Category Archives: Cubans

The Rightwing Mindset: Kill the Doctors, Kill the Teachers

When the rightwing fascists running Capriles (America’s best friends) lost the recent Venezuelan election to Maduro, they went on a wild rampage. This violence was explicitly encouraged by the rightwing media in Venezuela and by Capriles himself, who took to the airwaves and incited his followers to commit violent acts.

The rightwing media reprinted lie and lie. They ran a lot of doctored photos. One photo showed ballot boxes dumped in a field somewhere. That photo was actually from a previous election and I believe that those boxes had simply been discarded after the election. The paper lied and said that these ballot boxes contained votes for Capriles that were dumped by the Chavistas. They knew this was a complete lie, but they ran it anyway.

The fascist followers that America loves rampaged through the streets, attacking Chavista electoral offices, government buildings and supporters. But they particularly attacked medical centers that Chavez had built. They burned a number of these clinics to the ground and murdered and wounded a number of workers in these clinics. It is true that these clinics often house Cuban doctors, but most Venezuelan doctors won’t work in these clinics so the state uses Cubans.

In every Contra war that the US financed, including the one in Nicaragua, the Contras always attacked schools and medical clinics. They murdered many schoolteachers, doctors, nurses and medical workers.

So you can see where the mindset of the rightwingers is:

  • Burn the schools to the ground and murder the teachers.
  • Burn the medical centers to the ground and murder the doctors, nurses and medical workers.

This is the capitalist mindset.

See why I don’t like them too much?

If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.

1 Comment

Filed under Americas, Capitalists, Cubans, Education, Fascism, Health, Journalism, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Medicine, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Scum, South America, US Politics, Venezuela

The Lies of the Gusanos

The gusanos are the Cuban exiles who fled Cuba when Castro took over. I don’t much like these people, though in recent years, a higher quality person has been leaving, mostly for economic reasons.

A gusano tells many a lie indeed; in fact, the gusano’s very existence is really just one lie piled on top of another endlessly. Granted there are quite a few legitimate things to criticize about the Cuban model, and if the gusanos limited themselves to that, one could almost bear them. But they can’t. They wildly exaggerate and lie about every negative thing, and they will never admit that one positive thing has come out of the Revolution.

Some of the lies:

Fidel Castro has “bloody hands.” Not really, or at least not for a long time. There were 600 executions after the victory of the Revolutionaries, but those were people running death squads that slaughtered thousands of workers, peasants, teachers, students, union members, etc. They had a lot of blood on their hands themselves.

There was a long insurgency that went on all through the 1960’s. It was eventually defeated. Many of those captured were executed on charges of rebellion. The number was approximately 10,000. The last rebel was executed in 1970.

Since then, there have been few executions. The last one may have been in 1987 when a Cuban officer was executed for drug trafficking.

Cuban prisons are hellholes. Not really. By Latin American standards, I would say that they are actually halfway decent. For one thing, torture, though it exists, is rare, and it is rampant all through the region.

There are shortages of everything in Cuba. It’s not really true anymore. All over Havana and in most of the larger cities, the sidewalks are lined with entrepreneurs selling just about everything you can think of. Cuban exiles fly from Miami with duffel bags full of US products and give them to their Cuban relatives to sell on the street. So most products are more or less available, surely not in state stores, but then probably on the street. A few things are hard to get such as spices and packaged goods.

The Cuban diet is “bland.” So? So what? How does the average Latin American eat? Beans, rice and tortillas. There is a very high level of malnutrition all through Latin America. Malnutrition is for all intents and purposes absent from Cuba.

Cubans are “starving.” Like Hell they are. See above where I wrote that the malnutrition level is effectively zero (2%). If there’s no malnutrition, how is anyone starving?

Cuban hospitals are Hellholes. Not really. Do you realize that wealthy, very rightwing people from all over Latin America fly to Cuba to have special operations done because Cuban doctors are so good? It’s true.

Cuba is a sponsor of terrorism. That’s the latest lie in an annual pack of lies put out by the Snake Department of the United Snakes called the Sponsors of Terrorism Report. It’s been a pile of political bullshit, crap and lies ever since this lying report was first issued, and this BS continues to this very day. Cuba doesn’t sponsor any guerrilla groups in Latin America in any way, shape or form.

Cuba has given political asylum to some guerrillas were wanted in other countries. Asata Shakur of the Black Liberation Army has been given asylum, along with members of the FARC revolutionaries and the ETA Basque freedom fighters. I fail to see how giving political asylum to guerrillas and political prisoners wanted by other countries is sponsoring terrorism.

The definition of a “sponsor of terrorism” simply means “any country the US doesn’t like.” If we don’t like you, you’re a sponsor of terrorism, and that’s all there is to it.

Gusano insanity on the embargo. It’s clear that the embargo hurts the Cubans very badly. In fact, the Cuban Interests Section in New York is going to shut down soon because no bank in the US will handle their transactions because it violates US sanctions laws and can result in huge fines.

Gusanos, disgusting liars that they are, tell two different stories about the embargo.

The first lie is: The embargo doesn’t even work! The embargo doesn’t do one penny of damage to the Cuban economy! The economy doesn’t work because Communism doesn’t work!

While there is some truth to this in that the Communist system has major issues and many of Cuba’s economic problems are self-inflicted, the truth is the embargo causes massive damage to the economy.

The typical response of any sane person then is to say, “Ok, if it doesn’t hurt them one bit, then let’s lift the embargo.”

But then the gusanos go apoplectic! “No! No! No! We will never lift the embargo! Never ever ever ever!”

You see, that makes no sense. Obviously the gusanos know that the embargo hurts Cuba, but they lie and say it doesn’t to put all the blame on Castro. After all, if it didn’t work, then why not lift it, right?

People are so desperate to flee that island that they get on board rickety rafts and drown! Well that’s not really true. The truth is that all Cubans fleeing want to come to the United States, to Miami. They never want to go anywhere else. The gusanos say capitalism works so great in Latin America, then why don’t Cubans ever flee to any of the capitalist paradises in Latin America? Because they blow, that’s why? People probably have it better in Cuba than in Haiti, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.

And the only reason they flee in the first place is because we have a special policy that insanely treats Cubans differently from any other group of immigrants to America. It’s called wet foot, dry foot. If you get on a raft and make it to Florida, that’s dry foot and even though you’re an illegal alien, you get an automatic right to stay in the US permanently. If they catch you in the ocean, they take you back to Cuba. 20,000 illegal aliens are allowed to immigrate to the US scot free every year in this manner.

Those people are prisoners on that poor island! Not true. There is actually something called the “Orderly Departure Program.” You have to wait in line for about 6 months, and then you generally get permission to emigrate. However, if you have a fancy degree, you may be required to pay back the money that the state spent educating you before you can go.

Castro is worth $11 million or $100 million or however many million dollars. The liars at Reason Magazine are the ones who made up this one. The Wall Street Journal liars then picked it up and ran with it. This figure was arrived at ingeniously. They took the total net worth of the Cuban economy, and then they insanely decided that Fidel Castro owned every single peso of that wealth, down to the last centavo! Castro himself owns all of Cuba! He’s one of the richest men on Earth! Of course it is not true. Castro receives a salary, but it is not large. Fidel as a man is not really interested in material things.

If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.

2 Comments

Filed under Americas, Capitalism, Caribbean, Crime, Cuba, Cubans, Economics, Florida, Health, Hispanics, History, Immigration, Latin America, Law enforcement, Left, Marxism, Medicine, North America, Nutrition, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Revolution, South, Terrorism, The Americas, USA

The Ups and Downs of Cuban Sugar

James Schipper writes:

Gusanos are only those Cubans who left shortly after 1959 and who just can’t forget their defeat. Cubans who emigrated in the last 3 decades are nearly all economic immigrants and not as fanatically anti-communist as the gusanos.

Nobody in his right mind disputes that the blockade hurts Cuba, but a lot of Cuba’s economic problems are indeed home-made. For instance, the fact that sugar production dropped from nearly 10 million tons to less than 2 million tons can’t really be blamed on the blockade.

Cuba was regularly harvesting 10 million tons/year for many years in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The price of sugar collapsed recently so Cuba shot down most of its sugar mills. The lying US capitalist media insanely gloated about this and wrote endless articles on this along the lines of the “failure of Cuban system” thesis. All that happened was the price of sugar collapsed so low that the Cubans just said screw it, we are going out of the sugar business, and closed most of their mills. It was a very painful decision, but it was the right thing to do. I don’t understand why closing the mills means “failure of Communism.”

Recently the price of sugar is back up, so the Cubans are reopening some of their old mills. A lot of workers are going back to work. There is a video on BBC about this. The Cuban state put all laid off sugar workers to work in other jobs or else sent them back to school. Wasn’t that great? You lose your job, and you automatically get another job or you can go to school for free and get paid to go? Wow, that really is a great system in some ways.

I would argue that almost all children of gusanos are also gusanos. Every Cuban I have met whose parents were Cuban refugees was fanatically, almost insanely anti-Communist.

