Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Open Email to Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez: Imprisonment is an occupational hazard for activists who make mistakes!

All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)

The Inheritor and Continuator of the Revolutionary Theory and Practice of
Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Kwame Ture

Part 1 of 3 parts – December 14, 2009
An Open Email to Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez:
Imprisonment is an occupational hazard for activists who make mistakes!

Dr. Ferrer,

You are accused of illegal possession of two bags of cement that cost about $8 in state-owned stores. Yusnaimy Jorge Soca, your wife, has publicly said, in the Uncommon Sense blog, that “When he was arrested, the police raided our house, supposedly, due to [a] tip that we were buying construction materials with an illegal origin. During that fake search in our house, they confiscated two bags of cement and some metal sheets. … What nobody understands is, why they didn’t show any interest in the bag of cement, the gravel and the sand piles we have had in the house’s front porch, in plain view, for almost a year?” She also said that you were using the cement to fix a hole in the ceiling of your house. If this is true, this was not a political act. It was an error, with tragic repercussions for you, your family, and the people and cause you serve. We beg you, as members of the A-APRP (GC), to not compound this error, this tragedy, by attempting to politicize and build a movement around your case. We speak to you as your older sisters and brothers. We speak to you from experience---collective and individual.

You know that stealing from state workplaces in Cuba, the “rerouting of resources,” is so common that some Cubans dismiss it as an acceptable part of daily life. Cubans call it “por la izquierda,” on the left. In November 2005, Fidel calculated that this “rerouting” could be costing the state as much as $200 million. He accidentally discovered state workers boldly selling stolen construction materials in a public market, and reportedly asked, “Just how many ways of stealing do we have in this country?” Raul has called it a “deadly cancer,” plaguing the Revolution. In March 2009, he allegedly replaced most of his cabinet, “in part, on the grounds that they were too cozy with foreign business men and lax in controlling graft beneath them.”

Corruption in Cuba did not begin in 1959, when the July 26 Movement seized power. “There is hardly a period in the history of Cuba,” according to Robert Buddan, on page 97 of The Foundation of Caribbean Politics, “that is not replete with descriptions of corruption in government, through every administration.” In 1942, according to Wikipedia, “the British Foreign Office reported that the U.S. State Department was “very worried” about corruption under Fulgencio Batista, describing the problem as “endemic” and exceeding “anything which had gone on previously.” Batista was African. He was also a prostitute and a pimp for U.S. Mafia bosses and businessmen, who by the way were European. Eduardo Chibas dedicated his life to fighting corruption under the presidencies of Ramon Grau and Carlos Prio. Dating as far back as August 23, 1498, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain sent Francisco de Bobadilla to Havana to relieve Christopher Columbus, and his two brothers, Diego and Bartholomew, of their command in Cuba. They were accused of mismanagement and of being rebellious subjects. They were arrested and shipped back to Spain in chains. When it became clear to the Monarchs that Bobadilla had abused the trust they placed in him, they ordered Columbus’ release, and assured him of their royal favor. But they did not restore him to his position as Governor of the West Indies.

In their paper, Housing Policy in Castro’s Cuba, Teddy Kapur and Alastair Smith, report that from 1959 to 1993, the housing stock in Cuba grew 80%, with the construction by the government of 1.3 million dwellings, while the population only grew 57%. The largest population growth occurred in the African community. The gusanos, the Cuban worms, fled to the comfort and safety of Miami. That exodus was overwhelmingly European/persons of Spanish descent. “The staggering need for housing,” according to Kapur and Smith, “has left the government in a perpetual chase to build enough units to distribute to needy families. … From 1971 to 1985, the need for housing grew from 745,000 units to 888,000 units.” The proportion of housing in good or average condition grew from 53% in 1953 to 83% in 1993. Leaseholders in government housing pay no more than 10% of their income on rent. The actual range is from 3-7%. The average state employee makes $10 per month. The price of vacant lots was set at $4 per square meter. Homeownership in Cuba is 85%, higher than in the African community in Chicago. A typical apartment in Havana is valued at between 4,500 to 10,500 pesos. Between 1996 and 2000, 141,000 units were added and 250,000 units restored in the Habana Vieja district. One half of these units were through individual efforts thanks to remittances from Cubans in Miami and one half through governmental efforts. The cost of rehabilitating all of Havana is estimated to be $14 billion.

