Cuba is known for its complex history, politics, and rich landscape. However, when discussing racial politics on the island, very little is mentioned.
In 1959, Fidel Castro made history in a speech condemning racial discrimination, and two years later he declared that the Revolution had effectively eradicated systemic racism from the island. He later apologized for his statement and actions, but a sense of de facto racism was already put into effect.
Castro and the Revolution promoted the concept of la cubanidad, or "one Cuban identity"—thus, essentially erasing Cuba’s rich racial history from the overall narrative.
Forty-nine years later, Fidel’s brother, Raúl Castro, performs the inverse of his actions. However, his administration did not correct the issue of racism within the country, currently reinforced by Cuba’s budding tourism industry.
Now, with a growing population of artists and activists, Afro-Cubans are demanding discourse and change for their communities. Whether it’s through music, art installations, online forums, or community dialogues, civil rights and community organizations are working towards improving conditions for their people while also reshaping their narratives.