Havana (Dec. 9)
There is no race prejudice in Cuba and Jews are welcomed here, Dr. Octavio Zubizarreta, the Minister of the Interior, stated to-day in an interview with the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, who was received in the presence of L. Santiago Trucio, the military commandant. The interview was arranged in connection with the recent reports of anti-Jewish measures projected in Cuba, and the anxiety over the anti-Jewish speech delivered here recently by Deputy Dr. Mencia, a member of the Government Party at a banquet given in honour of the former Foreign Minister, Senator Francisco Mario Fernandez, in which he said: “he shall not permit the dirty Jews to choke us” (reported in the J.T.A. Bulletin of November 26th.).
The majority of tourists to Cuba are Jews, the Minister of the Interior said, and they have always been accorded a cordial welcome. “We make no distinction of race and nationality in Cuba, and there has never been any hatred in our country”, he concluded.
Deputy Mencia did not express the sentiments of either the Cuban Government or the Cuban people, the Minister declared, and his remarks were the purely private expression of an individual, for which the Government cannot be held accountable.
The Minister of the Interior also said that the threat of deportation which has been hanging over 800 members of the Jewish Cultural Society of Cuba for alleged Communism has been withdrawn, and he declared his belief that only a few of the members are Communists. The Minister indicated, moreover, that the Society will shortly be permitted to reopen.
“I believe”, Dr. Zubizareta said to the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “that the Jewish Cultural Society is not a Communist organisation and that only a few of its members are Communists. I believe that when the investigation is concluded, it will be possible for the Society to reopen”
The Minister stated that he would take up the matter at once with the military and police authorities responsible for the closing of the Society’s headquarters and the arrest of a number of its members.