I haven’t met any of the more sensible recent arrivals. In fact, I have never met a sane Cuban-American in my life. Every one I ever met was a raving anti-Communist nutcase. And they were all reactionaries too, every single one of them.

2 Comments

Filed under Agricutlure, Americas, Capitalism, Caribbean, Cuba, Cubans, Economics, Journalism, Labor, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Regional

The Extraterritorial Nature of the US Cuban Blockade

The US has imposed an embargo on Cuba since 1961. That embargo is probably never going to be lifted. 100% of the US power elite of both parties are all of the US media are against lifting the blockade. Imperialism demands not just free elections and what not but also a total dismantling of the socialist economic system on the island. The blockade has always been more about US capitalism’s international war on socialism that about anything else.

Various lies have been parroted about the blockade: That it was imposed due to the Cold War, that it was imposed because Cuba allied with the USSR, that it does not hurt Cuba at all and instead is used as an excuse by the regime, etc.

First of all, if it was imposed as a result of the Cold War, then with the fall of the USSR in 1991, it should have been lifted. The truth is that it was part of US capitalism’s war on the socialist economic system and not part of the war on the USSR. Hence with the fall of the USSR, the behavior of the US state did not change one bit.

It continued its war on socialism, attacking socialist countries, fomenting coups against progressive or socialist governments, blockading socialist countries, supporting fascist and rightwing governments around the word as they are “good for business,” funding anti-Left death squads all around the world, and continuing an ideological war against all progressive forces and states in the world.

We really must smash this lie once and for all that the US reluctantly did all sorts of bad things as a result of the War with the Soviet Union. The truth is that US imperialism simply evil, and it continued to do all of those same bad things after the USSR fell. The war was not against the USSR but against socialism itself, and that is why it continued after the USSR’s fall just as strongly as when the USSR was active.

The embargo was imposed in 1961 because Cuba began nationalizing some US properties of large US corporations. At the same time, the properties of many Cuban large capitalists was also taken. The US companies were offered 100% fair market values for their properties, but all of them told the Cubans to buzz off and those funds have not been collected to this very day. They never will be. However, if the US imposes regime change on Cuba then the first order of business will be a raid on the Cuban Treasury to pay back the US corporations and possibly the Cubans who got expropriated.

Also, Cuba began trading with the USSR. They were also trading with the US. Indeed, they were trading with the whole world. They imported oil from the USSR, but the US refineries on the island refused to refine Soviet oil, so the Cubans heroically confiscated the refineries of the imperialists.

Cuban exiles often say that the embargo doesn’t hurt Cuba at all. Instead Cuba’s economy is hurting due to Communism. One can look at photos of Eastern Europe and the USSR under Communism to see that Communism doesn’t have anything to do with buildings and infrastructure falling apart. I saw a video of Prague from ~1977 that could well have been shot in Paris or Berlin. It looked 100% like a modern Western city.

If you ask these same gusanos,* “Ok, since it doesn’t hurt them, why don’t we get rid of it then?” They will scream and yell and say no way! Obviously it hurts Cuba terribly, and that’s why the gusanos want to keep it. There is scarcely a human being on Earth who lies more than a gusano. Almost everything a gusano says about Cuba is a lie.

The embargo does indeed hurt them very badly. If a ship docks in Cuba, it can’t dock in the US for another six months. There are many penalties on foreign firms doing business with Cuba. It is not quite, “You can either do business with Cuba or you can do business with the rest of the world, but not both,” but it is close to that, similar to the blockade which has completely wrecked North Korea.

There have been massive penalties imposed on and collected from European banks for doing business with Cuba. As you can see below, a solidarity organization in the UK had $1000-2000 seized by the US because it had the world Cuba in its name. The US government says it can go ahead and confiscate that money of theirs and good luck getting it back.

Many products are made only in the US, and many, many products have parts that are made in the US. Any product with any parts made in the US cannot be sold in Cuba. Further, Cubans have many machines that need spare parts and those parts are made only in the US. They might be able to have the specially made by someone else, but that is quite expensive. The regime has to undertake expenses like this all the time.

I recall the case of a man residing in Cuba who made a trip to the UK and tried to deposit some money in Cuba to purchase something or other and he was not able to do so.

The law is crazy and its extraterritoriality is really scary. But US imperialism has always been one of the world’s worst monsters.

British NGO, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) faces financial penalties or the risk having its funds seized by the US treasury department as a result of US blockade legislation against Cuba.

In April 2013, the British based campaign attempted to transfer funds to US publishing house Monthly Review Foundation to pay for 100 copies of The Economic War on Cuba by French academic and journalist Salim Lamrani.

CSC instructed its British bank, the Co-operative, to make the transfer to the publisher’s New York based Chase Bank. However, the payment was never made. Instead CSC received a letter from the Co-op bank stating that this payment has not been completed due to a reference which is similar to an entity related to sanctions as provided by the U.S treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). They require more info regarding Cuba.

The Campaign now faces the option of paying bank charges to try and recover the money, or providing details to the OFAC, who can decide to retain CSC funds if they
chose.

The book’s author Salim Lamrani, who is currently in Britain on a speaking tour to promote the book, said:

It is ironic that a British organisation that campaigns against the US blockade of Cuba, now faces penalties as a direct result of this legislation. Aside from the inhumane suffering the blockade causes the people of Cuba by restricting their access to US medicines and medical equipment, its extraterritorial measures break domestic laws in third countries.

CSC
Director Rob Miller said:

“It’ s farcical that extraterritorial blockade legislation is being used here to stop the sales of a book that itself exposes the breadth of the blockade against Cuba. Perhaps OFAC have specific objections to the book itself, although it is more likely that they object to allowing a payment from a British NGO with the word ‘Cuba’ in its name. Once again the ludicrousness of the US blockade is exposed in this case in trying to stop UK readers enjoying an excellent book published by a US publishing house.”

This is not the first time the British campaign has fallen victim to the extraterritorial nature of the US blockade. Dell computers has refused to sell the campaign a laptop without first being provided with the full name and addresses of directors and trustees of the organisation and bank transfers destined for projects in Cuba have regularly been refused. Salim Lamrani will be speaking in London on Tuesday 28 May, 6.30pm at Bolivar Hall, Grafton Way, London.

*Gusano means worm in Spanish. Cuban exiles are worms.

1 Comment

Filed under Americas, Britain, Capitalism, Caribbean, Cold War, Cuba, Cubans, Economics, Geopolitics, History, Imperialism, Latin America, Law, Left, Marxism, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Socialism, US Politics, USSR

The Invisible Hand of Starvation

Repost from the old site.

There are not many people in the US more dishonest than libertarians and Cuban exiles. Combine the two in one article, like this one here, and you get a perfect storm of prevarication and sophistry mostly in terms of selective fact-picking, lies of omission and failure to present a balanced picture.

Read an article like that, and you think that Batista’s Cuba was paradise and that Castro has destroyed a beautiful country. In fact, if you ask an average American about Cuba, this is probably what they will tell you.

The rightwing capitalist media in the US lies about few things more than Communism and socialism. There is almost nothing more threatening to them than a system that has seriously restrained the privileges of capital, so they pull out all the stops in terms of shameless lying in the Brainwash War to make sure this idea does not get too popular with Americas.

Not only do they want to kill the idea here, they want to kill it the world over. Every Communist country has had a devastating US-led blockade slammed on it, and at the same time, most either had some Contra-war waged against them or were forced to spend vast sums on their militaries due to continuous US threats of war against them.

Hence, we do not really know how well Communism works in praxis, since it has always been constrained by these devastating strangulations and threats.

As I said, the link by Humberto Fontana plus Thomas Woods appears devastating to Castro.

But let us not go down the list and pick apart and respond to each and every factoid.

Let us look at just one variable – nutrition.

The Cuban regime has recently reduced malnutrition in Cuba to 2%, about the level it is at in most 1st World industrialized states. This is the lowest level in Latin America. That is a reduction from the 40% malnutrition rate under the capitalist Cuba the exiles love so much (see below).

The US capitalist media continuously refers to Cubans, one of the most well-fed populations in Latin America (the second best-fed in the region in 1983)1 as “starving”. The people who were starving lived in Batista’s Cuba, when 40% of the population was malnourished.2

Various studies of Cubans and nutrition were undertaken in the 1950’s. In 1956, 91% of the rural agricultural worker population was malnourished. The average ag worker was 16 pounds underweight and stunted in height. 35-40% (depending on the source) of the total Cuban population was malnourished. This manifested in weak and small bones, low resistance to disease and general weakness and fatigue.

Even in a middle class school population, 9% were undernourished. Malnutrition was rampant amongst Cuban children, along with various vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Lack of calcium had actually warped the skeletons of 11% of Cuban kids.3. In a public hospital in Havana in the 1950’s, 92% of the children had deficient diets.4

The state under Batista renounced its responsibility to feed the people, hence the poor, the rural areas, non-Whites, and the less educated all had deficient diets compared to the wealthier classes, the urban dwellers, the Whites and the more educated.5

In reports in the US rightwing press about Cuba, one constantly hears how the Cuban diet is “bland” and how the people complain because, tragicomically, they do not get to eat beef often enough. To the naive American reader, that sounds pretty bad.

