Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Babalú's Real Agenda: The Annexation of Cuba to the U.S.

"Who is saying they should be sent back? [They won't need to be sent back if what you espouse is implemented: excluding them altogether]. I think that's a bullshit generalization [you can't "generalize" falsehoods; you can only generalize facts]. There was a crisis with the rafters, if you don't remember many of them were dying at sea [natural deaths as opposed to being killed or drowned by the U.S. Coast Guard]. The US said that it would be better for everyone if that ended and so this much maligned country said it would accept 20,000 Cubans a year [and then this "much-maligned" country didn't accept 20,000 a year, but 10 percent of that number]. More than just an agreement with the regime [the Clinton-Castro Migratory Accords are nothing more than a treaty with Castro to contain, not manage, Cuban immigration] it was a compact with the Cuban people [really? The Cuban people are free to enter into "compacts" with the U.S.?] saying, look don't risk your life [just resign yourselves to tyranny, live and die as slaves]. There's a way with real possibilities to come to the US without doing that [what way?]. There's no Hatian [sic] Adjustment Act, no Mexican Adjustment Act, no Guatemalan Adjustment Act, just a Cuban Adjustment Act [a special law for a special case. When exactly did Haiti, Mexico or Guatemala declare themselves Marxist states?]. Am I happy about it Cubans being sent back? No. [Liar]. But I again ask is our objective for every Cuban to live in the US? If so, then let's just annex it the way fidel says we want to. — Henry Gómez, July 31, 2007

Finally Henry, the "American-Cuban," as he calls himself (and now we know why), has revealed Babalu's secret agenda for Cuba's future: annexation to the U.S. If Cubans continue to insist on fleeing Castro's island prison, Henry wants the U.S. to annex the island. It does not occur to him that such an annexation as he proposes is playing into Castro's hands or that were it attempted it would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of the Cuban people, who have not endured 48-years of a U.S.-created, U.S.-sanctioned and U.S.-protected dictatorial regime only as a prelude to annexation. Did the U.S. contrive to destroy our country and squeeze every last ounce of strength from our people only too sweep-in like a raptor and steal our independence as it did our freedom 48 years ago?

I will not bother to refute Henry about annexation: Martí refuted him 120 years ago and I cannot improve on him.

A Visit from Joe Papp

joep said...

Does RoCAB exist mainly to slam Babalú, or is it a vehicle for commentary, discussion, analysis and the exchange of ideas on the reality that is Cuba today and the US's policy therein? I only ask because having just read through a majority of the current posts on this site (RoCAB), the Babalú-bashing is starting to sound repetitive and gets in the way (for me at least) of the ideas presented here. Granted, if Babalú is your foil and tearing apart what's posted there is your vehicle for presenting your own ideas on the reality of the Cuba situation, more power to you. I would just like you to know that as a first time visitor to your site, the anti-Babalú sentiment appears significant to the point of ... er, obsession.
7/31/2007 11:48 PM


First of all, let me commend your honesty, which is something that I have rarely encountered from your fellow denizens at Babalú. They visit here under aliases to disrupt and insult since they can do nothing else: the truth which is expressed here cannot be refuted and is compelling enough to have held your attention for hours on end. I do not think that I need to explain the raison d'etre for this blog to you. Nevertheless, I should have you know that it is a service which I perform for the Cuban-American blogosphere, and, in particular, for the readers of Babalú (and, yes, even its editors). It is my voice, which I am as entitled to have as they are entitled to have theirs. Here no one is booted; no one is censored; and there are no edicts restricting free expression. In short, I practice what I preach. If Babalú had done likewise there would have been no rupture between us. Now that I have answered your questions, I should like you to answer mine:

Why should a blog which is so decidedly anti-Cuban as Babalú (in addition to being anti-Castro), anti-democratic and anti-intellectual, also be unchallenged and beyond criticism?

Why should your obsession be my obsession?

You Cannot Love Cuba and Hate Cubans

Val's incendiary "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" post, which he described as an exercise in "Socratic madness" (when practiced by Val it is "madness," not a method), has thus far garnered over 100 comments and become the breakaway post that Val had so long wanted and done everything in his power to get, though protesting all the while that comments are of no significance to him and say nothing about a blog's readership. We have already shown in another post that it does indeed say a great deal about a blog's readership. Of course, it says a great deal more about how its readers receive and react to the blogger's views and the blogger himself. So far the reaction has not been very positive. Val has even been compared to Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of Jesus' blood even as Val has washed his own hands of the balseros' blood, in Val's own words, "pragmatically, calculated[ly] and heartlessly."

When Val asked the question: "Pretend you are me ... and tell us what I [Val] think about the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy, the first to attempt to read Val's mind was George Moneo: "You want the status quo ante reinstated, just like I do." These sentiments do credit to George and were completely unexpected on his part. Nevertheless, George was wrong, very wrong; Val wishes no such thing.

Henry, on the other hand, couldn't give "a fuck" what Val or anybody else thinks because only his opinion matters. For him the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy is a "powderkeg of an issue intended to "divide us." He doesn't specify whom he means by "us." We must suppose that it is other "American-Cubans," as he defines himself. Henry thinks the policy has "worked" because it all but stopped rafters from coming to this country. But he is dissatisfied because it did not stop the smugglers from bringing their "human cargo" here (ah, that awful free market and profit motive; they're so hard to kill!). Not until the U.S. is able to stop all refugees fleeing Cuba will Henry be content.

