Saturday, June 30, 2007

The BUCL Belt: Henry's Imagination Strikes Again

A hat tip to Henry for making the best of a bad thing. When I pointed out that the acronym for Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty was pronounced BUCKLE (i.e. surrender) it really was almost more than Henry could take. I am sure that his sigh of despair was even heard in Bayonne, N.J. But there was nothing that he could do about it after the fact. Well. he could have changed the name of his organization, but that would have been interpreted as buckling to me and he knew full well that I would not fail to take note of it.

Still he hoped that nobody else would make that connection. He was wrong. One day a caller to The Babalú Radio Hour expressed his support for "BUCKLE" and it really sent Henry into a loop. But what could he do?

Well, he did the best thing that he could under the circumstances: Henry embraced "buckle" as a noun and not a verb and devised a supplementary logo for his organization which consists of a symbolic belt created by two words "Cuba" and "Diaspora" which are linked together by a buckle (or should we say BUCL?). The logo also has a motto: "The Buckle: Connecting Cubans." This is indeed making the best of a bad situation though it betrays what we had already long-suspected: that from day 1 the chief focus of BUCL was not its ill-conceived and-executed "Campaign Against Spain" but trying to live down its name.

The only thing they have to explain now is why Cubans need another correa? Do they want to beat us too?

Another interesting development is that the entire "Campaign Against Spain" has vanished from the BUCL website like a suppressed memory, delegated to an inconspicuous link at the bottom of the page. That's smart too. The less said the better. Perhaps it would even fade from memory if I were inclined to let it.

Fred Thompson: Cuban "Immigrants" Are Suitcase Bombers

Scratch the surface of any conservative populist and you will find Huey Long, a folksy racist, a flag-waving racist, even an opportunistic (that is, insincere) racist, but a racist withal. The idol of Babalú, whose every pronouncement is trumpetted there, the organic heir and continuator, in their feeble minds, of Ronald Reagan, the actor turned senator turned lobbyist turned presidential candidate Fred Thompson, in a speech delivered on Wednesday, June 27 to the good old boys in the secession state of South Carolina, declared that he opposes the entry into the United of Cuban "immigrants" because "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb." I didn't know the balseros brought luggage with them, much less incendiary devices. It must be a real challenge to keep the powder dry when the whole ocean is beating against your raft and the sharks are creating a whirlwind around you.

The cigar-chomping rube by choice, whom all of crackerdom cheered wildly for equating Cuban refugees (not "immigrants") with terrorists, has a different playbook when dealing with Cuban-Americans, his party's kingmakers in the 2000 elections. His remarks to them are tailored for "American-Cuban" dupes like Henry Gómez, who has announced on repeated occasions on Babalú and over blog radio his support for Thompson while lamenting that he could not support the even bigger career racist Newt Gingrich because of his "baggage" (I wonder if it contains dynamite too?). Of course, Henry is not quite as bad as Babalú's racist-in-residence George Moneo whose fair-haired boy is Tom Tancredo. All this convinces me that Babalú's infirmity is endemic and probably beyond human agency. It has become a covert of racists and propagator of racism in the form of "Know-Nothing" nativism and xenophobia. They don't seem to realize or care that their anti-immigration propaganda, aimed principally at Mexican-Americans, will eventually rebound on us, because Anglos, especially those who live outside Miami -- which is to say, 99 percent of them -- don't make fine distinctions between us and them. In fact, all things considered, that is probably for the best, because they are sure to hate us more for precisely the reasons that Val & Company think make us better.

Thompson has made no attempt to retract, correct or modify his remarks vis-a-vis Cuban "immigrants." On the contrary he has reiterated them in a post on his new website where he seems to imply that Cuban-Americans also regard the balseros as bomb-throwing terrorists sent here by Fidel Castro to wreak chaos on America:

"Our national security is too important an issue to let folks twist words around for a one-day headline. Cuban-Americans are among the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration, and especially so when it’s sponsored by the Castro regime. We know we have a porous southern border in which they can currently slip through easily. Our enemies know it too."

So we are "among the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration." Now, we are many things, but I didn't know we were that, too. Obviously, Thompson is pointing out to the racists that Cuban-Americans are racists too so that they'll at least have something to "admire" about us. But not only that, we are, according to Thompson, especially opposed to the "illegal immigration" of our fellow Cuban refugees (or "immigrants," as he would have it). He seems to believe that the balseros are "sponsored by the Castro regime." Sure, they are as much "sponsored by Castro" as they are "sponsored" by President Bush or the U.S. Coast Guard. Finally, Castro's fugitives from injustice are now our "enemies" too.

Has it really come to this? At long last has it really come to this? One Republican candidate (Mitt Romney) shouts "Venceremos, Patria or Muerte" at us and another calls us "suitcase bombers?" What can possibly top this? Well, at least we can be sure something will because the "lazy season" in presidential politics appears to be open season on Cuban-Americans.

Friday, June 29, 2007

George Moneo Wants and Needs Val-idation.

Ah, poor George, he feels left out. He needs val-idation. He wants me to raise him to the category of Val & Henry. In truth, I have not ignored him entirely, especially as regards his recent hosting of the The Babalú Radio Hour. But that's not enough for him. He is a social climber by nature and choice and wants full parity with Val & Henry. Shall we give it to him? My faithful readers can answer for themselves.

After a long hiatus from Babalú (which was all the better for it), George Moneo recently resumed posting idiocies flavored with the snobbery and racism which are his trademark.

In answer to my appreciation of LBJ, George offered his own shallow scribble in a post entitled "58,253," which pretty much says it all. In it he blames Presidents Johnson and Nixon "for expanding the Vietnam War and not winning it." No word of criticism, however, of Kennedy for starting it. I was under the impression that it was the media and the radicals (like Moneo, back then) who lost the war for us. By "us" I mean humanity.

Few men can be more deficient in their knowledge of history or more oblivious to the truth than George Moneo, nor as a Cuban less grateful or more self-hating, than one who could write and perhaps even mean that "Compared to LBJ, Clinton is a statesman." So the president who gave freedom to George Moneo and 2 million other Cubans is not as good as the president who shut the door of freedom to most of our countrymen, including Elián González! The only answer to that enormity is: Compared to George Moneo, Carter is a soothsayer.

58,253 lives is all that George will allow Americans to sacrifice on the altar of freedom. Not one more. With the 58,254th casualty slavery and national ruin become acceptable to him. So World War II, which cost 405,399 American lives, is not acceptable to him. Nor the Civil War with its 624,511 casualties on both sides. Two wars that Moneo would have approved of since their respective casualties fall way below the 58,253 threshold are the Mexican-American War (13,283) and the Spanish-American War (2,446), those "splendid little wars" of American imperialism. Both these wars were wars of expansion in pursuit of a "Manifest Destiny" that was as worthy of this country as slavery.

How very different was Vietnam (and Korea as well)! In Worlds War I and II, the United States came to the defense of white men, which is just what Western Civilization means. Those wars united rather than divided this nation and no price was deemed too high for victory. But when LBJ put the freedom of yellow men on a par with the freedom of white men abroad as he put the freedom of black men on a par with the freedom of white men at home, this nation all but imploded. The subtext was very obvious: "Inferior [sic] peoples are not worth the expenditure of American blood." The subtext is pretty much the same in Iraq and it's being dictated by the same selfish and pusillanimous people. People like George Moneo.

Well, in any case, the 58,253 limit set by George Moneo gives his tocayo George Bush a wide margin in Iraq, and if he plays his cards right, he can liberate Iran as well and maybe Syria and Lybia as well.

Visit Babalú where George has been given a sound drubbing by several commenters:


What I don't understand is why they cower at the sight of my name. Why rather than addressing me directly as I address them they insist on playing stupid games, replying through innuendo or childish retorts on Babalú or their faux radio hour. Of course, it is because they are afraid of me, not only of challenging me — because they know they'll aways fare badly — but of even addressing their snide remarks to me directly. On the two occasions in the past when Val dared to do so here, he slid away like a wounded puppy. But still I'll give him credit for trying, which is more than the gelded "Pitbull" dares to do. So sad to be afraid of someone you have never even met; afraid, really, of ideas rather than the individual articulating them.

George is wrong in assuming that I am isolated or lonely. Their united front against me has availed them nothing. In fact, Val & Company have made this their second home. It seems to me that they literally keep their computers set on this blog, how else to explain the hours and hours they spend here? [They could also be here furthering their education, but I doubt it since their minds are too closed].

Something else that wards off "loneliness" is the fact that my threads, on average, have 100%-1000% times more comments than theirs do. How is this possible since we've only been around for 2 months and they have been around for 4 years? I guess I must be more interesting. Or they are deleting every other comment on Babalú (which I wouldn't put beyond them). Or perhaps Babalú has just simply grown stale. That must be the answer since Val recently added a boatful of new contributors, which have indeed helped to lend more interest to it. If George would only stay away with his racist twaddle Babalú might actually experience a revival. But the new blood, apparently, cannot drive out the old putrid blood which poisons the entire system.

Emilio "Millo" Ochoa (1907-2007)

Well, he tried the hardest of all of us to outlive Castro. By sheer strength of will he pushed himself to the threshold of his 100th birthday, but his great heart, battered as few by life's adversities, needed and deserved rest and now he has it at last. Emilio ("Millo") Ochoa y Ochoa, the last survivor of the drafters of the Cuban Constitution of 1940, the last man to run on a presidential ticket in Cuba (for vice-president with Roberto Agramonte), the oldest of the Old Guard of republican politics, is dead.

