Havana, Dec 22, (RHC).- The story of the Independent Party of Color (PIC) in Cuba, from its founding in1908 to the massacre in 1912 of more than 3,000 of its black and mulatto members and supporters, is a chapter of history largely unknown within Cuba and abroad.
Knowledge of the PIC and the 1912 massacre was buried by the various capitalist regimes in Cuba between then and 1958. Even after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, these events remained little-known.
The story of the Independent Party of Color is intertwined with the legacy and reality of racism in Cuba. The 1959 revolution eliminated all legal forms of discrimination, including segregation practices imposed on Cuba during the U.S. military occupation following 1898 thus opening the door to unprecedented gains by blacks and mulattos and their fuller integration into all aspects of Cuban society.
The decision last year by the Communist Party of Cuba to establish a commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the PIC´s founding was of great importance, not just in rescuing this historical chapter from oblivion, but as part of addressing the challenge of combating the legacy of racism today.
The commission's president is Fernando Martinez Heredia, a noted Marxist author and essayist and winner of the 2006 National Social Sciences Award. Other members include Digna Castañeda Fuertes, professor of Caribbean studies at the University of Havana; Marta Cordies Jackson, director of the Fernando Ortiz African Cultural Center; Eusebio Leal, official historian of Havana; Rogelio Martinez Fure, National Folkloric Ensemble of Cuba; author and poet Nancy Morejón; Leida Oquendo, the commission´s executive secretary and a member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences; veteran journalist Marta Rojas; and filmmaker Gloria Rolando.