Members of our organization, the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC), have traveled to Cuba, for more than 4 decades. And we will travel to Cuba again, again, and again. We do not respect, accept, and will not obey the illegal and immoral ban on travel to Cuba. We know how the people of Cuba live, because we stay with them, not in tourist hotels. We know that one of Cuba’s greatest needs is for paint and cement. We know that Cuba is a major producer of cement, for the entire Caribbean, but its production capacity is outstripped by its needs; and severely damaged by the illegal and immoral embargo which the government of the united snakes has imposed for more than 40 years. Cuba is also suffering, like many countries in the Caribbean, from a wave of hurricanes that ravage its infrastructure. Thanks to its planning and organization however, the best in the world, few casualties are sustained. We have heard that the penalty for stealing a cow is higher than for killing a child, a woman or a man. If so, it should be, since that cow, in its lifetime, produces milk for thousands of children, and will feed, when it can produce no more milk, hundreds of women and men.

Dr. Ferrer,

Corruption is also pandemic in the united snakes, from Wall Street to the White House to the Governors Mansion in Illinois and the Mayor’s Office in Chicago. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell Barrack Obama’s senatorial seat to the highest bidder. Blago is also accused of attempting to “use a $1.8-billion tollway project as a carrot to lure $500,000 in campaign contributions” from a Toronto-based cement company. These are not political acts! Michael Scott, the chairperson of the Chicago School Board, an African, plead guilty to misusing his School Board credit card to pay $3,000 in expenses for his and his wife’s trip to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. His death, whether by murder as some believe or suicide as the coroner and police have ruled, is not political! The Mayor of Baltimore, an African woman, was recently convicted for buying a Nintendo with gift cards that were donated to the City for distribution to the poor. Her crime was not political! It was a crime against the City of Baltimore and all its citizens. She is not a political prisoner!

Theft of public resources and public trust, the creative “mobilization of resources,” is called many names in Chicago, including “pay-to-play,” patronage, etc. The bourgeois Nationalist Movement calls it “nationalization,” not socialist nationalization, but nationalization for individuals and elites, and justifies it by saying that they are taking back what the slave masters, the imperialists stole from us. Some call it “reparations” for the crimes they committed against us during our almost 6 centuries-long and continuing Maafa (1415 to today). But, there can be no justification for theft from the people, from the people’s institutions, from the people’s state. There can be no justification for stealing xerox paper or toilet paper from Bennett College, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Maryland at College Park, the Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University or Princeton University; or for stealing pennies from the collection plates or frozen chicken from the kitchens at Trinity United Church of Christ and Allen Temple Baptist Church. God forbade it, and the laws of Cuba and the united snakes forbid it as well. Corruption and confusion—moral and spiritual, political and economic, is also pandemic in the civil and women’s rights, nationalist and Pan-African Movements in the united snakes and worldwide, and in the church as well. It is a ticking time bomb that is waiting to explode/implode and be exposed.

Our Party, the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC), is the inheritor and continuator of the revolutionary theory and practice of Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Kwame Ture. We have supported the Cuban Revolution since its victory in 1959, and will continue to do so. We will not join forces with the enemies of the Cuban Revolution, who are also the enemies of African and World Humanity, not even to save our own lives. We are asked to support you, simply because of the color of your skin. You and we know that this request is unacceptable. The A-APRP (GC), adheres to the principle of class as primary in relationship to nationality, as enunciated by Ahmed Sekou Toure who correctly said at the so-called 6th Pan-African Congress in Dar es Salaam in 1974: “Fidel is more of a brother to me than Mobutu.” We say today, for the entire world to hear, that Raul is more of a brother to us than Batista or Carlos Moore. The class implications of this statement are undeniable, correct and clear.

Dr. Ferrer,

The crime that you are accused of is not political; and you are not a political prisoner. If you had those bags of cement, as your wife reported, and can not produce a valid receipt documenting there purchase, then you are guilty of possessing stolen property, the peoples’ property, state property at the very least. You are simply another brother who made a mistake, a tragic mistake, like millions of our brothers and sisters who are languishing in prisons in every corner of Africa and the African Diaspora. You are at best, a socio-economic prisoner, not a political one. If you insist that you are a political prisoner, please explain to us what your political ideology and objectives are. We beg you to not make another mistake. Please, do not be misused by forces that have no regard for you or for African People in any corner of the world. Do not become a pawn, cannon fodder, in a filthy and immoral game. It will be tragic for all forces concerned.


The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC) is confident that you and the highest levels of the Cuban government will insure and protect Dr. Ferrer’s civil rights, especially his human and civil right to a just, impartial and swift hearing. We know the Cuban Revolution will ensure his health and safety while he is incarcerated. We are also confident that you will continue to root out and crush corruption in any and all of its manifestations and forms, in Cuba in general, and in the housing and cement industry in particular, without pity or mercy, without regard to national (race or ethnicity), gender or age, status, stature or situation. Oppressed humanity will be forever grateful to you!

Ready for the Revolution!
Members of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)

See also:
Part 2: Open Email to African Intellectuals: Conscience cannot be sustained on a foundation of corruption!
Part 3: Open Email to Dr. Carlos Moore: We are known by the company we keep, and the lies we tell!

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