Fidel Castro on Social Equality in Cuba

I am not claiming that our country is a perfect model of equality and justice. We believed at the beginning that when we established the fullest equality before the law and complete intolerance for any demonstration of sexual discrimination in the case of women, or racial discrimination in the case of ethnic minorities, these phenomena would vanish from our society. It was some time before we discovered that marginality and racial discrimination with it are not something that one gets rid of with a law or even with ten laws, and we have not managed to eliminate them completely, even in 40 years.

There has never been nor will there ever be a case where the law is applied according to ethnic criteria. However, we did discover that the descendants of those slaves who had lived in the slave quarters were the poorest and continued to live, after the supposed abolition of slavery, in the poorest housing.

There are marginal neighborhoods; there are hundreds of thousands of people who live in marginal neighborhoods, and not only blacks and mixed race people, but whites as well. There are marginal whites, too, and all this we inherited from the previous social system. I told you that our country is on its way to a new era. I hope someday to be able to speak to you of the things we are doing today and how we are going to continue to do them.

We do not have the money to build housing for all the people who live in what we could call marginal conditions. But we have lots of other ideas which will not wait until the end of times and which our united and justice-loving people will implement to get rid of even the tiniest vestiges of marginality and discrimination. I have faith that we will succeed because that is the endeavor today of the leaders of our youth, our students, and our people.

I shall not say more, I am simply saying that we are aware that there is still marginality in our country. But, there is the will to eradicate it with the proper methods in order to bring more unity and equality to our society.

From Cuba Issue Collective speech in New York's Riverside Church, September, 2000