[We will write more about him on Friday, the day of his funeral. The sense of loss and of life's unfairness overwhelms us now and we will write better later...]

... Death puts everything in perspective. The 19th-century English essayist William Hazlitt was writing a critical notice of Byron's latest book when the news reached him that the poet had died in Greece aiding in its war of independence. Hazlitt stopped the harsh review in mid-sentence and continued it as a panegyric to Byron the genius and lover of freedom. Of course, there is nothing in "Millo" Ochoa's life that would require censure. It is a life eminently free of any taint, which is all the more remarkable because he lived so very long. The anecdote about Hazlitt serves to illustrate the fact that death concentrates our minds on the essential things and leaves behind everything that is ephemeral or spurious. So it was with the death of the Cuban Republic. Men who had been political adversaries all their lives, even those who had actually felt personal animus towards each other (and these cases were very rare in Cuban politics) fell into each other's arms to endeavor to support together a burden that none could endure individually. Then parties disappeared and political differences and all that had divided them in the past was forgotten: all that remained was mutual respect for what they had accomplished together and everlasting grief for what they had lost.

If only honest and well-intentioned men like "Millo" Ochoa had been able to see before the national hecatomb what the future held: these brave and patriotic men would have put aside their ephemeral differences and worked together to save the fatherland from the common enemy, and good would have defeated evil. In the back of their minds this thought always lurked as a personal reproach, unspoken but never absent. Men like "Millo" Ochoa built a great country, great in that it should have satisfied in every way the needs and desires of its people. Why wasn't this good enough? This will always remain our national enigma: why did we risk everything in order to gain nothing; no, much worse, in order to lose everything? Well, we were not alone to blame. Our great neighbor to the North pushed us along that route; indeed, closed all other roads to us. The Eisenhower State Department and the U.S. media led by The New York Times propelled us over a precipice that many of us were only too willing to jump.

But that is all history now and beyond repair: a loss to be mourned forever and never buried. It is only men that we can bury, and today we will bury one who lived a noble life in service of our country and humanity: Emilio Ochoa. His life encompassed practically the entire Republican period as well as the last 48 years of despotism. He was the last living link to the greatest monument of the Cuban Republic, the Constitution of 1940. Even if the Repuublic is dead or in abeyance and all the signatories to that Constitution now dead, the 1940 Constitution still lives; and it is that Constitution which will again some day breath life into the Republic. In the respect we owe to it and the hopes we have placed in it we are all living heirs to that legacy. Nothing about the future of our country is known to us except the fact that it will some day live again under the protections and guarantees of our Fundamental Law. And something more: the assurance that when the Constitution of 1940 is restored, freedom at last shall have returned to our country.

There are many chapters in "Millo" Ochoa's life: the poor boy who raised himself in life through merit and heroism (a background which most of our Republican politicians shared); the honest guardian of our national patrimony (which most of our politicians also were, though many still refuse to believe it); and, even more importantly, a man who never spoke a falsehood, never misled anyone, and never pretended to be something that he was not, an absolutely transparent and profoundly good man. And, yes, he was not alone in that either. Other men, such as Santiago Verdeja and Rafael Guas Inclán, as well as my own grandfather and great-uncle, come to mind; but the list could almost be endless; for even in the midst of the greatest corruption — and there were corrupt politicians, few in number but boundless in their rapacity — men of good such as Eddie Chibás and "Millo" himself always fought against corruption and upheld by their own conduct the highest ideals of public service. That is precisely what distinguishes the past from the present. In the past, there were rogues and there were honest men; today there are only rogues and much worse than rogues. The Cuban Republic was not perfect if judged on its own merits; but perfection itself when compared to the Castro regime. Today will be buried much of the greatness that still survived from that period of our history, our country's Golden Age. But buried does not mean forgotten.

"Millo" Ochoa was one of the fathers of our Republic, but he was also a father to his own children. "Millo" volunteered for the Brigade 2506 but was turned down because of his age (he was old even in 1961). His only son volunteered instead. When he was captured with the other survivors of the Bay of Pigs invasion, "Millo" returned to Cuba to attempt to save his son's life. And when his son was ransomed with the other survivors, "Millo" was forced to remain in Castro's Cuba, but was eventually able to return to this country and his family.

"Millo" Ochoa died in a housing project in Miami. Without a cent to his name, but a priceless legacy for all Cubans.

Nothing more needs be said about the character of "Millo" Ochoa. It does and will always shine brightly in the most glorious pages of our country's history and as a beacon in its darkest pages.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Val Prieto's "Apologia Pro Babaloo"

George & Henry are now in the habit of devoting to me the introductory segment of their faux radio show, and they claim, incredibly, that I am the one obsessed with them! Well, I must report that I have been supplanted as their obsession. In yesterday's show, George and Henry played a clip from the movie Fatal Attraction and dedicated it to their fan in Bayonne, N.J.

Whomever can that be? I wouldn't know. I don't live in Bayonne, N.J.

Can it be that the opposition to Val and Henry's stupidity has become a movement? Or is this just a function of Henry's paranoia?

Well, real or not, they are running scared, and this time it's not dead chickens or coconuts on the Prieto lawn that has put them in flight.

I actually urge my readers to listen to this week's Babalú Radio Hour as it contains Val's phoned-in "Apologia Pro Babalú," which is priceless and should not be missed.

Cuba: Island Paradise, Island Prison

I concur fully with my friends at Killcastro: the newest addition to the Cuban-American blogosphere, Cuba: Island Paradise, Island Prison, merits your attention and I strongly urge you to visit and comment there:

We will also add it to our Fraternal Blogroll at the bottom of this page.

Lyndon Baines Johnson: Our "Statue of Liberty"

Lady Bird Johnson, 94, Still in Hospital

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 27, 2007; 2:40 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson remained hospitalized Wednesday in stable condition nearly a week after she was admitted, a spokeswoman said.

"She's nice and stable and very comfortable," spokeswoman Elizabeth Christian said, adding that her family members are waiting to learn when she will be released. "They still are eager to get her home."

Johnson, 94, the widow of President Lyndon B. Johnson, was taken to Seton Medical Center last Thursday evening for treatment of a low-grade fever, which later subsided.

In 2002, she suffered a stroke that left her with difficulty speaking. She communicates through facial expressions and other ways.

Lady Bird's hospitalization brought to mind her husband, who is never far from my thoughts because my sense of gratitude would not allow me to forget him.

I consider Lyndon Baines Johnson to be the greatest U.S. president of my lifetime. The fact that we are all here today and have been spared a half century of tyranny at home is attributable directly to him. From other U.S. presidents we received and continue to receive nothing but lip service when it comes to Cuba. Johnson could not liberate Cuba because Kennedy had tied his hands in the Kennedy-Khruschev Pact, so he did the next best thing and freed 2 million of us piecemeal.

It was Johnson who signed the original Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) (1966), the most immigrant-friendly legislation ever passed in the history of this nation of immigrants, the likes of which we shall never see again in these xenophobic times. In fact, the Cuban Adjustment Act was essentially gutted by Clinton when he implemented by presidential fiat the nefarious "Dry Foot/Wet Foot" policy which Bush has upheld longer than Clinton did. The original CAA didn't require Cubans to set foot on U.S. land to be free (at the end of their unimaginable travails at sea) but actually saved the refugees' lives on the high seas (at the beginning of their travails) and brought them to freedom here. Of course, it was unthinkable to Johnson or any American then that a Cuban freedom-seeker would ever be returned by the U.S. to Castro's island hell, as unthinkable, in fact, as dropping a rescued baby back into a well or placing a trampoline on the western side of the Berlin Wall. But times have changed. It is now the U.S. which is building a Berlin wall along its border with Mexico and deports even motherless children to Castro's tender mercies.

It was the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, I think, who said that Johnson was the greatest president for the poor and blacks. Well, for what it's worth, he was also the greatest president for Cuban refugees. The fact that most of us are here today and have had lives worth living was his doing. He was our "Statue of Liberty."

Johnson, moreover, understood the real nature of Communism, which his dilettante predecessor did not. If he had been president in 1961, or Nixon, for that matter, the freedom fighters would not have been betrayed at the Bay of Pigs and all Cubans and the world would have been spared the predations of Fidel Castro.

Something else: As confirmed to his biographer Doris Kearns Godwin, LBJ always personally believed that Castro was responsible for Kennedy's assassination. He no doubt saw the definitive proof which has been concealed from the American public for 46 years because of "national security" reasons.

Johnson was as complicated and multi-facetted as Abraham Lincoln, a man writ large, with titanic flaws and titanic virtues, bigger than life except that he actually lived. He was also a deeply compassionate man who loved mankind in all its diversity, whether the poor white sharecropper or the descendent of slaves still kept in legal fetters; the Vietnamese fighting for freedom and civilization or the Cuban fleeing from Communist barbarism because that option had been closed to him.

His widow, Lady Bird Johnson — of Mexican-American ancestry, incidentally — is still with us and currently hospitalized. She was also this county's best first lady and a worthy wife to such a man.

I have always wondered why Cuban-Americans have never expressed their gratitude to Johnson through his widow; for I should think that no man is more deserving of our gratitude and remembrance than Lady Bird's husband. Instead, we are forever extolling Reagan, who did absolutely nothing for us or Cuban freedom. Just like Pope John Paul II. They managed to free all the Western world of Communism except Cuba. Johnson's efforts to combat Communism at least benefitted us also.