Yet let us look at the situation for the families of Cuban agricultural workers under Batista, 40% of the population.

The following foods were only rarely consumed (compare to the heartrending tragedy of the modern Cubans who are denied their precious “beef”):

89% rarely drank milk
93% rarely ate corn
96%   "        meat*
96%+           bread
98%            eggs
100%           vegetables

*Any kind of meat, not just beef.

Notes

1. United States, Central Intelligence Agency. The Cuban Economy: A Statistical Review, ER 81-10052/PA, March 1981, p. 45.

2. Handelman, H., Cuban Food Policy and Popular Nutritional Levels, Cuban Studies, July 1981, p. 129.

3. Valdés, Nelson P., Health and Revolution in Cuba, Science and Society, Vol. 35, No. 3, Fall, 1971, pp. 313-314.

4. Domínguez, Jorge, Cuba Order and Revolution, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978, p. 224.

5. Aballi, Arturo J., Distrofias infantiles en nuestro medio, Revista Cubana de Pediatría, Vol. 30, No. 9, September 1958.

Leave a comment

Filed under Americas, Capitalism, Caribbean, Conservatism, Cuba, Cubans, Economics, Health, Hispanics, Journalism, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Nutrition, Political Science, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, Whites

“Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today: Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy: Part I – The Myth of the Miami Lobby, by Ike Nahem

Very nice piece on Cuba on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The first of a 3-part series. Warning: long, runs to 50 pages on the Net.

The Obama Administration, consistent with the approach of the Bush Administration, has made a political decision to subordinate foreign policy and national interest-based decisions to domestic politics with respect to its Cuba policy.

There is a bipartisan group of members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate – who represent Florida, a state where there are many swing votes that deliver the electoral votes for any president.

These individuals not only deliver votes, but they deliver campaign finance, and generally make a lot of noise, and that combination has persuaded the White House that reelection is more of a priority than taking the heavy lifting to set the United States on the path of -normalization with Cuba for now.

– Julia Sweig, Director for Latin American Studies, US Council on Foreign Relations

The essential continuity of US anti-Cuba policy under the Barack Obama Administration has been a source of mystery and confusion to many who oppose US sanctions. Within the US academic, think-tank, and media meritocracies – who often go in and out of government office – many are frustrated, even embarrassed, by Washington’s continued pariah status over Cuba in Latin America and internationally as registered in annual lopsided, humiliating votes against the US policy in the United Nations.

So why does Washington’s economic and political war against Cuba – the longest unchanged foreign policy in US history, entering its sixth decade – persist? Why is Cuba such an outsize question in US politics?

Why does Washington continue a policy that is utterly isolated in world and regional forums, holding up US diplomats and policymakers to derision and contempt?

The stated reasons given – the supposed lack of “democracy” and “human rights” in Cuba – reek with such misinformation, half-truths, obvious hypocrisy and arbitrary selectivity that they cannot be taken seriously and must be dismissed out of hand. I will comprehensively take up the question of democratic rights, human rights, civil liberties and the Cuban Revolution in Part III of this essay.

The most common explanation for these questions is expressed in the quotation by Julia Sweig that opens this essay.

Sweig is a scholar with the super-Establishment Council on Foreign Relations and is their Director for Latin America Studies. She is the author of the excellent book Inside the Cuban Revolution and is a very informed observer and analyst of Cuban history and politics. She is unquestionably a strong opponent of US sanctions against Cuba and in favor of normalized diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.

Sweig and other dissenters within Establishment circles, as well as many elected officials purportedly opposed to US policy, point to, or at, the Cuban-American population and elected officials who form in Washington a so-called, and supposedly so-powerful, “Miami Lobby.” Some even go so far as to say US policy and “national interest” is being held “hostage” by this “Lobby.” Such nonsense crosses over into virtual conspiracy theories.

This argument and explanation turns political reality on its head. It has never been true and, in today’s world, it has never been less credible. It is a myth and an illusion that the Cuban-American community and Cuban-American office-holding politicians are the driving, determining force behind US policies toward Cuba. US foreign policy in general, and Cuba policy in particular, is driven by the interests of the US ruling capitalist class of bosses, bankers, and bondholders.

It is primarily mediated through its two political parties and state institutions and secondarily through its big-business media, think tanks, and academic minions. Cuban-American bourgeois politicians are part of that mix, prominent, but far from decisive.

Washington has never, and does not now, need the aging representatives of the ex-ruling powers of Cuba, or their descendants, to explain to them why they should oppose the Cuban Revolution and the domestic and international policies of the revolutionary socialist Cuban government.

The actual political affect of the “Miami Lobby” myth (which through endless repetition has become almost a mantra) is to take the political focus off the US government and place it on the Cuban-American community and a handful of Cuban-American elected officials. It puts the cart before the horse, the caboose at the head of the train

Such politicians of Cuban origin in the US Congress as Republican Florida representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio can be useful as a cover or a foil for a US policy that is so unpopular. Cuban-Americans can be blamed and chided by those opposed to the policy and praised and defended by those in favor of the policy. But they do not make the policy.

The myth of the “Miami Lobby” cuts across building a broad protest movement and the kind of effective action that can actually force a change in the policy. By homogenizing (or worse, demonizing) the contradictory and increasingly polarized Cuban-American community, the myth of the “Miami Lobby” has become an obstacle to winning over more Cuban-Americans to oppose US sanctions.

The fact is that for over five decades now there has been a bipartisan policy and a common goal of defeating and eradicating the Cuban Revolution. None of this has ever been, or is it now, primarily motivated by the interests of the Cuban-American exile community in Miami.

The origins and continuity of Washington’s hostility to the Cuban Revolution is homegrown. It flows out of the politics, policies and example of the Cuban Revolution – both inside Cuba and in its resonance across the Americas and internationally in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and even inside the advanced capitalist powers.

The Impact of the Cuban Revolution on US Politics

Cuba appears, and is presented as, a minor question in US politics and foreign policy. This is all the more so since the end of the so-called “Cold War” and its decades-long conflict and clash between Washington and Moscow. In those days Washington’s lurid propaganda painted Cuba’s revolutionary government as a “client” and “puppet” of the former Soviet Union.

While this was always consciously insulting and factually absurd, the alliance of Cuba with the Soviet bloc was used to fabricate a Cuban “threat” to the US and the American people. (October 2012 will be the 50th anniversary of the traumatic “Cuban Missile Crisis, which was used to convince many working people in the United States on the “threat” from Cuba.)

Independent of the Soviet Union, the “Cuba Question,” that is the political dynamics and impact of the Cuban Revolution, has always had major weight and importance in US politics and foreign policy, especially in the Americas. This remains the case today even though Cuba is a small island of less than 12 million people and the United States is a globe-straddling economic, financial, political, and military superpower, albeit in relative decline today on all these fronts.

The end of the “Cold War” and the political disappearance of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies over 20 years ago has not seen any easing up of US anti-Cuba policy. On the contrary, it has essentially deepened.

The consensus of the US ruling class and central policymakers remains that Washington’s economic and political war against Cuba must remain and continue in today’s post-Cold War. That world reality has developed into a new era, if not historical epoch, defined by the worst generalized economic and financial crisis of the world capitalist system since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In public US politicians mock, deride, and denigrate Cuba, it is clear that both ruling parties in Washington continue to see Cuba as a formidable political force with significant moral and political authority, especially in the Americas, but worldwide. There is virtual unanimity in both parties that the revolutionary Cuban government needs to be confronted and defeated, not reconciled with on the basis of respect for Cuban sovereignty.

From Washington’s point of view, the Cuban government promotes anti-imperialist (or, as they falsely put it, “anti-American”) revolutionary action, has not renounced the program of international socialist revolution, and, short of that, supports any policies and struggles that defend the interests of workers, peasants, and youth.

Such a perspective clearly impacts negatively on the economic interests of US capital and Washington’s political and “strategic” prerogatives in defense of those interests.

Tactical Divisions Over Cuba Policy

It is common on the “US Left” to become politically disoriented and disarmed (and safely in the hands of “lesser evil” liberals and Democrats) by the intense and even brutal forms expressed over what are in actual substance relatively minor tactical differences over policy between the two imperialist parties and within the ruling class in the United States. Cuba is a classic case in point.

Every year in the United Nations there is a lopsided (in 2011 it was 186 for and 2 against with 3 abstentions) anti-Washington vote on the “Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States against Cuba” that gets bare mention in the US corporate media.

Across the Americas, Washington’s anti-Cuba policies are routinely ridiculed and opposed in every Hemispheric and regional forum, including “Summits” of the Organization of American States, traditionally a servile tool of US policy and Hemispheric domination.

