Why You Can’t Say ‘Racism Is Alive’ in Cuba

Writing that in a U.S. paper appears to have gotten black Cuban editor Roberto Zurbano a demotion.

Roberto Zurbano (Yahoo Noticias)
Roberto Zurbano (Yahoo Noticias)

It appears that calling out racism in Cuba comes at a price. Roberto Zurbano wrote about inequality based on skin color in his home country in a recent New York Times article. The editor and publisher was then demoted to a lesser position at the government-controlled Casa de las Americas book publishing company this week, reports the Miami Herald.

“To question the extent of racial progress was tantamount to a counterrevolutionary act,” the dreadlocked Zurbano wrote. “This made it almost impossible to point out the obvious: racism is alive and well.”

Zurbano’s case reflects the growing black-rights movement in Cuba, where 35 percent of its 11 million people are black or mestizo, at a time when its activists are complaining that Raúl Castro’s open-market economic reforms favor whites unfairly.

Read more at the Miami Herald.

To hear more of Zurbano’s insights, take a look at this clip from the Black in Latin America series on PBS, when Henry Louis Gates Jr. (also The Root‘s editor-in-chief) interviewed him during a segment on Fidel Castros island.