Lesson for the Congressional Black Caucus

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Dr. Darsi Ferrer is a courageous Afro-Cuban physician and pro-democracy leader, who was arrested on July 21st of this year by the Castro regime.

He remains confined without trial.

In order to protest his unjust imprisonment and inhumane prison conditions, Dr. Ferrer began a hunger strike 17 days ago. He is reportedly in a dangerously frail physical condition.

Yesterday, he ended this hunger strike at the request of the leaders of the Black Movement of Brazil, who simultaneously sent a letter to Brazilian President Lula da Silva urging him to "intervene with the government of the Republic of Cuba on behalf of the rights" of Dr. Ferrer.

The letter, signed by Afro-Brazilian political activist and former legislator,Senator Abdias Nascimiento, further appeals for the Castro regime "to cease each and every one of the acts of intimidation against Cuba's anti-racism activists," for Dr. Ferrer has been an outspoken critic of the Castro regime's apartheid policies.

During Brazil's military dictatorships in the 60's and 70's, Nascimento was internationally-recognized as a leader of the Pan African Movement and elected Vice-President and Coordinator of the Third Congress of Black Culture in the Americas.

Contrast this solidarity to the attitude of some Members of the U.S.-based Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC").

Last April, its Chair, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, together with Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, Rep. Laura Richardson of California and several other Members reaped praise upon the Castro dictatorship during a visit to Cuba, while refusing to meet with -- or even appeal on behalf of -- Dr. Darsi Ferrer or other courageous Afro-Cuban pro-democracy leaders and political prisoners.

Ideology should never blind fact.