl sent special congratulations to all Cuban women.

 © Copyright GRANMA INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL EDITION. La Havana. Cuba
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Links
top/Enlaces

Profile: Raul Castro, BBC, 2/28/08
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5234790.stm

Raúl Castro, NYT - articles
topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/c/raul_castro/index.htm

 

 

 

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