I was surprised to read Val Prieto's latest post on the Estefans. It seemed to me that he had finally stopped shilling for Carlos Santana's friends and embraced a true glory of the eternal Cuba, Olga Guillot, who, unlike the very confused Estefans, knows that there isn't a "Good 'Che'" and a "Bad "Che,'" much less a "Good Fidel" and a "Bad Fidel." I had hoped that Val had learned a lesson and would never again stake his reputation or that of his blog on the good intentions of people whose God and country is the Almighty Dollar. It is never wise to praise the rich in undue measure; they don't need the tribute of words because they can buy all the words they want. Even if sincere, the praise will sound hollow and mercenary, and it will benefit neither donor nor recipient.
All signs pointed to a re-evaluation of his conduct because Val was now allowing the Valalusians to question the Estefans' conduct without threatening their critics with summary expulsion from Babalu. In fact, all who left comments on the new thread were critical (but neither more nor less critical than before). One comment in particular stood out for its clarity of thought:
The E$tefan$ probably thought that if they could get Olga Guillot, Chirino or Paquito D'Rivera to agree to be on their Santana/Che project, they could expect a pass from the Cuban American community. The problem for them is that no free, self-respecting Cuban artist would ever agree to work with Santana on a Cuban themed project!
Posted by: Jose Aguirre at April 10, 2007 12:35 PM
Aguirre is right: Santana will always be associated in the exile mind with "Che" Guevara, an association Santana has cultivated and never repudiated. For us, of course, the Estefans' collaboration with Santana cannot be viewed in any other context. Hence Aguirre's description of this undertaking as the "Santana/"Che" project is a particularly happy one. Naturally, such clear thinking could not go unchallenged, nor could the occasion be ignored which it presented to hold a red flag in front of Val and see if he would charge recklessly at the wrong person again:Again with this same b.s. about the Estefans embarking on a "Che project." If you think that the Estefans are communists, pro-Che, or pro-Fidel, you are just not living in the same reality as the rest of us.
Posted by: Dave Sandoval at April 10, 2007 02:09 PM
Well, Val did take the bait and proceeded to undo whatever progress he had made on this issue, allowing the stale undemocratic rhetoric of the past to overwhelm and cancel the more tolerant attitude which he had just assumed:
I dont think anyone is still calling the estefans communists or pro che [nobody ever called them that on Babalú in the first place]. But I for one, even after having previewed the santana clip, even after having heard two of the still unfinished tunes for the 90 millas album, still have a serious problem with a collaboration with Carlos Santana on an album dedicated to Cuba [before Val was willing to vouch blindfolded for the nobility and greatness of that project and its originators]. It is callous on their part ["callous" as in unpatriotic?], and, at best, depicts a massive disconnect with the very community they live and are a part of. [I am glad that Val now accepts the explanation for their conduct which I was the first to propose on Babalú. At the time Henry doubted it but now accepts it too as the most likely explanation]. I stated here that i would not tolerate having them called communists, socialist, fidelistas or anything of that nature and I stand by it. [The little "i" by no means excuses or mitigates the "i won't tolerate." Besides, the Estefans, as already noted, were never called "communists," "socialists," "fidelistas" or any other similar appellation on any of the threads discussing their collaboration with Santana. This is a figment of Val's overprotective imagination]. However, Santana appearing on 90 Millas, from MY POINT OF VIEW, is wrong [it wasn't before; then Val was ready to stake his reputation that it was the right thing to do] and I will not gag myself simply because they are the Estefans [no, Val will not gag himself; but he does threaten to gag others who try to speak their honest mind]. Emilio knows perfectly well what my feelings are on this matter [does Val think Emilio cares a horse's ass about what he thinks?] as I have voiced them personally to him [though to no one else] as well as he knows that I will not repress my opinion [certainly not] or that of others here on this blog [but Val has repressed the opinions of others and continues to do so in this comment] when it comes specifically to this issue [so Val is willing to "repress" opinion on other issues]. They have an opportunity to fix this mess [Val should have called for them to "fix the mess" from the beginning], if they don't take it, i can assure you [more assurances, at this stage?], it will only get worse [glad that Val realizes that now, after it's been pointed out to him numberless times by numerous individuals].
Posted by: Val Prieto at April 10, 2007 02:20 PM