Perhaps next year, which will mark the centenary of his birth, Cuban Americans will join their voices with those of the poor and blacks to praise him. Perhaps some day all Americans will realize that Lyndon Baines Johnson was the greatest American president of the latter-half of the 20th century.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BUCL Again

I must confess that I find it easier to explain what the new BUCL campaign is not than what it is. Whatever it is, it is not a campaign against Italy. The embarrassing failure of their short-lived campaign against Spain — short-lived because embarrassing — convinced them that making war on entire countries for the infractions of government officials or certain individuals or corporations may not be the best way of making friends or influencing people on behalf of our cause. The campaign against Spain, which did not even shy from recoursing to blood libels and bigotted appeals — and, indeed, consisted principally of blood libels and bigotted appeals — was big in pretensions but small in execution and results. A few paid ads in Google, three illiterate stickers pasted on a New York subway station, a few more within thirteen blocks of the Spanish consulate in Miami and none at all in Spain itself, was the extent of its "campaign" against Spain. Val & Henry's inability to communicate effectively in Spanish, which had them claiming that Spaniards were "blowing up" Cubans rather than "exploiting" them, was also a great handicap and will always be a great handicap in any campaign that requires them to express themselves in a language other than English. When Marti wrote about the importance of "paper trenches," he, of course, did not mean filling trenches with litter, but waging a war of ideas through the press (the only medium then available). Val & Henry were in no position to do so in Spanish. Unarmed and exposed fully, it is a miracle really that they were not aplatanados (Spanish colloquial expression meaning wiped out) by Spain's skilled polemicists. The reason, of course, is that their campaign never reached their ears or was deemed beneath their contempt.

If their first campaign had been against the "Dry Foot/Wet Foot" policy as I and others suggested, they would then have been able to utilize their communication skills in English, which would have served BUCL in good stead. Although it was not an officially declared "campaign," Henry's brilliant success last year in exposing the anti-Cubanism rampant at The Miami Herald via Herald Watch played an important role — perhaps the decisive role — in obtaining justice for the Miami Moonlighters and removing their persecutors from key positions at the paper. I have said it before many times and will say it again: this was the cleanest and most clear-cut victory that Cuban exiles have ever obtained in 48 years in this country. Let those who think that I am biased in any way against Henry (or Val) chew on that.

The smartest thing about BUCL's campaign against Spain was Val & Henry's quick retreat from their folly, which succeeded in nothing more than convincing many of their sponsors of their ineptness and the dangers inherent in associating with persons who act before they think and even when they do think never think things out. Well, in any case, let us be grateful at least that Val & Henry did not live in the 19th century for we should surely still be a colony of Spain.

Now on to the next campaign: the only thing that is actually clear about it (to me, at least) is that they have reduced the induction fee from $100 to $60. They are certainly on the right track in that respect; a few more prudent cuts and they may actually get where they should be. Better 100 people supporting you at $10 apiece than six supporting you at $100 or $60 apiece. Of course, then Henry would have to write 100 puff pieces and become my rival as the unofficial reviewer of Cuban-American blogs, but he would at least have a democratic rather than an elitist organization. And speaking of democracy, shouldn't BUCL elect its leaders rather than acclaim them by divine right? Even Marti stood for election as Delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. You can't teach democracy unless you are willing to practice it yourself.

BUCL latest outing is called "The Campaign for the Invisible Ones." Of course, we know what they mean. Whether the guy in Podunk will figure it out is another matter. He is more likely to think of spirits, specters or Lon Chaney, Jr. than of Cuban political prisoners, whom Henry avers "the regime tries to make invisible." No, it is not the regime that makes them invisible: the unending persecutions, the undisguised public manner in which these are conducted, and the abuses practiced on the prisoners themselves which are publicized by their relatives and human rights advocates on the island, none of these should conduce to invisibility. The fact that they are in fact invisible is not owing to the regime but the mainstream media in this country which chooses to ignore what is plainly visible. But no matter. Whoever makes them invisible, it is clear that they are in fact invisible.

Now I find this a little harder to understand: the "BUCL Campaign for the Invisible Ones" is centered around "the South Florida stop of the highly-anticipated (by whom, Henry & Val?) world tour of The Police. What? Castro's police? No. The Police is a rock band (English, I think). The Police also accepted an invitation from the Castro regime to play for free in Havana in December. The Police loom very high in the cultural cosmology of Val & Henry and our friends at Killcastro, though they don't register at all on my radar. My question, of course, is: Why doesn't Henry call it "The Campaign Against The Police's Collaboration with the Castro regime." Perhaps because Henry actually likes The Police as opposed to Spaniards? That must be it. Their objective is to have The Police denounce the Castro regime as it once did apartheid in South Africa and Pinochet's government (my own radar just kicked in).

Now, it seems to us that this "Police initiative" is something that our friends at Killcastro initiated a while ago, although they did not dub their endeavors with a grandiloquent name or solicit donations to effect it. Still, since this is obviously something close to Henry's heart too, I think that he may be more committed and certainly more effective at persuading his idols that Castro is evil than at persuading the whole world that Spaniards are evil.

So, good luck Henry. You might even get to meet your idols.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Raúl's Backside: Attention Must Be Paid

Killcastro reproduced recently a startling photograph of Raúl Castro standing in reverent posture in front of his and Vilma's final resting place. It consists of a massive rock on which there is a bronze plaque with the coat-of-arms of Cuba, franked on either side by the names "Raúl" and "Vilma." I guess they left off "Castro" in the (futile) hope that it might diminish the possibility of its desecration.

The prodigious Matt is at 20, I believe, the youngest Cuban-American blogger. The reading list in his "Profile" is very impressive indeed. But to get to my point, Matt left the following comment on Killcastro regarding the Raúl picture described above:

"The guy holding the flower kinda looks like how I imagine Raul looking from the back, minus being dead of course."

Now that Matt mentions it, a photograph of Raúl's backside is indeed of historical significance. So much of our history in the last 48 years emanates from his backside. Indeed, his backside is an authentic legend of the Revolution (and there are not many of those).

Until only recently, Raúl's backside was more famous and talked about in Cuba than Fidel's. But in his final days, Fidel, determined to eclipse Raúl in everything even as he elevated him to supreme power, managed to take from his baby brother the only distinction that was uniquely his own; and now it is Fidel's ass (or the lack thereof) that will enter the annals of history, not Raúl's. After all the yeoman service it has done (or should I say servicing by yeomen?), it isn't fair. Sad in a way, too; and hysterically funny in hundreds of ways.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Oh, yes, the photograph; you'll have to go to Killcastro's to see it. And, yeah, Raúl is holding a pink flower:

RCAB's Review of "SiCKO"

What is the proof that the U.S. health system is the best in the world? Well, every objective judge says so and all the world's people firmly believe it. But what do the experts or the "little people" know? What matters to Moore are the world's multimillionaires and billionaires, men like himself, who can afford the best and don't deny themselves anything. The heads of corporations, the Eastern potentates, the sultans of Araby, the moguls of Hollywood and, of course, Michael Moore himself, where do they go when they need medical assistance? They don't go to Europe and they certainly don't go to Cuba. After Castro's ten failed operations, I don't even think guerrilla leaders go there for treatment anymore. Even in oil-states that have built the most sophisticated hospitals in the world, equipped with the latest innovations and staffed by foreign physicians, their monarchs, when their lives hang in the balance, trust their own hospitals as much as they trust the local shamen, which is to say they don't trust them at all: when the cards are down they will only confide their lives to Jewish doctors in New York hospitals. Case closed.

Now, as for Michael Moore's take on Castroite medicine, it should suffice to say that Castro's longtime cardiologist lives in New Jersey and that it was a doctor from Spain who managed to save whatever was left to save of Fidel after his Cuban physicians got through with him. Case closed there, too.

"Henry, Henry Aldrich!"

Is the old Henry back? The one that we actually liked and admired? The one that didn't BUCLe? Well, one can hope anyway. For the first time in a long time, Henry has again taken the cudgel against Oscar Corral, The Miami Herald's resident libeller of his fellow Cuban-Americans; not the only one, of course, and perhaps not even the most rabid at The Herald, but certainly the only one who doesn't have to espouse his own opinions but can hide under the cover of reportorial objectivity, a cover, incidentally, that is way too short to conceal his professional malfeasance. This unexpected swipe at Oscar reminds us of a time not too long ago when Henry was not charging at wind mills in Spain, but doing the real work of protecting Cuban interests here.


Henry has gotten into a physical altercation with a lesbian over his criticism of Oscar Corral and one of Babalú's commenters holds forth that the lesbian got the better of him. I attest to the truth of none of this, but urge you check out the mess at Babalú:

Monday, June 25, 2007

The "Sin" of Cameron Díaz

Babalú blog, the world's preeminent defender unto death of Gloria and Emilio Estefan's right to bed any other leftist that might help them make a buck (to add to the half-billion they have already amassed on coffee breaks between being, in Val Prieto's immoral words, "the greatest champions of Cuban liberty in history;" the same Babalú whose justifications of the Estefans' own damning press release about their collaboration with "Che" cultist Carlos Santana resembled the contorsions of the oldtime circus rubber woman; the same unctuous hypocrites who purport that Cuban-Americans shouldn't attack their own or air their dirty laundry in public, have proven yet again — as if anyone needed further proof of it — that their doglike devotion to celebrities is limited to those whom they believe might help them turn a buck someday themselves, or who honor them with their phone calls, which for them are benediction enough — yes, I do see them rubbing the telephone for good luck — these kings of cocksucking, in short, must not have had their phone calls to Cameron Díaz returned, because they have unleashed on this beautiful little Cuban girl all the (class) hatred and disdain which they managed to sublimate when the sacrosanct Estefans were under attack for their dubious cubania (which like their marriage is a matter of convenience).

