JIS News

As part of on-going activities to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic trade in Africans, the Jamaican Embassy in Havana, Cuba was involved recently in staging a discussion on Caribbean slavery and the global impact of the political, social and economic thoughts of Jamaica’s national hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The presentation earlier this month by University of the West Indies senior lecturer and Marcus Garvey scholar, Professor Rupert Lewis, was part of a series of activities held in Havana over several days.
Professor Lewis’ presentation titled, ‘Marcus Garvey’s Global Vision’, was made at the Centro de Estudios del Caribe, de la Casa de las Americas in Havana. The discussion focused largely on the impact of Marcus Garvey on black identity. In his presentation, Professor Lewis noted that people of African descent worldwide were still subjected to economic exploitation. To overcome this, he suggested that there was need for greater unity among this ethnic group.
In the question and answer segment of the event, contributions by members of the audience touched on the influence of Marcus Garvey’s works on the evolution of the Rastafari movement, the contradictions that arose between Garvey and the American intellectual, W.E. Dubois, as well as Garvey’s public comments made about the exile of Emperor Haile Selassie.
Other presentations were made by Cuban scholars and students who looked at the Garvey movement in Cuba, oral history of early West Indian migrants, Cuban Rastafarians, and issues of Cuban identity.
Those who attended included CARICOM Ambassadors from Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti and Belize; diplomatic representatives from Serbia, Mali, Egypt, Ghana and Qatar; faculty members from the University of Havana and the Casa de Americas; students and members of the Rastafari movement in Cuba.
Following the series of seminars, Professor Lewis and Jamaica’s Ambassador to Cuba, Elinor Sherlock met with members of the administration of La Casa de Las Americas to discuss areas for further co-operation between the Centre for Caribbean Thought of the University of the West Indies and the Casa de Las Americas. Already, plans are underway for next year’s activities.

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