It's not the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy which Henry thinks is a problem, but the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966) which accords Cubans automatic legal status. He considers this "special treatment" [which it is and rightly so: special treatment for a special case] and agrees with "people in our community" (i.e. Castroites) who want to see it abolished altogether. Why, he asks, isn't there a "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy for Haitains and a Haitian Adjustment Act? Here he is playing the race card to exclude Cubans from this country while not really giving a damn about the Haitian boat people except as props in his war against the Cuban people. As if sensing his own bias, Henry attempts to counteract it by assuring his readers that "Of course I want Cubans to be free." Just not here. Free in Cuba, whenever. He wants Cubans to do what his parents did and stay in Cuba. Oh, wait, Henry's parents didn't stay in Cuba. How different his life would have been if they had! Then he might be one of those balseros being beaten back into the ocean by the Coast Guard, or fired at with live ammunition, or pushed into waters and allowed to drown. Bet Henry wouldn't think the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy "worked" if he were being hunted on the high seas by pirates in uniforms determined to prevent him from asserting his legal right to asylum in the U.S. under the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966).

Henry hates the rafters also because they "become benefactors of their own families" (how terrible and unnatural!), which he believes is "counterproductive" to his plan to starve Cubans into rebellion (as if they hadn't been starved enough for 48 years). I wonder how much starvation it would take to prod Henry into using his fork as a deadly weapon. I should think not much; the boy likes his food. Maybe if his parents had stayed in Cuba Henry might have led the revolution against Castro. He is so intrepid about food.

Marc R. Másferrer's take on this issue is as clearheaded and humane as Henry's is muddled and barbaric. For Marc, the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy is a "travesty" and "un-American." He recognizes and condemns "the immorality of working hand-in-hand with the dictatorship in Havana to send Cubans back to the island." Marc also takes everything that Val says in deadly earnest, which is precisely how his anti-Cuban remarks should be taken, and answers him accordingly.

Val has endeavored to present himself throughout as a dispassionate searcher for truth "trying to keep emotions out of this debate and [to] remain as unattached as possible." "Unattached" to what? Obviously, his Cuban roots. Contradicting himself, as he always does, and, in this case, in the same sentence, Val assures Marc that "while I agree wholeheartedly about the immorality of the policy [!], why should it be considered immoral and reprehensible for America to secure its borders. What makes Cubans different from, say, Mexicans?" Asked if this is a rhetorical question, Val avers that it is not. He's just "playing devil's advocate." What devil's advocate? Fidel Castro's? George Bush's? Val does not say.
Although several commenters, including Marc, tear to shreds the false analogy of Cubans and Mexicans — which should be obvious even to Americans — Val keeps bringing it up because it is practically the only argument in his arsenal besides questioning whether these brave men and women, willing to risk their very lives to escape Castro's Cuba, are really opposed to Castro after all.

Marc tended to handle Val with great love and patience, as one would a mentally-challenged brother. Others were not as gentle. Mamey was especially eloquent:

"It is inconceivable, if not revolting, that any Cuban living inthe USA today would support a policy that returns Cubans fleeing Cuba to the island. Put yourselves or your parents in their shoes. Hay que tener mucha gandinga y falta de corazón. ¡Increible!" That's about as perfect a photograph of Val as one is ever going to get (except for the "mucha gandinga").

But mamey didn't stop there. Here's the knockout punch:

Val: Perhaps no one really wants Cubans repatriated, but.... it appears from some comments that there are fellow Cubans who want to play the Pontius Pilate bit...gee, I guess Cubans should be able to flee the dictatorship, but heck, the USA needs to protect its borders, the law of the land has to be respected, they are no different than other migrants, bla, bla, bla...or golly, it was okay for us and our parents to flee, but they should stick it out no matter what, I mean, ahhh...gotta go, lemme go wash my hands."

When a punch drunk Val finally got to feet, he had this rejoinder:

OK, since my last question was responded to peripherally, let me interject: ... national security issues ... economic issues ... Americans are concerned about immigration."

I seemed to recall that the object of this post and corresponding thread was to guess Val's position on the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy. But there was nothing to guess. The devil's advocate was his own advocate and a very poor one indeed.

If there were one ounce of courage or independence among Babalú's satellites, they would be condemning and disassociating themselves from Val now. But there is not. Which is the reason that this blog exists: to call them to account.

You cannot love Cuba and hate Cubans.

Babaloos' Waterloos: "Some Spaniards Are OK"

Well, it's official. Henry has said it on Babalú and so it must be true: "Some Spaniards are OK." Does this mean that BUCL's "Campaign Against Spain" was a mistake? Of course not. For it follows that if "some Spaniards are OK," then most are not. Get it?

The Babalunians Are Running Scared as Their Numbers Plummet

"Oh and by the way, we are racking up the comments here. We must be successful again. Those 2 million visitors aren't important, just the comments." [/sarcasm] — Henry Gómez, July 30

Of course, I was right. It was all about the comments. The Babalunians may claim that they are not in the least perturbed by the fact that Babalú's posts have garnered almost no comments lately. As we have pointed out, there have been times when their last 20 posts have barely managed to elicit 40 comments between them, with at least half receiving no comments at all. Since Babalu has between 2000-3000 daily visitors, how can one explain the paucity of comments? The Babalunians pretend that its all about the visitors not the comments. That's like saying that the number of visitors to a store matters more than the number of buyers. Of course, they know the truth even if they scoff at it.

For the last week they have desperately labored to find their way out of this slump. First they increased the number of daily posts, and, to their dismay, their increased activity was met by a proportional decrease in the activity of its commenters. That is, the few commenters they have were overwhelmed by so many posts and retreated in silence. Then they tried to be controversial by trotting out the tried and true subjects that had once been the most successful for them, such as the Estefans. A little interest was generated but nothing like the old days. Finally, they had no recourse but to do the unthinkable, that is, to resurrect the "The Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy debate, which is a subject that is usually avoided at Babalu because Val & Henry's opinions on it are diametrically opposed to that of most Cubans; this is the reason also, as Henry has stated, that there will never be a BUCL campaign to condemn that policy. 95% of Cuban exiles may disapprove of it, but the majority opinion is inconsequential to them because Val & Henry adhere to the nativist branch of the Republican Party, which is really more like the headquarters than a branch of that party. Henry, in particular, as an avid supporter and admirer of Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson, has an especially vehement disdain for immigrants, which mirrors that of another first-generation American — Tom Tancredo. And, like Tancredo, Henry is not in the least adverse to exploiting the issue for his own gain.

