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Matanzas, a City with an Afro-descendant Identity.

“The African injection in this land is so deep, and so many capillary currents intersect and intersect in our well-watered social hydrography that it would be a miniaturist’s job to untangle the hieroglyph.”

Nicolás Guillén.

Since the mid-sixteenth century and mainly since the second decade of the nineteenth century, the presence of African peoples in Matanzas framed each municipality, neighborhood or place in society. His stay for more than 450 years had an impact and left its mark on all political, economic, cultural and social spheres. Today we say that the population of Matanzas is the present image of the African component, who has contributed to the formation of Cuban nationality and the identity of our province.

Matanzas became, and is, a piece of Africa. Their descendants preserved purely African customs, cultures, beliefs and traditions. Preserving an incalculable legacy for history, to which we from Matanzas owe what we are today, a mixture of rumba and color, under the sage and aché of these ancestors who are always present in our blood.

Strolling through our province and touching the ruins of a sugar mill or a barracks, is to feel the pain of the oppressed or the machete with a desire for freedom. It is to write processes of transculturation and miscegenation between both peoples, and to demonstrate the significance that the deep footprint of the holocaust of trafficking had for Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and America. It is partly to demonstrate that the African black man could not be enslaved by his spirit, nor his freedom to think, feel and resist as the history of our country tells us; where Africans and descendants created a culture of resistance that lasts to this day, shining at the top of our political, social and cultural history.

Giving the conviction that Matanzas is deeply Afro-descendant, yes, everyone, black and white, mulattoes and Indians, Matanzas, Cubans, we are children of the land where humanity was born. Being Matanzas a city, which due to its characteristics should be granted the privilege of being an eternal site in the invocation against the slavery of races, xenophobia, prejudice and racial discrimination that exists in the world today. Going one step further, to rise up against the nefarious centuries of slavery, colonialism, underdevelopment, racial segregation and social exclusion that Africa is experiencing. Giving them the encouragement to face and overcome the great challenges that the African peoples have before them and reaffirming that we are brothers united by ties greater than our own blood.

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