Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Worldwide Battle of Life & Death, 3d Chapter

"A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Third Chapter"
Alberto N Jones
May 1, 2010

I hope most of those who read the previous chapter are as persuaded as I am, that there is no valid evidence to demonstrate the existence of segregation or racism in Cuba that is promoted, instigated or tolerated by the highest level of the Cuban government. What has been clearly established is a marked increase of racial prejudices coming from whites towards Afro-Cubans, which is more evident, open and brutal than at any time in the past 20 years.

These negative expressions have manifested themselves most vividly since the introduction of the Special Period, characterized by an absolute lack of the most basic means of survival, the failure to create job opportunities for Afro-Cubans with access to hard currencies in Havana and Varadero Beach, an intensified struggle for survival and a threat of competing forces that some saw in an increased migration from the eastern provinces to the west, which many attempted to counter through segregation, defamation and racial slurs.

It is a well established fact by psychologists and others engaged in behavioral studies, that in all herds, human groupings, inter-ethnic or inter-species relations, there are always those attempting to prey, subjugate, isolate or eliminate others deemed weak.

For these reasons and as early as January 1959, Fidel Castro declared “We could not be Revolutionaries or Democrats, if we do not rid ourselves of all type of discrimination“.

In March 1959, Fidel Castro gave a speech to a workers gathering, which turned out to be a proclamation against racial discrimination, in which he made a detailed analysis of how racism expresses itself in job exclusion, educational segregation and the forceful opening by law, of all facilities and services for the fulfillment of all citizens, without discrimination.

During the V Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in October of 1997, Fidel Castro reiterated the need of consolidating the fair policy of promoting blacks and women to leadership positions, just as had happened for youths without being dogmatic, which guarantees the moral authority of the party with the people.

During the World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance, which took place in Durban , South Africa in September 2001, President Fidel Castro endorsed the idea that “the United States and western nations must pay reparations to descendents of black slaves”.

In the last session of the National Assembly of the People’s Power on 12/21/09, the president of Council of State and Ministers, Raul Castro, said: “Personally I think it is a shame the insignificant advances that we have achieved in this”. “ I will use all my influence to make sure that these harmful prejudices continue to yield space until they have been definitively eliminated and women and blacks are promoted to leadership positions at all levels, based upon their merits and professional level.

On January 5th. 1993, Congressman John Conyers introduced a bill to “Acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery”.

The bill, which did not ask for reparations for the descendents of African slaves, won from 435-members of the U.S. House of Representatives only 28 co-sponsors, 18 of whom were black. (The Debt, Randall Robinson, p 201-10, 2000)

In the early 1970’s Boris Bittker, a Yale Law School professor wrote a book, The Case for Black Reparations, which made the argument that slavery, Jim Crow and a general climate of race-based discrimination in America had combined to do grievous social and economic injury to African Americans.

Ibrahim Gassama, a law professor of the University of Oregon in response to a question from Mr. Randall Robinson said, “ It is the strangest thing, we law professors talk about every imaginable subject, but when the issue of reparations is raised among white professors, many of whom are otherwise liberal, it is met with silence”.

Derrick Bell, another professor at Harvard Law School concluded his view of Bittker’s book in a way that may explain the reaction Ibrahim Gassama got from his colleagues: “Short of a revolution, the likelihood that blacks today will obtain direct payments in compensation for their subjugation as slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation and their exploitation as quasi-citizens since, is no better than in 1866, when Thaddeus Stevens recognized that his bright hope of forty acres and a mule for every freedman had vanished”.

Confirming this presumption is the fact that for 6-8 years, Nazi Germany inflicted horrific pain and suffering on European Jews in their concentration camps. Post WW II German governments readily paid to individuals and to the government of Israel 88 billion Marks and created a trust fund of a few billion Marks for the victims, coming from enterprises that benefited from slave work.

In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which forced 120,000 persons of Japanese and Korean ancestry into internment camps for the duration of the war, although approximately 65% were US citizens.

In 1988 president Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberty Act, granting $20,000.00 to each survivor or beneficiary. In 1992 president George W. Bush appropriated another 400 million dollars to cover a $20,000.00 compensation for 82,210 Japanese-American citizens. Canada compensated a total of 1,434 Japanese-Canadian citizens, with a total of $1.3 billion dollars and both governments apologized for their past deeds.

At the end of WW I, the Allied countries successfully demanded compensation from Germany . Korean women forced into prostitution by the Japanese occupying forces during WW II were rightfully compensated.

Although the United States and Europe inflicted far greater horrors upon Africa and its people, they have not only refused to pay compensation to Africa, instead, at the end of the slave trade, they re-arranged the map of Africa to continue exploiting the continent and have steadfastly refused to return thousands of pieces of arts stolen from Africa.

Both president Abraham Lincoln in the US and Carlos M. de Cespedes in Cuba offered during the Civil War and the War of Independence in Cuba to compensate slave owners for “property” (slave) loss during the conflict.

Is it necessary to present additional evidence to prove beyond any doubt the horrific crimes that was inflicted upon innocent people for centuries or the massive wealth that was derived from such tainted procedure?

