Well that didn’t take long. Just days after President Obama wrapped up his trip to Cuba, the Havana Review published a brutal review of the U.S. It should also be noted that this publication comes shorty after Fidel Castro issued his own brutal statement and that the paper is owned by the Cuban government.
What is equally troubling is the headline: “Negro, ¿Tu Eres Sueco?” (“Black Man, Are You Dumb?”). The racist title is a precursor to an entire article dedicated to bashing the U.S. and Obama’s trip to Cuba.
The talking points were direct out of Castro’s playbook: the embargo is a failure, the U.S. should close Guantanamo and give it back to Cuba, the U.S. is a racist country, and pro-democracy demonstrators have no place in Cuba.
“Obama came, saw, but unfortunately, with the pretend gesture of lending a hand, tried to conquer.”
“[Obama] chose to criticize and subtly suggest … incitations to rebellion and disorder, without caring that he was on foreign ground. Without a doubt, Obama overplayed his hand. The least I can say is, Virulo-style: ‘Negro, are you dumb?’”
On Obama preaching freedom in Cuba: “Which freedom–the freedom enjoyed by white police to massacre and manhandle black people?”
The article, printed on March 23rd, was met with heavy backlash, especially from the U.S. Many called the article racist and insensitive. Not surprising, the author was forced to respond yet again:
It is not necessary to be an advanced reader to note: I did not write a racist column. The word “negro” is mentioned twice, in the title and the phrase giving the article its name, which isn’t even mine. It is a reference to a comedy work. Journalism has its rules. It also allows some licenses. Among the demands of the job there is a very important one: capture the reader’s attention from the title.
The term “negro” has a long and complicated history in Cuba as Breitbart points out:
In a series about racism in Cuba, The Root notes a common phrase used by revolutionaries: “Negrada–which means, literally, a group of black people–came to signify a screw-up, a f*cked-up affair. ¡Que negrada! became as common as hustling foreigners.”
The inevitable use of what, in the United States, is considered a racial slur (though Cubans often use negro as a term of endearment), is the latest indignity in a trip to Cuba laden with them, from the slight of Raúl Castro failing to greet President Obama upon landing in Havana to Castro openly denying the presence of political prisoners in Cuba, only to have President Obama later “welcome” his criticism on America.
Was President Obama’s trip to Cuba a failure? Sound off in the comments below!