New York Times journalist and 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones praised the communist dictatorship of Cuba for leading the “most equal” country in the Western Hemisphere.
“Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people of any place really in the hemisphere,” Hannah-Jones said in a 2019 episode of the podcast Conversations, hosted by Vox cofounder Ezra Klein. “Cuba actually has the least inequality. And that’s largely due to socialism, which I’m sure no one wants to hear.”
The National Pulse first reported on Hannah-Jones’s comments following anti-regime protests that have rocked Cuba and led to violent crackdowns from President Miguel Díaz-Canel. While some U.S. media, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Díaz-Canel blamed pandemic shortages and the American embargo for the protests, the protesters say they oppose the communist regime, with many chanting “Liberty,” “We want change,” and “Down with the dictatorship.”
Cuban Americans criticized Hannah-Jones’s comments, with former Trump administration spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp writing that “anti-American factions in our own country fail to understand the horrors of communism.”
The 2019 podcast was not the first time Hannah-Jones praised the Cuban regime. The National Pulse noted that in a 2008 piece for The Oregonian, she wrote that “Cuba has accomplished, through socialism and despite poverty,” incredible feats, including a better education and health care system than the United States.
Díaz-Canel, who took over this year as president and Communist Party first secretary from Raúl Castro, has shut down the internet, deployed anti-riot squads against protesters, and arrested dissenters. On July 13, Cuban police arrested a regime critic at her home in the middle of a live interview.
Hannah-Jones, who has not written for the New York Times in more than a year, is best known for creating the paper’s 1619 Project, a revisionist history series on America’s founding that has come under fire from prominent historians for inaccuracies.