Supporting the Cuban Jim Crow?
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained a new fan the minute that he took a stand by kneeling during the National Anthem to protest the treatment of African-Americans in this country.
A little of his luster wore off when he informed the press that he did not vote during the 2016 election, because how can one complain about the system without trying to change the system at the ballot box?
However, he totally lost that luster with his praise of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The fact that the 49ers played at the Miami Dolphins right after the death of Castro made his comments even worse because Miami has a large Cuban population, many of which fled the island country to get away from his oppressive regime.
According to CNN.com, “Over a teleconference call, Kaepernick reportedly praised Castro for investing in Cuba’s education system, as opposed to the American investment in the prison system.”
With all due respect to Kapernick’s right to voice an opinion, that is like praising Saddam Hussein for curbing terrorism despite brutally oppressing his enemies in Iraq for decades.
The fact that a serial killer helped keep one old lady safe does not make the serial killer a good person or erase the atrocities that they have committed.
The fact that a gangster gives turkeys to poor families during the holidays does not make up for the countless dead bodies he or she is responsible for or the many lives that have been destroyed by his or her drugs.
According to Biography.com, “Castro’s regime has been credited with opening 10,000 new schools and increasing literacy to 98 percent. Cubans enjoy a universal health-care system, which has decreased infant mortality rates to 11 deaths in 1,000 (1.1 percent.)
“But at the same time, civil liberties were whittled away, as labor unions lost the right to strike, independent newspapers were shut down and religious institutions were harassed.
“Castro removed opposition to his rule through executions and imprisonments, as well as through forced emigration. Though there are no exact numbers, the Cuba Archive estimates that tens of thousands were murdered, with a documented 5,600 killed by firing squads alone.
“Even more Cubans were killed by state forces when they tried to flee the country, which occurred during the 1980 Canimar River Massacre and the Tugboat Massacre of 1994.
So despite Kaepernick’s praise of Castro’s dedication to education and healthcare reform, education does one no good if they cannot use their knowledge freely and openly.
Universal healthcare, and being healthy in general, does not make a difference when one is staring down a firing squad.
Furthermore, there is no reason that any African-American can praise a dictator who took away rights of many Cubans, but then protest America for not upholding the rights of African-Americans.
No matter what type of relationship Castro had with Malcolm X, what he did to help Black people or what he did for Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur, supporting Castro is just like supporting slavery and Jim Crow.
If the African-American community wants other demographics to empathize with and support their struggle, they must do the same for other communities suffering the same oppression.