The entire "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" post where readers were challenged to guess Val's position on it (they could really have no doubt about Henry's position) was designed for the specific purpose of proving that my contention that Babalú is a ghost town was wrong. Henry and Val both kept stroking the fires day and night with incendiary comments which they later contended were rhetorical questions or instances of playing the devil's advocates. All that really remained for Val & Henry to do was to declare themselves fidelistas in order to rile up the masses, and for a time I even thought that they might not stop short of that. And, yet, despite their best (worst?) efforts to stir the masses into a frenzy, they barely managed to break 50 comments. That is now the Ultima Thule of any recent Babalú post.

It is true that Babalú will soon have entertained 2 million visitors, but they will not have entertained them for long. Having posted 5000 editorials on every imaginable subject concerning Cuba over the last 4 years (most quite worthless), Babalú is a magnet for google. Almost every query about Cuba brings up a result from Babalú. But when googlers visit their site, they instantly surmise that it is not what they want or need. In fact, the average time spent by these googlers at Babalu is "O" minutes, and yet their aborted visit is also counted on the sitemeter. Since Babalú gets 80 percent of its referrals from google and most of these fall into the category just described, the actual number of visitors who stayed is under 400,000 divided over four years. With under 100,000 real visitors per year, 8000 per month and 2000 per week, it is no surprise that Babalú can't find commenters in such a reduced pool. In fact, the number of commenters accurately reflects its real number of visitors (300 per day). So, yes, comments are a very real indicator of a blog's readership. In fact, the only real indicator. And the Babalunians know it. And they are very afraid. Nowhere is their panic better reflected than in their "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" post.


On a positive note, it was comforting to see how Marc R. Masferrer's consternation and indignation grew as Val & Henry made each successive sally at our balsero brothers. It may take another few years, but I think that eventually the editor of the Uncommon Sense blog will leave Val & Henry's Cuban-Haters Club.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Val Asks His Readers to Guess His Position on the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" Policy

Well, they tried first to reignite the storm about the Estefans. It didn't work. Next they tried to reignite the storm about the U.S. Coast Guard's inhumane treatment of Cuban refugees. It didn't work either. And now they are trying to reignite a controversy around the cause of the latter, the Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy, in a desperate attempt to spark the first genuine debate in months in the otherwise deserted ghost town that Babalú has become. To be even more provocative, Val asked his readers to "Pretend You Are Me" and tell him what he thinks about the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy." Is there no limit to this man's arrogance and cynicism? The debate on this policy at Babalú is to revolve around what Val thinks about it, or, rather, what others think his position is? The question, of course, cannot be answered because he has never had one consistent opinion on the subject. He started out supporting the policy wholeheartedly because his first allegiance was to George Bush, and if Bush saw fit to continue Clinton's policy, then Val had no problem endorsing the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy for the same reasons that Henry still supports it, that is, because of his abiding hate for the people of Cuba whom he doesn't believe are deserving of "special treatment" and his desire that the island should blow up in some metaphorical "pressure cooker." As I have said before, the only Cubans that Val and Henry feel any compassion for are those in four-walled prisons. The millions who live in the island-wide prison they couldn't care less about. In fact, they actually blame them for keeping Castro in power and resent them for not having poner los muertos to free Cuba. For them, it is not Castro who is responsible for Cuba's fate, but the Cuban people who are responsible for Castro and ultimately responsible also for the destruction of Cuba. They blame the victims and exculpate the culprit, or, rather, the culprits; for the U.S. bears at least as much responsibility for Cuba's annihilation as does Castro, more, in fact, since the U.S. is the first cause.

I have had several discussions with Val on this subject at Babalú before I was booted in March 2007. I recently reproduced the transcripts from some of them. So great was Val's obeisance to Bush and his concomitant disdain for the balseros that he equated their plight to that of Mexican migrants, alleging that they weren't real political refugees but merely economic ones. Of course, it never crossed his mind that it is possible to be both, that, indeed, in a Communist system, it is unavoidable. Nor did he ever consider that his own parents were no different from the latest refugees in their motivations for leaving Cuba. Yes, they came here seeking freedom but also food to put in their kids' stomachs, clothes on their backs and shoes on their feet. If anyone tells you differently, if they pretend that they were still enjoying the horn of plenty under Castro, it is a lie. They, too, were as much economic as political refugees.

Here is the actual exchange between us on this subject from August 2005:

