Castro in Durban
jenyan1 at uic.edu
Sat Sep 1 12:03:31 MDT 2001
We cannot analyze racism without linking it to the
conquest and exploitation
DURBAN.- President Fidel Castro criticized all forms of
racism and noted that the phenomenon cannot be approached
without linking it to the effects of Third World
Today August 31, the Cuban leader took part in a
roundtable with 14 other heads of state, mostly African,
attending the World Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related forms of
Intolerance, which opened today at the Durban
International Conference Center.
Fidel Castro spoke of his perception of former and
contemporary racist ideologies, gave a brief run-down of
African and Asian history and refuted racism and other
forms of exploitation of the people.
"We have a rich world and a poor world, and a situation
such as that is intolerable," he emphasized.
"Can these problems of racial discrimination be studied
without thoroughly evaluating the historical exploitation
to which they are connected?" the Cuban president asked.
"In terms of the issue occupying us, " he added, "I
exhort this world conference to make a sincere analysis
of it. It is the tine to create an awareness and gain
ground in terms of our objective," he affirmed.
Later in the session, he commented that following an
argument expressed by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Ugandan
leader, he ratified the fact that all human beings
originate from Africa, "we all share a common cradle.
"Thus I have recourse to my right as an African," stated
the Cuban head of state, one of the invited presidents to
have traveled the furthest distance to attend the
anti-racist summit, boycotted by the United States before
Almost all the countries of the African continent were
colonized. That side of the Atlantic was a hemisphere of
millions of potential slaves," Fidel noted.
Even the Eskimos were "civilized," which, in the parlance
of those times, above all meant destroying native
customs," he observed.
"The major part of the world has been the object of
conquest or exploitation, and we cannot analyze racism
independently of this exploitation and these conquests,"
"Those of us who have been enemies of racism all our
lives have a solid humanist disposition," he maintained.
"Science has come to demonstrate totally the opposite of
what racist ideologies advance. This scourge has received
a hefty philosophical and scientific blow with research
into the human genome," the president recalled.
"As intelligent beings, we all come from the same tree,
from the same region. There are different levels of
intelligence in the world, but that does not give anybody
the right to enslave others," he emphasized.
"If Einstein had been born in Soweto he would not have
been a genius," he pointed out.
"How many sages have been lost in Africa, where 41% of
the population is illiterate, through the fault of
colonization?" Fidel asked.
Later during the session, in reference to Palestine, the
Cuban president noted that Israel had established 64
military zones or bantustans there, where some 1.2
million people are living in a situation which he
qualified as worse than that existing under apartheid
He likewise detailed the persecution of Europe's Gypsies
and the situation of Mexican migrants and the fact that,
last year alone, 500 persons from that country lost their
lives on the border with the United States, some victims
of person trafficking and others at the hands of groups
created to hunt down Mexicans.
That figure, covering just one year, is higher than all
those who died during 29 years of the Berlin Wall's
existence, he observed.
Fidel's speech came after other participants in the
roundtable reviewed the colonial experience in their
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni expressed his
conviction that the African peoples will overcome the
consequences of their "exploitation" without trauma,
after recalling that humanity was born on that continent,
under whose earth the remains of the first hominids have
THE COLONIZERS CREATED THE BASES OF OUR ETHNIC HATRED,
AFFIRMS PRESIDENT OF RWANDA
Nevertheless, Paul Kagame, head of state of Rwanda,
emphasized that it was the colonizers who laid the bases
of our ethnic hatred, in allusion to the genocide which
cost the lives of close to one million persons in his
country in 1994, victims of confrontation between
distinct ethnic groups.
Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal, made reference to
historical studies that "establish that whites in the
colonial period believed that black people had no soul,"
to underline the "abomination" of slavery.
Finally, Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat exposed what he
viewed as "the colonization and aggression currently
being suffered by our people on the part of Israel, which
he charged with maintaining "a mentality of racial
Arafat called for the conference's final communiqu "to
clearly state what is happening in the Middle East," in
reference to the controversy over the possible inclusion
of a condemnation of Israel in what is to be known as the
The World Conference Against Racism, in which
approximately 8,000 civil and governmental delegates are
participating, continues its sessions until September 7.
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