That’s why it is so outrageous, disgusting and counterproductive to see a handful of opportunists attempting to capitalize on known failures, shortcomings and deficiencies in Cuba’s race-relations, in which, rather than putting forward an honest critique, offer suggestions or design ways to alleviate the suffering of the Afro-Cuban community, they have intentionally chosen the path of inciting our people, fanning the flames of anger, exacerbating their suffering and encouraging physical confrontation.

Can anyone in their right mind imagine that any of these individuals is reading these damming examples for the first time?

Once again, history has placed on Cuba’s lap, the unavoidable, moral obligation of pioneering and leading this just drive for reparations, by becoming the first nation to publicly admit its collective responsibility in the world most heinous crime, committed against millions of helpless slaves for over 350 years.

But contrary to what some have suggested, which is to provide each of the victim’s descendent with a fixed money value, which shortly after would have been spent in consumer driven societies, we are proposing a massive education, health, sport, cultural development and empowerment as the only viable way of equalizing racial differences, removing prejudices and overcoming centuries of subjugation and ignorance.

Cuba is hereby calling upon every government in the world, whose country benefited one way or another from slave commerce, slave traders derivatives, shipping and insurance companies, plantation owners, the church and to those governments who, although they were not participants in this horrendous crime, are ashamed of the deeds of others, to step forward, come clean, join hands with us and together, let’s pay our dues, clear our conscience and rid the world of this un-payable debt.

Our proposal is simple. Pool all reparations resources with a reputable international agency -UN, UNESCO, FAO, WHO and/or others, and turn Cuba into the world’s largest Healthcare, Education, Research and Development Center in the world, where hundreds of thousands of Africans, descendents and others from the developing world, can be received, educated and returned to their place of origin, equipped with specific knowledge for their personal and community development .

Segregation, racisms and other forms of prejudices derive from having power over others. Laws or decrees, can only mitigate but never eradicate these perversions. Equalizing individuals knowledge and empowerment, is the only remedy available to humans. Some thoughts follow:

Develop and lease across the former province of Oriente 200,000 lots of 100x100’ for 20 years to retirees and others interested in living in a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment, where they can build their homes, free of the urban decay in which they may now live. Leasing fees can range between $3000.00 and $10,000.00 per year, depending on location, beauty etc. Upon maturity of the lease or if it is preceded by death, both land and home will revert to the Cuban patrimony. It is anticipated that each nucleus of 5000 homes can generate $20,000,000.00 per year, excluding construction, maintenance and personal cost of living, while generating approximately 1000 related jobs.

Build a 1000 bed, high tech, Caribbean Medical Center in Santiago de Cuba in collaboration with the 30,000 member Afro-American Medical Association, the Caribbean Medical Association and the Cuban Ministry of Health, to provide the highest level of medical services to patients from our region, that is comparable to their counterparts in Canada and the United States, at 50% of their cost. It is anticipated this facility can generate $75,000,000.00 per year and create 2000 well remunerated jobs.

Quadruple the capacity of the Neurological Behavioral Center in Holguin, to offer specialized treatment to millions of Hispanics afflicted by alcoholism, drug addiction and post traumatic battlefield disorders without treatment in their communities, due to a severe lack of Spanish speaking professionals in that field. Anticipated income $40,000,000.00 per year and 1000 employees.

Develop in the municipality of Paraguay, Guantanamo, adjacent to its underutilized airport, the Industrial and Home Appliances Distribution Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, from where dealers from around can export their goods with a crucial advantage of two hours less flying time to most markets, perfect year round weather, low operating cost, safe environment, a large pool of technical support, and trainable personnel capable of generating Five Billion Dollars per year and employing 15,000.

Organize a high level Development Commission to visit China, Malaysia, India, Viet Nam and others, to promote the wonderful, low cost, secure environment and benign weather conditions in Guantanamo, for the creation of industries or subsidiaries, which would position them 7-10,000 miles closer to a powerful and growing industrial market in Latin America and the Caribbean, which can easily require 25,000 employees and billions in income.
Transform the Avenue of the Americas, Victoriano Garzon, Enramadas, Aguilera, and Michelsen Avenue in Santiago de Cuba into the Caribbean, Central and South America Pavilion, where their history, culture, arts, cuisine, education center, handcraft and commerce can be highlighted and become an additional source of friendship and brotherhood, celebrating each country’s national holidays and festivities, which can create thousands of jobs and generate millions every day.
Salvage approximately 10,000 homes in Guantanamo , Santiago de Cuba , Bayamo and Holguin city center and an unspecified number of closed former hotels urgently in need of refurbishing to preserve their architecture and cultural heritage, thereby creating hundreds of joint ventures with Afro-Americans, Caribbean and Latin America businesspeople specialized in hospitality. Hundreds of these facilities could be converted into economy Hostels for regional family tourism and Assisted living for retired persons. These simple, easy to implement projects could generate millions of dollars and create employment opportunity for tens of thousands.

