Cuban business owner in Louisville decries BLM's 'mafia tactics'

Cuban restaurant owner in Louisville decries BLM’s ‘mafia tactics’ after receiving a letter with a list of diversity demands that he was told to meet or risk social media shaming, a public boycott or having his storefront ‘f***** with’

  • Dozens of businesses in Louisville, Kentucky, received letters from BLM protesters on July 24 
  • The protesters wrote a list of demands for the businesses that would increase diversity 
  • The list includes ensuring that at least 23% of staff are black and that 23% of the business’s inventory comes from black owned retailers
  • The activists say that the area was unfairly gentrified after the demolition of a housing complex in the 2000s and that it’s time to correct an imbalance 
  • Fernando Martinez claims though one protester told him to agree to the demands or risk having his restaurant ‘f****d with’ 
  • He says while he supports the movement, he won’t be told how to run his business 

This is the list of demands Martinez and other business owners received 

A Cuban restaurant owner in Louisville is slamming Black Lives Matter activists for sending him and other small business owners a list of diversity demands that they were told to meet or risk repercussions like ‘having their store fronts ‘f****d with’.

The letter went out to business owners in East Market District in Louisville, also known as NuLu, during a protest on July 24 that forced some of the businesses in the area to close.

It demanded that businesses employ at least 23 percent black staff, bought at least 23 percent of their inventory from black retailers or make a recurring donation of 1.5 percent of their net sales to a local black charity, and that they should display a sign showing their support for the movement.  

It also listed a series of ‘repercussions’ if the businesses didn’t comply which included a boycott, social media shaming, and an ‘invasive reclamation’ whereby black owned businesses with competing goods of services would set up ‘booths and tables’ outside the store fronts. 

They say that the neighborhood has been able to flourish after the demolition of a housing project in the 2000s that robbed the black community of opportunities and wiped out their homes. 

Fernando Martinez, who owns La Bodeguita de Mima, claims that one of the activists warned him: ‘You better put the letter on the door so your business is not f*cked with.’ 

On July 24, protesters shut down the neighborhood and, according to Martinez, issued threats to businesses

Fernando Martinez, the restaurant owner, and other members of the Cuban community on Sunday protesting against the BLM list of demands 

For the next two days after the protest, he claims he kept his restaurant closed because staff feared for their safety. It meant that more than 30 staff members were not able to earn a paycheck.

He took to Facebook to accuse them of ‘mafia tactics’ and said that while he respects the movement and wants to support it, it’s unfair for his business and safety to be threatened. 

‘There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in.  

‘All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?’ he wrote on Facebook.

On Sunday, he spoke at a rally with other members of the Cuban community to express their support for BLM but also share their position that they shouldn’t be strong-armed into anything. 

This is the letter that BLM activists gave to businesses in the East Market District of Louisville, Kentucky, on July 24 

‘There are people out there who are trying to define who I am as a man, who I am as a businessman, and who we are as a community.  

‘We need to come together as a community. We’re not an enemy of the Black community. 

‘The Cuban community is not the enemy of the Black community. 

‘La Bodeguita is open to everybody. If you’re gay, this is your home. If you’re Black, this is your home. If you’re White, this is your home. If you’re human, this is your home,’ he said.

Another said: ‘The reason we are here is because the system, because socialism doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.’  

Ahamara Brewster, who belongs to Revolutionary Black Panther Party, also denounced the approach. 

‘You’re attacking a Black-brown establishment, but you’re in the name of Black Lives Matter? Wait a minute, something’s weird about this,’ she said. 

The BLM protesters in Louisville say the list was not a set of demands but that they want to start a conversation with local businesses. 

Some have agreed to their requests, they said. 

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