Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leading author of The New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project, has came under fire after comments she made in 2019 about socialism making Cuba one of “the most equal” nations in the world was unearthed.
According to The National Pulse, which first reported on the controversy, the comments about Cuba’s socialist society was part of an episode of podcast Conversations hosted by the Ezra Klein, editor-at-large and founder of Vox.
“Are there candidates right now, or even just places, that you think have a viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda? And if so, what is it?” Klein asked Hannah-Jones, who laughed and said she wasn’t an “expert on race relations internationally.”
“If you want to see the most equal, multiracial dem… it’s not a democracy—the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” Hannah-Jones replied, citing socialism as the reason behind the alleged equality.
“Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people of any place really in the hemisphere,” she continued. “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.”
Also reported by The Pulse was an op-ed published by The Oregonian in 2008, in which Hannah-Jones wrote a glowing op-ed about Cuba’s achievements that she said were overlooked by the Western world because of the prevalent narrative that “Cuba is poor. Cuba is communist. Cuba violates human rights and represses dissent.”
“Education is the cornerstone of the revolution. Nearly everywhere among the magnificent Havana architecture signs speak of equality and liberation through education,” she wrote, before moving on to praise Cuba’s universal health care system, which she said “is seen by many as a world model.”
The remarks sparked renewed criticism of Hannah-Jones as the Cuban people stand up against the communist regime that has been ruling over the Caribbean nation since 1959. In the largest anti-regime protests in decades, people went out on streets in cities and towns across Cuba, including Havana, to not only rally against chronic shortages of food and basic goods, but also call for the end of the communist dictatorship that caused their suffering.
“Please go to Cuba and stay in Cuba—Nicole Hannah-Jones,” wrote Mercedes Schlapp, a senior fellow at the American Conservative Union. “The anti-American factions in our own country fail to understand the horrors of communism.”
“I think one should be required to live in the country one believes is superior for a year before endorsing it as preferred location over one’s own country,” another suggested.
Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators on Saturday gathered in Washington D.C., holding up signs reading “Freedom for Cuba” while calling on the Biden administration to take action in support of Cuban people who demand change.
“[When] this many people get together and chant someone has to listen,” Amanda Velazquez, a protester from Miami, told ABC-affiliated WPLG. “We are trying to tell [President Joe] Biden we are here in your front door on our knees to help us to help our people. They are suffering through a system that completely failed them and oppressed them for 60 years.”