[Now, catch your breath, Val; that was a long sentence, and another follows:]

I don't give a damn if Cameron Díaz wore what some construe as a "Mao purse" — not quite the "Little Red Book," is it? — on a trip to Peru, first, because the Peruvians themselves don't give a damn and have no right to be offended by anything about the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas since they drove into exile and have persecuted ever since the president who freed them from that scourge and saved their country from the fate of Cambodia under Pol Pot. I mean, of course, Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori is under indictment on trumped-up charges of misappropriation of funds and taking bribes while Allan Garcia, who amassed a personal fortune of $1 billion in his previous stint as president while coddling the Shining Path guerrillas, was again elected to the presidency of Peru, now as an anti-Marxist (a safe position to assume now that the Marxists have been defeated).

I am sure that Cameron Díaz did not mean to offend the Peruvians because she didn't know what message her purse implied (if it indeed implied any) and would not have worn it in the first place had she known and has since apologized for wearing it, in contrast to the Estefans who surely know who Carlos Santana is and the parcel of fellow leftists whom they invited to participate in their supposed tribute to Cuba "90 Millas," and who, incidentally, have never apologized to the exile community for their insensitivity at best and betrayal at worst.

Cameron Díaz, a proud Cuban-American, although she was born in this country and hardly speaks Spanish, feels her cubania in her blood because her Cuban father taught her one essential fact which the Estefans have forgotten — namely, that Fidel Castro is the devil. Those were her words when asked on the David Letterman Show in 2005 what she thought about Fidel Castro. When other Cubans my age say that, it doesn't move me. When someone her age says it — someone who has never seen Cuba and probably knows little about the island except that essential fact — it moves me profoundly.

The only thing that moves Val & Company are the Estefans fanning their faces with their abanico de dólares.

Killcastro Attacked by Cyber Terrorists from Cuba

Our friends at Killcastro have been the victims of a cyber attack which succeeded in immobilizing their blog over this week-end, not the first or last that is likely to be launched against this most combative of Cuban-American blogs and the only one with real contacts in Cuba. It is no secret that Cuban Intelligence (and its handmaiden, the FBI) monitors all Cuban exile blogs; now, apparently, it is trying to "regulate" them as well through selective sabotage against those it finds most threatening to its interests. The magnitude of the attack unleashed on Killcastro, the equivalent of a cybernetic Hiroshima, shows our enemy's disposition to stifle free speech beyond the confines of its 46,736 sq. mile "Unfree Speech Zone." The time and resources expended on this activity attests not only to the level of desperation in Havana but also to its resolve to allow no breach in its control of the information available to its denizens.

If there is such a thing as solidarity among Cuban-American bloggers, then it is now that it should become manifest. An attack on one should be viewed as an attack on all. The solution, of course, is to take the cyber war to Castro by using satellites to blanket the island with free internet. Then the power of this medium, barely tapped as relates to Cuba, will become even more manifest to our enemies and contribute to the regime's end and the concomitant end of Castro's national and transnational censorship of the internet.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Long-Awaited and Much-Requested Fantomas Review

I can honestly say that no one has begged or cajoled me as persistently as fantomas for a review of his blog. The only way I can take this is as a compliment directed at both of us: at me because he obviously values my critical acumen, and at him because he must be supremely confident of his abilities and of his blog to thus inopportune me.

Enrique, the transcriber of AbajoFidel and a spiritualist, perhaps, claims to channel some mysterious entity from Santiago de Cuba named fantomas. Now, there are indeed two personalities writing this blog, but not two persons. These personalities co-exist in the same psyche — one serious and the other farcical: the latter detracting from the former as the former adds to the latter. The fantomas who regales us on our blog is irreverent and uncontrollable (except by me). In a previous incarnation he went by the moniker "Pee Wee Herman," which says a lot about his ability to laugh at himself and confirms the solitary nature of his acts. Pee-wee was much more radical and confrontational than even fantomas and his pranks were more destructive. Fantomas is a more refined version of Pee Wee but not refined enough. It still provides a contrast to the blog's other personality who goes by the name of Enrique and is as formal and earnest as fantomas is casual and intemperate. Recently fantomas asked me to remove the Anonymous filter, eliminate verification and invite the forces of anarchy as permanent guests on RCAB. On his blog, he moderates every comma, and, we suspect, tailors the comments to match his own opinions and be an extension of them. Ultimately this is the only use which preemptive censorship, as I long ago dubbed moderation, has — to alter reality and create opinion by falsifying opinion. Of course, fantomas is not the only proponent of so-called moderation and he is certainly no exception in exercising the freedom on other blogs which he denies to his own readers. Yet that is his prerogative; one which I, for one, would be wary to espouse because it is so blatantly hypocritical and at odds with everything which all of us swear we want for Cuba.

On his blog, that little well-regulated universe of his where the lawns are always trimmed and no one speaks out of order, Enrique occasionally rears his head above fantomas' clownish mask. He is the only blogger and among the few of his generation to be acquainted with the fine Cuban art of choteo, to which no less a sage than Jorge Mañach devoted his best book. Hence he can be so unaffected as to say (as he has here) that he does not understand the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy and never did, or so completely shamefaced as to incite, by twisting people's words or intimating that some unflattering truth is being concealed from them, useless conflict that only feeds his warped sense of the ridiculous. He is not a humorist in any sense, but an exploiter of human foibles, the guy who points and laughs when somebody stumbles. This obviously amuses him and may feed some inner need to sow chaos and let others reap the whirlwind. Yet I must confess that I am at times amused by his enormities; the character of the man because of its many peculiarities of mind and temperament is not without interest to a clinical mind. In fantomas we are dealing with someone who is an ass intentionally and unapologetically. Val Prieto, by way of comparison, is an ass also, but always unintentionally and even unbeknownst to him. In fantomas it is an imposture; in Val, it is Nature.

We have inserted Val in this review for a purpose, which is to test whether fantomas is, as he has asserted one hundred times here, his own man who BUCLes to no one. May it be so. Yet I have on more than one occasion felt that he was BUCL's special envoy to this blog, granted letters of marque by Val & Henry to foment chaos here, and that fantomas, at any moment, would hoist the Jolly Roger. To suppose that Val & Henry could really have such power over somebody else is really to suppose a lot. The real proof of their control will come when they request the second $100 contribution, which I understand they have just done. If fantomas reproduces this review on his own blog, with the casual references to Val, we shall have prove of his honesty. If not, it will be proven that he is indeed in Val's thrall and functions as an appendage of him. We will see bye the bye

We asked fantomas to provide us with three posts from his blog that would show him at his best, demonstrating by this request, I think, the best disposition towards him. This he has kindly done, and it is to these three post that I will refer in judging him as a blogger in his own right and not just as a frequent guest here. One of these posts is entitled "Raúl Castro Should Take the First Step." In opening Cuba, that is. That such a thing could even be considered as a possibility — and it is more likely that the Martians will land and liberate us — shows a facet of fantomas' moral universe which is as virginal as a newborn. If he can believe for even a moment that Raúl can be susceptible to change from pressure at home let alone be the initiator of it, then there is nothing that he won't believe. We certainly hope that fantomas is at least a bit more cynical than Enrique. This explains to us, however, his infantile faith in BUCL because Val & Henry's are much more likely to bring change to Cuba than Raúl though somewhat less likely than the Martians. The other post that he suggests to us turns out to be the same post, which we assume is meant as emphasis. We will just as emphatically assert that Raul will gladly forgo the financial benefits (to himself) of adopting the Chinese model in order to avoid a Tianamen Square in the "Plaza de la Revolución." He knows that if he opens the pressure cooker even a little bit it will explode in his face. Absolute control he can manage; anything else is suicide.

There is yet a third article for us to review, but we can't find it. Loathe to review him on the basis of just one (dipsy) post, we went on to read others on our own and found every other post better than the one he submitted to us. This is a positive development; for otherwise we would have serious reservations indeed about his sanity. As it is we find him to be very traditional and unobjectionable in his views overall (and this may be the worst thing we can say about him from his perspective).

In truth, we expected far more from fantomas. What we found is that he is not nearly as "in your face" on his own blog as he is elsewhere. Not that he's exactly passive but hardly the firebrand that we had expected. Certainly no killcastro or Charlie Bravo. But perhaps I am being unfair to him by comparing him to such models. The success of his blog depends on him infusing more of himself in it. Perhaps this is not possible because he can only be himself when engaged in reparte with somebody else and Enrique and his alter ego fantomas never tangle. He is desperately in need, I think, of a more contrarian alter ego.

Complacido, fantomas.

Now, who is next on line for a review?

