Last week a luxury cruise ship arrived in Havana loaded with U.S. students for a "cultural exchange" – a new name for the anti-American indoctrination course launched by "intellectuals" of the Castro regime in U.S. colleges and universities. Cultural exchange? It would indeed be a cultural exchange if a ship loaded with Cuban students would be allowed to leave Havana and visit the United States. However, the Cuban government WILL NEVER allow such an exchange! This so-called exchange, like all others, are one-sided. Castro knows that while American students return to their country, the majority of Cuban students, once on U.S. soil, would ask for political asylum in the United States. What did those professors, accomplices of the Castro regime, intend to teach their naive students in Cuba? That after graduation they would have to "buy" a job as hotel waiters/waitresses? Or that they would have to try to work as taxi drivers in a tourist area? Will Castro show them the reality of the now famous phrase in a speech he pronounced sometime last year, where he said that "our prostitutes are the best educated prostitutes in the world"? Will they introduce them to doctors who earn the equivalent of $30 dollars per month, or less? Of course not! The members of the Cuban Communist party and their accomplices, the professors of these students, will not show them the real thing. Instead, they will show them, for example, the "La Covadonga" clinic, now renamed Salvador Allende, or the "Blanquita" theater now sporting the name of Karl Marx, and all other buildings and institutions built back when Cuba was a democracy, misleading them into thinking that they were built by the communist regime.

Two or three weeks ago, the island was also visited by a contingent of international union representatives. Members of the International Confederation of Free Union Organizations (CIOSL), the International Labor Organization (OIT), the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), represented by Stanley A. Gacek, Cameron Duncan and Jay Manzur, and, finally, the United Nations Inter-American Regional Labor Organization represented by Luis Anderson. Along came the Afro-American actor Danny Glover -- we don’t know whether he was representing Afro-Americans or movie actors.

Why this trip to Cuba of international union leaders? To demand that Castro allow the existence of non-governmental unions and permit that Cuban workers ask for salary increases without sending them to jail? Don’t these leaders know that the miserable situation Cuban workers find themselves in is due, among others, to the fact that during the 40 years of the Revolution they have received no salary increases? Don’t they know that today those Cuban workers earn their salaries in pesos when $200 pesos today are the equivalent of $10 U.S. dollars, while in 1959 those $200 pesos were the equivalent of $200 U.S. dollars? In 1959, the minimum salary in Cuba was the equivalent of $95 U.S. dollars per month. Today that equivalent is $10 U.S. dollars per month. Did these "defenders" of the working classes go to Cuba to discuss all of this with Fidel Castro? Did they make that trip to Cuba to ask for justice on behalf of the Cuban workers? To ask Castro to allow free union elections? Of course not! As accomplices of the Castro regime, these people went to Cuba to support Castro and help him continue to deceive world workers with his lies.

One day after the passing of the infamous law designed to curtail the actions of the dissident independent Cuban journalists and assurances by Ricardo Alarcón, President of the Cuban Parliament, that the government "will only allow the gathering of people at bus stops and family parties," and that any journalist, whether Cuban or from another country, who announces any news without being authorized to do so will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, a delegation of black U.S. Congress members arrived in Havana. That delegation was headed by Representative Maxine Walters, (D) California, joined by Representatives Sheila Jackson (D) Texas, Barbara Lee (D) California, Julia Carson (D) Indiana, Gregory Meeks (D) New York and Earl Millard (D) Alabama. Why did these legislators, freely elected by their respective U.S. constituencies, pay a visit to the "president for life" Fidel Castro? To show him with their presence on the island how freedom and democracy work? To ask that whites and blacks alike in Cuba may be allowed to do the same? To convince him that after the 40 years of failure of his tyrannical regime he should give democracy in Cuba a chance? Of course not! They went to Cuba to meet their obligations as accomplices in the exploitation of the Cuban people! And now upon their return, they continue to spread the lies with which U.S. legislators Rangel, Becerra, Torres and other accomplices in high positions in this country have, for a long time, kept the majority of the citizens of this country ignorant about the Cuban reality.

