For Department of Homeland Security Boss, Black Cuban Lives Don’t Matter

“If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” proclaims Department of Homeland Security boss Alejandro Mayorkas, directing his remarks to Haitians, whose president Jovenel Moïse was recently assassinated, and Cubans protesting the Communist regime. News reports on developments there have overlooked a few realities.

Cuban president and Communist Party chief Miguel Diaz-Canel was not elected by the Cuban people. He is a successor to Raul and Fidel Castro, the Sado-Stalinist who ruled the island since the 1950s without a single election. His Communist regime was so oppressive that many Cubans fled in anything that floats. Many perished at sea but those who made landfall in Florida were accepted as refugees.

In April of 1980, Fidel Castro suddenly announced that all Cubans wishing to emigrate could board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana. Some 125,000 Cuban “Marielitos” as they became known, made it to U.S. shores. Many were Afro-Cubans and they referred to Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud, formerly the Isla de Pinos, as the Isla de la Esclavitud, which could apply to the entire nation.

An Afro-Cuban Marielito had worked the cane fields for months and was given the right to purchase a bicycle. Afro-Cuban Marielito Eduardo Rodriguez, a teacher, had established that African slaves during the Spanish colonial period ate better than Cubans under the Castro regime, known for strict rationing.

The Mariel boatlift was a one-off and Cubans continued to flee. As the New York Times reported in 2014, after eight failures Leonardo Heredia and friends cobbled together a boat using a Toyota motor, scrap stainless steel, and plastic foam and made it on their ninth attempt. Cubans continued to flee but U.S. policy changed.

As Keysweekly reported on July 2, since October, the U.S. Coast Guard has interdicted 512 Cubans. The would-be refugees are “held at an undisclosed location and returned in groups to the island nation.” What happens to them on return is not disclosed but it is possible to guess.

For Joe Biden, Cuba is only an “authoritarian” regime, but as their signs proclaim, Cubans are protesting el comunismo, la dictadura and demanding libertad. If they take to the sea, Alejandro Mayorkas will not allow them into the United States. The DHS boss, incredibly enough a Cuban immigrant, recalls the bounty hunters who returned slaves to their masters.

Cuba’s 800,000 African slaves were more than twice the number in the United States. Cuba did not abolish slavery until 1886 and there was no Cuban equivalent of the historically black colleges in the USA. By some estimates, only one-third of Cubans are whites, like the Castros and Miguel Diaz-Canel. Two-thirds of the Cubans population is composed of blacks and those of part African ancestry. DHS boss Alejandro Mayorkas must believe that black Cuban lives don’t matter.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
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