Outspoken quarterback Colin Kaepernick is at it once again! Many of you already know that former Cuban despot Fidel Castro died in Havana late Friday night. But only hours before the dictator’s death, Kaepernick was publicly interrogated by Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero, who was outraged by this San Francisco 49ers star wearing a somewhat controversial t-shirt back in August, which contained an image of Fidel Castro. Salguero called Kaepernick an “unprecedented hypocrite” for always speaking about fighting oppression and then wearing a shirt featuring a long-time bone crusher and human rights violator. This reporter was visibly upset over Colin proudly displaying and promoting a man who ruled with an iron fist over Cuba from 1959 to 2008. Colin uses America’s free speech to get his political message across, yet defends a man who doesn’t believe in freedom of speech.
In all fairness, Kaepernick’s t-shirt didn’t only feature Fidel Castro. This t-shirt displayed black-and-white photographs of the meeting between Castro and Malcolm X in September 1960 at the Hotel Theresa in New York City. So, it’s not like he was wearing a huge selfie of Fidel on his shirt. Kaepernick would also defend Malcolm X for meeting with Castro, referring to the move as “open-minded.”
The interviewer quickly struck back, asking Colin, “So, it’s good to have an open mind about Castro and his oppression?” Kaepernick would quickly switch topic back to Malcolm X, “I’m not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression, I’m talking about Malcolm X and what he’s done for people.”
But then very quickly, Colin flips the switch and starts to defend one of Castro’s policies, specifically Cuba’s educational system. Kaepernick said, “One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that.”
Cuba doesn’t have the highest literacy rates, but they’re pretty damn close. But still, knowing how to read Don Quixote probably won’t get you away from the dungeon or firing squad. In his article, Salguero writes, “Could it be Cuba doesn’t have to invest a lot in its prison system because, you know, dungeons and firing squads (El Paredon) are not too expensive to maintain?”
The reporter than pressed Kaepernick on how Fidel’s regime would break up families. The reporter also said that our (US) government does not break up families like Castro’s regime. “We do break up families here,” Kaepernick responded. “That’s what mass incarceration is. That was the foundation of slavery. So, our country has been based on that as well as the genocide of Native Americans.”
Salguero seemed shocked that Kaepernick would equate the (mass) arrests in America to that of Cuba’s most destructive policies. But Kaepernick is simply “equating the breaking up of families with the breaking up of families.”
This is true, Colin. The United States does lock up more people than any other country on the planet. This should not be trivialized. And Castro’s human rights violations shouldn’t be trivialized or put to the side either. But if you’re going to speak out against systematic oppression, why defend a systematic oppressor?
According to Human Rights Watch, “Cuban citizens have been systematically deprived of their fundamental rights to free expression, privacy, association, assembly, movement, and due process of law. Tactics for enforcing political conformity have included police warnings, surveillance, short-term detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and politically motivated dismissals from employment.”
Here’s a recording of the interview, so you can hear the drama unfold in your ear drums. Please excuse this YouTuber’s (mocking and inflammatory) labeling of the interviewer in the title of the video, which insults Mr. Salguero’s intelligence. I don’t share this opinion, though I am more concerned with getting this recording out there to the COED audience:
We also have the video interview of Colin Kaepernick back in August of this year, wearing his now-infamous “Fidel Castro meeting with Malcolm X” t-shirt. Take a look yourself: