I think we’ve all agreed that racism and ethnic slurs are not OK in 2015, haven’t we?
Maybe we haven’t.
In today’s world, a lot of bigoted/racist/xenophobic sentiment creeps up not overtly, but in the subtle ways that are less perceptible. For example, we all constantly hear racist jokes, see stereotypical costumes and read publications with magazine covers that equate “spicy” Latinos with “chili peppers” and the like.
LatinoRebels.com has been very consistent in criticizing such actions again, and again, and again and again. I applaud LR for it, because our society needs a voice to point out these less overt, but nonetheless harmful elements of our public discourse. As myself, I personally have spoken out and against bigotry, stereotypes and ethnic insensitivities that are commonplace in our daily life, by commenting on Latino Rebels’ Facebook page (and my own page), as well as on my own pro-immigration album, Panamericano.
The retort to all this, of course, is to relax, that it’s just a joke. Laugh it off. No harm is meant by it.
But is it really? Many argue that it is actually harmful, in subtler ways, because it obscures the humanity of a group of individuals behind facile stereotypes. Especially when redundant ethnic stereotypes are the scant drops of information out there. Bottom line: subtle jokes, images and casual remarks have more impact than people think.
For example, did everyone laugh at The Daily Show’s recent segment with Al Madrigal about El Yebe? While much of this was actually funny, one thing stood out like a sore thumb to me: the subtle insinuation that Cuban Americans like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz somehow aren’t “authentic” because you know, they’re Cuban. (See 2:03 of the video.) To say that Cuban Americans are somehow less authentic (or less qualified to speak on Latino issues by mere virtue of being Cuban) is the exact same kind of subtle and insidious bigotry that the above Latino Rebels articles are fighting against. Latinos are all races, all colors and all ideologies. Even if you think that the policies of Rubio and Cruz stink, or that they are sellouts, or even if you think these two U.S. senators are insane—they are no less Latino for it.
But somehow, it seems acceptable in the Latino community to attack Cuban Americans on a level that goes beyond attacking the merits of one’s politics. It’s somehow acceptable to attack and question the “authenticity” of Cubans.
Nonetheless, if that were the extent of it, I could live with it. But it goes deeper. Too often I hear Latinos attacking Cuban exiles or Cuban Americans not for their (perceived) political views but instead on an ethnic level. Why is this OK? How can someone get angry over the stereotyping of Latinos but then turn around and slam Cuban Americans with by saying they are “not Latino,” or even worse—some going as far as using ethnic slurs?
And that brings me to the bigger point of this piece, which is to discuss the term gusano. Gusano (“worm” in English) is specifically directed at Cuban exiles, an ethnic subgroup (i.e., Cubans who are not living on the island of Cuba). In some circles, it’s considered acceptable to use such slurs against Cubans, simply because of their perceived beliefs or other such ridiculous reasons.
Please do not respond to say that “anyone of any race can be a gusano” or that “it’s an ideological term, not an ethnic one.” That is patently false. My family, friends and fellow Cuban Americans all know the history of this word. It was created by the Castro regime as a propaganda tool. It refers to (and is solely meant to) discredit the entire group of Cubans living outside of the island. It was created to discourage collaboration and communication between Cubans on the island and off the island. It was created in order to make two sides of an ethnic group become enemies, instead of family, based on their geography.
Sadly, this slur was adopted by Castro supporters—and somehow, suddenly, it because OK in some circles, even academic circles, to call an ethnic subgroup of human beings “worms.”
This is hate speech. There is no other term for it. It’s just not acceptable by the social standards of today. And yet, I’ve even seen some Latino Rebels readers use the term without thinking when commenting on the site’s Facebook page.
In essence, when one uses this term, you are calling me and all other Cuban Americans and Cuban exiles “worms.” Just as if you used any other ethnic slur against a single individual or several individuals—it offends the entire group.
Therefore, I would ask the entire Latino Rebels community to be on the lookout for this ethnic slur, and categorize it as what it is: hate speech. How can we possibly live in a world where it’s highly offensive to use ethnic slurs EXCEPT a select one or two groups? Or to say (or even joke) that one subgroup “doesn’t really count?”
Dave Sandoval is a Cuban American musician.
[…] note: The term “gusano”, apparently first used by Fidel Castro himself, is used by Leftists to refer to anti-Communist Cuban […]
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Hahaha, of course a reactionary capitalist fuck like you would deliberately leave out the only important part of the word “gusano” – class. It means the rich owner-class right-wing Cubans who fled to preserve their ill-gotten wealth. That’s the entire point of the term. Yet another example of capitalist worms such as yourself trying to use the surface-level language of “woke” identity politics to betray poor people of color.
Fantastically lucid reply. You said, it, man. Thank you, Hermano.
Thank you for your comment, but you forgot to mention that their ill-gotten wealth was created because of the Jim Crow system at the US imposed.
All of Latin America calls them “Gusanos”! This was a PR piece that discredits this website.
Fuck yeah! I don’t need to say anything after your reply! Fuck the gusano piece of shit that wrote this. Not sorry your family lost their slaves.
I’m not Cuban and in my country slavery was abolished a long time ago, they also call me gusano just because I’m Latin American, so shut up, gringo
Gusanos arent an ethnic-sub group you dense fucks. Trying to make it about race and ethnicity when it has nothing to do with it. Boohoo “Castro took my family’s slaves and my grandmas pony! If you call me a gusano, you’re a racist!” STFU Gusano
Sounds like something a gusano would say.
Gusano has always been about the maggots who started crying for american intervention when their slaves got liberated by Castro, and you’re a bougie gusano for pretending that isnt true.
Shut the fuck, Gusano. Still crying cause Fidel took away your slaves? The only thing Fidel did wrong was letting all of y’all’s grandparents leave the island instead of sending them to work camp so they could contribute to society for once.
You’re all scum and you’re all filthy gusanos
¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva Fidel! ¡Viva Che Guevara! ¡Viva la revolución! ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
dilo’durooo. off with the capitalist racist settler gusanossss!!
Lol shut up gusano
Waaaah Fidel took my grandparents latifundia!
¡Ño gusano Ño!
how about cipayo? do you like that one?
The gall of this site and this shameless maggot, Dave Sandoval (assuming he’s for real and not just a cartoon for imperialist disinformation), to lecture us on what “gusano” means and plead, like a repulsive American liberal marinated in identity politics correctness, that we refrain from using the term “gusano”. Well, I got news for you: Gusano is a perfectly legitimate term. It’s clear and it’s honest. It was created to describe Cubans who for whatever damn reason—religiosity, class hatred (the most likely), sheer imbecility—allied themselves –often criminally–with the hypocritical empire to hurt and destroy the efforts of revolutionary Cubans to build an independent egalitarian state. We are talking class war here, folks, and class war is never easy, never pretty, but that terrible fact does not erase the basic truths: Why was a revolution needed in Cuba, and who are these gusanos, class wise? The answer is clear: They are/were the beneficiaries of the old regime of class exploitation and oppression, the business guys, the latinfundistas, their henchmen and collaborators, who gladly accepted gringo help to sink the revolution. In sum, GUSANOS ARE ANTI-PATRIOTS, TRAITORS TO CUBA. These people only deserve contempt. Finally, for a site that carries the label “Latino Rebel”, it’s pretty laughable you publish a duplicitous jerk like this. What are you trying to pull? You think you can fool us? I think my brother “HavanaBanana” said it very well (others, too!):
“Shut the fuck, Gusano. Still crying cause Fidel took away your slaves? The only thing Fidel did wrong was letting all of y’all’s grandparents leave the island instead of sending them to work camp so they could contribute to society for once.
You’re all scum and you’re all filthy gusanos
¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva Fidel! ¡Viva Che Guevara! ¡Viva la revolución! ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”
PS/ Saludo fraternal a los hermanos realmente anti-imperialistas que comentaron aquí.
Gusano says what.
Callesse pinche gusano! Vales verga!
Gusanos contrarevolucionarios callaos! Nunca venceran a la revolucion Cubana!
¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva Fidel! ¡Viva Che Guevara! ¡Viva la revolución! ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
Too bad Castro let his family go instead of just putting them up against a wall.
Fuck you, Gusano
As a cuban-american from miami, I would like to now formally title you a gusano. is it cool if i say it?
ALL OF YOU THAT LOVE CASTRO .. NEED TO GO TO CUB AND STAY THERE AND ENJOY ALL THE LEFT COMMUNIST BENEFITS.
PLEEEEEASE GO… ENJOY DONT EVER COME BACK
exactly what a gusano would say
Sounds exactly like what a fkn gusano would say you worm
Your “source” for gusano being “created by the Castro regime as a propaganda tool” literally just says that Castro called people that. That’s it. If you have to lie about the origins and uses of the word, you might be a gusano.
