Somehow this doesn’t surprise us.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the much-ballyhooed Pulitzer-prize winning creator of the 1619 Project and almost-journalism professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, is in the news again for touting Cuba’s socialist dictatorship as a model for equality in the Western Hemisphere in a podcast back in 2019.
Hopefully, you are aware that tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets last week in mass protests over daily blackouts and shortages of food, medicine and essential products as the Cuban economy appears to be collapsing. The scenes and messaging were reminiscent of the same struggles the people of Venezuela have endured since moving to a socialist dictatorship under Hugo Chavez in 1999.
In the 2019 podcast with Ezra Klein of Vox and The New York Times, Ms. Hannah-Jones said, when asked whether there were candidates or places that she thought had a “viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda,” that:
“The most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” Hannah-Jones said, as reported by the publication. “Cuba has the least inequality between Black and white people anyplace really in the hemisphere. I mean, the Caribbean, most of the Caribbean it’s hard to count because the White population in a lot of those countries is very, very small. A lot of those countries are run by Black folks. But in places that are truly at least biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality. And that’s largely due to socialism—which I’m sure no one wants to hear.”
The article went on to point out that according to an article in the National Pulse – Hannah-Jones had written an op-ed piece in The Oregonian in 2008 that praised the overlooked accomplishments in the country, including a very high literacy rate, a low HIV infection rate and a “model” universal health care system. In that article, she also wrote that the Cuban revolution led to the “end of codified racism” and brought about universal education and access to jobs for Black Cubans.
Sounds like, when things didn’t work out for Ms. Hannah-Jones at UNC-CH, that instead of Howard University, she and her radical views could have just as easily been welcomed in her apparent dream locale – Havana.
The alliteration could have been interesting at least. Just think – “Havana” Hannah-Jones.
Clearly, somebody at UNC-CH didn’t do their homework. Or due diligence, or whatever you want to call it. That preeminent journalism school in North Carolina was about to bring in a reporter paid with taxpayer money to teach college students – who had been a vocal cheerleader for the murderous Cuban communist regime.
We have known many fine Cuban refugees who escaped Castro’s and fled to freedom in our country. Many left high positions and wonderful jobs as doctors, lawyers and businessmen and women so suddenly they were left with nothing and had to survive in the U.S. doing menial labor.
Those refugees knew the value of freedom firsthand – many leaving behind friends and family who suffered under an iron-fisted totalitarian regime that does not allow freedom of speech or freedom of the press.
It is frustrating that U.S. foreign policy limits keep our country from being able to help the freedom-seeking people only 90 miles to our south. Hopefully, those courageous individuals who have taken to the streets will not “disappear” and the movement for freedom will prevail.
Back here in the U.S. – the protestors’ fight for freedom has served one good purpose: it has exposed for all to see those vocal supporters who have praised Cuba and its despicable, anti-freedom, communist government.
Including “Havana” Hannah-Jones.