New Black Nationalists Support the Afro-Cuban Inspired Revolt : The Hand Grenade

New Black Nationalists Support the Afro-Cuban Inspired Revolt

by W. Bernell Brooks lll on 07/21/21

The July 11 street revolt in cities across Cuba has unsettled the despotic regime of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. New Black Nationalists stand by all Cuban people who are rebelling to get Diaz-Canel's oppressive jackboot off their necks. 

After blaming U.S. economic sanctions for the protests and all Cuba's maladies, "el presidente" summoned Cuba's "revolutionaries" into the streets to smash the protesters--as if this was a fight between paid foreign mercenaries and the people" defending "the revolution. "

Then he mobilized the police to sweep the streets and conduct mass arrests. That too did not go as planned. The police were met by angry protesters who engaged them in hand to hand combat, attacked them with bottles and rocks and overturned vehicles. 

Exactly, what led to these unprecedented confrontations with the Cuban security state is a grab bag of grievances: shortages of food, medicine, COVID-19 vaccines, electricity, jobs, democratic rights, you name it. 

What is not debatable is that the inspiration driving the July risings was the musical force of dissent echoing from the protesters voices chanting Patria y Vida--a hip-hop song by radicalized Afro-Cuban musicians in Cuba and Miami.  

The song which dropped in February has taken the island by storm, and galvanized the Cuban street challenging the ruling class. "Patria y Vida," is a collaboration between Afro-Cuban musicians in exile: Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom of the duo Gente De Zona, Cuban hip-hop band Orishas; and singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno. Contributors Maykel Osboro (Castillo) and Eliécer "el Funky" Márquez are still on the island.

What is also not debatable is that the island's one million self-described Afro-Cubans and three million mixed-Black race Cubans (referred to as "mulatto" or "mestizo,) have endured systematic racism at the hands of the Castro brothers and now Díaz-Canel for decades. 

Excluded from entire sectors of Cuba's economy, stereotyped and disappeared in visual media, under-represented in Cuba's political apparatus, Afro-Cubans and Blackness itself are regarded as a national security threat.  

In-part this also explains the Western media's virtual erasure of this revolt as an Afro-Cuban inspired enterprise. The grinding oppression of Afro-Cubans is a non-issue and "Patria y Vida" is simply portrayed as a cultural youth phenomenon. After all, everyone knows Afro-Cubans are damned good musicians. Spare us the bullshit.  

The American media dares not raise the issue of race, knowing the Cuban government would call them to book for the state-sanctioned murder of Black people at the hands of the police. You want to talk about the lack of democracy in Cuba or the Biden Administration standing idly by while White Nationalist Republicans strip Black people their voting rights. Best to leave those stones unturned.  

The legacy of erasure of Afro-Cubans is also a feature of the left and right-wing responses to the revolt. So called pro-democracy, right-wing Cubans decry the nation's "economic disaster" and "democracy deficit" as the sins of communism. 

On the left, far too many defend Cuba as a beleaguered and isolated outpost of socialism victimized by Yankee Imperialism's economic blockade. And how, we ask, will lifting economic sanctions eradicate anti-Afro-Cuban racism? Both groups have little to say about the oppression of Afro-Cuban communities, and even less to say about a solution. 

In the meantime, the Little Havana's and Little Haiti's in South Florida are teeming with right-wing reactionaries and wanna-bee dictators hatching plots and pushing buttons to trigger regime change in the Caribbean.  

Two weeks ago, we witnessed the motley coup attempt and assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moises by the nefarious guns for hire supposedly associated with Haitian businessman Christian Emmanuel Sanon., in South Florida, is alert to the street chatter that right-wing money and operatives circling around Magastan Headquarters in Mar a Lago, have been floating funds and resources to Afro-Cuban dissidents, musicians, and artists to undermine President Miguel Díaz-Canel's government. 

The CIA appears to have ramped is covert operations that began a decade ago to deploy young Afro-Cuban artists and musicians as a cultural trojan horse to foment regime change on the island. Those operations were run through the USAid program. We hope Afro-Cuban artists and musicians aren't taking the bait but can't be naïve about the escalating geo-political stakes at play in the Caribbean Basin. 

This special issue on July's "Patria y Vida" Cuba Rising seeks to give our readers a few different perspectives on the unfolding crisis on the island. Afro-Cubans are destined to play a decisive role in Cuba's future when the so-called socialist government in Havana disintegrates and collapses. Then as now, New Black Nationalists and Fanon Global will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Afro-Cuban community.  

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