Friday, June 22, 2007

The History of The Cuban Republic, Part II (1940-1952)

1940 was Cuban democracy's culminating year. As Europe's own democracies collapsed one by one at the approach of the twin evils of Fascism and Communism, then in an alliance of raptors, a circumspect Caribbean nation, which Robert Frost compared in a poem to Switzerland, taught the Old World a lesson in representative government by adopting the most socially-advanced constitution of its time, which was to be a model for the states of a resurrected Europe.

Batista, 1940-1944

The first president elected under the aegis of the 1940 Constitution, and, at age 39, the youngest in Cuban history, was Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, who defeated his longtime rival Ramón Grau San Martín. As constitutional president, Batista surprised even his critics who expected him to govern as the sergeant-turned-colonel he was; but Batista was not cast in the traditional presidential mold. He was in every way a man of the people and took pride in being one. He had a genuine concern for the working man which was not acquired from political tracts or social gospels but from having been a laborer himself all his life, in the canefields, the railroads and the army, and he translated the solidarity that he felt for others like himself into something more substantial than hand-outs and sinecures to his followers. His administration fostered both progress and stability in Cuba. The prosperity was fueled by Cuba's powerful economy, which grew every year regardless of whom happened to govern or other external circumstances; the stability without violence, however, was a precious commodity, which future democratic presidents without Batista's antecedents would find it impossible to maintain.

The first challenge that confronted Batista on assuming the presidency was a coup planned by the Chiefs of the Army and Police, who liked Batista the strongman better than Batista the democrat. Batista, the master of the bloodless coup, was also the first Cuban president to put down a coup, without shedding a drop of blood, of course. Instead, he rounded-up the plotters and put them on a plane bound for the U.S. with all their relatives and possessions.

The U.S. was happy to oblige because it also needed a stable Cuba, more then than ever. Cuba was the most reliable Latin American ally of the United States in World War II. The Cuban Congress passed and Batista signed a Declaration of War against Japan and Germany immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Although Batista sent no Cuban contingent to fight in the war, following the example of President García Menocal in World War I, 2000 Cubans did volunteer for service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Cuba supplied the U.S. with 90% of the nickel it needed for war production, 80% of the manganese, 60% of the chromium and 40% of the copper. Incredible as it may seem today, Cuba was then one of the world's great mineral producers and the closest source for these essential elements in the production of armaments. Cuba also contributed to the war effort by holding down the price of sugar to pre-war levels, which in World War I had climbed several times above the price of gold. Cuba's price controls on sugar cost it billions of dollars and may be viewed as one of the largest monetary contributions to the war effort of any of the Allies.

Cuba also accepted more than 30,000 refugees from Naziism and nearly 500,000 from the Spanish Civil War, more than did the United States (not proportionally, but in raw numbers). The Cuban Navy sunk a German submarine and Cuban Intelligence captured a German spy who was transmitting by shortwave radio information on U.S. maritime traffic to the U-boats. His name was Heinz August Luning and he was the first and only individual sentenced to death and executed under martial law in Cuban republican history. [The Constitution of 1940 had abolished capital punishment in civil courts].

In a broadcast from Nazi Germany to Latin America, the announcer warned: "We know of your activities, Batista. Do not think that Havana is outside our reach." For the duration of the war, there was in fact a total blackout along the Havana coastline, which was patrolled by hundreds of German and American U-boats.

Batista's greatest achievement as constitutional president did not come at the beginning or middle of his tenure, but at the very end. Prohibited by the Constitution of 1940 from running for re-election, Batista threw his support behind his former prime minister Carlos Saladrigas, who lost in a landslide to the populist Grau San Martín in an election that made front page news around the world even in the midst of World War II.

The world and especially Latin America hailed Batista's defeat as the birth of democracy in the Americas. Not the fact, of course, that Batista's surrogate lost, but the fact that Batista acknowledged the defeat and turned power over to his enemy Grau. But not only that: Batista even exiled himself from Cuba to guarantee that Grau would not govern under a shadow.

In the then 130-year history of the Hispanic republics nothing like this had ever been seen before. In a sense it was like a second war of hemispheric liberation: the first, led by Bolívar, had freed the continent from colonial misrule; this latest one promised to usher the end of authoritarianism in Latin America, effectively freeing it from the arbitrary rule of its homegrown tinpot dictators. Even The New York Times hailed the triumph of democracy in Cuba: "Let no one ever say again that democracy doesn't exist in Latin America; it does, in the youngest [sic] of her republics."

After leaving office Batista embarked on a tour of South America, where he was hailed everywhere as the artifex of democracy in the Americas. In Chile, Batista was welcomed at the University of Santiago by Pablo Neruda in words which remind one of the poet's praise for another Cuban. If Batista had retired from politics for good, he would be remembered today as the greatest Cuban president and the first to raise the standard of real democracy in the Hispanic world.

Grau, 1944-1948

On October 10, 1944, Ramón Grau San Martin was sworn-in as Cuba's second constitutional president under the Constitution of 1940. This was the second time that Grau had occupied the presidency, although previously he had done so provisionally in the aftermath of the 1933 Revolution. Grau has the distinction of being the first college professor ever raised to the presidency by a students' revolution. As a nationalist and social reformer, Grau's credentials were impeccable. He was known for his hostility towards the United States, which he learned to sublimate for his own and his country's good, though ocassionally he would give vent to it, as in 1933 when he actually challenged the Marines to land (they didn't), or when he decreed a series of social laws, authored by Antonio Guiteras, to extend workers' rights and limit U.S. influence in Cuba, including the stipulation that Cubans must account for the majority of all employees in any business or sector of the economy.

Although the oldest man since Estrada Palma to be elected president of Cuba, Grau embodied the aspirations of the 1933 Generation, which believed that it had a champion in the old bachelor. And, in a sense, they did. He allowed even the most politically active (read fanatical) of his followers absolute freedom of action and immunity from prosecution. Their enemies having long passed from the political scene, the erstwhile students, many now in their mid 30s to early 40s but still nominally enrolled at university, engaged in internecine turf wars while competing for the favor of President Grau. These troublemakers were known as "gangsters" in Cuba, not the mafiosi that Communist folklore claims ran the island. Among these homegrown "gangsters," brave and reckless men for the most part, was one that would later come to national prominence and was as reckless as any but definitely not brave, having acquired a reputation for shooting his enemies in the back — Fidel Castro.

Grau's cynical reaction towards the "gangsters" was to let them alone, believing that so long as they were "only" killing one another they posed no threat to him or the Republic. He held their allegiance through no-show government jobs (botellas) and by conferring on them the honorary title of comandante (Grau never bestowed it on Castro, who adopted it anyway). These superannuated student comandantes were Grau's paper tigers, but he at least knew how to ride them.

Grau's term coincided with the end of World War II and the establishment of the United Nations. Cuba was one of 52 original signers of the U.N. Charter. Grau, despite his indifference to lawlessness at home, was a champion of the Rule of Law in the international arena. Cuba's voting record at the U.N. reflected this duality. Cuba voted against the United States on three of the most important issues to confront the U.N. after the end of World War II: it voted against the Nuremberg trials as a contravention of the longstanding legal proscription against ex post facto laws; it also voted against the establishment of autonomous U.N. organizations (which were all slated to become redoubts of anti-Americanism); and, finally, against the creation of the State of Israel. Whatever the probity of these votes, they do demonstrate that Cuba had ceased to be an instrument of the U.S. in international affairs. [Suffice it to say that as an ally of the Soviet Union Communist Cuba never once opposed it at the United Nations, defending even the invasion of Czechoslovakia].

Grau's administration also brought, or leastwise did not stop, unparalleled prosperity and economic growth to the country, which was even able to withstand without adverse consequences the hitherto unprecedented predations of his followers on the National Treasury.

Prío, 1948-1952

Grau's handpicked successor, Carlos Prío Socarrás, himself a former student but not one of the gangsters, was not as adept at controlling them as was Grau. His solution, like Grau's, was to give them more not less freedom and to literally throw open the doors of the National Bank which he created. In this, as in all things, he continued his predecessor's policies, while blaming the gangsterism and rampant graft on Grau, who did not fail to take notice. This led to a schism in their ranks which diluted the power of both Grau and Prío and no doubt contributed to the reemergence of Batista.

On March 10, 1952, former president Fulgencio Batista, who had recently returned to Cuba from self-imposed exile and was a candidate for president again, fearful that his opponents would not deal as fairly with him as he had with them, drove to the Columbia Army Barracks and took power without firing a shot, to save the nation, as he said, from the rule of gangsters and communists. Most Cubans, even those who opposed Batista, approved of the bloodless coup. Even Prío approved to the extent of not even bothering to oppose the coup and fleeing the country on the first U.S.-bound flight.

In Part III: Batista consolidates power; the gangsters rally behind Fidel Castro and civil war erupts in Cuba under the patronage of the United States.

From the Tellechea Archives: Nadia's Defection Signalled Ceausescu's End (1990)

How the Fall of Communism was Presaged by a Shepherd and a Gymnast

By: Manuel A. Tellechea
The New York Tribune
Commentary Section, p. 9
January 4, 1990

Even 14 years after her Olympic triumphs, Nadia Comaneci's timing is still perfect. She couldn't have picked a better time to defect from her native Romania. Her country was still very much in the clutches of Nicolae Ceausescu, the last committed (and committable) Stalinist in power in Eastern Europe. Ceausescu — who declared war on God, man and nature, and for 25 years got the better of all three in a country without liberty, churches or trees — was then busy razing 7000 villages and erasing 2000 years of Romanian history (what did it matter since he himself represented the "culmination" of Romanian history?) His scorched earth policy actually preceeded perestroika, and therefore cannot be called a response to it, though the continuation of that policy in spite of perestroika does speak of Ceausescu's determination not to surrender ideological purity on the altar of political expediency.

