April 10, 2009
Although I live in Florida, I am fortunate to do so 300 miles away from the rotten, corrupt political environment that pervades every bit of life in Miami, this unique American micro cosmos.
Many years ago, at the height of the “Special Period” in Cuba, when food, medicine, transportation, electricity and all other basic means of survival was nowhere to be found and the life and wellbeing of an entire nation was at stake, tens of people of the most diverse, ethnic, social or political organizations, walked the halls of the U.S. Congress and Senate, searching for and pleading with every politician or their staff, to pay attention to the human tragedy that was unfolding in Cuba.
Some listened politely, a few responded with compassion, most others expressed indifference or outright support for the divine punishment that had befallen the Cuban people, for straying away from their religious past or for embracing a foreign ideology.
As our sub-group of 4-5 individuals left a Congressman’s office, I noticed Congresswoman Carrie Meeks in front of her office, engaged in a lively conversation/farewell with a group of youngsters, apparently on school break. I approached the group, she looked at me and said nothing. I waited until she bid good bye to the group.
After my salutation, I identified myself as an Afro-Cuban hoping to share with her the enormous pain and suffering the Cuban people in general and Afro-Cuban in particular were enduring as a direct result of the U.S. embargo and the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern block countries with whom Cuba held the bulk of its commercial/financial exchange. I also gave her a copy of my handout “A Cuba in Diaz-Balart’s Image or that of Today’s Miami“, which she promised to read and get back with me. She never did!
Years later, her son Kendrick Meeks was elected to Congress in the same district in which his mother was elected, which happens to be where my father lives . Hoping to congratulate him, I tried and failed to meet him twice at his Miami office . Months later, I heard a disturbing set of his political pronouncements and alignment with the ultra-right-wing, rabid Republican Cuban-Americans groups in south Florida, which led me to write to him, hoping to provide him with some historical background of the tragic experience of being Black in Cuba and living under the Di az-Balart family dynasty in Banes, where they were the slave drivers for the United Fruit Company.
Months after, as I drove in front of his offices on 183rd St. in north Miami on my way to my father’s home, I decided to stop and inquire about my letter. No one in his office acknowledged knowing anything about it, presumably because it was sent to his Washington office. I asked his aide, if it would be OK if I would send her a copy of the previous letter, which I hand delivered weeks later and... still no reply to this day.
Years ago, U.S. Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm decided to relocate to Palm Coast, Florida. We met, greeted and I attempted to share with her, this burning concern, but she respectfully suggested I brought this issue to another person, since she was an ordinary citizen, retired from politics.
Then we learned, Ms. Chisholm was ill, convalescing and unfortunately later died. A fitting and moving funeral with military honors took place at the AME Church. At the end of this sad event, as we left, friends and acquaintances met and greeted in front of the church and in the parking lot. I spotted a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus whom I had visited in their offices in DC, I went over to say hello and welcome them to Palm Coast.
Suddenly out of no where, U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meeks walked-up to the group, hugged most present and gave me a wide and friendly smile, as he innocently asked, can you help me remember if we met before? I said not personally, but I have written to you twice without an answer.
He asked me for my business card and promised he would personally look into that matter, until today.
Since, I have followed closely and listened intently to his statements. Regretfully, I must admit, that for reasons unbeknown to me, U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meeks and especially now with his bid for a Senate seat, is fully in the fold and under absolute control of the ultra-right-wing Cuban-American mafia in south Florida, the same group of people with blood still dripping from their hands, for untold crimes committed in Cuba especially against people of African descent, who they despised and continue to despise to this day.
Their track record with the Afro-American community and with the recent emigrant community from Central America in south Florida, speaks volumes of their racist, despicable behavior towards those deemed inferior.
It would have been great to have another member of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, who was aware of and supportive of the struggle, suffering, hopes and expectation of millions of sons and daughters in and outside of Africa. Tragically, as it has happened before, there is always one of “ours” willing to side with our victimizers, eager to earn their trust, by using their melanin content to divide and weaken our spirits.
The cause of black people will continue to suffer because of his actions and that of others like him, but we will prevail in the end. Too many dignified, heroic blacks in our turbulent history have known and have been consequent with their socio-historical responsibility and have been willing to suffer, put their lives on the line and pay the ultimate price.
Lumumba was cruelly hanged by his tormentors. No one knows or care who these monsters were, but his place in history is un-erasable.
Holden Roberto, Savimbe, Buthuleeze sided with the Afrikaners and their Apartheid system, but no one in the world today remember their heinous action or whatever have happened to them. Nelson Mandela heroic struggle for freedom, has been etched in granite forever.
Few people if any, remembers the name of Andres Teran, Felix Rodriguez or any of the others Lilliputians charged with murdering Che Guevara in Bolivia. Che is known, revered around the world and has become of symbol of resistance to all.
What would Mariana Grajales, the heroic mother of the Cuban nation think about U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meeks behavior, who could well have been her great grandson, allied with the worst of Cuba and recklessly tarnishing the memory of her entire family, who were willing to pay the ultimate price in defense of Cuba’s Dignity, Independence and Sovereignty?