There’s a lot about Cuba that I don’t know.
When news of Fidel’s death hit, I didn’t pretend to be excited or saddened. Unlike white folks who speak to Serena Williams’ version of feminism, I kept quiet and observed. Again, when you don’t know shit about a topic; keep quiet, do your research, and even still, refrain from sharing your unwanted opinion unless asked. It takes discipline, but I promise your blog, website, etc… won’t lose readers if you sit-out one media heavy hitter.
So, while my friends debated whether Fidel was important to black struggle, Cubans danced in Little Havana, Florida, and Alice Walker wrote beautiful poetry, I researched Cuba.
What I learned is that Cuban affairs, like most things, are not black and white. Furthermore, America’s history with the country is messy and shockingly roots back to imperialism and capitalism. According to A brief History of the United States and Cuba, a Vox short video, the relationship started back in the 1850’s.
Since then, there was a court decision that discussed how the United States would occupy space and policy on the island nation, an uprising in 1933, that whole Batista vs. Fidel thing, a little help from Russia, the reason for Little Havana, and President Obama’s historical visit since President Calvin Coolidge (visited in 1928).
Vox takes 160 years of complicated history and packages it in an easy to understand video.
From there, decide what aspect of the Cuban-American relationship to research. If you’re like me, you’ll soon find yourself down a rabbit hole — follow the rabbit, not just because it’s 4/20, but because you’ll end up asking great questions and it is important that you have a grasp on foreign affairs.
As a lover of travel, my goal is to understand how the countries I visit operate. I encourage everyone who is excited to post-up next to cool cars in Cuba to do the same. Have something more to say about the Cuban experience than I had a great Cuban sandwich.
Tierra Taylor is a graduate of Syracuse University. She is a Creative Assistant at Essence Magazine. To learn more about Tierra, follow her on Instagram @tierrajtaylor.