Refurbish and equip 300 secondary schools in the countryside in the five eastern provinces in Cuba and offer its use to tens of thousands of Haitian school children earthquake victims, where they could receive adequate shelter, meals, education and medical care, if any or all international institutions, humanitarian groups and governments, would be willing to finance its operating cost.
This partial description of the enormous untapped resources available in eastern Cuba, is more than sufficient to begin cleansing our past history while it double the country’s GNP, create well remunerated full employment for all its citizen, stem the exodus of thousands of young, educated citizens in search of a better life abroad, re-energize the nation’s pride in its accomplishment and satisfy all its socio-economic needs, by applying any of the previous and following suggestions:
Re-open, revise and start the Salcines Project, consistent in re-directing part of the course of the rivers Toa, Duaba, Miel and others in Baracoa to solve once and for all the water needs of the Caujeri valley, Guantanamo , Santiago de Cuba , San Luis and Palma Soriano. Assign 100 million per year until completion.
Construct Water Purification Systems and Waste Water Treatment facilities in Baracoa , Guantanamo , Santiago de Cuba , Palma Soriano, Holguin , Manzanillo and Las Tunas , that are capable of purifying and treating 150% of today’s requirement. Funding 500 million dollars per year until completion.

Begin prospecting the feasibility of a Rapid Transit Rail System between San Luis and Camaguey , which will have branches going to Guantanamo , another going to Bayamo and Manzanillo and another touching Holguin and Moa. If proven effective, this system could be extended to the length and breath of the island. Funding 500 million dollars per year until completion.

Create in Guantanamo , a 10,000 student English and Creole University , staffed by high level educators from English Speaking and French Creole Speaking islands, where every Cuban enlisted in collaborative team to work in any of these countries, must have had to successfully approve and be proficient in said language. Assign 2 million operating cost per year.

Construct in Guantanamo, a modern, high-Tech Environmental Health and Safety University for 30,000 national and international students, an important solar, eolic, bio mass, water resource and regulatory research center, with a number of environmental related factories, which may double as students laboratory and production of a variety of environmental products, generating tens of millions of dollars in income from the national and international sales of environmental products.

Build in Guantanamo , the largest and most modern Cricket Sport Complex, to attract tournaments from around the world and thousands of visiting sports fans generating millions in income.

Create the Agriculture and Industrial Bank, to provide low-interest, mid-term micro-loans to everyone interested in developing all enterprises promoted by the Central government. Start up funds, One Hundred Million Dollars.

Transform the port of Santiago de Cuba into the most active and important commercial port in the Caribbean receiving all sorts of produce, livestock, handcraft, garment and industrial production from the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America and exporting Cuban goods, generating tens of millions of dollars in sales, purchase, taxes etc., of its vibrant commerce.

Create a number of specialized stores, selling agricultural supplies, seeds, fertilizer, pesticide, animal feed, livestock, veterinary medicine service, reproductive services, trucks, tractor, trailer, plows, work clothing, personal protective gears and spare parts. Start up funds, Five Hundred Million Dollars. Encourage 100,000 citizens with agricultural training, to apply for plots of lands, bank credit and machinery, to begin the development of agriculture and livestock.

Prior to the environmental disaster that is taking place in the Gulf States , Black Farmers were facing extinction. It is now a fact of life. In order to extend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in distress, we are proposing to offer a 25 year lease to 25,000 rice farming families, to relocate to Cuba rice producing region of Cauto-embarcadero/Vado del Yeso. Similar offer can be extended to another 5,000 fishing families, suffering the effect of the oil pollution.

Promote an orderly migration of 50,000 Haitians families from earthquake ravished Port au Prince to northern Oriente sugar cane plantation complex, where each family will lease 40 acres of land for the cultivation of sugar cane, produce and livestock for the next 25 years. Additionally they will receive bank credits to build a home, purchase agriculture equipment and live lease-free the first two years.

Organize an orderly migration of 50,000 Haitians earthquake victims to Cuba and lease each family a 40 acres plot of land on Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba mountain range for the next 25 years, for the development of coffee, cacao, produce and small livestock. They will receive bank credits for the purpose of purchasing agriculture equipment, personal income until the land begin to yield results and will live lease-free, the first two years.

Promote the migration of 20,000 Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jordan, to relocate to southern Oriente semi-arid region and lease to each family 40 acres plots of lands for the development of olive, palm, nuts, goats and sheep as they did in their native Palestine , reducing their hellish overcrowding. Additionally, they will be able to use the lands lease-free for the first two years, receive bank credits to build their homes and purchase agriculture instruments.

Upgrade the deficient fuel, lubricant and cooking gas service in Cuba , which is plagued by corruption, antiquated system and time consuming, irritating service, by creating a Joint Venture with CITGO, a giant, efficient, high-tech Venezuelan fuel distributor with over 20,000 macro service stations in operation, who is capable of bringing this service in Cuba into the XXI Century.

As we can see, with courage and moral determinism, we can honor the pain of the victims, salvage the vision of those who sought to remedy a notorious crime and begin to create a better world for all.