Cuba’s strong defense of its sovereignty, its revolutionary ideas, and its practice of international solidarity with oppressed and exploited humanity, has given the socialist island important political and moral authority and weight in world politics – way out of proportion to its size, numbers, economic strength, or military firepower.

This is a cause of great irritation and consternation for the US rulers and their acolytes of the “Miami Lobby.” But it is a great testament to the power of ideas in the world. In truth there is no greater power on earth than when progressive and revolutionary ideas inspire and grip millions and become a material political force.

How to achieve the common goal of overturning the Cuban government in real political time naturally leads to furious tactical differences within the US government and within and between the Democratic and Republican parties who share and exercise power in the US capitalist state. This is inevitable given how isolated and unpopular the US anti-Cuba policy is in the Americas, in the world, and even inside the United States.

Maneuvers, shifts, and concessions occur from one year to the next, and from one White House to the next, all reacting to the pressure of events. It’s all aimed at positioning Washington off the defensive in order to more effectively disorient, undermine, and overwhelm the Cuban Revolution.

Obama vs. Bush

President Obama has made some shifts and even partial retreats from the anti-Cuba rules enforced by George W. Bush. These are objectively positive. It’s good that some Cuban musicians, artists and scholars have been allowed into the US at the invitation of universities and cultural institutions.

It’s good that Cuban-Americans are allowed to travel to their country of origin without the previous insulting bureaucratic restrictions. It’s better than before that rules for licenses allowing limited travel to Cuba by other US citizens have been relatively loosened.

These moves by the Obama Administration are in no way a shift away from the basic US policy of “regime change,” that is, destroying the Cuban Revolution. They basically move US rules back to the norms under the Clinton Administration and the first period of the George W. Bush Administration, before they were tightened up with the triumphalist hubris that followed the US invasion of Iraq.

At that time Bush selected Otto Reich as his Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, along with other important figures among the counter-revolutionary exile groupings such as Roger Noriega, a former top staffer for ultra-right, notoriously racist North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Such were the personnel directing the Hemispheric policies of Bush’s Administration.

But this did not work out well for US policy and position in Latin America, particularly after Washington’s (and Reich’s) fingerprints were found all over the failed April 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela against the popular, elected government of Hugo Chavez. Bush was forced to remove both Reich and then later his successor Noriega and retreat from the hyper-arrogant rhetoric and posturing toward Latin America that became politically costly to Washington.

What Obama has done is shift away from the more bellicose language and Bush-style bombast around Cuba by making minimal adjustments in policy around travel and visa rules to try and undo the political damage of the Bush years.

Nevertheless, Obama has been quite strikingly unsuccessful in winning any support for the US anti-Cuba position in the Americas, which remains completely isolated, excepting the right-wing Stephen Harper government in Ottawa. Canada still continues to be the largest source of tourism to Cuba and carries out considerable commercial exchange with the island.

Under Obama, the Treasury and Justice Departments have stepped up harassment and prosecutions of US or foreign businesses deemed to “violate” US “rules” and sanctions against commercial and financial exchange and collaboration with Cuba. Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon recently stated, in an interview with French academic and journalist Salim Lamrani:

…[T]he Obama administration has been considerably more consistent in the imposition of fines and sanctions against foreign companies who violate the framework of sanctions against Cuba, that engage in business transactions with us…

A number of banks have been fined several millions of dollars, more than 100 million in one case, for conducting dollar-based business transactions and for having opened dollars accounts with Cuban companies.

On June 12, 2012 it was announced by the US Department of Justice that the Dutch Bank ING agreed to a $619 million fine for violating the US “Trading with the Enemy Act,” by moving US currency from trades with Cuba (and also Iran) through US financial networks. According to the online Guardian Express Newspaper, “The fine is considered to be the largest ever in the history of the US financial system.”

Since the Obama Administration took office in 2009 major European banks Credit Suisse, Barclays, and Lloyds have reached similar settlements with the US government over financial dealings with Cuba.

The Obama Administration continues to support and promote State Department and CIA overt and covert programs that aim at subverting and undermining the Cuban government, and which landed State Department agent Alan Gross in a Cuban prison.

The idea that Gross’s conviction and incarceration is the impediment to improved US-Cuban relations which Obama wants to pursue is a very bad joke.

Washington’s actions in dispatching agents like Gross – just one instance of a large-scale policy of unremitting economic and political war against Cuba funded to the tune of many dozens of millions of dollars in openly budgeted allocations, not counting resources used for covert programs – represents the real impediment to improved and normalized relations.

Obama’s State Department continues to keep Cuba on its list of “nations supporting terrorism,” a huge lie and vile slander. Obama continues to ignore Cuban diplomatic initiatives for bilateral cooperation around issues such as drug trafficking and hurricane response coordination. Obama continues to resist the unanimous opinion of Latin American and Caribbean member states of the Organization of American States to end the exclusion of Cuba.

Obama continues to dismiss and resist any attempts to negotiate mechanisms, including any “exchanges,” that would release the Cuban Five, four of whom are in their 14th year of incarceration, while one, Rene Gonzalez, was released after serving his full term, but is not being allowed to return home to Cuba.

Another clear sign of the essential continuity in Obama’s anti-Cuba policy from the Bush Administration – and really all previous White Houses since Eisenhower – is in Obama’s appointment of Ricardo Zuniga as “Director for Western Hemispheric Affairs” for the White House National Security Council. Zuniga was formerly a key player in the US Interests Section in Havana under Bush, organizing the extreme provocations against Cuba led by Interests Section Chief James Cason.

Looking at the balance sheet of Obama’s policies toward Cuba compared to that of George W. Bush, recalls the classic line of Groucho Marx: “I’ve worked myself up to nothing from a state of extreme poverty.”

Waves and Patterns of Cuban Emigration to the US

There have always been Cuban workers who emigrated to, lived, and worked in the United States. However, the origin and formation of a mass Cuban-American “community” began with the large-scale emigration after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Like all genuine social revolutions, the Cuban Revolution was marked by deep-going and irreversible class struggle and polarization. In the first period after the Cuban Revolution some 5% of the then Cuban population of 6 million made its way to Florida and the US where it was received with open arms and special privileges as “refugees from communism,” obviating regular immigration requirements.

The first wave of exiles were overwhelmingly from the Cuban ruling classes, their supporters, hangers on, and enforcers in the military and police apparatuses, as well as the extensive organized–crime networks – narcotics marketers, brothel owners and pimps, casino magnates, and so on – that flourished in the Batista era.

As the Cuban Revolution began to implement radical economic and social policies that benefited peasants, agricultural and industrial workers, and the impoverished majority in general, large layers of the relatively small Cuban middle and professional classes followed the largest landowners, capitalists, army officers, cops, and gangsters into exile.

While a small minority, it was nevertheless hundreds of thousands of people.

One example of this pattern was in the over 50% of the 6,000 doctors in Cuba who left the country after the Revolution. These doctors overwhelmingly served the Cuban upper and middle classes. The average Cuban rarely, if ever, saw a doctor their entire life. Life expectancy was in the low 50s. Infant mortality was over 60 per 1000, among the world’s highest.

Today Cuba graduates 10,000 new doctors every year; life expectancy is approaching 80 and infant mortality is 4.5 per 1000, among the world’s lowest.

Additionally it should be noted that these first waves of emigrant-exiles were overwhelmingly Caucasian; among the most far-reaching policies of the revolutionary Cuban government was the smashing of Jim Crow-style segregation laws and policies on the island. Cubans of African origin were among the strongest and most enthusiastic supporters and protagonists of the Revolution, which was echoed in the wide support for the Cuban Revolution among African-Americans in the United States.

Of course, there was no mechanical one-to one political correspondence in the class polarization that accompanied the Cuban Revolution. Not every middle-class Cuban opposed the Revolution and split to Miami; a good number were in support or ambivalent but patriotic.

For an excellent portrayal of this early period of the Revolution from the vantage point of an alienated middle-class Cuban, see the masterful, world-acclaimed Cuban film Memories of Underdevelopment, directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea.

And there were a small number of workers, peasants, and Afro-Cubans who actively supported the counterrevolution. Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that the large majority of the Cuban population at the time, and overwhelmingly so among working people, peasants, youth, and Black Cubans, embraced the Revolution as their own work and actively defended it.

Many thousands of Cuban exiles were recruited by the US military and intelligence apparatus for covert action against Cuba. Business and financial opportunities were established for the Cuban ex-bourgeoisie in south Florida by their US government and business benefactors.

The US Congress passed the Cuban Adjustment Act in 1966, which allowed for quick permanent residency and expedited citizenship for declared opponents of the Revolution. Over $1.3 billion, nearly $10 billion in current dollar value, was allocated for direct financial assistance to exiles.

The Mariel Boatlift

Over several months in 1980, a series of provocations against Cuba by the James “Jimmy” Carter Administration, working with the conservative Peruvian military government, led to gatherings of up to 10,000 Cubans at the Peruvian Embassy in Havana wanting to leave the country. (Millions of Cubans mobilized at this time in support of the Revolution.)