Ceausescu refused to accept the fact that Romania would be entering the 21st century as essentially a rural country; so in an orgy of bulldozing he proposed to turn his bucolic country into a vast canvas for urban (mis)planning. The orgy of construction that was to follow in short the orgy of destruction onever came. In the meantime, homeless peasants waited in uncertainty for the promised cities to be built.

For Ceausescu, Romania was not a nation of sheepherders who craved green pastures, but of experimental automatons which functioned best on cement and steel. Nadia Comaneci was not the only Romanian to flee on the brink of that nightmare; nor, in my opinion, the most newsworthy (though newsworthy is as newspapers do). According to an Associated Press release dated Dec. 6, an unidentified Romanian shepherd was able to sneak over the border into Kekescsaba, Hungary, with 1,170 sheep, 4 horses, 3 donkeys and 9 dogs. Nadia left her 26 gold medals behind for fear these would identify her as Nadia Camaneci. I wonder if the man thought his sheep would identify him as a shepherd?

Shepherds were a more threatened species in Ceausescu's Romania than gymnasts. Mark you: when shepherds rebel, liberty will follow. It is not surprising that Ceausescu was not able to recognize such an omen. He was the only unromantic soul in a romantic land. The only truths he acknowledged were his own platitudes, and reality for him had to be strained through the sieve of illusion.

Ceausescu believed that the future of Communism lay with its aspiring dinastic clans: the Kims of North Korea, the Castros of Cuba and the Ceausescus of Romania. He was wrong only insofar as his own family. That Communism should survive in isolation in "backwater" redoubts like Cuba and North Korea might be expected (though not on that account less bemoaned). But for it to continue to fester against all odds in the midst of Europe, engulfed on all sides by nascent democracies, required the opposite of isolation — a war within and without Romania's borders. Ceausescu, fortunately for the Romanian people, was too late in shaking off his self-imposed isolation.

Instead, he tried to counter life with theatre, without realizing that theatre could become a stage for life. In what was to prove his last hurrah (or, rather, his first non-hurrah), the dictator gathered the party cadres in the public square, distributed 6 foot portraits of his 5 feet self for them to hold aloft, and ordered them to cheer. They did not cheer. After 45 years, the Romanian people had discovered that their lips and there hearts could actually be synchronized. Television and radio transmissions were cut when they started to boo him. The shocked dictator retreated into his palace. The jackbooted goons in the crowd opened fire indiscriminately.

The old cliché had finally come to pass: a popular revolution broke out in a public square. The last cherished myth of the Communist elite was shattered in a moment; Communists governed not only without the consent of the people, but against their wishes. Was this was Sartre meant by "participatory democracy of the public square": applaud and live, boo and die?

Ceausescu had no problem making war on his own people before the eyes of the world; nor was an invasion of at least one of the fraternal socialist countries (preferably Hungary) beyond him. In fact, a hastily arranged war with Hungary was his last option in that desperate hour. It was the fear of such an undertaking -- not the trauma of shooting at their own countrymen -- that caused the army to abandon him, though not before it had revived for one last time in the 20th century the ghastly practice of bayonetting babies.

Had he not massacred the demonstrators, Ceausescu would probably still be in power. The fear of a massacre is a more powerful deterrent than an actual massacre, which exhausts fear without extinguishing hope. In every war of independence, it is necessary that the oppressor fire the first shot. Had the U.S. delivered the uranium that Ceausescu had purchased last year — supposedly for peaceful nuclear energy purposes — the first shot might have been the last of the Romanian Revolution. Without the bomb the worst that Ceausescu could do was — quite literally — to poison the wells.

Ceausescu was a madman but he knew how to win friends and influence people in the West. The trick required only that he seem to thwart the Soviet Union — a secret which he learned from Tito and which Gorbachev learned from him. It worked well enough for Tito and Ceausescu, but best for Gorbachev because the shock-effect of a Soviet seemingly thwarting the Soviet Union is more incapacitating to the West.

Here's how Ceausescu did it: he accepted membership in the Warsaw Pact (which gave him arms), but did not allow the stationing of Soviet troops in Romania (which assured him that the West would give him anything else he wanted, even uranium). He publicly opposed the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan (which cost him nothing). He had formal diplomatic relations with Israel (which gained him much). He did not honor Soviet- or American-led boycotts of the Olympics (which boycotts he welcomed, nonetheless, because they meant a chance to win more medals).

Nothing that he did, however, endeared him more to the West than paying off his country's foreign debt years ahead of schedule. The debts were incurred in building his palace complex, a city within a city, whose only occupants were the Family Ceausescu. Well, naturally, the First Family had to be housed in marble before the rest of the country were allowed to move into their pre-cast concrete shelters. How did Ceausescu pay for his palace? He saved on money and fuel (or, rather, everybody in Romania did except the Ceausescus). Specifically he committed 95% of all foodstuffs grown in Romania to servicing the foreign debt, leaving the people to nourish themselves on offal sausage, sawdust bread and paraffin butter. He conserved on energy by limiting daily consumption of electricity to a couple of hours per day.

In a country where every telephone was tapped by law and all typewriters had to be registered with the secret police (which also distributed and collected the ribbons, which were transcribed and measured), the Dark Ages had descended on Romania long before the lights were turned off. The world, however, never noticed the darkness, perhaps because of Nadia Comenici's radiant smile.

Like Hitler at the Berlin Games, Ceausescu used sports to prove the ethnic superiority of his people. He was not interested in showing-up the world, just his "fraternal" arch-enemy, Hungary. If he managed to best Hungary at the Olympics, it was for him a justification of his regime. (I have no space or inclination to explain the historical basis of this animus. Let us just say that Romania once kidnapped a couple of million Hungarians and won't give them back).

The centerpiece of Romania's Olympic programme was little Nadia Comenici, who won three gold medals and achieved seven perfect scores (including the first "10" ever recorded) at the 1976 Olympics. Ceausescu "honored" Nadia by offering up his own son. What could be more natural than Romania's "greatest son" coupled with Romania's greatest daughter? The affaire did not last. Nicu — the playboy of the Eastern word — was not ready to settle down. Nicu, for his papa's entertainment, was soon back raping women on tables at state banquets.

The end of her relationship with Nicu was not the end of Nadia (as it sometimes proved for other less fortunate women). She was still a "Hero of Socialist Labor," her country's youngest. Her family was given one of the first pre-fabricated concrete houses and allowed to use as much electricity as it wanted. She was even allowed to travel abroad; that is, until she tried unsuccessfully to defect. Even then, life was far from difficult for her. She was still the second most famous Romanian in the world after Vlad the Impaler (aka Count Dracula). At home, Ceausescu's pet dog eclipsed her; but abroad, Nadia was the most famous contemporary Romanian (the second most famous was her coach, Bela Karoly). As such she could not be persecuted and was pampered as much as anyone outside the Ceausescu clan. Granted, she was trapped in Romania; but at least hers was a gilded cage.

When Ceausescu ruled, nobody needed an excuse to escape from Romania, but if Nadia ever wavered in her determination, recent events in Eastern Europe provided her with the incentive. The people of the Eastern bloc are not only rebelling against Commmunism but against privilege. Communism's fleet-footed and fair-haired ambassadors of sport, who for years had enjoyed perks which the proletarians could not resent because they did not realize until recently that such perks existed, are now as popular in their respective countries as the oligarchs whose "toy soldiers" they once were. By defecting before the fall of Ceausescu (which she foresaw better than Ceausescu), Nadia could remain a heroine to her people. She would not have long remained a heroine in the West if she had been regarded as a villain at home.

If she had trusted in the survival of Ceausescu in a sea of perestroika, she might have found herself cut adrift. In their hour of victory the Romanian people may not have looked favorably on poor little Nadia, who, the truth be told, received very little for what she was forced to surrender. For every person there is an obituary-optimum time: there is a time to die and a time to die in the headlines. Nadia simply availed herself of her defection-optimum time. She did commit a mistake by defecting with somebody else's husband whom she hailed as her "savior." Her mistake was to assume that Americans would forgive in foreigners what they don't even censure anymore in themselves. If Nadia meant to be a homebreaker, she should not have come to this nation of homebreakers; but even that, in time, will be forgotten.

But although she has forfeited for now any claim to American sympathy; she has not, however, exhausted entirely American curiosity. And American curiosity is more valuable to her than American sympathy. At her first press conference, Nadia expressed the wish to bring her life to the big screen. I recall that has been done already. But, perhaps this time, we may get the truth about Romania (without which there can be no truth about Nadia). The problem is that the truth will come 25 years too late for Ceausescu's victims — what Nadia jumped for and ran from no longer exists. Anti-Communist freedom fighters are not heroes in Hollywood until they are as dead as the denizens of the Killing Fields (if then). Marxist rebels, however, will always get sympathetic treatment while battling democracy (e.g. the FMLM in El Salvador) or after they have crushed it (e.g. Castro and the Sandinistas). Her impromptu defection, more because of who she is than because of what the defection itself represented, was covered widely by the liberal media and became this year's Christmas story of redemption. Inevitably, as an element of her story, the "real" Romania and the plight of other Romanian dissidents was mentioned en passant.

