Dimitri Prieto, writing for Havana Times, discusses the impact of Haiti and Haitians on Cuba in the wake of a column published b y Fidel Castro on the subject in the May 25 issue of Granma. Here are some excerpts with the entire article accessible through the link below:
The unfolding of events following the Haitian revolution had a great influence on the history of Cuba. We became a powerful player in sugar production because the Haitian State abandoned the sugar market; we received sizable waves of immigration at the beginning of the nineteenth century from French refugees with their coteries of slaves who founded a large part of our coffee plantations; and in the first half of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of Haitian migrant workers worked in Cuba for the national and US agribusinesses.
The Haitians brought the Vodou religion to Cuba. The great anthropologist from Santiago de Cuba, Joel James, who studied that culture, says that hundreds of Haitian workers were massacred and literally thrown into the sea during the period prior to 1959.
A strong xenophobia existed against them in Cuba, as well as anti-black racism, leading to events that could be characterized as genocide or ethnocide. They were the last card in that deck, however. The revolutionary triumph of 1959 put an end to such occurrences, although a certain degree of prejudice against the Vodou religion remained. This prejudice still exists, even among some of those who practice other belief systems of African origin.
For more go to http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=9966