The death of a Cuban police guard at the Peruvian Embassy led the Cuban government to declare a policy of allowing all Cubans who wanted to leave the island to bypass existing legal processes. Cuban-Americans were invited to come pick up their relatives at the Mariel Harbor. Some 125,000 additional Cubans arrived in the US during the so-called Mariel Boatlift.

Today the Brazilian government and companies are working with Cuba in a major industrial project to make Mariel a state-of-the-world port for freight and trade which, when completed and operational, will be a major boost for the Cuban economy.

This wave of exiles was of a much different social and class composition than the first waves.

They were more on the margins of Cuban society, unassimilated into the working class, indifferent or hostile to the revolutionary process in Cuba. Many had histories of petty criminal activity in areas with no operating space or “market” in Cuba such as gambling, loan sharking, commercial sex, and narcotics trafficking.

Most simply wanted to leave Cuba and go to the United States to join relatives or friends and pursue perceived business opportunities. They thought that the United States would be a far more fertile arena and market for their social and business – and criminal – proclivities.

US propaganda accused the Cuban government at the time of emptying its prisons and even mental hospitals and shoving “the dregs of Cuban society” onto boats bound for the US. Cuban authorities vehemently denied this and demanded proof of such deeds, which was never delivered, although the slander lived on.

For Fidel Castro’s passionate explanation of the entire affair and response to US slanders see, An Encounter With Fidel: An Interview With Gianni Mina, Ocean Press, pages 61-67.

The “Special Period” Wave

In the 1990s, under the severe economic conditions of what was called in Cuba the “Special Period,” following the collapse of the governments of the Soviet Union and Eastern European “socialist camp,” thousands more Cubans left the island lured by the Cuban Adjustment Act and the refusal of the US to implement agreements for legal, organized immigration.

The relative improvement of the Cuban economy in recent years and the ending of travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans under President Obama, combined with the onset of economic depression and crisis in the US and Europe, has reduced the volume and political volatility of Cuban emigration to the United States.

There are higher proportions of Irish and Israeli emigrants to the United States than Cubans, and this without either the expedited privileges of the Cuban Adjustment Act or the accompanying demonization and propaganda attacking those countries from the US government and big-business media.

Given the economic catastrophes currently gripping Greece, Spain, Portugal, and other “Eurozone” economies millions of working people have been displaced and forced to consider emigration. It would be interesting to look at immigration statistics in those countries compared to Cuba today. Many from Spain and Portugal are today even emigrating to Latin America.

In any case what stands out is that the large majority of Cuban working people continue to stand their ground in Cuba and to fight for their revolution despite the Cuban Adjustment Act, despite unremitting US threats, sanctions, and a sense of siege, and despite often grinding economic conditions. Today these Cubans are debating and fighting to improve and change what has to be changed

Elian Gonzalez

The case of Elian Gonzalez in the 1990s was a political turning point that highlighted the developing and roiling contradictions within the Cuban-American community. It set in motion politically centrifugal tendencies.

Public opinion in the US at the time overwhelmingly favored the right of Elian’s father to return to Cuba with his son. The right-wing counter-revolutionary circus in Miami acted out by Elian’s distant relatives, manipulated by right-wing Cuban American organizations, was viewed as distasteful and inhumane.

Washington tried every lure and trick to keep Elian in this country and – in what would have been a real propaganda coup – to entice his father to “defect.” But eventually they had to face the reality that this was not going to happen and that Cuban, Latin American, and US public opinion was becoming indignant.

Father and son were finally let go. The issue had riveted US politics for many months and was a real blow to the authority and political standing of the counter-revolutionary exile organizations and personalities.

The Cuban-American Community Today

Over 1.5 million people whose family origins are in Cuba are now citizens of the United States. Cuba’s current population is nearly 12 million people. Cuban-Americans are 4-5% of the Spanish-speaking US Latino population of over 40 million people.

Accurate figures are hard to specify given the large layers of undocumented working people who have migrated to enter a vast, illegal “black market” in labor to work in the fields, factories, and cities of the United States when such jobs were relatively plentiful.

These Spanish-speaking (or English, French, or Creole-speaking from the Caribbean, or Portuguese-speaking from Brazil) immigrants seeking to labor in the US came from every country and nationality, but only those of Cuban origin, under the Cuban Adjustment Act, get a very fast track to US citizenship and a legal existence to work and live.

Over three-fourths of Cuban-Americans live in Florida, 1.2 million people according to the 2010 US census. The next four states see a large numbers drop to a little over 80,000 in New Jersey and a little less than 80,000 in New York, some 75,000 in California and 35,000 in Texas. Florida is the fourth most populous US state with 18.8 million people; Cuban-Americans are less than 10% of that total.

Cuban-Americans are 30% of Florida’s Latino population. African-Americans are around 16% of Florida’s population, figures that in most counts include Black immigrants from the Caribbean. The Haitian population of south Florida is between 100-200,000 including many undocumented workers. Cubans make up 32 percent of eligible Latino voters, Puerto Ricans 28 percent, and Mexicans 9 percent.

It is absurd to extrapolate out of the size of the Cuban-American electorate an assertion that this “bloc” is decisive in “delivering” Florida’s electoral votes to a future President who must therefore “pander” to “extreme anti-Castro” positions. By manipulating statistics this could be said about any group, grouping, religious denomination or sect.

In a close race between Republicans and Democrats, don’t the 3% of Florida’s Jews become “decisive?” What about the 725,000 Puerto Ricans?

Why aren’t the Presidential campaigns pandering to the “pro-Aristide” views of Florida’s large Haitian population who by a large majority support the former Haitian President who was ushered out of country by the US military after a coup? (The anti-Aristide campaign was directly led by the above-mentioned Roger Noriega.)

The absurdity is further underscored by the fact that Florida’s Jews, Puerto Ricans, Haitians and the 70% non-Cuban Latinos are more preponderantly Democratic in their voting tendencies (if they bother, like a near-majority of eligible voters in general, to vote at all given the dismal choices), and opposed to US sanctions against Cuba than Cuban-Americans are supposedly preponderantly Republican and obsessively, knee-jerkedly, “anti-Castro.”

The truth is that, once given the legal right to do so, Cuban-Americans are defying the threats and admonitions of the Ros-Lehtinens, the Diaz-Balarts, the Menendezes, and the Rubios, that is, the Congressional faces of the “Miami Lobby,” and flocking to Cuba and reconnecting with their homeland and families.

Flights are packed and leave every day from Miami and weekly in a growing number of cities. They also rush to buy tickets and fill concert halls to see popular Cuban musicians like Los Van Van, who happen to identify with the Cuban Revolution. (On April 27, 2012 a fire was set at the company Airline Charters, one of the companies that arranges legal flights to Cuba.)

The fact is that the political domination of the old Batistaite ruling oligarchy and Cuban ex-bourgeoisie that became ensconced in South Florida and some enclaves in northern New Jersey is sputtering to the end of its era of sway. That ex-bourgeoisie was set up and established comfortably in business and with a cozy niche in US bourgeois politics over the broader Cuban-American community, and enjoyed a degree of immunity from US law by the US government

Very important, if not decisive, in this dynamic is the broader development and growth of the Latino population in the US that is not of Cuban origin and with a very different history and relationship to the “Cuba Question.”

Over decades there has been a growth and accumulated political weight in US society and politics of this broader Latino community, with a mass component of undocumented workers who were a needed source of cheap labor and high profits for US capitalists.

This broader Latino community comprises peoples of many national origins: Mexicans, Central Americans, Haitians (also concentrated in Miami as well as New York City) none of whom share the views toward Cuba, Fidel Castro, and the Cuban Revolution of the surviving first waves of immigrant-exiles from the 1960s.

The fact is that among many Latinos living and working in the United States there exists a significant degree of pride and respect, if not solidarity and affection, toward Cuba for standing up to the Yanquis with dignity, even among those far from agreeing with Fidel Castro’s revolutionary Marxist views.

In fact, it can be said that the children and grandchildren of the first waves of Cuban émigrés, who, in general, are hardly partisans of the Cuban Revolution, are nevertheless more objective and curious about Cuba, and more generally in favor of normalized relations and an end to US sanctions.

This generation of Cuban-Americans has undoubtedly been shaped as much by their experiences as Latinos in the US and by their interaction in the workplace with other Latino workers and other workers, Black and Caucasian, than by their status as second or third generation exiles from Cuba and the Cuban Revolution with all that political baggage.

The ex-bourgeoisie of Cuba, although many have prospered in business and bourgeois politics from their connections and status, is in no way integrated into the US ruling class.

The bulk of Cuban-Americans today are wage workers, professionals, and small business owners. Their political views are shaped and developed primarily by the broad issues of class politics in the United States and much less, and certainly not decisively, by the imperatives of “anti-Castro” exile politics. This is all the more true as so many Cuban-Americans visit the island and become familiar with the economic and political discussions and debates dominating Cuban society today.

