Nikole Hannah-Jones Is As Wrong About Cuba As She Is About American History

COMMENTARY Americas

Nikole Hannah-Jones Is As Wrong About Cuba As She Is About American History

Jul 22nd, 2021 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Fellow

Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow in Heritage's Allison Center for Foreign Policy and the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum fellow.
Special forces troops patrol at Prado Avenue following the protests in Cuba, Havana on July 21, 2021. Yander Zamora / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

BLM’s loyalty to Cuba’s communist regime betrays its dogmatic attachment to communism and disdain for actual black lives.

In a 2019 interview Nikole Hannah-Jones said, “In places that are biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality. That’s largely due to socialism."

As Omar Lopez Montenegro explained a few days ago, the advance that blacks were making electorally in Cuba came to a halt with the revolution in 1959.

Except for conservative outlets, the press has effectively minimized the news that the Black Lives Matter organization has come to the support of Cuba’s communist regime precisely at the time it is cracking down on thousands demanding its ouster. Such suppression of news cannot be good for a democracy that, more than ever, needs to know the truth about BLM.

BLM’s loyalty to Cuba’s communist regime betrays its dogmatic attachment to communism and disdain for actual black lives. Since the start of the Revolution, Cuba has been run by a clique of white men descended from Europeans (the Castro family, or puppet figleaf presidents such as Osvaldo Dorticos in the 1960s and today’s Miguel Diaz Canel).

Meanwhile, by the look of the videos we see, the vast majority of the brave demonstrators who’ve taken to the streets are black or mixed race. That would reflect the demographics of the country, despite the fact that the communist government laughingly insists that the country is only 9 percent black, because it likes to undercount the black population.

BLM is hardly alone in its rosy-eyed view of Castro’s Cuba. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the founder of the widely debunked New York Times’ “1619 Project,” is also enthralled by what she believes to be the equalizing power of socialism.

>>> Unprecedented Protests in Cuba Deserve America’s Support

In a 2019 interview with Vox founder Ezra Klein, Hannah-Jones said, “If you want to see the most equal, multiracial, it’s not a democracy, but the most equal multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba. . . . Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people of any place in the hemisphere.”

“In places that are biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality,” she added.

And why is that? “That’s largely due to socialism,” Hannah-Jones claimed.

If this sounds like communist agitprop, it’s because it is. And it came right from the source. In 2008, Hannah-Jones embarked upon a pilgrimage to Havana—the political Hajj to the world’s revolutionary Mecca that all believers in the secularist religion of Marxism must undertake—and immediately upon her return set down to write hagiography.

In one especially cringe-inducing paean, appropriately titled “The Cuba We Don’t Know,” she opened with a line that was surely spoon-fed to her by apparatchiks: In pre-revolutionary Havana, “Frank Sinatra rubbed elbows with the American mafia in Cuban casinos. Rich Americans drank mojitos in the mahogany-lined bars of the Hotel New York and the Hotel Nacional.”

That was just throat-clearing. Without a hint of embarrassment, Hannah-Jones explained that, “this summer I traveled to Cuba with six journalists, documenting the experiences of the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere . . . While there, I found a Cuba you may not know. A Cuba with a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the lowest HIV infection rate in the Western Hemisphere, free college and health care.”

“Nearly everywhere among the magnificent Havana architecture signs speak of equality and liberation through education,” she added. Where does one start? Cuba’s health system is so atrocious that the government’s botched response to COVID is one of the reasons thousands of Cubans took to the streets of some 40 cities on July 11, in protests that quickly morphed into an anti-government movement. Its architecture is crumbling—because of socialist neglect.

Communist Cuba has—does this need to be said still?—not experienced “liberation through education,” it lives under oppression.

How can we teach Hannah-Jones distorted view of American history in our K-12 schools when she can be so easily duped by propaganda junkets to Cuba?

>>> A Free Cuba at Last?

Blacks have suffered greatly under the Marxists. As the black Cuban-American leader Omar Lopez Montenegro explained to the Panama Post a few days ago, the advance that blacks were making electorally in Cuba came to a halt with the revolution in 1959. “Once Cuba became a communist dictatorship, and the democratic option was lost . . . the only way to rise politically was through appointment by the party.”

And that just hasn’t happened to black Cubans. Just as BLM, Hannah-Jones seems to be more interested in the ideological content of the party, and less in black lives. Too bad so many in the media appear content to give her fact-free musings such an uncritical airing.

This piece originally appeared in the New York Post