Cuban government announces a national programme against racism and discrimination

Council of Ministers November 2019 foto

At the meeting of the Council of Ministers in Cuba this November, a national programme against racism and race discrimination was announced, which has been conceived “to combat and permanently eliminate the vestiges of racism, racial prejudice and race discrimination that remain in Cuba.”

This was explained by the Vice Minister of Culture, Fernando Rojas Gutiérrez, who said that “as of January 1, 1959, the dismantling of the conditions that generated racial discrimination in the colonial and neo-colonial stages began, and although the advances are gigantic, solid and unquestionable, it has been difficult to reverse four centuries of inequality in just 60 years.” Silencing the problem, magnifying it or addressing it from exogenous concepts is no solution, he added.

He highlighted the anti-racist thinking of the late Fidel Castro Ruz and former president Raúl Castro Ruz; as well as the active role of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and the José Antonio Aponte Commission in addressing racial issues.

The National Programme that is now created will include the fight against regionalism and discrimination based on ethnic and national origin, manifestations also associated with racism.

It is designed, Rojas Gutiérrez explained, as a Government Programme and its follow-up will be integrated into the work system of President Díaz-Canel. “To coordinate the tasks, a Government Commission will be created, headed by the President.”

Its objectives include identifying the causes that foster race discrimination practices; diagnosing the possible actions to be carried out by territory, locality, branch of the economy and society; disseminating the African historical-cultural legacy of the people and other non-white people as part of Cuban cultural diversity; and encourage organized public debate on racial issues within political, mass and social organizations, as well as in the media.

On this theme, the head of state said that “everyone recognizes that our Revolution has been possibly the social and political process that has contributed most to eliminating racial discrimination, but there are still some vestiges, which are not by policy in our society, but in the culture of some people. There are manifestations of racism in jokes, in certain attitudes at the social level, for example, in the non-state sector with some calls for jobs that specify skin colour.

“We have all the right and the possibility of doing something coherent, of impact, that helps us solve these problems in our society and show once again the level of justice and humanism of the Revolution, he said.

This is a translated extract from the full report by CubaDebate in Spanish here