The ultra-right grip of the ex-Cuban bourgeoisie, and the violent terrorists trained by the CIA, on Cuban-American political viewpoints regarding US-Cuba relations is unraveling.

Ever-growing numbers, at or near majority levels, of Cuban-Americans favor normal relations with the island and an end to economic and travel sanctions. It is precisely the growing pressure from Cuban-Americans that led the Obama Administration to lift the travel restrictions on that (and only that) section of the US population.

It is of great political significance that Washington finds it more difficult to credibly hide behind the Cuban American community to justify or rationalize its anti-Cuba policy. The “Miami Lobby” has always been the directed not the directors, the puppets not the puppeteers. Hopefully the purveyors of the false “Miami Lobby” line will catch up with political reality.

Ike Nahem is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York a member of the National Network on Cuba. Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. These are his personal political opinions. He can be reached at: ikenahem@mindspring.com.

1 Comment

Filed under Americas, Blacks, Brazil, Capitalism, Caribbean, Cold War, Conservatism, Cuba, Cubans, Democrats, Economics, Europe, Florida, Haitians, Hispanics, History, Illegal, Immigration, Labor, Latin America, Law, Left, Legal, Obama, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Republicans, Revolution, Socialism, South America, US Politics, USA, USSR, Venezuela, Whites

1825: When the US South Was Not Yet White

Repost from the old site.

Most people take it as a given that the USA as a nation and society is and always has been basically White, even mostly British or Northern European White. We have only to look at the authors of the Constitution and signers of the Declaration of Independence to see that all of them where White. And as the Christian fundamentalists love to remind us, they were all “Christians” too. Too bad most of them were actually Deists.

It’s true since 1830 or so (see 1830 census figures Excel, pdf ), this has been a majority-White land, and that is the picture most people’s memory and cultural knowledge of this country gives them.

But Whites have only been here a short while, and we were immigrants, or actually invaders at first, ourselves. Previously, this land was inhabited 100% by Amerindians, a race close to Northeast Asians. Before this was even a nation, huge numbers of Black slaves were imported to this land, such that most Black lineages in the US go back farther than most White lineages.

In California and the Southwest, we have even had Hispanics (almost all Mexicans) living here before those states were even a part of the US. A Filipino was part of the party that founded Los Angeles before California was even a state. He got sick in Baja and ended up staying there, but he was still present on the voyage. See below where many more Filipinos were already in this country even before 1781.

On the eve of the Gold Rush, there were a mere 1,000 Chinese in the US. Only seven of them were in California. But within a year of becoming a state, California was full of East Indians (Hindoos), Samoans/Hawaiians, Mexicans and other Pacific Islanders (Kanakas) and Chinese, all come for the Gold Rush.

By 1852, there were 25,000 Chinese alone in California. All of these groups stayed on through the whole decades-long Gold Rush and afterwards remained here as residents in the US.

So are West Africans, as this is where many of the American slaves came from. There was a Filipino settlement in St. Malo, Louisiana, in 1763, before the US was even formed. The first Chinese immigrants came to the US in 1820, but before the Gold Rush, only 1,000 or so had arrived.

Japanese and Filipinos have been present in Hawaii in large numbers since 1890, and Koreans have been present in much smaller numbers there from 1896. Hawaii was only made into a state in 1959. Cubans have also been here a very long time. Hundreds of Cubans came to St. Augustine, Florida in 1565, over 200 years before there was a USA.

Similarly, the first Jamaicans (a party of 20) in America were already in Jamestown, the first White British colony in the US, by 1619. Further, many Jamaicans were included in slave shipments to the US since Jamaica was a way station along the way between Africa and the US.

Significant numbers – two large ships full of Chilean and Peruvian miners were in California for the Gold Rush as early as 1848. A couple of thousand Brazilian and Caribbean Blacks also came for the Gold Rush. Note that California did not become a state until 1850.

Pakistanis (people from what later became Pakistan) were in the US since the 1700’s and continuing into the 1800’s in Oregon and Washington, working in agriculture, logging and mining in California. The first known East Indian Hindu came to the US in 1790, soon after the Declaration of Independence, as a maritime worker.

Mexicans, Samoans, Blacks, Cubans, East Indians, Pakistanis, Chileans, Peruvians, Filipinos, American Indians, Canadians, Japanese, West Africans, Hawaiians, Japanese, Koreans and Chinese have been here in significant, not trivial, numbers, from the very start.

They are not, as groups, wholly immigrants or foreigners to this land. They are not foreign to American culture – they are part of the very building blocks of it. Perhaps Germany, Russia, Sweden, France and most of Europe can lay claim to being predominantly White countries for centuries or millenia, but the US cannot.

On the inside back cover of a recent issue of American Heritage Magazine was a painting of the Antediluvian American South with some text below. The text took me aback. I shook my head and read it again and again and it’s stuck in my head ever since.

It said that in 1825, the US South1 was estimated to be 37% Black (almost all slaves), 25% American Indian2, and only 38% was White3. Neither the Blacks nor the Indians could vote and none were citizens until the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, but so what.

Both the US South, and the nation as a whole, were already White-minority as early as 35 years after signing of the Constitution. Take that, “White America” fools!

The White America of movies, TV, magazines, books and memories was just a temporary mirage, a ship passing in the night.

Now, as the USA moves back to becoming a White-minority land, we are not changing the basic nature, culture and essence of this nation. We just reverting to our roots.

I am not arguing for unlimited immigration to this land (In fact, I want to seriously limit it) and I am a staunch opponent of illegal immigration. Nevertheless, it angers me when White Nationalists act like this is some kind of a “White country”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

1I misremembered the text in the issue – it referred to the US South only, not the US as a whole. A look at the US Census Bureau information (Excel file here, pdf here) clears up the mystery. A 37% Black figure is apparent for Blacks in the US South.

The 25% Indian figure quoted was obviously for Amerindians in the South. Therefore, the article claimed that Whites were 38%, Blacks 37%, and Indians 25% in the US South in 1825.

Figures for the whole of the US reveal a White majority, however, if we include the Amerindians living in the Louisiana Purchase at that time (recently part of the US in 1825), we can still make a case for a non-White majority in the US. See note 3 below for more on that.

2There were numerically small numbers of Filipinos, Chinese, Mexicans, pre-Pakistanis (people from the land that would later become Pakistan), East Indians and Cubans here in 1825, but they probably added up to less than 1% of the population.

3The American Heritage figures quoted have now been called into question (see comments at the end of this post and the comments at the end of the frankly White racist American Renaissance article that linked this piece); the suggestion is that Blacks made up 19% of the US at the time, and Whites made up the rest.

The mystery is cleared up in note 1, where the magazine text referred to only the US South, not the US as a whole.

Indians were not counted in either the 1820 or 1830 censuses, and may have numbered 8 million in the US at the time (recall that the Louisiana Purchase had just been added to the nation).

Figure 12 million Indians in the US and Canada pre-contact, with 90% of those in the US (compare US and Canadian populations now for a 9-1 disparity in US versus Canadian population – a similar distribution was probably extant pre-contact). Assume 2 million Indians gone from the original population by 1825, mostly East of the Mississippi, and 2 million living in New Spain and the Oregon Territory.

This leaves us with 7 million Indians in the US in 1825. Further, runaway slaves were clearly not counted, probably 10% of the Black population. Figuring 7 million Indians, 9.2 million Whites and 2.5 million Blacks in 1825 still leaves us with a bare minority-White population in the US. The US was probably non-White majority from 1803-1825. By 1830, Whites were the majority entire nation, and have remained so ever since.

33 Comments

Filed under Americas, Amerindians, Asians, Blacks, Brazilians, California, Canada, Chileans, Chinese (Ethnic), Christianity, Cubans, East Indians, Europeans, Filipinos, Florida, Hawaiians, Hispanics, History, Illegal, Immigration, Jamaicans, Japanese, Koreans, Louisiana, Mexicans, Modern, North America, Northeast Asians, Oregon, Pakistanis, Peruvians, Polynesians, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Religion, Reposts From The Old Site, Samoans, SE Asians, South, South Asians, US, USA, Washington, West, White Nationalism, Whites

Racism Against Blacks in Cuba

There is an article posted on American Renaissance by a Black Cuban complaining about anti-Black racism in Cuba. The article is correct, but the Cuban exiles (gusanos) make too much of this. Things were much worse when the gusanos ran things.

Many comments followed. As a socialist and liberal race realist, I must say there was a lot of nonsense written in these comments. Amren comments are italicized, and my comments follow.

I guess racial relations as well as government took a big backward step with Fidel.

Not so unless you are a segregationist. Cuba had legal Jim Crow segregation and hardcore discrimination against Blacks pre-Castro. That’s all been swept aside now, maybe forever. The Blacks complain, but it’s better now than it  was then. There is more democracy than under Batista, and Castro has mass popular support while Batista never did. Pre-revolution, there was nearly a one-drop rule, and there was little intermarriage, or those that did were lost to the Whites as in the South. Since the Revolution, there has been mass intermarriage.

