Our organization, Afro Cuban Forum, is the only one among the Cuban exiles that focuses directly on race relations both in the US and in Cuba. We are a group of Cubans who live either in Cuba or abroad, of all races, ages, sexual inclinations, creeds, political views and philosophical persuasions in which the ONLY prerequisite is our distinct awareness of the dynamics and the challenges of a full racial integration.
We support ourselves with the proceeds of our membership and will negotiate contributions from private donors; we have not applied for any tax payer's funded grants.
The very fabric of AFC makes it possible for some of us to approach the change of course in the US - Cuban regime relations from many different angles; however, the dream of somehow helping the average Cuban is unanimously shared.
We understand that the sacred duty of a US president is to defend the vital interests of our great nation and monitoring a "soft landing" in the neighboring island makes perfect sense from the geopolitical standpoint. It is, thus precisely in the pursuit of those interests that the racial issue must be uppermost in dealing with the Cuban government. More than half of the island's population is of African descent according to our estimates (the accurate percentage of blacks has always been the object of utmost secrecy and manipulation) and they have been historically discriminated against and are now intentionally neglected by the Castros. They are the overwhelming majority in the penal population and very rarely enjoy the meager benefits of the wrongly called "private sector".
Black Cubans are conspicuously absent from the board meetings of state owned corporations (all corporations belong to the state), the hotel front desks and any of those positions where a dollar or two may be earned.
The aforementioned situation is the perfect formula for a social explosion once the regime inevitably loosens its grip on power. All sorts of creatures exit the dustbin once the lid is off, and THAT, merely 90 miles away, is a distinct threat to our national security.
To be more clear Mr President; the future of the Cuban people must be discussed, negotiated, or fought out among Cubans; we should not and must not expect you to bring freedom to our native island; however, it is not encouraging to realize that despite all the rhetoric of change and a new course of action the meeting behind closed doors theory persists. Mr Ben Rhodes came to Miami and met with a handful of Cubans; he was videotaped in the company of a black Cuban entertainer; which reinforces the stereotyped narrative of black Cubans being good only to entertain and run after a ball. Why not an open meeting with all of us? we regret that the sample was too small to objectively convey our views.
But we have done our part, now you know that continuing to sweep the racial problem under the rug can lead to disaster in the island and could even trigger an undesired violent outcome should we keep ignoring it. This transcends the realm of Cuba's internal affairs and is a ticking time bomb.
As the powerful tires of Air Force One regally skid on the runway at Jose Marti International Airport the world will be engaged in celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, no contrast can be starker, no symbol can be more suitable, no challenge can be more formidable.
We remain hopeful that this missive contributes to establishing a transparent channel of communication between our government and the entirety of the Cuban American community; meanwhile allow us to wish you and your family the best in the remainder of your term as our Commander in Chief and in your life as a private citizen.
AFRO CUBAN FORUM INC
269 NW 7th St. Suite 117 Miami Fl. 33136