Alright, George Bush's quirkiness and anti-intellectualism can be endearing traits, and he himself appears to be an altogether likable man. I would like him, too, if he'd just stop sending Cuban refugees by the boatload to Castro. Such shameless flaunting of U.S. tradition as a haven for the oppressed would have been unthinkable during the Cold War. In Cuba, however, nothing has changed since the Cold War. But, for purposes of immigration, Cuba has apparently been "liberated" by U.S. policymakers because Cuban refugees are now routinely returned to Cuba under the assumption that they will not face punitive measures there. This assumption is on its face a lie and the height of disingenuousness on the part of those who claim to enforce U.S. laws, and, in particular, on the part of the chief law enforcer himself, President George Bush II. The Cuban Resettlement Act (1965) did not establish a "dry foot/wet foot" policy. This was purely the invention of Clinton and Reno, who never saw a law they wouldn't subvert. For 30 years (quite a long precedent!), Cuban refugees were admitted legally to the U.S. regardless of whether they reached land or were rescued on the high seas. Besides the element of luck (which should make us pity those stranded on the high seas even more), what difference is there between these two groups of refugees? Both are fleeing the same oppression and both are deserving of the same protections that the Law establishes for them. But George Bush has seen fit to adopt and make his own Clinton's tendentious reinterpretation of the Law. If he wanted to, George Bush could reverse Bill Clinton's heartless policy today. Such a policy shift (or, rather, restoration) would require no special laws, amendments or congressional imput. All the President has to do is inform his Attorney General than henceworth we will again be enforcing the Cuban Resettlement Act (1965) according to its original intent. That's all. George Bush is on record as supporting amnesty and legalization for illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S. Why, then, does he continue to forcibly repatriate Cuban refugees? Why does his Coast Guard harass and abuse them every day, presumably at his orders or at the uncountered orders of his predecessor? George Bush is in the White House because Cuban-American voters in Florida put him there, as he has himself acknowledged on several occasions. What are Cuban-Americans, then, wasting their political capital on, since it certainly isn't being spent on behalf of Cuban refugees? Will some of the Bush supporters on this forum stop supporting him long enough to say one word on behalf of their own brothers?
Posted by M.A.T. at August 12, 2005 09:32 AM

Oh, gimme a break, MAT.
Posted by Val Prieto at August 12, 2005 09:42 AM

[Val deletes my comment where I stated that Bush had, by 2005, enforced the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy longer than Clinton had and that it was as much Bush's policy as Clinton's. I also made reference to the predations of the U.S. Coast Guard on Cuban refugeees, which had escalated, not decreased, under Bush; and finally, I mentioned the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard and Castro's Coast Guard were actually collaborating on the interdiction of Cuban refugees on the high seas, which effectively erased any distinction between them].

Seriously MAT. I deleted your last comment. If you dislike Bush thats one thing, but dont place the blame on him for the wet foot/dry foot policy. And you certainly cant expect the POTUS to open up the cuban border and allow a huge number of immigrants to come into the states. Because thats exactly what would happen. Thousands upon thousands of Cubans fleeing the island, many on rafts and many dying at sea, then those that get here causing havoc on the system and the economy. If you wanna bash Bush, I suggest another blog. I aint going to blame the man for shit that isnt his fault.
Posted by Val Prieto at August 12, 2005 09:58 AM

To Val at that time [August 2005], any criticism of the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy was a criticism of Bush and he would not tolerate any criticism of Bush on his blog. This perfect democrat placed his allegiance to "POTUS" ahead of any real or contrived allegiance to the victims of this policy; and although Bush had by that time been enforcing "Clinton's policy" longer than Clinton, Val still held him blameless for it ["I aint going to blame the man for shit that isnt his fault"]. As for the Cuban refugeees, he could not have spoken of them with greater disdain. To him they were not refugees but "immigrants" who were crossing "our border" [Note to Val: Cuba is an island. There is no "border" between the two countries]. He is afraid of these "thousands and thousands of Cubans fleeing the island" and almost hopeful that they would all die at sea because then the U.S. would not have to deal with "the havoc on the system and the economy" which they would supposedly cause. Val's first concern, indeed, his only concern is "the system." With hundreds of thousands of Mexican migrants entering this country every year and causing no disruption in "the system" (other than what racist xenophobes invent), Val is worried about the impact that the 2000 rafters who make it to this country every year might have upon "the system." It's as if American Jews during the 1930s had opposed the entry of European refugees to the U.S. because they might disrupt "the system." Actually many did, including the Ochs-Sultzbergers, the Jewish-American owners of The New York Times. Of course, Val isn't really worried about "the system." What worries him is his place in "the system." The new refugees might cause a resurgence in racism and nativism which he does not wish to face any more than the assimilated Jews did 70 years ago.

That, then, is Val's real position on "The Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy. When in view of recent atrocities committed by the Coast Guard against Cuban refugees it was no longer possible to support the policy without wetting one's hands in the refugees' blood, Val revised his position and now claims to object to more stringent applications of it. But he has yet to call for its abrogation and still continues to maintain, as he has just reasserted on Babalú, that Cuban refugees are no different from Mexican refugees. He called it a "rhetorical question" after the fact but no one acquainted with his past positions can doubt that it reflects his real feelings on the subject.

Perhaps at the end of this exercise in pretentiousness and deception, Val will finally tell his readers what his [new] real position on the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy is. Perhaps. But even if he doesn't, we have the goods on him here.


According to his latest comment, Henry wants to keep in place the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy because he says that eliminating it might lead to scrapping the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966). He apparently doesn't know the the CAA is the law of the land and can't be casually "scrapped." It would have to be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (unlikely since it has been established law for 40+ years), or Congress would have to pass another act rescinding it which the president would have to sign into law. The chances of that happening: "0."

Would Val Remodel Sting's 27 Bathrooms?

After hailing Sting as the world's moral conscience whose mere condemnation would topple Castro as decades ago, they fancied, it had "brought down" Botha and Pinochet (both, of course, actually stepped down peacefully and patriotically), the Babalunians, unable to court the English rocker on bended knee or with the banner "Excelsior," have turned on their erstwhile hero and would-be liberator, as they had done earlier to the Estefans, because they failed to honor their commitments to Val, as if the rich and famous felt honor bound by their word, especially when given to someone whom they consider beneath them (perhaps because that's exactly where Val had placed himself by his obsequiousness and shameless pandering).

Val has now embarked on a campaign to expose Sting — or "Mr. Human Rights, as he now sarcastically calls him — as the fellow traveller and hypocrite he has always been and which only Val & Henry could convince themselves he was not in the first place.

