Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Analysis on the United States and Cuba ’s New Diplomatic Relations

My Analysis on the United States and Cuba ’s New Diplomatic Relations and Foreign Policy Initiatives: What Will the Cuban Youth Have to Say About this New Course?

By Fahim A. Knight-El


I have always had a political and culture infatuation with the island nation of Cuba . I became exposed to a book some years ago titled, "Assata: An Autobiography", written by an African American woman named Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) and I have had this book in my library for number of years and I put it on my reading list to re-read based on new current international political events that have taking place between the United States and Cuba. Assata Shakur was a former Black Liberation Army member who was convicted of killing a white New Jersey State Police officer on the New Jersey Turnpike in the early 1970s and was sentenced in a federal court to serve a life of incarceration and has now lived in exile for over 40 years.

She escaped from a woman’s federal prison in Morganton, West Virginia . It was her book titled, "Assata: An Autobiography", that inspired me to wanting to know more about the political, economic and social landscape of Cuba and its people. Shakur was considered to be a militant revolutionary activist who was deeply engaged in the Black Liberation movement and struggle in the late 1960s and 1970s (that perhaps was inspired by the Black Power movement led by Black Panthers organizers Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seales and Stokely Carmichael who radicalized the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee). Upon her escape from U.S. federal custody, she was granted political asylum from President Fidel Castro and has lived in exile in Cuba for close to forty years.

Thus, as Cuba opens up, I would like to be engaged in a fact find mission and to do a documentary of sort, in particular focusing on the Cuban youth and talking with the young people of Cuba and getting their viewpoint on what it’s like living under a Socialist government, but exploring these set of questions strictly from the minds of the Cuban youth. And getting their perspectives relative to assessing and evaluating the Socialist ideology from a political, economic and social vanish point, as well as, getting their views on the United States inspired Hip-Hop culture. Furthermore, exploring what’s been the culture impact Hip-Hop has had on the Cuban youth relative to analyzing both the social and political influences the genre have implored around the world. I would also like to engage the Cuban youth on their perception of the recent so-called normalized and diplomatic relations with the United States (pros and con analysis). And how they felt about the prior economic sanctions and embargoes that had been imposed against Cuba for over fifty years, now that they are being uplifted and do they feel that these new U.S-Cuba foreign policy initiatives will benefit the Cuban people.

I would also like to know, from the Cuban youth about their views and perspectives on their past leader and Commandeer Fidel Castro (the standard bearer of the revolution) who was viewed by some of the outside world as a controversial leader ever since he took office in 1959, and just how much they know about the Cuban Revolution (based on the demographics that I would like to speak to none of them would have been born when Castro overthrew the former Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista). And what are their perspectives on American style Democracy and would they like visiting the United States in order to get a firsthand view of the American people and the American culture.

I would like to use my activism and social agitation knowledge and energy to encourage the Cuban Government and the United States Government, as well as the United States educational institutions of higher learning to consider the educational benefits of pursing a student exchange initiatives with Cuba . I would begin by lobbing American universities and colleges board of governors and/or the board of regents to do everything in their powers to work towards establishing an educational pilot program that is based on a student exchange initiatives between the two nations, which would allow both nations (Cuban and American) university level students to get the international experience of studying abroad. Also, I would use my activism experience to galvanize alliances with progressive groups and organizations in order to work in corroboration and perhaps the idea would eventually expand to all levels of our society.

We no longer can allow isolationism, as it has done over the last 50 years to deny us as Americans and Cubans who are in such close geographic proximity of having friendly and mutual relations with this Latin American nation, being just 90 miles away from Florida and not to have had normalized relations for over five decades was politically ludicrous. In addition, my daughter is a African dancer and my son is an African drummer and they too would also like use her involvement in the arts and studying African dance under the world renowned African dance chirographer Chuck Davis (He has been the face of African dance in Durham for over 40 years and is considered a master African dance instructor and professor Emeritus) and create cultural exchanges and talking points with such a culturally rich nation. They are interested in breakdown any visible political or invisible culture barriers by using the arts to neutralize political impediments and differences by evoking culture initiatives and would like to choreograph dances that speak to the universality of the arts.

It has become a sense of urgency for me, personally, because I would like to be engaged in my study and research before the capitalist and the big corporate conglomerates begin their possible remake of this island nation, which appeared to have stood still politically, economically, and socially for over fifty year (and in doing so, it has preserved the integrity of the people and culture). I know with the new political relations that now exist between Havana and the United States government, it’s going to inspire corporate interest and perhaps provide increasing international business interest in Cuba. This island nation that has somewhat lingered in obscurity for over a half of century, is now receiving a lot of attention from the United States and the western world; this is mainly because of the new diplomacy agreements that President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro have signed on to. I personally think it is a mistake for Cuba to go down this course with the United States Government and we can only hope and pray that this new diplomacy course does not turn out to be reactionary and lead to the betrayal of the revolutionary principles, which has come define this Island nation for over 55 years.

