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Orlando Zapata's death shows Cuba's racism and brutality

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Moore,Carlos (Author)
Newspaper Article
Publication Date:
Mar 3-Mar 9, 2010
Miami, FL
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, Blacks, Racism, Cuba, Demonstrations and protests, Political dissent, Police brutality, Fatalities, Sexism, Hunger strikes, Political persecution, Zapata Tamayo, Orlando
Cuba's rulers, say activists, see the growing dark face of the opposition as "ingratitude" that requires harsher punishment. They point to the case of Black Communist leader Juan Carlos Robinson, sentenced in 2006 to 12 years in jail for "corruption," an offense for which former foreign minister, Roberto Robaina, who's white, was arrested in 2002 but placed under house arrest. [Orlando Zapata Tamayo]'s ordeal is being spun from the other side of the coin, too - the predominantly white and U.S.-based, right-wing anti-Castro opposition who clearly stand to score political points from the case of a Black martyr. Righteous declarations can be expected from organizations such as Democracy Movement, the Cuban American National Foundation, the Cuban Liberty Council and, especially, the Cuban Democratic Directorate. Many Cuban civil-rights activists accuse these groups of working to corral and control the new internal opposition forces on behalf of interests linked to Cuba's former Jim Crow oligarchy. That's why they see U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart's "indignation" over Zapata's death, as much as president Raul Castro's "regrets," as a double farce. A staunch supporter of the tiny; white elite of wealth that was overthrown in 1959, Diaz-Balart can cry crocodile tears, but during his time in Congress his right-wing, proembargo agenda has only hindered the ability of Black Cubans to improve their lot.