It seems that it has been brought to Val's attention that Sting is an investor in a New York theme-bar and restaurant called "Socialista," whose purpose is to introduce Cuban-style apartheid to the Big Apple. The bar consists of two tiers. The hoi polloi are limited to the first tier; the rich and beautiful may aspire to bathe in the rarified atmosphere of the 2nd tier, which is adorned with photographs of Fidel Castro and other Communist icons. Of course, prices are the same on both tiers and it is more likely that the waiters will annoint with their proletarian spit the $16.00 drinks of the customers in the 2nd tier.

I do not know if this campaign against Sting is sanctioned by, or a continuation of, BUCL's failed efforts to "conquer" Sting, or just another of Val's temper tantrums when he is snubbed by the rich and clueless. However, there is an uncanny similarity between the treatment Sting accords to customers in the first-tier and that which he dealt Henry & Val. Obviously Val believes that he belongs in the elite fraternity and it pains him sorely to have his application blackballed. This would be his business — and a pitiful one at that — if he did not insist on covering his posterior with the Cuban flag.

If Emilio had offered to make Henry his publicist, or Sting had contacted Val to remodel the 27 bathrooms of his mansion, would our intrepid defenders have been placated and convinced that the Cuban cause had been well-served? I think so. Sucking at the tits of the rich is almost as good as being rich to the mammonist.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Babalú has little or nothing to do with Cuba and less to do with Cubans on the island unless they happen to be in prison. Everyone else cannot be trusted and should not be helped. At best, Babalú is a diversion from the real issues confronting Cubans. It was never as bad as now or as shameless in exposing its real ends. I am only sorry for Babalú's latest contributors who have been pressed into its service under false pretenses; but some day they will awaken to the truth, the smart ones, anyway.

A Dialogue With Andy

Don't know how you can spend so much time reading the crap they [Val & Henry] post.
Andy Homepage 07.30.07 - 9:10 am #

Somebody has to refute them. Barbs are not going to do it. Besides, their shit fertilizes my roses.
Manuel A. Tellechea Homepage 07.30.07 - 9:24 am #


On the Art of Making Val Prieto Work for Me

I always knew this to be true but now I have absolute confirmation of it: Val Prieto is the most hated blogger in the Cuban-American blogosphere. The last three days have set records at the RCAB; never before have so many visitors converged here -- and on a weekend, no less ; and since during all that time my rebuke of Val was the lead article, I can only presume that it attracted them here in droves. Now, if Val would only oblige me by posting something so stupid every day, giving me the opportunity to dissect it, I am sure that I could do in 4 months' time what it took Val & Company 4 years to accomplish. I confess that I am tempted to make the previous post the permanent lead article, for I feel it still has much mileage in it. But I must not be content to let Val sit on these thorny laurels forever because I think I can do better. Yes, I am sure I can and I will.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"I'm a Cocksucker, Don't Ya Know?" Yes We Do, Val.

[You will all remember Val Prieto's famous deleted post "I'm a Cocksucker, Don't You Know?" I've alluded to it on several occasions and even quoted from it. Val originally posted it on Babalu on April 2, 2007 and deleted it within three hours because others (not me) told him it was the most foolish thing they had ever read. Guess what? He has re-posted it after I quoted the first paragraph in a recent post on this blog as Val's "Daily Affirmation." I guess once he learned I had retained a copy there was no sense in pretending he never wrote it and so he posted it again. Because the first time around Val deleted it within 3 hours of posting it, I saw no need to refute it. But now that he has posted it again and made the subject topical once more, I will answer him. Perhaps this time he'll know enough to keep his mouth shut. He could have spared himself so much embarrassment from the onset if he had just done that].
I'm a cocksucker, dont ya know.
by Val Prieto (annotated by Manuel A. Tellechea)

One would think that after nearly four years of blogging day in and day out about Cuba [that's 1460 days] and the reality of same [of what? Blogging 1460 days about Cuba?], that after nearly four years of taking on leftists, fidelistas, communists, and other assorted idiots, [didn't you want to take them on?] that after four years of arguing with and about the MSM, [have you actually argued with the MSM?] politicos and assorted officials, [you've never argued with politicians except those that take no cognizance of you, but never with our "don't-rock-the-boat" Cuban-American congressmen and senators] that after four years of busting my ass from sun up to sundown, [which you wouldn't have done, otherwise?] that after four years of being called a fascist, an asshole, a right wing extremist, close-minded, intransingent and a slew of other ephiteths, [I think you mean "epithets"] that after four years of death threats and picking up coconuts and dead chickens from the front of my home, [why do you "pick up" the evidence? why don't you pick up the phone and call the police?] all because of and on behalf of my work for the freedom of Cuba, [a fair assumption, but an assumption nonetheless; it could just be that your neighbors hate you] I would have at least earned a modicum of respect [is a "modicum of respect" all the respect you want?]. Not a reverence, [oh, is reverence what you think you deserve?] , mind you, [mind yourself] nor some shrine dedicated to me, [like the Virgin of Charity's, perhaps?] but just a simple nod, if not for my personal opinions, [certainly not] but [you mean "then," not "but"] for the thousands and thousands of hours work depicted here on the pages and archives of this blog and the thousands and thousands of hours spent behind the scenes in a humble attempt to something for the island of my birth and the people therein. [But didn't you say that the Estefans have done more for the cause of Cuba than all of us put together? Then why are you taking credit for "thousands" of hours of work when surely they must have done millions (at least)?].

But no. I am called a cocksucker by someone who is supposedly my own and who is supposedly on the same side of the argument as that of this blog. A cocksucker. [Why? Because of what you said about the Estefans, criticism of whom you expressly forbade on your blog upon penalty of expulsion].