I can imagine that Cuba became a much darker and more violent country after these folks left.

Darker, sure.

More violent? No way. Certainly far less violent. For whatever reason, Cuba has less violent crime than any other state in the Americas, and Havana is the safest large city in the Americas. And they are both full of Blacks. I’ve long said that Blacks do well under socialism. In Mozambique under Samora Machel, you could walk across Maputo in the middle of the night and not fear a thing.

You are welcome to speculate why there is little crime. The Cuban justice system is hardcore, and they don’t put up with any BS at all. Cuba has the 6th highest imprisonment rate in the world, and the prisons are of course full of Blacks. The typical rejoinder is that those are all political prisoners. I have no recent figures, but there are probably no more than 400 political prisoners on the island. The overwhelming majority of the prison population are common criminals. Perhaps the crime rate is due because of a “lock em up” philosophy?

Yes, the Black intellectual class (is that an oxymoron?) have long claimed Cuba was a race less Utopia.

Well, there is probably less racism against Blacks there than anywhere else in the Americas, FWIW.

What’s their IQ?

If it’s above 80…

Good question. No one seems to know, but in the rest of the Caribbean, it is ~70-75.

Now that we have another proof that extreme Leftist policies do nothing to improve life for Blacks can we please stop affirmative action, integration, Third World immigration, and diversity quotas?

Surely not the case in Cuba, as the revolution has dramatically improved life there. Sure Blacks bitch, but Blacks complain everywhere.

These are the people that Castro drove out; now he has a population similar to Haiti. His human capital is a negative!

Not so. Cuba’s population looks nothing like Haiti’s.

In the Americas, Cubans have the longest life expectancy in the Americas, the lowest rate of malnutrition, the lowest infant mortality rate, the most scientists per capita, are the best educated and are the healthiest people. With 2% of the population, they have 10% of the scientists.

They have hooked up the whole place to running water, electricity and sewage. Everyone has access to transportation and culture and wears nice clothes. Latin America has failed to do these things for some reason.

Compared to the planet, Cuba has the lowest doctor patient and more agronomists per capita than anywhere else.

It hardly sounds like a place with garbage human capital.

And do you think these White Cuban exiles would return to Cuba given a chance to do so? No way.

One thing that infuriates these Cuban Whites is that they had a lot of money in Cuba, but they took off really fast and left things behind, like their homes. Castro quickly confiscated their homes and businesses when they left.

The gusanos go back to Cuba and see their fine stately homes filled with Cuban Blacks crammed into their old home, lounging on the porch, etc. The Cuban Whites are filled with rage, but do you think there is any way in Hell those Cuban Blacks are going to give those nice homes they are living in back to the Cuban White gusanos who left? Not on your life.

This is partly how Castro stays in power. No one in Cuba wants those gusanos back.

Cuba could implode one day and we could have a Mariel boatlift X10, or X20.

Won’t happen. Those Blacks have it good, and implosion would bring back the White gusanos with vengeance on their minds. Every Cuban knows this. See bolded part above.

Slums are the products of the people who live in them. Inferior people create inferior environments, despite governmental efforts to help them. Superior people create superior environments, despite persecution.

It is true that the Cuban government has recently built some very nice apartment complexes for poor Blacks in Havana. Within 6 months, the Blacks had dismantled and destroyed them. There is a big debate in the Cuban sociology community right now about why the Blacks did this.

Fortunately there is an alternative. Just 80km across the Windward Passage sits the black paradise known as Haiti. Cuba could easily deport all of its blacks there, where they would be among their own kind and by definition no longer oppressed.

Actually, Eastern Cuba is now full up with Haitians and Jamaicans fleeing the capitalist paradises of Haiti and Jamaica. Cuba just lets them and tries to integrate them into society. Say what you will about Cuba, but Cuba looks great to your average poor Haitian or Jamaican. These Blacks think Cuba is paradise compared to the places they come from. The notion that no one ever flees to a Communist country is false.

19 Comments

Filed under Africa, Americas, Blacks, Caribbean, Crime, Cuba, Cubans, Death, Economics, Education, Europeans, Government, Haiti, Health, Hispanics, History, Intelligence, Jamaica, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Modern, Mozambique, Nutrition, Psychology, Public Health, Race Relations, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Social Problems, Socialism, Sociology, The Americas, White Racism, Whites

Race in a 1970’s California Beach Town

Repost from the old site.

When I grew up on the California beach in the 1970’s, we had no White parts of town and Black parts of town. The whole place was White, with ethnics, Jews, NE Asians, Filipinos, Hispanics and mixed race folks scattered all about in fairly small numbers. It was a White culture in a White beach town, Huntington Beach.

All of the non-Whites pretty much just assimilated to the White, or American, or White American culture of the city. There was one Black kid in the school and I was his friend! There was a small group of Hispanics (Chicanoized) with gangs, and the Chicano barrio mindset at the school and I was friends with them!

I’m such a racist! From the early days yet! Snark.

What I am trying to say is that for all intents and purposes, in Huntington Beach, race just did not exist at all. The non-Whites associated with Whites and vice versa. The non-Whites were all pretty much assimilated to the White culture, so they were White for all intents and purposes. Their non-Whiteness was simply an accident of their ancestry and had no relevance on anything.

In every important way, the Chinese, Hispanics, Japanese, Filipinos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and whatnot were just Whites with a little different ancestry, which may as well have been Czech or Greek or Italian.

For the most part, they were deracinated and fully assimilated to American society. None of them spoke their ethnic mother tongues. Most of the Hispanics had been in this country a long time – I never knew one recent immigrant from anywhere. If mass immigration was going on, it wasn’t coming to my town.

The general attitude was that racism was a nasty thing. If you made an ethnic joke, either my brother who dated a Mexican girl or one of my best friends – the 1/2 Mexican guy or the 1/4 Chinese guy, or the Puerto Rican guy who objected to anti-Black jokes by noting that he was part-Black, or my Cuban girlfriend, would just shoot you right down angrily with an attitude like don’t bring that up anymore.

The whole loony anti-racist notion (I’m sure that Whiteness Studies sees 1970’s Huntington Beach that way) that the White suburbs of 1970’s California were a place of vicious White racism is an insipid fantasy. Race was just not important. The other races didn’t behave any differently from Whites, as they all assimilated and left their cultures long behind.

If they don’t act any different, you have to be a real idiot just to hate someone who is different – who looks a little different, is different racially, has a different skin color, or whose ancestors came from a different land. For the most part, it simply did not occur.

We did have some Chicano-type Hispanics who lived in a place called Motown in downtown Huntington Beach. It was a mini-barrio full of graffiti and small gangs and Chicano culture. My friends and I were the only Whites who would befriend these real Chicanos.

I was a racist from childhood! Snark.

They were all into the gang thing, the guys were into the stereotypical Chicano machismo male psychological cultural set, and the girls were all into the stereotypical barrio Latina psychological cultural set.

We made friends with them, but no one ever wanted to, say, go hang out with them on the weekends. They just lived in another world.

Well, Chicano culture hasn’t changed one bit since then, at least the barrio kind. There’s still a vast Hispanic set in the US who are more or less assimilating to whatever American culture means in 2008, though less so than the ones I grew up with. And Motown has come to my town. It’s taken it over. I live now in an entire city full of Huntington Beach Motown 1975. It’s 33 years later, and nothing has changed.

I’m convinced that young barrio Hispanics really do love gang culture. They love it all, the fights, the tattoos, the colors, the sets, the hardass mentality, the gangsta rap, the crime, the money, the knives, the guns, the jail, the prison the probation and yes, even the funerals. They’re in thrall to it. How do I know this? I live with these people, and they are in my home and car night and day.

Older Hispanics love fights too. I hang out in Mexican bars full of drunken illegal aliens, blasting Norteno music, with strippers grinding in the background. It’s kind of a seedy, somewhat dangerous place, but I can usually handle myself in these places.

There are all sorts of really scary looking guys in there, guys who glare at you with menace, older hardcore Norteno gangsters, and guys who just look like criminals. Drunken brawls break out, and the owner won’t even break it up. The chairs and tables fly and all the guys just lap it up. Even the owner loves it his furniture flies. I guess macho Mexican males love a fight. Same way macho young Hispanic males love gangs.

Most importantly, that’s why Hispanic gang culture ain’t going away. All the gang task forces, the social programs, the anti-gang programs, years and what, decades now, and where are we? Worse than ever. And the more we import barrio-prone and gang-prone (that is, those who will go gang/barrio rather than avoiding that) Mesoamericans via immigration, legal or illegal, the more this phenomenon will grow and grow.

In my town when I grew up, White culture and American culture were synonymous. That may be wrong, but that’s just the way it was. For a lot of us, that’s the way it’s always been. Motown and South Central LA were always peripheral to mainstream US culture growing up, and they surely were in my town.

