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Longest Serving Black Political Prisoner: Black History Month
Institutionalized racism was abolished in Cuba thirty years before Rosa Parks was thrown off that Montgomery bus. The government Castro helped overthrow had included blacks as president of the Senate, minister of agriculture, chief of the army, and Head of state, Fulgencio Batista.
Batista grabbed power in a (bloodless) coup in 1952, but in 1940 he had been elected president in elections considered scrupulously honest by US observers. So whatever racial barriers existed in Cuba at the time did not prevent a country that was 71 percent white from voting in a black president (Batista was mulatto, just like Barack Obama) - and electing him almost twenty years before Eisenhower sent federal troops into Little Rock to enforce legislation and 68 years before the first black man was elected president in the United States.
Today, Cuba's jail population is 85 percent black. The regime Castro founded holds the distinction of having incarcerated the longest serving black political prisoner of the twentieth century, Eusebio Peñalver, who was holed up and tortured in Castro's jails longer than Nelson Mandela languished in South Africa's.
Peñalver was bloodied in his fight with communism but unbowed for thirty years in its dungeons. "Nigger!" taunted his jailers. "Monkey! We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!" snickered Castro's goons as they threw him in solitary confinement.
His communist jailers were always asking Eusebio Peñalver for a "confession," for a signature on some document admitting his "ideological transgressions." This would greatly alleviate his confinement and suffering, they assured him.
They got their answer as swiftly and as clearly from Peñalver as the German commander who surrounded Bastogne got from the 101st Airborne. Eusebio scorned any "re-education" by his Castroite jailers. He knew that it was they who desperately needed it. He refused to wear the uniform of a common criminal. he knew that it was they who should don it. Through thirty years of hell in Castro's dungeons, Eusebio Peñalver stood tall, proud, and defiant.
Ever hear of him? He lived in Miami (died in 2006). Ever see a CNN interview with him? Ever see him on 60 Minutes? Ever read about him in the New York Times? The Boston Globe? Ever hear about him on NPR, or during Black History Month? Ever hear the NAACP or Congressional Black Caucus mention him?
He was a Cuban political prisoner. And as we all know, with the mainstream media and academia, that form of opposition doesn't count. Today. Castro's police bar black Cubans from tourist areas. Cuba's prominent political prisoner, Elias Biscet, is black (I won't bother asking if you've heard of him either). And exactly, 0.8 percent of Cuba's communist rulers are black. In other places they called this "apartheid."
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