For four years I have been arguing with pro-dialogue Cuban-Americans who always claim that this Cuban-American community behaves like rabid fascists, knee-jerk reactionaries and intransignet extremists who turn on their own if the opinions expressed by others aren't on a par with that of the "community." "Nonsense," Ive always said. You need look no further than the archives and writings of this blog to prove that this is not true. Some of us dont turn on our own [yeah, just the "rabid fascists, knee-jerk reactionaries and intransigent extremists" which you claim exist in our ranks and to which you imply I belong]. Some of us dont shit where we eat [certainly not you. Although whatever made you think you could eat off the Estefans' plate, I'll never know]. Some of us prefer to not air our dirty laundry, however tempting that may be, so it will not be detrimental to the community as a whole [you mean like not airing your dirty laundry exactly as you are doing right now?].

Manuel Tellechea, who has always been afforded a voice on this blog, who, despite much commentary where this blogger has disagreed with wholeheartedly [the only times you ever disagreed with me was when I attacked Bush and the Coast Guard for the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy and when I questioned the motives of the Estefans in embracing Santana] , has never been debased nor denigrated nor publicly scorned here by myself or by others [should I have expected to be "debased, denigrated or publicly scorned" for my opinions on Bush and the Estefans? Wasn't booting me enough?]. It is not that I have not disagreed with him, nor found his arguments to be less than realistic and sane, nor found them to be detrimental to the cause, I have many a time. [Wow! My arguments were "less than realistic and sane" and "detrimental to the cause" to boot, and yet you never took me on!]. And I have vehemently disagreed with him on many occassions [still in petu] , but never, never, have I taken him to task publicly nor with disdain and merciless criticism and slanderous accusation [again, you want brownie points for this?]. Never, ever, has this son of a welder [what does that have to do with anything except to sow class hatred?] referred to an "intellectual and moral bastion" such as Manuel as a cocksucker or anything to that effect [I have never given you cause to].

I was brought up with respect and taught to respect others, whether their opinions were diametrically opposed to mine [the only people whose opinions are "diametrically opposed" to yours are the fidelistas. Do you "respect" them?].

Yet Manuel Tellechea chose my Shame post, where I stated my opinion and feelings upon realizing that my community had perhaps jumped the gun vis-a-vis the Estefans/Carlos Santana issue [no, you jumped the gun in defending them], and in which post I not only spoke from the heart [with all the insincerity you could muster], but had the fortitude and integrity [praising yourself again?] to immediately admit I was wrong when same was proven [What else were you going to do after the Estefans made you look like a fool? Nevertheless, you continued your proscription against anyone criticizing the Estefans on your blog upon penalty of expulsion], to not only begin a new blog [as is my right] but to call me out as a "cocksucker" [Not exactly right. I didn't call you a "cocksucker" but did say that you had participated in the biggest act of cocksucking in the history of Cuban-American blogging. Still, I must admit that cocksuckers are as cocksuckers do].

The irony of this is that through his very first post, the mere fact that he not only self-righteously criticized my post, denigrated my name and labeled me a cocksucker, Manuel pretty much confirmed the criticisms I expressed in the Shame post to begin with. [My first post on the RCAB consisted of reproducing your "I Hang My Head in Shame" post and annotating it. You denigrated your own name by writing it]. He shat on his own [you mean I shat on you] and publicly debased the person [didn't you mean to say "exalted person," or is that implied?] that has been fighting it out here on the internet on behalf of Cuba the longest and with the most exposure [the longest, no; with the most exposure, probably]. All because I refused to shit on Gloria and Emilio Estefan, however meritted it may have been or still be, in public. [Well, you finally got over those scrupples 4 months later, when you allowed the Estefans to be called "traitors" on your blog. I guess they did not quite fulfill your expectations of them in the interim: no more phone calls and Emilio even reneged on his invitation to "do" lunch with you].

Mind you, Mr. Tellechea was not privy to any correspondence between myself and the Estefans, nor was he privy to my actions behind the scenes nor was he privy to my heated conversations with Emilio Estefan and other members of his organization. [If you had wanted to make me or your other readers at Babalu privy to any of that you could have. But you didn't because you promised the Estefans you wouldn't and your first allegiance was to them].

I am fallible just like any other human being is [you mean you are not the pope], and I have made many mistakes in my tenure on Babalu as in life [you forgot to add "as every other human being has done"], but I have always been true to my principles and my convictions and I would have been dishonest with you all and myself, had I not proffered my sentiments on the issue. [No one objected to you "proferring your sentiments." What I objected to was your refusal to allow others to proffer theirs without threat of expulsion]. While my position may not have been the popular one, nor necessarily, in hindsight, the correct one, had I not expressed my opinion honestly it would have been an affront to my integrity [and a credit to your commonsense].

Because, in the long run, it's all about integrity, Manuel. And this cocksucker still holds his head up high. I wish I could say the same for you. [What? Cocksucker without quotation marks? You are calling yourself a cocksucker and one who holds his head high about being a cocksucker? You leave me speechless and I leave you exactly where I found you — with your mouth wide open].

The Cuban American Misfits Review

Fantomas and Val Prieto, uniting their IQs in the hope of reaching 3 digits, have created a new blog which is an anemic — indeed, bloodless — attempt to parody mine. Well, imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. I wish them well in their infantilism. They are right to have chosen B.F. Skinner as their mentor.

Val, who is so afraid of me that he spends a considerable part of his day inspecting Babalú's satellite blogs to make sure that they have not linked to the Review of Cuban-American Blogs, agreed to act as godfather of the new blog and give it his seal of approval (otherwise known as the kiss of death).

Here is the post where Val announced to Babalu's diminishing readership the birth of the egg that fantomas laid, The Cuban American Misfits Review:

Se la comieron!
The petulant pedantic parasitic pest gets a comeupance.
"Manuel LaChachaBoy"
To whoever's brain child that blog is: you ate it.

