Sessions in Havana I Meeting on racism and slavery

How part of the novelties that the great festival of Cuban literature brings to this thirty-first edition took place on the morning of February 15 this year. I Meeting on Racism and Slaverya space where interesting aspects of cultural and racial relations in Cuban society were discussed from the point of view of three prominent scholars on the subject.

University of Havana professor and senior fellow Mercedes García Rodriguez captivated the audience with an exhaustive analysis of her presentation. English Negro armchair. Factors, importation of slaves and smuggling. This work, which according to its author is still in the process of being researched, reveals little-known and in some cases unpublished data and stories about the place system that predated the slave trade in Cuba in the 17th century.

Also, the Doctor of History told the audience in detail about these actions, which at that time represented the economic system and corruption to unprecedented levels, when several companies involved in human trafficking turned Jamaica and Barbados into warehouses of people who were later subjected to the most severe conditions and sold as goods in Cuba and other parts of the Americas and the Caribbean.

García Rodríguez also highlighted terms little known to Cubans when referring to slavery, such as “black heads” or “pieces of India”; as they called the inhuman 1.75 meter tall slave traders, ideal for the forced labor they were subjected to.

Another of the guests of the meeting, Puerto Rican writer Hector Bermudez Zenon, specifically alluding to the racial discrimination that still persists in world society, asked those present to observe a minute of silence for all those who died as a result of cruel slavery and the slave trade that developed during the colonial period.

A researcher from Puerto Rico told the audience about the way the book was published. Narciso exposes his ass. The Negro in Puerto Rican Literature Isabelo Zenon Cruz, his nephew, of whom he acted as editor.

This text, which originated as an alternative dissertation for Zenon Cruz’s undergraduate degree, was a shock to Puerto Rican society at the time as it critically examined the abuse and discrimination that the black population was and is being subjected to at the time. and words found in Puerto Rican literature.

The wide expansion of Zeno’s investigation served as a pretext for many editors to ask the writer to shorten his work, in many cases with the hope that this truth contained in the article would not be revealed. The participant of the meeting with the amount he had saved in the bank, and after the decisive refusal of publishers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, began to publish this book, which sold an extraordinary circulation of five thousand copies. first edition 1974; in a country where no one published more than five hundred books because of their high cost.

“This title is a reimagining of Narciso’s story. The book begins with the words: “This is the result of 33 years of research and 33 years of abuse and injustice,” and in it Zeno’s Narcissus watches himself in a mirror distorted by a racist society, and he not only does not reveal his face, but reveals himself as a butt. I am preparing its fourth edition by March of this year and thus celebrate not only the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico, but also this great writer,” said the panelist.

Bermudez also made an appeal to the conscience of Cubans to change their ways of communicating with terms that, although they are unconsciously used in many cases in popular slang, are part of a racist and discriminatory culture that has been passed down from generation to generation. present day.

The editors of Nuevo Milenio graced the conclave with the sale of copies on a racial theme, such as “Commitment to the fight against racism” by the Aponte Commission of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), two volumes African ethnographic dictionary And Vocabulary of Central Americaand Iconography of Africans and Descendants; all written by Jesús Guanche, among other things.

Thus, it was intended to convey to the island’s readers not only this important topic, but also to bring the joy of this 31st International Book Fair a little closer to the Dulce María Loynaz Center, which has contributed to the dissemination of Cuban culture and literature for many years.

David López Gimeno, who moderated this 1st meeting on racism and slavery, emphasized that “the day, which is part of the celebration of the 31st International Book Fair, is an exchange aimed at offering novelty and at the same time continuity of cultural the life of Fernando Ortiz. anthropological event. In addition, he stressed the need to make amends for the damage caused by slavery, because, although the past period of time is great, “the magnitude of this damage is reproduced today in stereotypes and discrimination.”

“The time has come to promote the right to the reparation process of the African continent. But we cannot see this reparation only from those countries that were colonizers, but also in the African region itself, where an inhuman hunt between brothers took place, ”the writer Fernando Ortiz pointed out before the mystery of Cuban crime; where he focuses on the scholar’s anthropological input about the African footprint in the culture of the island.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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