Hannah-Jones made the eyebrow-raising remarks about the Communist regime in a 2019 chat with Ezra Klein, the National Post reported last week.
“Are there candidates right now or even just places that you think have a viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda, and if so, what is it?” Klein asked Hannah-Jones, who casually laughed at the question while admitting not being an “expert” on race relations internationally.
“If you want to see the most equal, multiracial democ … it’s not a democracy — the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” Hannah-Jones responded, citing socialism as her reason.
“Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people of any place really in the hemisphere,” she went on.
“I mean, the Caribbean — most of the Caribbean, it’s hard to count because the white population in a lot of those countries is very, very small, they’re countries run by black folks, but in places that are truly at least biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality, and that’s largely due to socialism, which I’m sure no one wants to hear.”
Hannah-Jones’ remarks have resurfaced as fed-up Cubans take to the streets to ask for freedom from the dictatorship, fair access to food and medicine, and the departure of President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
The demonstrations, which started last Sunday, mark the largest public display of disapproval upon the Communist regime in decades.
On Saturday, Díaz-Canel blamed the nation's unrest last week on the US embargo.
Critics instantly jumped on Hannah-Jones’ remarks.
“Please go to Cuba and stay in Cuba – Nicole Hannah-Jones,” tweeted Mercedes Schlapp, a senior fellow for the American Conservative Union. “The anti-American factions in our own country fail to understand the horrors of Communism.”
Others took issue with Hannah-Jones’ statement that Cuba could serve as an integration model for the United States.
“Yes, all the Cuban people are suppressed ‘equally’!!!” one tweet stated. “Send Nikole to Cuba!”
The National Post stressed that Hannah-Jones further praised Cuba in a 2008 op-ed in The Oregonian titled “The Cuba we don’t know,” while praising its high literacy rate, the lowest HIV infection rate in the Western Hemisphere, along with “free college” and health care.
“Black Cubans especially are wary of outsiders wishing to overthrow the Castro regime,” Hannah-Jones wrote back then.
“They admit the revolution has been imperfect, but it also led to the end of codified racism and brought universal education and access to jobs to black Cubans. Without the revolution, they wonder, where would they be?”
Hannah-Jones made headlines again recently when she declined an offer of tenure from the University of North Carolina after being tapped to be the school’s chair in race and investigative reporting.