Sitting in her home in one of Santiago de Cuba’s residential neighborhoods, smiling and calm, retired Mercedes Lina Cathcart spells out her strange surname before sharing her view about racial discrimination. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in the country.
“There hasn’t been open racial discrimination here in Santigao,” this philologist deems, who was born to a Jamaican father, and still advises students at her 81 years of age. “You always feel it yourself, although it hasn’t been a limiting factor in my life,” the former university professor continues.
Cathcart adds that “yes, there has always been discrimination against children of Jamaican and Haitian immigrants. We always felt that,” although she doesn’t know whether this still applies today to the many descendants (mostly black and mixed) of immigrants from neighboring islands.