But they are not obligated to use the same strategies and tactics of previous comrades, but they do have an obligation and duty to review the past struggles; either to confirm those principles and tenets as being valid or determine them as being flawed. Only history will provide us with the proof that an organization or movement has met the standards of being classified as progressive and worked in the interests of the people’s revolution. And yet simultaneously, it also, allows us the ability to analyze them to determine if they were reactionary and contradictory and will have a counter-revolutionary affect on the present day struggle and must be dismissed. Perhaps some would argue that the time has come for the United States and Cuba to redefine history and in lieu of progressive foreign and international policy to abandon this policy that was rooted in old era of the Cold War in particular the international politics that were aligned to the former Soviet Union (or Warsaw Nations) and those nations who tied to the United States and the West via NATO.

This new international diplomatic legislation and foreign policy course between the United States and Cuba, has given proof positive and confidence in how important these present foreign policy initiatives were so long over due—this is evident in the renewed interest in Cuban tourism by the American people and people from around the world, is trying to get a firsthand look at this once isolated Socialist country. However, I would also like to inspire the Cuban youth to view their nation (preserved culture as their national treasure) and do everything in their power to protect it. But I know the digital and information age have created technological advantages and as this Socialist nation continues to evolve, it is just a matter of time that the tech giants will be in Cuba—and as they embrace the global society this will create a new Cuba. The coming of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc., and Internet functions without borders and there is no doubt the informational superhighway will create a high level of excitement amongst the young Cuban population (for better or worse).

Yet, the preserved architecture heritage of Cuba should not be negated or overlooked and in my opinion, must remain a priority, because it is indeed a national treasure (that has international cultural and artistic implications) and they must be willing to continue to preserve the architecture beauty and the historical value it has relative to past structural designs and the colonial building styles in which some of the edifices go back to 16th and 17th century when the Spanish occupiers had colonized Cuba.

I would guess that as Cuba continues to open up; those builders and developers that specializes in creating exquisite resorts and five star hotels plans, perhaps are already on the drawing board along with other ideas to attract and enhance tourism, as well as seeking to economically exploit the projected business interest that a new Cuba will bring—the beach front properties and shorelines with sprawling hotels, restaurants and condos will be the new architecture designs and models. Surely, this type of business interest will increase revenue into Cuba ’s weak and struggling economy, but it will come with a hefty price whereas venture capitalist will put making money over Cuba ’s historical preservation and pristine value. I pray to God that I am able to experience Cuba as it is today and before the new development take place and conduct my study prior to the island becoming completely influenced by U.S. and Western culture. I do not want a tainted view of Cuba , but my interest is the old Cuba that still exists today as I write this blog.

Also, I have read Eric Williams book titled, "Capitalism and Slavery", and he delved into the economic impact the Transatlantic slave trade had on Cuba, in particular and Caribbean nations in general, I have read where Cuba in 1925 was ninety (90) percent black and African in which I am equally intrigued with the Afro-Cuban experience and the culture linkages between indigenous African culture and Africans who were displaced throughout the Diaspora. I still think that historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologist, sociologist and social scientist in general, still have a lot to learn about the Cuban society and its people. Also I would like to hear the Cuban youth views on race and racism, in particular knowing that the Cuban people have a large spectrum of colors and hues that makes up the nation of Cuba . There is no doubt, that the past miscegenation practices and/or rape of African women and indigenous women of that region by the Spaniards (ethnic and racial foot prints), which have left a light skinned mulatto Cuban and there are those Cubans who are very dark skinned and it is evident that they are closely akin to the former African slaves.

I would like to conduct an empirical investigational study on race and race relations in Cuba in order to determine does racism exist and does it have the same affect as American style racism. I believe the Cuban youth will speak with honesty and candor about issues of race. Now, going briefly back to the exiled and self proclaimed prisoner of war and revolutionist Assata Shakur; I would like to remain optimistic, that if the U.S and Cuba signs an extradition treaty, it would not include the Cubans turning over Assata Shakur and putting her in the grasp of the long arms of Homeland Security and the U.S. Patriot Act. I am of opinion, that her international legal status must have the proper international clarity as these two nations moves forward in normalizing relations.

The potential of removing Shakur’s protected exile status in which the Cuban Government has provided her with for over four decades would be unthinkable. Moreover, anything other than this position could jeopardize and compromise her international protection from the long arm of the United States Government. This would be a political travesty for the former U.S. prisoner of war by potentially allowing the U.S. government to take international legal custody of Shakur and further allowing her to becoming a political casualty of the new U.S. and Cuba foreign policy. This would be an act of political betrayal and would not represent the long term commitment and relations the nation of Cuba and Castro have had with revolutionaries and political prisoners from around the world. Thus, forty years later, she still would not get a fair trial under the United States jurisprudence system. Lastly, African Americans and all people of goodwill should be lobbying the United States Government and petitioning President Barack Obama to issue Assata Shakur a presidential pardon and commute her sentence.

Fahim A. Knight-El Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-El can be reached at

Stay Awake Until We Meet Again
Fahim A. Knight-El

No comments: