U.S. blacks blast Cuba on race relations

Dec. 9, 2009 at 12:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A group of African-Americans says Cuba's record on protecting the rights of its black citizens is poor.

A declaration of protest signed by 60 prominent African-Americans, including Princeton University professor Cornel West, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and actress Ruby Dee, asserts that Cuba is harassing its black residents and is stifling civil rights activists, CNN reported Wednesday.

"We cannot sit idly by and allow for decent, peaceful and dedicated civil rights activists in Cuba, and the black population as a whole, to be treated with callous disregard," the declaration reportedly says.

CNN says the document also demands the release of jailed mixed-race human rights dissident Darsi Ferrer.

Havana, meanwhile, issued a response, saying in part: "To say that there is a 'callous disregard' among us for black Cubans, that civil liberties are repressed for reasons of race and to demand an end to 'the unnecessary and brutal harassment of black Cubans who defend human rights' would seem to be a delusional farce," the U.S. broadcaster reported.

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