Obama Needs to Stand Up for Cuba's Blacks

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama did a poor job selling his trip to Cuba, especially in Miami. Cuban exiles have not forgotten how Castro's revolution destroyed their country and families. While Obama is pondering his legacy, the journey to the communist island will only further divide African-Americans and Cubans in Miami.

Here's the rub. Some members of Miami's black community are happy to see the president in Cuba because it's a way to stick it to Miami Cubans who have used their power to get local government contracts and deny African-Americans jobs and prosperity.

But most Miami Cuban-Americans are not members of the Latin Builders Association and/or similar right-wing exile political organizations. To stay in power, these groups have used Fidel Castro to drive wedges between Miamians.

Many Cubans don't care about skin color. In fact, many have helped me provide community services in Liberty City by donating their time and raising money for my causes.

That's why I don't have a problem with my buddy and ESPN host Dan Le Batard's position. He didn't want to follow Obama to Cuba to report the story. I respect how he and thousands of other Cubans think Obama should not reestablish diplomatic relations with a regime that continues to oppress its people. Instead, the president's Cuba policy looks like he's just trying to help his rich white Miami Cuban buddies and Jay Z cut deals on the island.

Obama had a chance to bridge a divide between Cubans in Miami and those on the island. He should have done more to meet with the people who are being silenced in Cuba, as well as explain that he's trying to bring the island into the 21st Century by extending an olive branch.

The president should be talking about how Cuba's predominantly black population is still stuck living in the 1960s. If he had done that, he would have arrived in Cuba on a higher pedestal.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.


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