As part of the "race card" being trumped in this country by the Cuban Communist Party, during the last few months they have been sending black Party members to give conferences in U.S. universities and unions. For example, the Undersecretary of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, whose last name is Wilson, was sent to the Loyola University in Los Angeles. He also visited radio station KWKW, known as "La Mexicana," and insisted more than once during the interview that the commentator mention that he was black, adding that "I am here, in the diplomatic service of my country, thanks to the Revolution, which allowed me to have a university education. My father, since he was black, was not allowed to study."

Now, of all the lies told by Mr. Wilson during that program, this one caused the most indignation in the Cuban community in general, and among Cuban blacks in particular. To say that blacks in republican Cuba could not attend college, and that they were only able to do so thanks to the Revolution is one of the many fallacies of the Cuban Communist regime and their accomplices that we are tired of hearing.

Due to lack of space, we can’t list all of the blacks that have left their mark in Cuba’s history prior to 1959. We are not going to list the hundreds of athletes, because they might allege that the fact that Cuban athletes such as Kid Chocolate or Kid Gavilán in boxing, Rafael Fortun in track and field, or the dozens of baseball players who have distinguished themselves in the American Big Leagues, doesn’t necessarily mean that they had an education. Furthermore, we are not going to list the countless black Cubans who have achieved world renown in the entertainment world, from Barbarito Diez to Celia Cruz, not to forget Benny Moré, among hundreds of them. No, we are only going to mention some of those Cuban blacks who achieved political power in Cuba, such as Fulgencio Batista, as well as some who became representatives, senators, mayors, journalists, etc.

We begin with Victor Morua Delgado, from Sagua La Grande, who was Chairman of the Senate in 1906; then Marcelino Garriga Garay, Chairman of the House of Representatives in the 40s, and later on a Senator; Manuel Capestany Abreu, Senator for the Province of Las Villas and a distinguished attorney; Aniceto Cabezas, Senator for Las Villas; Felix Ayón Suarez, Councilman in Havana, and Representative and then Senator; Alfonso Marquetti, Councilman and Representative; Aquilino Lombard, Representative and Senator; Prisciliano Piedra, Representative and Senator; Blas Roca Calderio, one of the framers of the 1940 Constitution, and Representative; Jesús Menéndez, head of the powerful National Federation of Sugar Workers; Lázaro Peña, Head of the National Federation of Cuban Workers during the first presidency of General Batista; Salvador García Agüero, one of the framers of the 1940 Constitution and Senator; Esperanza Sánchez Mastrapa, Representative; Generoso Campos Marqueti, Representative; José Maceo, one of the framers of the 1940 Constitution and Governor of Oriente; Nemesio Berrio Ulacia, Representative for Matanzas; Julian Sotolongo, House Representative; José Perez González, Representative; Laureano López Garrido, Representative; Heriberto Madrigal, Senator; Dr. Miguel Angel Céspedes, Minister of the Interior; Francisco Benítez, Representative and Labor Undersecretary.

And the list goes and on, but these are only some of the names of black politicians in pre-Castro Cuba that readily come to our minds.

There were also outstanding black journalists in pre-Castro Cuba. Among them, the laureate Gastón Baquero, who died last year in exile in Spain; the brothers Portuondo-Cala, Ramón Vasconcelos, who. if our memory serves us right, was the owner of the important newspaper Alerta; Julio García Borrell, Miguel Angel Abasti, and many, many others.

We would also fill page after page of pre-Castro black Cuban attorneys, doctors, engineers and university professionals, but will only mention the De Mola brothers, who were prominent physicians in pre-Castro Cuba.

We believe that the brief information provided above will once again reveal the lies of the Castro regime and their accomplices.


José Luis Fernández

English version by Elena Entreto.

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