Did I not predict back in 1994 that Reverend Al Sharpton would some day become the conscience of the civil rights movement?
Yes, I did.
Today, Rev. Sharpton redeemed that promise when he publicly denounced the Castro regime for its systemic persecution of Cuban blacks. What for others may seem an aberration to be regarded with suspicion or bemusement is for me the blossoming of a character and fulfillment of a destiny.
When somebody does something right, I don't look into their motives and I let God concern Himself with the purity of their hearts. The fact remains that Al Sharpton is the first black leader to denounce Castro's mistreatment of blacks in 30 years. The others were 1960s black militants who fled to or chose to live in Communist Cuba and learned firsthand there that the"Socialist Paradise" was far from colorblind. The most famous of these radicals, Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, wrote that not even in the deepest South at the height of Jim Crow had he seen anything comparable to the official persecution to which blacks were subjected in Castro's Cuba.
In denouncing the Castro regime Rev. Sharpton has done what Jesse Jackson never did. His trips to Cuba were always intended to publicize himself not the plight of Cuban blacks. His relations with Castro were in every way "fraternal," and because he was not a critic of the regime and much less an advocate of civil rights in Cuba, Jackson was rewarded with numerous political prisoners whose release was credited to him. Having shown his solidarity with the Revolution, Jackson returned a "hero" to the United States thanks to Castro's "largesse" in disposing of his human trophies.
More than 30 years after he first went to Cuba, Jesse Jackson has yet to condemn Castro for human rights abuses. Neither has Nelson Mandela, who is on record as affirming that he will never condemn Castro. Barack Obama, if elected president, has pledged to meet with Raúl Castro without prior conditions, that is, without demanding any changes whatever in the regime. This has always been the official Castroite position, and in adopting it as his own Obama has in effect already capitulated to Raúl before even meeting with him.
It is at this ominous moment in Cuban-American relations that Reverend Sharpton has taken his historic stand on behalf of black Cubans. If he were successful in securing the release of Cuba's political prisoners by publicly challenging the regime, I would be surprised. Still, he has ended the silence and that is just as important. African-American leaders never tired of condemning South Africa, yet for 50 years, longer than apartheid existed in South Africa, they have lent support to Castro's white oligarchy which subjugates a predominantly black population. Reverend Sharpton's denunciation ends a half-century of complicity and may encourage other black leaders to take the side of the race not of an alien ideology that means them no good.
With Jesse Jackson referring to blacks as "niggers" and calling for their castration, and Barack Obama castigating blacks for their supposed moral failings as men and fathers and what used to be known in the bad old days as "shiftlessness" in order to ingratiate himself to his mother's folks, it may well be that Reverend Sharpton's time has come, as I predicted long ago.
It will certainly come if Brack Obama is defeated. I have to believe that in his heart of hearts he's wishing that even more than me.
[I am looking for that prophetic clipping and will post it as soon as I find it. It was written in the wake of an attempt on Sharpton's life in 1994].