Developer Rick Caruso held an early lead, but as the California Globe reports, last Wednesday, “with more mail ballots being counted,” votes for Rep. Karen Bass suddenly shot up to an “insurmountable” 53.1 to 46.9 percent lead. This post-election-day surge recalls California’s 2010 election for attorney general.
Willie Brown’s former girlfriend Kamala Harris was so lightly regarded that the Democrat-friendly Sacramento Bee backed Republican Steve Cooley, also strongly endorsed by law enforcement. Cooley was far ahead on election night and proclaimed victory. Three weeks later, after frantic ballot harvesting by Harris’ campaign workers, the Democrat prevailed by 0.8 percent.
If anybody thought this was ballot fraud it would be hard to blame them, and the same goes for the election of Bass. The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus has also shown some strange ideas on leadership.
“The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba,” said Bass in a statement after Fidel Castro passed away on November 25, 2016. Democrats had often praised Castro, but Karen Bass used the official designation, Comandante en Jefe, for a white Communist dictator one generation out of Europe.
Fidel Castro’s father Ángel Castro y Argiz immigrated from Spain in 1906 and ran a sugarcane plantation. Fidel attended Catholic boarding schools and the University of Havana where the law student “organized violent gangs” for “political aims.” The revolution of the late 1950s included not a single Afro-Cuban, and the Communist Fidel was Commandante en Jefe for more than 50 years, with not a single free and fair election.
Fidel Castro drove a formerly prosperous nation to sub-Haiti levels of poverty. His repression was such that thousands of Cubans fled at the first opportunity, leaving everything behind, at great risk to their own lives. That is why the Straits of Florida have become a graveyard without crosses.
Castro’s repressions were a matter of record since the 1960s, but in 2016 they escaped notice by Karen Bass, who also ignored the island’s legacy of slavery. According to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, of the 10.5 million Africans who survived the Atlantic crossing, only 388,000 came directly to North America. By contrast, Spanish colonizers brought 800,000 slaves to Cuba, where they forced Africans to toil in sugarcane fields.
As R. Denise Hawkins of the National Association of Black Journalists explains, slavery endured in Cuba until 1886, but “Unlike in the United States following slavery’s end, there were no separate schools or Historically Black Colleges and Universities established to educate those who had been enslaved.”
In the 1990s, according to Hawkins, Cuban blacks “tumbled further economically,” after the Soviet Union ended support for its Caribbean colony. In 2005, 73 percent of Cuban scientists and technicians were white, along with 80 percent of University of Havana professors. “Blacks were unemployed at double the rate of whites,” and “jails held 85 percent darker-skinned Cubans.”
Hawkins fails to mention Afro-Cuban dissidents such as Eusebio Peñalver, harassed and tortured during 28 years in Fidel Castro’s prisons. Also escaping mention are Cuba’s dissident Damas de Blanco, blacks prominent among them, whose goal is freedom for all Cuba’s political prisoners.
The Cuban regime claims that black and mixed-heritage people are about 35 percent of the population. For Julia Cooke, author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba, the figure could be as high as 72 percent, a strong majority. Castro’s revolutionary movement, Cooke explains, was “dominated by middle-class white men,” and apart from General Juan Almeida Bosque, black Cubans “remained unrepresented in the political leadership.” For those in the know, such as publisher Roberto Zubrano, “racism is alive and well in Cuba.”
The African American Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus was uncritical of an all-white Communist dictatorship headed for 50 years by Sado-Stalinist Fidel Castro. That was no obstacle to Democrats, who put her on the list for the Joe Biden’s running mate.
Cubans must still endure food rationing and the most brutal repression in the hemisphere. At the first city council meeting, African Americans should ask mayor Bass if Fidel Castro ever did anything with which she disagreed.
Mayor Bass, a former California Assembly speaker, must also deal with city councilman Kevin de Leon, a former California Senate boss, who recently compared an African American child to a Louis Vuitton bag. City Council president Nury Martinez said the child “parece changuito” meaning, “he’s like a monkey.” Martinez has resigned but de Leon refuses to step down. Angelenos are now gathering signatures for a recall.
In an October 16 interview, Bass said the “language that’s used” was “not as bad as what they were actually doing. Which is, you know, cutting up the pie in a way that would hurt black people.” Despite the racist language and redistricting, Bass did not call for de Leon to resign.
Meanwhile, on the election front, California and the nation could take a lesson from the National Football League. Crucial plays are reviewed and “replay officials collaborate with senior officiating staff” in New York and the game’s referee to ensure a timely and accurate review.
In similar style, votes cast after election day, particularly mail ballots, should be automatically reviewed by an independent body. That would ensure a fair and accurate outcome for the people. And as in the NFL, the game should not proceed until the penalty has been marked off.