I don’t like it that Motown has come to my town. I like my Hispanics assimilated, thank you very much. Mexican and Hispanic barrio culture is good and bad, like all the rest, but the bad repels me like a face slap. If that makes me a racist, then I will stand up and say I’m a racist, loud and proud. No problem at all.

The Mestizo future is rising behind the hills of America, a jealous, angry, resentful, demanding and haughty yet peculiarly unthinking God, glaring in our faces. American culture and White culture are no longer the same. Motown has come to America and scribbled graffiti over about half of it, and East LA is California.

At some point in the not too distant future, the US will become just another Latin American country. The process of Mestizization, the murderous marriage that wove its tragic yet beautiful tapestry over our continent, yet somehow passed us by, will overtake us yet. We thought we could avoid it, that we were not a part of the mestizo and mulatto Americas after all, but we were only buying time.

America left the United States of, and the Americas walked right in. Why not, with the back door unlocked and swinging wide?

At this point, there is not much to do about it but learn Spanish and plan for the future. Will we be Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Brazil or Colombia? Or Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica or Argentina?

The future is not way off in never never land, out of our minds and our petty little worlds. The future is now. Get active. If you don’t die beforehand, either you come to the future, or it comes to you. Stride forward to greet your new world, smiling or not. At least you will be ready.

7 Comments

Filed under Americas, Asians, Blacks, California, Chinese (Ethnic), Crime, Cubans, Culture, Europeans, Filipinos, Hispanics, Immigration, Japanese, Jews, Mexicans, North America, Northeast Asians, Puerto Ricans, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, SE Asians, USA, West, White Racism, Whites

Race Realism In Cuba

Fascinating article, A Visit To Raul Castro’s Cuba, on Cuba today written by a Marxist, which does not at all deny the serious shortcomings of the system. While it seems tempting to blame Communism for all of these problems, the truth is that Communism is probably responsible for only some of the problems.

First of all, the rations book only covers 40% of Cuban food needs. Yet in China and the Soviet Bloc, the ration book easily covered one’s nutritional needs. Much of the housing stock appears to be dilapidated or falling apart, in addition to being overcrowded. While housing shortages were well-known in Communist socieites, the housing of the Soviet Bloc and China was generally held to be in good shape, at least in the cities, and particularly in Eastern Europe.

The sidewalks are falling apart, but sidewalks generally were nice and clean in the East Bloc and China. Public facilities in general are not kept up well, but I don’t believe that was a problem in the East Bloc or China, where things were generally neat and clean. Cuba is an extremely hot and humid place, like the rest of the Caribbean, so that may enter into the lack of upkeep aspect. The problems with the ration books, deteriorating housing and sidewalks, however, is probably due to the US Embargo that costs Cuba $4 billion/year.

What is very interesting is a section towards the end of the article under the heading, “Race and Marginality — The Sleeping Giants?” Though couched in the usual Leftist “see no evil” mindset of a baffled person who can’t explain anything racially other than by resorting to accusations of White racism, there is some blockbuster race realist stuff in this section.

First of all, the Cuban Revolution was great for the Blacks and mixed race Cubans. In the great Batista Cuba of which the overwhelmingly White Cuban exile “gusanos” (or worms as I refer to them) dream and pine, there was an overt Jim Crow system, that, while not as bad as in the US, was still pretty bad.

The Cuban exiles all lie about this and say that there was little racism in pre-Castro Cuba. Darker Cubans were out and out barred from most beaches in Cuba. In provincial towns, public parks were segregated into White and non-White sections. Non-White Cubans were pretty much barred from most professional positions, especially in the private sector.

The Revolution got rid of all that and dramatically improved things for non-White Cubans. Nevertheless, the upper ranks of the Party and professional classes were mostly White.

A new and refreshing pro-Black movement has emerged in the form of non-White hip hop music with an emphasis on police brutality themes. The suggestion is that as in much of the West, non-Whites in Cuba commit a vastly disproportionate amount of the crime, and are consequently profiled and then harassed by police and possibly beaten and manhandled when arrested. So in that sense Blacks and mulattos in Cuba behave much as those in the West do.

One huge difference is that there is little violent crime in Cuba. There is quite a bit of theft though, in particular petty thievery.

In addition, as in the rest of Latin America, most faces on Cuban TV are White. A protest movement has also emerged against this tendency.

After the collapse of the USSR in 1990, Cuba went into a long phase called “The Special Period.” In a nutshell, Cuba lost 90% of its trading partners overnight and the cost of its imported raw materials like oil went up by 10X. North Korea is still reeling from the effects of this catastrophe. Now, 20 years later, Cuban production is probably just begin to approach the levels of 1989, right before the collapse.

One result of this Period was social chaos and an increase in something called “marginalization.” As in the West and in Latin America, wherever you find good numbers of Blacks in a mixed-race society, the Blacks mysteriously tend to be overwhelmingly more likely to be marginalized in various respects. This was even true in Communist Cuba. “Marginalization” became a codeword, for poor, uneducated non-White Cubans.

A number of theories developed to try to explain the behavior of the marginalized non-Whites. During the Period, non-White dishonesty, lack of upkeep and out and theft increased dramatically. Most of the people complaining about the “marginalization” theme were Whites.

Whites were associated with a “rich culture” in which, no matter how much money they had, they were relatively honest, hardworking, tidy and non-thieving. Non-Whites were associated with a “culture of poverty” borrowed from Oscar Lewis’ seminal work that was associated with lack of upkeep and subsequent disrepair and dilapidation, a less vigourous work ethic, greatly increased dishonesty and tremendous thievery, usually of the petty variety.

One episode that particularly outraged Cuban Whites was one in which poor non-Whites in Havana were given brand new state of the art housing in the city complete with a variety of new and working fixtures, hookups and whatnot. Quickly after they moved in, the non-Whites basically dismantled the brand-new complex of its hookups and everything that wasn’t nailed down, which they promptly sold on the Black Market for hard currency. Afterward, they were back living in a slum again.

Cuban Whites were completely outraged and offended by this behavior. It was not stated in the article, but the suggestion was that as much as Cuban Whites struggle, they won’t dismantle the equivalent of a Cuban mansion and turn it into the equivalent of a Cuban hovel.

What is fascinating about this is that this is exactly what Blacks did in Africa. In Zimbabwe, when Blacks took over the farms of the Whites, idiot Blacks dismantled and tore out everything not nailed down and sold it, or, if it was wooden, burned it as firewood. Working orchards and vineyards were destroyed in days or weeks, chopped up for firewood and sent up in smoke. Similar things occur in South Africa.

Similarly, in the New South Africa, upkeep has gone down the tubes. Sure, the Blacks fix stuff when it falls apart, but often by the tried and true “n-word rigging” familiar to White Americans. That’s basically a half-assed, quick and dirty, off the cuff, makeshift fix of a broken thing that will work for a while but won’t last long.

Crucially, routine maintenance that would keep things running much longer is simply put off for later which usually means never. This same dynamic seems to be operating in mostly non-White Cuba, while in the Communist East Bloc and China, things were at least kept tidy and neat looking. The Cuban experience of problems in upkeep suggests not so much a problem of Communism as a basic difference in temperament between Blacks and Whites.

The dismantling of working apparatuses in favor of the quick fix of firewood or cash, leaving one with a hovel or ruined farm, reflected from Cuba to Zimbabwe, once again suggests not so much a problem of Cuban Communism as once a basic temperamental difference between major human races.

Another problem in Cuba has been poor scores by the “marginalized” non-Whites of Cuba. Whites tend to dramatically outscore non-Whites in Cuban schools, particularly in the professional schools which are extremely competitive and held to high standards.

A culture of poverty explanation has been advanced to try to explain why White Cubans are doing so much better in school than non-White Cubans. Yet we see this discrepancy everywhere on Earth where there are Blacks and Whites together.

It is interesting the Cuba chooses a “culture of poverty” explanation. In the West, radical PC anti-racism is all the rage and these same things are blamed on omnipresent White racism, which seems even more dubious than the culture of poverty stuff. It’s even more fascinating, and actually disturbing for me as a Leftist, that Black and White behaviors show remarkable continuity with their racial cogeners around the world, under capitalism, socialism or Communism.

* I am not trying to imply that Black temperament is inferior to White temperament. If it is in part genetic (though adjustable via culture) then it is simply the way that they have evolved. I’m sure many to most Blacks are perfectly ok with a lot of these behaviors. However, they are so opposite to standard White behaviors that these Black behaviors drive Whites up the wall and cause endless friction in multiracial societies.

I also did not mean to imply that lack of upkeep or maintenance was in inferior trait. I practically wrote the book on Lazy myself. However, modern industrial societies do not seem to work very well when maintenance or upkeep is neglected.

12 Comments

Filed under Americas, Black-White (Mulattos), Blacks, Caribbean, Criminology, Cuba, Cubans, Discrimination, Employment, Hispanics, Labor, Latin America, Marxism, Mixed Race, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Social Problems, Sociology, Urban Decay, USSR, White Racism, Whites