Cuba now has two realities, he added, one “of white Cubans, who have leveraged their resources to enter the new market-driven economy … The other reality is that of the black plurality, which witnessed the demise of the socialist utopia from the island’s least comfortable quarters.”
Although Castro has brought more blacks into the legislative National Assembly of People’s Power, Zurbano noted, “much remains to be done to address the structural inequality and racial prejudice that continue to exclude Afro-Cubans.”
“Racism in Cuba has been concealed and reinforced in part because it isn’t talked about. The government hasn’t allowed racial prejudice to be debated or confronted politically or culturally, often pretending instead as though it didn’t exist,” the column added.
A key first step would be to get an accurate count of Afro-Cubans, Zurbano argued, because the number of blacks on the streets belies census figures showing that 65 percent of the island’s population is white. Cubans mark their own race in the Census.
Faguaga said the ARAAC statement defending Zurbano’s right to express his opinions was itself surprising because members of the group tend to be “officials and semi-officials” of the ruling system who regularly toe the government line.
She attended one of its founding meetings in 2011 but was not invited to a follow up session last year because she was too independent, she said.
One of its documents from the 2012 gathering noted that among the group’s goals was to increase coordination in the “fight against racism and capitalism” and to consider “the advances made by the Cuban revolution in different political and social areas.”