Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Happened to Henry on Christmas Eve?

Did Henry Gómez receive a spectral visit on Christmas eve that changed his heart about illegal immigrants, because I've never seen such a transformation since Scrooge was reformed. He's now written a second post defending Mexican-Americans against the canards of Republican xenophobes, which he now recognizes are the greatest threat to the future of the GOP (and, I may add, this country).

If this trend continues, I may have to revise my opinion of Henry yet again.

I could link a half-dozen posts which I have written condemning Henry's support for xenophobes such as Newt Gingrich; but since I am hopeful that he has repudiated his former position for good (that is, for his own soul's good), I will instead link his latest post at Babalú entitled "Walk a Mile in Their Shoes."


Having read the comments which Babalú's readers have left in response to Henry, I will never again be able to say that Cubans are not racist. They have learned racism in the greatest school ever established to teach it. It has seaped through their skins into their marrow. Castro has introduced it to the island's inhabitants and Cuban exiles have been contaminated with it here.

Sad, more than sad, tragic.


Charlie Bravo said...

Raciasm in Cuba is worst than it ever was, at institutional level, Cuba rivals only Apartheid South Africa. Let's not talk about the armed forces, because I can scare the ghost off people with real tales. Then, the at the popular level, racism has gotten tints of regionalism, since part of the Oriental population, the Palestinos, who are mainly darker or black are unrepentant castroites and in the form of chivatos and police forces who chase people all over the country, specially Havana.
Then you've got a fringe province among the exiles. Many of them have racism even against other Cubans, to them a shade darker is just the expression of the racial mixture that happened during castroism -as if in Cuba there were no mulattos or even chilattos (mulatto and chinese, like the painter Wilfredo Lam) before that unfortunate accident of history.
That plus the racism that they learnt in the States, which is marked. Racism is then a remnant of communism and dixiedemocratism that will need to be erradicated from our collective psyche if we ever want to have a truly free country.
A free Cuba cannot be a racially divided society. Or with citizens without birthrights, or with a classless level of citizens or divided in ghettos. That's a nightmare scenario, even worst that castroism.
Big Kudos to Henry, by the way.

jacobo marley said...

le llego un tio...

Vana said...

Henry has seen the light, I must congratulate him on that! but that gigi the comments there what a racist! she wants the border walled up and wired, as you say Manuel, a sad thing indeed.

Anonymous said...

Henry has seen the light. Val is less combative and Babalu's writing has improved. RCAB has managed to accomplish all of this in less than a year. Congratulations! Now if you could only train poodle, your work will be done, my brother.

Anonymous said...

why do you label a person a racist because they believe in closing the borders? Don't other countries in the world protect their borders?

Vana said...

Anonymous 6:24pm

Why do we have an open border with Canada? because they are white, that's why, I don't hear any one crying about that, but if you look Latino then the borders should be walled and wired, sorry but that is racism in my book.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

I always laugh when I hear the term Afro-Cuban, it always strikes me as redundant. Without the Afro, there is not Cuban. In the U.S., the slaves went on to contribute greatly to the American culture, in Cuba they became the culture together with the Spaniards. No African + Spaniards (add a spoonfull of Chinese) = No Cubans.

My own sense of Cuban racism is that it has been an acquired taste. Back in Cuba in my childhood it was the provenance of that sector of society that looked to the U.S. for guidance on everything from their wardrobe to their ethical orientation. I could be wrong, I was merely a 12 year old when I left, but that is how it feels to me even now that I'm not quite so innocent.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


What you say is very true. If you could remove the African contribution from Cuban culture, what you would have left is gallegos living in caves. A bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but not by much. That's the history of Fidel Castro's own ancestors before his family settled in Cuba.

I also agree that racism is an acquired psychosis and this is the place to acquire it.

Where I disagree with you is that the upper classes in Cuba segregated themselves from blacks. Their relations with blacks, on all levels, were much closer than those of the guajiros with blacks, if only because of geographical considerations.

Grave de Peralta is a name con abolengo in our country. If you speak to the older male members of your family, you will find that their interactions with blacks were far closer than you imagined as a 12-year old boy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, with all due respect, I don't get it. So, you all have the theory that racism in Cuba didn't exist before Castroism. . .?

I think people are people and we all have prejudices and some of us are more, to the point of racists. Manuel, you, yourself called gallegos as cave dwellers in a derogatory term.

I know a great deal of Cubans and they are just like any other nationality with prejudices and the like.


Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...


I don't have time for a full response, but I would just like to clarify that when I said "that sector of society", I did not mean to imply the upper classes. That "sector" was comprised of some upper classes, some middle and even a few lower. Don't have time to elaborate right now.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


They were cave dwellers well in the 20th century. I do not think they are cave dwellers now.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

Manuel, me imagino que todos los Grave de Peralta queremos creer que somos descendientes de Belisario o de uno de sus hermanos. Yo no lo e investigado much para poder segir imaginandomelo.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Your family's genealogy is included in Historia de Familias Cubanas, the Conde de Jaruco's monumental 9-volume study of Cuba's First Families. You don't have to do any original research. It's all there and so are you (or certainly your father).