No, Val, you "ate it." Everybody knows you ate it.

So I got my "comeupance" [sic]? I wish Val would get a dictionary. And then a clue.

I have already included the new blog in my Blogroll. Because, of course, I have nothing to fear from it. Unlike poor Val who has lived in the shadow of RCAB since it was founded nearly 4 months ago. 120 days of hell for him and an eternity to go.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Babalú: The All-Purpose Blog

George Moneo posted an article today on Babalu entitled "What's Next? Bacon Cheeseburgers?" which had nothing at all to do with Cuba, and, if anything, told us more than we ever wanted to know about George's penchant for smoking and bacon cheeseburgers (a suicide cocktail if there was ever one). The post, ostensibly, was about Disney banning smoking in all its films and a German Airline that caters to smokers.

What any of this has to do with Cuba is your guess. But, anyway, Babalu doesn't much concern itself with Cuba these days. What with Sting and The Police and Santana and the Estefans, it's really become more a celebrity blog dedicated to third- and fourth-tier musicians who have seen better days.

An all-purpose blog is a no-purpose blog.

An Exchange Between Castro and Our Editor

From the "Klotz" as in "Blood" Blog: An Exchange Between Castro (masquerading as one of his victims) and Manuel A. Tellechea:

"Anay Machado González" Says:

You know who I’m angry at, Manuel? The boat driver who didn’t stop when the US Coast Guard told him to. I would still be alive, maybe back in Cuba, but alive, nonetheless, and able to try again to come to this glorious country.

A glorious country that you, by the way, have no problem spitting on at every opportunity. You show neither this country nor its institutions any respect and consider yourself a Cuban before an American.

I have a perpetual headache, Manuel, but it’s only made worse when I read the words of an ungrateful bastard like you.

When are you going to start acting like a real American? People are literally dying to get to your country and you do nothing but impugn it.

Shame on you.
July 25th, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Manuel A. Tellechea Says:

Does Fidel Castro have no shame? Not content to have murdered twenty myriads of his countrymen and created in the waters of the Florida Straits the largest cemetery for Cubans in the world, now he is robbing the dead of their voices and pretending to channel messages from the beyond. How shameless and sad! And to think, that in his cruelty and cynicism, he should make Anay defend the country that was complicit with hers in her murder!

The Statue of Liberty, “The Mother of Exiles,” was never intended to represent what Clinton and Bush have forced her to represent.

What has America become when refugees from tyranny are hunted like animals on the high seas, beaten and killed for the crime of desiring to be free? What has America become when it agrees to act as Castro’s enforcer and executioner? What has America become when it smears its own hands with the blood of Castro’s victims?

We who call her to account for her conduct, who appeal to her better instincts, who wish her again to represent what she once represented to the world — a beacon of hope and freedom — are the real patriots, even if we were not born in this country (nor, in my case, regard it as mine).

Let Castro continue to sing the praises of George Bush’s America, since it is made to order for his needs, aids and abets his survival. Let him be as sentimental about his old hunting companion as he wishes. Men of honor can only regard his praise of this country as the death knell of America as a haven for the world’s oppressed and persecuted.
July 26th, 2007 at 7:04 am


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do You Know Who This Man Is?

A fabulous prize will be awarded to the first commenter who answers the question correctly. Winner: Agustín Fariñas.

The man pictured on this photograph is Major General José Francisco Martí y Zayas-Bazán, only son of the Apostle José Martí. His father dedicated his first book of poetry Ismaelillo to him. Martí fils joined the rebel ranks after his father's death in 1895, having literally to escape his mother via New York to do so. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Tunas de Bayamo, taking charge of the cannon when the canoneer was killed. As a result of this experience he was practically deaf for the rest of his life. He finished the War of Independence with the rank of captain and continued to serve in the Constitutional Army, in time reaching the rank of major general. President Mario García Menocal appointed him Chief of the Army and Secretary of War. He married the only daughter of Cuba's richest banker, Maria Teresa Bancés y Fernández-Criado. The marriage was without issue. He died on October 22, 1945 and with him also the direct line of descent from José Martí.


Because of his profound deafness, which became more acute in his latter years, General Martí often asked to have conversations repeated to him three or four times. This led many people to suppose unjustly that he did not inherit much of his father's intelligence. In fact, he became known as "the son of the statue in Central Park," as dead mentally as that block of marble. This was simply not true. His letters and a few published articles show that he was a man of great culture and possessed a brilliant prose style; nonetheless, he chose to excel his father at the only thing he was sure he could — as a general.

Babaloo's Waterloos: Dancing With "The John Birch Society"

From Babalu blog (July 25, 2007):

A Unique Situation

Via Alberto de la Cruz, here's a pretty good read on Cuba from the John Birch Society.

Posted by Val Prieto at 07:49 AM Habla (2) Leenkaso (0)

Has it really at long last come to this? The John Birch Society? Babalú is posting articles from the John Birchers? Has four years of courting respectability in the media culminated in an alliance with The John Birch Society? Are they really mad? The Babalunians, that is. Do they know nothing at all about The John Birch Society? Do they know nothing at all about American political culture? What planet do they inhabit? Are Cuban-Americans so destitute of friends that Val & Company must get in bed with The John Birch Society? They won't associate themselves with Posada or other Cuban freedom fighters, but they do embrace the John Birchers? Oh yes, it is "A Unique Situation."

