Like all Cubans, I have often heard this proverb, which refers to the ethic groups – the Kongo, or Congolese, and Carabali — of many of the black Africans who were brought to Cuba as slaves. According to official statistics, the Cuban population is 65 percent white, about 25 percent mulatto, or mixed-race and 10 percent black. However, scientists have demonstrated what popular tradition has held for some time: we Cubans are one big genetic mix, with more than Congolese and Carabali.
While it is true that very few purely Asian genes remain in our population, distinctively Asian traits were deeply imprinted on the descendants of Asian in Cuba. If you walk through Havana’s Chinatown, you will find many white and mulatto men and women whose faces look as Chinese as can be.
June marks 165 years since the first Chinese arrived at our island. In this issue of OnCuba, we would like to offer you one perspective on this subject. The well-known Cuban author Leonardo Padura – who, I suspect, is also part Chinese, part Congolese and part Carabali — comments on truth and myths about the Chinese presence in Cuba; and with Ciro Bianchi, our esteemed chronicler, we will take a trip through Havana’s Chinatown.
Our magazine tries to be a rich and diverse mixture, , like the island. In our pages, you will find everything from the excitement of watching a baseball game at the Latinoamericano stadium, to an interview with the fascinating theater director Carlos Díaz, to the experiences of the founder of La Guarida, one of Havana’s most famous paladares, or privately-owned restaurants.
Through our website, www.oncubanews.com, you can keep yourself posted throughout the month about all kinds of events on the island. Visit us, and stay tuned to Cuba.