Front Door to Cuba

Excerpt from
"Election and Selection" in the first issue of Previsión, August 30 1908

By Evaristo Estenoz

The Republic's elections and the Political Parties' selection of candidates from the so-called colored race have shown many tings: the first is that the colored race of Cuba can expect nothing from the procedures used to date by the POLITICAL PARTIES… We shall show that by putting forward all candidates of color, as independents, it will be apparent to all that no matter how small a minority these results produce, it will be greater than what has so far been achieved by all the groups in the various parties.

We shall have greater representation and greater consideration, not yet achieved nor likely to be achieved if we continue in the same way. This will not detract from the principles held by the majority of colored people, we shall continue to be liberals because we cannot in all decency, justifiably, be other than liberals with a conscience, with principles and dogmas, with democratic procedures and full rights as electors and elected in appreciable and distinguishable number, representing the Cuban people as they are. No people attains liberty on their knees before those who enslave them, no man can have rights if he does not make use of them, because it is not enough to have them and not know and defend the, and the age in which we live is such that not even ladies respond to lovers prostrate at their feet.

Freedom is not asked or begged for, it is won; and rights are not handed out anywhere, rights are fought for and belong to all. If we go on asking for our rights, we will die waiting because we will have lost them. Faith kills the spirit when we have faith in others rather than ourselves, because it kills initiative. This is what has happened to Cuban people of color, who have lived as an immense flock and have perished in slavery because all slaves are apt for conquest, and if at times we are unjustly labeled ungovernable, we have at least not succumbed to passive servitude.

Nobody will be able to look askance, nobody would have the right to contest the elections, deny the positions we win. Nobody can think that the peace will be disturbed when those who rule are black, when we do so with a legitimate right though suffrage as Cubans; as up until now no black sees a danger in rulers who are all white Cubans. What we blacks do see as a danger is that in all the parties we become no more than mindless instruments of all political combinations and beasts of burden for all aspirations; it has been proven this time that for any desire to be considered, for any aspiration to be met, to be thought suitable for any position, it is sufficient to be white.

Race in Cuba
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