Love that this comment section is still fuming. Fuck you, Dave.
no quería ser lo que era,
lloraba y lloraba
lágrimas de seda.
Se escondió en su capullo
para que nadie lo viera
El gusanito no quería ser gusano,
quería ser otra cosa.
Su deseo fue realizado,
se convirtió en norteamericano.
Fidel was too merciful. He should have fed every last traitorous, slave owning worm to sharks. Get fucked, gusano. The revolution is still alive and well.
[…] to attack and question the “authenticity” of Cubans [as Latinos],” as Dave Sandoval recently put it in a piece he wrote for Latino Rebels. Cubans are a diverse bunch. In thought and in culture. And like any […]
Oh my god you have GOT to be joking. You know claiming something that has nothing to do with ethnicity or race is an ethnic slur waters down what “ethnic slur” really means and encompasses right? Sure, let’s rightfully call people out on their politics and not make assumptions on their opinions based on their backgrounds, I agree. But goddamn, this is like a gringo being upset at being called a gringo. Cállate, gusano.
Folks, don’t be a gusano like this author, be a Fidel!
There is a huge issue in this whole Cuba back and forth. It is worth acknowledging that many of the folks exiled from Cuba were and are victims of the Castro regime. It is also worth acknowledging that Cuba needed a revolution when they got one, and the American embargo has cost lives in Cuba. It also can’t be stated strongly enough that Castro, Che, and the Castro regime are CRIMINALS. Don’t ever make apologies for cold blooded murders and authoritarian despots, the Cuban people have never been allowed anything resembling choice in their government. The false binary of Cuban people vs Cuban exiles needs to go, and if you are on either extreme of this issue you are wrong, and you are part of the problem.
One hundred percent correct my friend
You sound like a fucking gusano. You wouldn’t be denouncing felgencio Batista like that, now would you? Let me guess. You’re a white gusano piece of shit aren’t you?
I love that there are comments as recent as today, and we all know exactly why lmao
Gusano isn’t an ethnic term, but a class term. The gusanos are the literal human garbage who hold rallies and go on tv begging the US imperialists to starve their country with sanctions and bomb it to murder their own people. Even the word worm is too good for them.
Gusano is a perfectly fine term to hurl at anti-Cuba Cubans. It is political, not ethnic. The Cubans who love their revolution, as they should, call the crap that slithered to Miami gusanos. If it’s good enough for the lovers of the revolution, it’s good enough for me.
Anybody here supporting the use of the term is a fucking idiot leftist piece of shit who has fallen to the propaganda. Slavery was abolished in cuba in 1886 and those expelled by castro included a very very small portion of wealthy elites and rather lots of regular people like school teachers and journalists. Not everybody that has left the island were wealthy whites in the 1960s. People have left as recently as a few years ago and those people include many people of color who will tell you that people of color are also included in the oppression in Cuba. There are many escaped black Cubans in Miami and elsewhere who will gladly tell you that white Cubans are just as oppressed in Cuba and that nobody deserves to be starved and deprived of property and other rights. But no, you’d rather listen to Fidel. You know was a rich, white, elite, plantation owning gusano piece of shit? Fidel himself. Research his family. Elite bastards from Spain. Fidel grew up rich, traveling the world on a wonderful education. But you won’t call him out on that wont you you stupid commie fucks? So boohoo that your piece of shit revloution is over and people have opened their eyes and it’s all finally coming down with the protests. Fidel and Che and all those lacky thugs are in the ground rotting in hell. Thank you very much to the author of this article for pointing out how communist wannabes think its okay to belittle Cubans. Goodbye and goodnight
t. Gusano imperialist cripple degenerate
This article was written by a gusano. Viva Fidel por siempre.
[…] idolize the likes of Castro and Ché as a weapon of the tongue against Cubans who left the island. It’s an ethnic slur. It’s hate […]
A pendejo gusano wrote this propaganda
First world problems. Only a Bastia descendent with a victim complex whose family owned slaves in 1950s Cuba would pretend to be offended by the word Gusano.
How about we start calling your kind Negrero(Spanish for Slaveowner) instead.
my gusano readings are off the fucking charts
You made that up your Gusano POS. Casto’s father was a farmer not a slave owner like that rest of you.