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A Reader Wonders If The Failure Of Communism In Cuba Will Have A Disparate Impact
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From: John J. Pershing (e-mail him)
Because of the failure of socialism, and the fact that the Soviet Union has gone out of business, Cuba is downsizing its welfare state:
"But they were not entirely surprising. Raul Castro has warned for years that the state could no longer afford to subsidize every part of Cuban life, nor pay workers who contribute little. In April, he floated the idea that up to 1 million workers were superfluous and must go." Cuba to Cut 500,000 Government Workers [Paul Haven and Will Weissert, AP, Havana, September, 14, 2010]
What may be interesting to observe will be the possibility of "disparate impact" of these measures among the Afro-Cuban population.
James Fulford writes: Most people don't know there are blacks in Cuba, because the escapees were the white ruling class, like the ci-devant aristo refugees who fled the French Revolution in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Also, most people don't think of Cuba as a small, white-ruled island, where colored people aren't allowed to vote, but it is. Cuba operates on a strict one man-one vote system. The one man is named Castro and he's white.
The United Nations says that:
"Estimates of the percentage of people of African descent in the Cuban population vary enormously, ranging from 33.9 per cent to 62 per cent. This is partly a question of self-perception, as census figures are based on how Cubans define themselves."
This means that in the absence of affirmative action, many Cubans would prefer to define themselves as white.
The UN goes on to say that Cuba has greater racial inequality than the US
"On various occasions, Fidel Castro explicitly condemned racism and affirmed his government's commitment to equality. However, critics of official policy allege that educational policy and official culture remained strongly Euro-centric. Afro-Cubans have not, for example, been widely represented in the higher echelons of the ruling Communist Party nor in the upper levels of the civil service or state industries. And, with few exceptions, Afro-Cuban women have not yet reached the highest professional strata."
Back in the eighties, when Cuba was sending troops to Africa to fight the White South Africans in the South African Border War, South African military observers noted racial stratification in the Cuban armed forces—white officers, brown NCOs, and black enlisted men. Staring at this spectacle through their binoculars, they would nudge each other and say things like "Hey, wasn't it us that was supposed to be racist, and the Communists liberal?"(This is from memory—probably reported in Soldier Of Fortune at the time.)