Troubling as it is that it took Nadia's defection to bring their plight to the attention of the media and the U.S. public, it is far more disturbing that the U.S. government has yet to acquaint itself with the "real Romania." President Bush all but begged Gorbachev to "restore order" in Romania after the fall of Ceausescu just as Bush himself had done in Panama! The Romanian people want freedom not other variants of Communism. Bush proposes to give them perestroika, which is nothing more than the postponement of real freedom if not the negation of it. It is yet another villainy committed by an American president, which, like Kennedy's betrayal of the freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs, is also a go-ahead for a Soviet invasion.

Perestroika is "diet freedom" (or "no-calorie freedom"). Romanians wants "the real thing" and that's something that Soviet tanks will never bring even if splattered with perestroika grafitti. Only the elimination of the tyrant's legacy can accomplish this and it is the Romanian people who must do it.


Romania, now a full-fledged democracy, was admitted to NATO in 2004 and joined the European Union on January 1, 2007.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

George Oils Val

On Babalú blog, a discussion on whether I would stay up late to listen to the "Night Owl" Edition of The Babalú Radio Hour:

¿Estará Manuel despierto a esa hora para el review?
Posted by: Abajofidel at June 20, 2007 06:15 AM

I think he starts putting on his face cream at that time...
Posted by: George L. Moneo at June 20, 2007 08:07 AM

I think he starts putting on his face cream at that time...
Oil of OyVey!
Posted by: Val Prieto at June 20, 2007 09:09 AM

I would rather put that cream on my face than where George and Val put it.

Henry's Grapes of Wrath

I thought that everything that could happen to me for good or ill had already happened, but leave it to Henry to prove me wrong: for the first time in my life I have been serenaded on (faux) radio. From George Moneo's vast collection of crummy records (judging from this one), Henry has dedicated to his "minder" and "stenographer" Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me." If somebody is watching (or listening) to him, he should be grateful and I think it would be possible to serenade each and every listener to yesterday's 11:00 PM broadcast and still have a good chunk of time left for Henry's inanities and George's pontifications.

Val, who has a low attention span, has either talked himself out or tired of talking to a wall in expectation that the wall will answer. George Moneo, a more staid personality but just as vapid when in a serious mode or self-important mood, manages to keep Henry on point most of the time and prods him along without recourse to last week's symbolic cattle prod ("Don't Get Stuck on Stupid"). My having mentioned the cattle prod here caused it to be banished from the show. Any observation which I make about the show, however casual, becomes a matter of grave deliberation for the Hialeah Hill Boys and leads them into a frenzied scramble to plug every hole in the dike that I've pointed out.

I believe, however, that I may have unintentionally hurt Henry's feelings in my review of last week's show by pointing out his propensity to get stuck on certain words, not difficult words, just certain words. He has interpreted this as my making fun of his stammering. After observing that George Moneo has all his "neurons," Henry lamented that "unfortunately I have to stammer through the broadcast and be castigated for it." In fact, I was simply noting George's sadistic tendancy to do so. I believe now that stammering may have been a problem for Henry all his life, one which he has largely overcome except in moments of great excitement. If so, Henry is to be commended for having gained substantial command over his speech and even more so for not letting his limitations silence him. In any case, Henry's boyish voice, with its charming tendancy to "crack" at inappropriate moments, makes the occasional truncation sound more natural than it would in a man who had successfully completed puberty.

BUCL's Siren Song


Your suggestion to Charlie Bravo on the Vilma Espín thread that he create his own BUCL-type organization shows that, despite your protestations to the contrary, you have been brainwashed by Val & Henry into believing that yet another exile organization is just what is needed to bring about change in Cuba.

There are already hundreds of such organizations that support some or all of Charlie's positions. If he wanted to, he could join one. I find, however, that these organizations only promote an "elephant suicide" mentality, that is, the few that have not lost all political focus and devolved into social organizations. Nothing wrong with that. Free association is also a cherished right that Cubans are denied in our country. But let's not fool ourselves into believing that these organizations are relevant in the struggle. They are not and have not been since the days of Martí.

Of course what we really need is another Martí to imbue these organizations with purpose and device an agenda which would take the initiative in the liberation of Cuba and which would not merely react to events on the island but precipitate them. But, of course, Nature does not strike off Martis as it does other natural phenonema and we have consumed 48 years in waiting for his second coming rather than following his example.

And speaking of nascent exile organizations, it seems that BUCL itself is dead in the water, killed by the political shortsightedness of its founders. Some exile organizations have managed to last nearly 50 years; Henry's barely managed 50 days. Even Henry does not make reference to it anymore, the monumental inappropriateness of its first so-called "campaign" and the ineptness with which it was carried out, have caused untold embarrassment to many of its members, not one of whom is pleased, or could be pleased, at the course it has taken and all of whom consider their $100 as both a waste of money and an object lesson.

When there is a "Dry Foot/Wet Foot" policy to fight, why expend your energies and resources in what amounts to the Cuban equivalent of a Civil War re-enactment? When unity is required in the ranks, why sow division and self-hatred by attacking Fidel's Spanish roots, which are also our roots? Are there no other aspects of Castro's persona which we do not share that we could attack?

No, fantomas, what we need is fewer not more exile organizations, most of which, in the end, are only excuses for inaction.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Real Olympics



1. Canada ..................... $7.18
2. New Zealand ........... $6.72
3. Australia .................. $6.61
4. United States .......... $6.08
5. Sweden .................... $5.47
6. Norway .................... $4.38
7. CUBA ....................... $3.00
8. West Germany ........ $2.57
9. Ireland ..................... $2.25
10. Denmark ............... $2.03
11. Belgium .................. $1.56
12. France .................... $1.32
13. Japan ..................... $0.90


1. United States .......... $16.80
2. Canada .................... $11.73
3. Sweden .................... $ 8.10
4. Switzerland ............. $ 8.00
5. New Zealand ........... $ 6.72
6. Denmark ................. $ 6.46
7. Norway ................... $ 6.10
8. CUBA ...................... $ 6.00
9. Australia ................. $ 5.82
10. United Kingdom ... $ 5.75
11. Belgium .................. $ 4.72
12. West Germany ...... $ 4.13
13. France .................... $ 3.26

[From the U.N. Statistical Yearbook and the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1955-1958]

If Cubans earned today what they earned 50 years ago, not even allowing for inflation, their 1958 yearly income of between $1200-$2400 would signify between a 1000-2000 percent increase for all of them. If the Cuban income per capita were still higher than the United Kingdom's, France's, Germany's and Japan's, Cubans today would earn the highest salaries in the world. The Revolution has bequeathed only poverty to the Cuban people, but even if it had accomplished all that its supporters claim for it, through the expedient of 48 years of tyranny, those "achievements" would be rendered insignificant by the fact that if Cuba had never undergone such an artificial transformation, and been allowed, instead, to evolve without the "genius" of Fidel Castro, today its people would have nothing to envy any of these other countries. In fact, it would be Cubans that would be buying up Spain and Canada, not the other way around.

The Mind of the "Minder"

In a move that will doubtless uncomplicate the hosts' lives, and give us a Val soused-up to a point we have not ever seen before, the Babalú Radio Hour will be heard today from 11:00 PM to 12:00 PM. It is just as well, I suppose. No one is listening anyway, and they might as well not listen at 11:00 the same as at 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00. For myself, I never listen to the live broadcast preferring the canned version instead, so this change leaves me exactly where it found me.

"Minder," they call me now. "Minder," indeed! I wish I could endow them with minds and common sense, but even I have my limitations.


I finally listened to Henry's much-heralded début on Canadian radio. He was not half bad. Of course, that means that he was only half good, but we'll take what we can get from our international radio personality.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vilma Espín Is Dead: One Down and Two Bastards to Go

It was not Fidel.

It was not Raúl.

But it was the next best thing.

Yes, it is confirmed: Vilma Espín is dead.

Raúl Castro has declared 26 hours of mourning (¡qué cursi!) in honor of the "distinguished heroine of the resistance" and his ex-wife.

As the great-granddaughter of Karl Marx, Vilma Espín Guillois was a member of Communist royalty and heir to a fortune in Bacardí stock. That and the blackness of her own character (the beast killed her own sister for an inheritance and betrayed dozens of anti-Communists in the "July 26th" Movement to Batista's police) made her our real-life Madame Defarge and the ideal bride for the heir presumptive of Castroism.

The most powerful woman in Cuba for most of her life, Vilma Espín did not possess the womanly virtues that might have tempered the brutish traits of her husband and brother-in-law, but shared in a triad with them the blame for destroying our country.

The token female in the Communist Party hierarchy, as Almeida was the token black, Vilma Espín was charged by the Revolution with representing the interests of the Revolution in respect to women. As such she was never a champion of women's rights, but the sponsor of every wrong that has been committed on Cuban women over the last 48 years: Cuban women, of course, outside her charmed circle.

At least this Communist "princess of the blood" had the pleasure of arranging a "royal" marriage for one of her daughters (the non-lesbian one) with the head of the Sicilian mafia. Vilma in fact resided in a palace on that other island for most of the last 30 years, serving as the courier in the transfer of the family's wealth to Geneva. She may in fact not have died in Cuba at all, as the absence of a corpse would seem to indicate.

Nevertheless, she is the first to die of that nefarious triad and paves the way for the other two national villains.

