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Cuba's Racial Harmony Myth

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By Ben Cohen

Eugene Robinson reports on the myth of Cuban racial harmony, a major bragging point for the Castro brothers:

Race is a touchy subject in Cuba, and for many years it went all but

unmentioned. Raul Castro, who knows the island and its people as well

as his older brother does, caused a stir in 2000 when he said that if a

hotel were to deny entry to a person because he or she is black, that

hotel should be shut down—an acknowledgment that such things happen.

Popular rappers in Cuba’s hip-hop underground have made racial

grievance a major theme of their daring lyrics. I once interviewed a

Cuban scholar whose husband, an officer in the military, pooh-poohed

her research into racial discrimination—until he had the experience of

being detained and harassed by police for no apparent reason other than

his dark skin.