About those Fidel Castro T Shirts at The DNC...by RodStarz of Rebel Diaz
A funny thing happened in Charlotte, NC at the Wall St South protest this last weekend. The RDACBX had been invited to perform at The FestivaLiberacion on Sat Sept 1st and after the March on Sunday Sept.2nd. The RDACBX is The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, the autonomous community Hip Hop collective that 4 yrs ago turned an abandoned candy factory in The South Bronx into a 5000 square foot community center. There was 11 of us and we wanted to make sure we didnt get lost. One of our members owns an independent clothing company called MalaAndMental. We decided to go to the march in uniform as The RDACBX usually does at big marches. The choice for this march was the new Fidel Castro tshirt that MalaAndMental came out with. We figured the bright yellow colors would make us stand out and make it easier for us not to get lost. The logic behind the Castro tshirt was that we view Fidel as a true champion of the people, a man who started and continues to represent the views of revolution merely 90 miles south of the imperialist monster we call home. At RDACBX our political line is clear, we are about People Power. We decided if asked about the shirt we would symbolically say that we were campaigning for a Castro/ Chavez 2012 ticket. We live in the poorest congressional district of the United States in The South Bronx, a community where Hip Hop was born, and also a community that has historically been forgotten by the Democrats and Republicans. The South Bronx is an immigrant community, which in the late 70s, was almost completely burned down by building owners who would rather burn down their buildings and collect insurance money than sell them at lower prices.The borough is still in a recovery process in 2012. Our reality is that neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney have or ever will set foot in our community. However, in 2005 it was Hugo Chavez who arrived in Hunts Point at The Point CDC, to offer low cost heating oil to our communities poor. It was Citgo, the Bolivarian Revolution owned Oil company that set up The PetroBronx Social Program which has funded our community space for the last 3 yrs. It wasn't the Democrats or Republicans. When we put on the Fidel tshirts we expected to get attention, but never expected to get attacked the way we did by anti Cuban journalist Rafael Prieto Zartha, who at the sight of us went ballistic. His approach wasn't that of a journalist. A true journalist tries to get to the bottom of a story, tries to to find out information and asks questions. This guy was a raging lunatic, foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog at the sight of young people repping for Fidel Castro. His first statement was that we were ruining it for the immigration movement by wearing the tshirts. If he did anykind of research he would have seen us performing our song "Im An Alien" for the Undocubus riders.Throughout my life I've encountered these Anti Castro lunatics, and there's no discussion or perspective that will change their mind. Besides, a moving protest isn't exactly the best place for this type of in depth convo. I merely smiled and told him we were promoting a Castro/Chavez 2012 ticket. He went even crazier and started insulting us and then at one point tried to physically stop me from marching by putting his hands up to my chest as if to stop me from walking. This guy is an elder and I'm not gonna allow myself to get provoked by that behaviour so I told him that I was gonna beat him up if he didn't get away from us. He saw I meant business and walked away. A black cop who witnessed it all actually thanked me for restraining myself and even said he wouldn't have put up with that nonsense. I hate cops so I smirked and kept it moving. Two days later this journalist writes a crazy article that comes out in El Diario, in the Huffington Post, The Miami Herald etc... in which he talks about our encounter, but completely twists the story as if we were the aggressors. He states:
"When I was about to argue that it was a contradiction that we were enjoying a democratic activity that was impossible to do in Castro's Cuba, he simply acted like a lumpen bully and threatened to beat me."
"Luckily, the incident didnt go any further, when the leader of the group, who had braids and a small goatee, left with his group to another part of the parade and i continued observing the march."
"To those that hate this marvelous country, though it isnt free of defects, i tell them that the doors are small to come in and immensely wide for those that want to leave here in disgust, including those that come here and act like common criminals."
This bad journalist didnt bother to get our names, he even took a picture of us in which we are smiling and drinking water, not exactly running to beat him up as he described us. Maybe we were too Hip Hop for him? Maybe from his light skinned right wing point of view thats what led him to describe us as criminals? Did the sight of Hip Hop artists in a Fidel shirt offend him more than say another Anti Cuban like Pitbull degrading Latina women in a music video? I would rather rep for Castro than Obama anyday. I want a world with free education and healthcare. I want a world where its people over profits. I support a revolution that has historically fought for Africa. I support a revolution that came from within. While we were at the march, we werent there asking for immigration reform, we were chanting for Legalization for All!!! If Fidel Castro was a young man now, he would not have settled for a DREAM ACT that aims to send you to war, and will still deport your parents. Would he? They say that Castro is a dictator, when we know that the real problem is that cruel and inhumane economic blockade the U.S has imposed on the Cuban people. If the United States was really against dictators they would have been against Augusto Pinochet in Chile. The reality is that Fidel Castro is painted as an evil dictator by the U.S capitalist media and the right wing Cuban mafia that has monopolized Spanish language media. In Charlotte, the home of Bank of America, it was clearer than ever that the banks and corporations are the dictators of the United States. There was 5 cops to every protestor, proving to us that we are in a true police state. Try telling Ramarley Graham's parents in The Bronx differently. Try telling Trayvon Martins parents differently. A real democracy has more than 2 political parties. A real democracy doesnt have 3 million people incarcerated. In this country we are left with the choice of the lesser of two evils, both choices which are controlled by the corporations that run this country and not the people.
RodStarz de Rebel Diaz, Sept 7th, 2012
Check out how we caught him in the act:
Who is harrassing who here???