We would have preferred Fidel dead.

We would have preferred Raúl dead.

But after them no one is better dead than Vilma Espín.

Disgrace to your sex, antithesis of Maceo's mother, burn in hell forever!

¡Viva Cuba libre!


In an unprecedented development, "Heroine of the Revolution" (if only for marrying Raúl) Vilma Espín was cremated without a state funeral or even an unofficial viewing. Obviously, they did not want the people to see her physical deterioration, which must mirror Fidel's, since she's been kept on life support longer than he's been. Also, if there is no state funeral, then there will be no speculation on why Fidel did not attend it. And, of course, if there was one funeral that Fidel could not have skipped without giving everything away it was Vilma's.

"Please, pretty please with sugar on it."

Henry is begging me to review his performance tonight on Canadian radio, where he subbed for Val, who was no doubt "under the weather."

This is becoming pathological. He requires validation from me as a calf does its mother's milk.

And he visited New Jersey last week on "business."

Very pathological indeed.


Now Henry calls me his "minder" and pleads with me yet again to review his performance on Canadian radio. He must think that he did quite well to be so insistent. I am not made of stone. If he continues to grovel at my feet, I may just do it despite fantomas' prior claims. Although, what a fat baby our Henry is! I have already devoted thousands of words to him and he still can't cut the whining. I'm really too indulgent with him. How will he ever grow up?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Martí's Father

Si quieren que de este mundo
Lleve una memoria grata,
Llevaré, padre profundo,
Tu cabellera de plata.

If I a pleasant keepsake
On leaving this world may bear,
Father profound, I would take
A lock of your silver hair.

Martí's mother knew that she had given birth to one of the elect, and it upset her terribly that lesser men were more conspicuous successes in the eyes of the world and she never tired of berating her son for refusing to make the necessary compromises that would have allowed him and his nearly destitute family to live a more comfortable life. As the wife of an old man and the mother of five daughters, Leonor Pérez looked to him to be the family's support; but Martí's dream of national redemption, which carried then no special stipends or emoluments, consumed his life and his health and left only remnants of his efforts for his family. She had even told him in one of her reproachful letters (all her letters to him were reproachful): "Those who set themselves up as redeemers usually end up nailed to a cross."

Leonor Pérez loved her son madly, make no mistake about it, which made her disappointment in him especially painful to both. She was the kind of mother who believes that her son belongs to her and her only, and that only she knows what is best for him because only she really loves him. Ironically, it was Martí's death — the thing she feared most and presaged frequently — which allowed her to live out her last days in security and even comfort. The Association of Patriotic Emigres purchased for her the house on Paula Street (now Leonor Pérez Street) that was Martí's boyhood home and the occupation government appointed her to a clerkship worth $1200 annually which was later ratified by the Republic. She survived her son by 12 years and always wore black from the time of his death. In Versos sencillos Martí remembered her as the "matrona fuerte" who risked her life in a hail of bullets as she scoured the deserted streets of Havana, strewn with corpses, looking for her teenage son.

Unlike Martí's mother his father never reproached him for not becoming the successful notorio of his dreams. In fact, it was Mariano who best understood his son and gave him the greatest freedom to be true to himself even if that went against everything that he himself believed. A simple and even rough man who was as proud of being a Spaniard as his son was to be a Cuban, Mariano at first was perplexed by his son's seditious ideas as well as his artistic temperament, which led Martí to seek the support and nurture his spirit needed from the poet Rafael de Mendive, Martí's teacher and surrogate father. Many historians have unwittingly offended José Martí's memory by portraying his father as an abusive unfeeling monster, which he never was. Mariano Martí was stubborn and implacable, but, like his son, he was a vortex of emotions and irreproachably honest to others and himself.

It was when his only son was jailed at age 15 by Spanish authorities that the old soldier of Spain realized that his love for him was the central fact of his life which trumped all else, even his allegiance to his native country. Martí recounts that when his father first visited him in his jail cell Don Mariano fell to his knees in uncontrollable sobbing, kissing the wounds which the leg irons that Martí was forced to wear 24-hours a day had imprinted in his flesh. And the old soldier of Spain told his son that if his love for Cuba merited such sacrifices from him then he should do his duty as he saw it. Reflect on that those who question the nobility of the Spanish character or the expansiveness of the Spanish heart.

When his father died, Martí confided to his best friend, Fermín Valdés Domínguez, that he was now postrate with grief, for not until life had put his own integrity to the test, had he realized the greatness of his father: "I felt a pride in my father that grew every time I thought about him, because no one lived in viler times than him, nor, despite his apparent simplicity, did anyone more completely transcend those times, for no one was purer in thought or deed than him."

Martí evoked his father many times in his poetry, always with ineffable love, as mentor and guide. In his father's voice Marti retells the lessons that he learned from him: his love of truth and justice; his detestation of violence; the dignity and self-possession of manhood. In his poetry Martí transforms his father from "simple man" to "father profound." Or perhaps this indicates not the father's growth but the son's, in his understanding of life's trials and the real wells of courage.

It is now acknowledged that Martí wrote the greatest book of poetry that has ever been dedicated to paternal love: Ismaelillo. But in the poetry that he dedicates to his father he is just as eloquent and loving, touching chords of human sentiment that only the greatest masters discern or can reproduce:

Mi padre era español: ¡era su gloria
Los Domingos, vestir sus hijos,
Pelear, bueno: no tienes que pelear, mejor:
Aun por el derecho, es un pecado
Verter sangre, y se ha de
Hallar al fin el modo de evitarlo. Pero, sino
Santo sencillo de la barba blanca.
Ni a sangre inútil llama a tu hijo,
Ni servirá en su patria al extranjero:
Mi padre fue español: era su gloria,
Rendida la semana, irse el Domingo,
Conmigo de la mano.


Viejo de la barba blanca
Que contemplándome estás
Desde tu marco de bronce
En mi mesa de pensar:
Ya te escucho, ya te escucho:
Hijo, más, un poco más
Piensa en mi barba de plata,
Fue del mucho trabajar.
Piensa en mis ojos serenos,
Fue de no ver nunca atrás:
Piensa en el bien de mi muerte
Que lo gané con luchar.
Piensa en el bien de
Que lo gané con penar.
Yo no fui de esos ruines
Viejos turbios que verás
Hartos de logros impuros [...]
Cual el monte aquel he sido
Que ya no veré jamás
Azul en lo junto a tierra,
No: yo pasé por la vida
Mansamente ...
Como los montes he sido.

Vamos, pues, yo voy contigo —
Ya sé que muriendo vas:
Pero el pensar en la muerte
Ya es ser cobarde! ¡A pensar,
Hijo, en el bien de los hombres,
Que así no te cansarás
El llanto a la espalda: el llanto
Donde no te vean llorar [...]


Cuando me vino el honor
De la tierra generosa,
No pensé en Blanca ni en Rosa
Ni en lo grande del favor.

Pensé en el pobre artillero
Que está en la tumba, callado:
Pensé en mi padre, el soldado:
Pensé en mi padre, el obrero.

Cuando llegó la pomposa
Carta, en su noble cubierta,
Pensé en la tumba desierta,
No pensé en Blanca ni en Rosa.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Regarding Yesterday's Monster Post

The final tally was 176 comments and the experiment in controlled mayhem ended at 12:00 (actually, 1:00 AM) this morning. No doubt one commenter's maniacal blogging outburst was the catalyst for reaching such an elevated number, but most of the time he wasn't speaking to himself (though this would hardly surprise us). The thread kept pretty much on subject throughout its nearly 12 hours of continuous activity. It avoided the pornography and copy and pasting which were the prelude to the crash of Miami's Cuban Connection (which is still on life support). Although some valued regular commenters were no doubt put off by the lack of gravitas which prevailed there, I think that, on the whole, it could have been much worse, and that, all things considered, it was not that bad and certainly worth trying again at a future date when some comical relief is required. Not that there is any dearth of humor here, but it tends to be more refined and subtle. In fact, I am quite proud that this is the home for such humor on the Cuban-American blogosphere. If the domestic deities who are lampooned here had a sense of humor, there would be a lot less wringing of hands and sack cloth and ashes in their set. But let them be. We should not want it any other way.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fantomas Brought to the Carpet

As I predicted, the whip has been cracked on fantomas and he has (also predictably) BUCLed. The former Pee Wee Herman has deleted most of his comments on this blog (I bet he wishes he could do that on Miami's Cuban Connection too). Among those numerous deletions are his protestations that he is his own man and not beholden or answerable to Val Prieto or anyone.

Judge for yourselves.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Babaloo Radio Hour Pays Tribute to Me

Now at the start of every make-believe radio program, the Valalusians pay tribute to me on the show. Henry, stranded at a New York airport, even phoned-in because he said that he feared disappointing me. It is all very touching in its own sick warped way. They are performing their radio charade for my benefit, which is understandable since I am practically the only one who listens to their amateur hour, enduring that ordeal so that I can keep my readers informed of their latest fibs and foibles.

If you wish to subject yourself to the same ordeal, you can do so by visiting Babalú blog and clicking on the Babalú Radio Hour icon. This week's show contains other priceless Kodak moments, such as Val accusing me, the éminence grise of their show, of harboring "an obsession" about them and George Moneo's lecture on penis envy (?) as the cause of the Cold War, surely an argument that Sigmund Freud didn't live to make because he didn't live long enough.