International Year of Afro descendants People to be celebrated in Cuba

It is worth remembering that the fight against all sort of exclusion, especially racial, started in our country with the armed struggles, on that dawn July 26, 1953. With the triumph of the Revolution, in January 1959, the way to plant a social policy was clear. It aimed to promote values and principles such as justice, equality and non-discrimination, developed from Revolutionary laws and from different programs of public and educational information.

Miguel Barnet, president of UNEAC, of the Fernando Ortiz Foundation and of the Slave Route Cuban Committee, presented the program which in this last project have been undertaken by six work groups and contemplates the publication of several books that deal with the theme; the realization of communitarian social work panels, colloquiums and workshops; research, curriculum and educational materials aiming to promote education on this tragedy; the preservation of the archives and oral traditions related to slave trade; visualization of the history of the Independent Color Party; inventories to preserve and protect the cultural and material legacy and the memory places related to slavery and to promote memory tourism, based on this heritage.

The publication of a biography of Ignacio Villa, Bola de Nieve, in the year of his hundredth anniversary, together with other titles that relate to the racial theme, was announced by Zuleica Romay, president of the Cuban Book Institute; who also presented other actions, such as the Caribbean Festival, which will be dedicated to Trinidad and Tobago; the 21st International Book Festival, Cuba 2012, dedicated to the culture of the Caribbean people; the Jazz Plaza Festival, which always incorporates the recognition of the African root present in this musical genre and the Caribbean Movies Itinerant Exhibition. Other important moments in the cultural proposal, according to Zuleica, will be the presentations, events and seasons which will be hold by different bands and companies that recreate our African heritage, as well as the visual arts and movie exhibitions.

On the other hand, Nicolás Hernández Guillén, president of the Nicolás Guillén Foundation, anticipated the celebration in different moments of two important anniversaries: the eighty years of Sóngoro Cosongo, one of the great poetry books of the National Poet and which is "undoubtedly a manifest of his convictions on the contribution of the African people in the material and spiritual construction of the Cuban nation", and the sixty years of yet another text by Guillén, the poem El apellido (The surname), ·one of his deepest reflections on the catastrophe which represented slavery in the cultural field."

The occasion was right for the presentation, by the researchers and essay writers Roberto Zurbano and Aurelio Alonso, of the volume Piel negra, máscara blanca, by the writer from Martinique Frantz Fanon, which was recently published by the Dr. Martín Luther King Memorial Center.

Piel negra…, according to Zurbano, is a radical manifest, the product of Fanon´s research and questions about the racial paradigm, in which he critically explores the relationship between power and language, and the depending condition of the colonized subject. For Alonso it is a psychoanalysis of the great social problems, where the author reaches a vision of colonial times which is beyond the structural and historic phenomenon of slavery and independence, since racial subordination of black people was not settled with manumission, but transferred to modernity.

Heriberto Feraudy, president of the Comisión Against Discrimination and Racism, concluded the conference by stating that just like one day whites, black and mixed raced people came together to go the African continent it order to contribute to the eradication of the worst form of racism -apartheid- so we shall all come together today in the fight for the definitive erradication of all racist manifestation in our homeland. "In that fight against all sort of unequality, the compromise of Cuba, for historic and clear reasons shall always be firm and definitive."

Translation: Karen López (Cubarte) – article in english at

Original report in spanish on