On Babalú's Disdain for the New Refugees

You really can't beat a dead horse back to live, although Val & Company deserve credit for trying. Having noticed, at last, the paucity of comments on the ghost town blog that Babalú has become, and rightly attributing its decline to Babalu's historic disdain for insular Cubans (with the exception of those who are in jail), Val decided, for once, to actually express indignation at the treatment of recent Cuban refugees at the hands of the U.S. government. Whereas before they had defended the Coast Guard in all their predations against Cubans and held Bush blameless for his role in enforcing the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy longer than did his predecessor, a newly chastened Val — who, apparently, saw the error of his ways when The Wall Street Journal ran an article detailing one especially execrable case of abuse, the facts of which have already been known for a year and condemned in season by those who actually care about the new refugees — decided to scrap four years of shameful precedent, and extend a hand, ostensibly, to the brave men, women and children who risk everything for the freedom which Val & Company complacently received as a gift from their parents. I said "ostensibly" because Val's real motivation was to toss a line to his own blog, which was flaundering on the waters of indifference and ennui, and, as always, thinking by rote and pandering to the lowest denominator.

But what were the results of their overdue protestations? The subject, even when fleshed out by CubaWatcher, did not ignite any fire. Apparently, their readers question their sincerity on this subject and with very good cause. Val, whose own support of Bush has been so consistent, unquestioning and unrewarded, did not allow himself more than one sentence to make his case, although his poetic "the Coast Guard can kiss my ass" went as far as possible, within such self-imposed limitations. CubaWatcher presented the facts as compellingly as one can at such a remove from the actual event. Others, as we have seen, condemned the murder of Anay Machado in season. Even Longfellow condemned it a year ago, and if it could penetrate his addled brain, what excuse can Val & Company have for their belated epiphany?

But is it really an epiphany of conviction or one of convenience? Val is still beating the old drum about these latest rufugees not being "real" refugees or at least not so authentic and deserving as earlier generations. One would think that having suffered Castro's dictatorship for 5 decades rather than one, as did most of the exiliados históricos, their claims would be five times as compelling for asylum. One would think. But, according to Val, these refugees are unworthy even of the name because of their insistence on visiting the island as soon as they can after landing in this country.

For a long time I also was unable to understand this myself. Why were they so desperate to return to the hell that they had just left behind? Why did they become obsessed with returning the very moment they had realized the obsession of coming here? Did the fact that they returned so soon betray some kind of support sub rosa for the regime? Were they really just economic refugees like the Mexicans, aggrieved by oppressive poverty but not by the government that oppressed them?

And then the truth dawned on me, as it will on anyone open to the truth. My generation of refugees and theirs belonged to two different realities. Although on a historical continuum these realities faced each other from opposite ends of the spectrum. For us, the members of the exilio histórico, our reality is the Cuba that existed before Castro. For them, their reality is the Cuba which was engendered (actually, aborted) by the Revolution. They have known no other. That is their life. Their reality. The Eternal Cuba is ours. The Real Cuba (as it exists today) is theirs. We look with horror and infinite pity on their Cuba, and can't comprehend why anyone would want to return there for even a minute while Castro still rules it, especially those who have endured his tyranny all their lives. They see it differently. That Cuba which we can hardly contemplate without horror is all the Cuba they have ever known. They love it as we do our Cuba. We love the ideal which we were fortunate to know was no ideal, but actually existed in time and space. They love the ruins, which is all that they ever got to know and which to them are still beautiful.

Cubans of my generation who visit the island return crushed and traumatized by what they have seen and regret ever having hit the "Refresh" button on their memories. It is very different for the newcomers. They are acclimated to living in hell, which is not the same thing as embracing hell as an ideal. On the contrary, their wish (just as ours was) is to rescue their dear ones who remain there and bring them to freedom. In the meantime, they do whatever they can to relieve their suffering. The cheapest and most efficacious means to do so — and, remember, they are as poor as we were when we landed in this country — is to succour their relatives in Cuba. They know the ins and outs of that system as we will never know it (thank God!). And they know how to circumvent and thwart it. They return to Cuba to sabotage the system and relieve the misery of their families. They return but do not stay, and the more times they return the more inimical towards and distanced from the system they become. It is the height of impudence to think that they could ever be enamoured with a regime that oppressed them and still oppresses their families and friends.

If we had had that option 40 years ago or more, would be have availed ourselves of it? Speaking personally for myself, no. Not then or now. But that is my choice, which I am free to make just as they are free to make another. As I said, my reality is not their reality; my choices are not their choices.

When first afforded the opportunity of returning to Cuba in 1979, myriads of exiliados históricos did, for the same reasons as those who follow in their footsteps today. Yet I have never heard them denounced as crypto-supporters of the regime, unworthy of the asylum they received here. I would never have done so myself to protect my mental health and because there was no one left in Cuba for me to visit or aid. But I could not, in good conscience, fault them for asserting their right as Cubans to return to our country. Because it is our country, despite of everything and because of everything. The moment that we no longer consider Cuba our country and cede it to the Castros is the day we shall cease to be Cubans. And that holds true alike for the old refugees as well as the newcomers. One Cuba. One people. Indivisible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Here we are, and what can I say? Yesterday, Val and George agreed with me about the savage treatment of Cuban refugees by the U.S. Coast Guard. Today, Henry and George agreed with me about Gloria and Emilio Estefan. As my readers will recall, I was booted from Babalú for expressing disapproval of the Estefans in far less personal and more diplomatic language than they have used. I, for one, never accused them of being a "traitors." The Estefans were never so important to me as to merit that sobriquet. Money-hungry, unprincipled, opportunistic and divorced from their roots and their people, yes. But let the Babalunians call them "traitors" now; it will balance out very nicely Val's former praise. You remember, Val said that the Estefans had done more for Cuban freedom than all the rest of us put together. Such hagiography has not been seen since courtesans courted the Medici.

Acute observers such as Agustín Fariñas are of the opinion that they are courting my approval or my pardon. It would be honorable on their part if they were, which is precisely why I don't think that they are. On the contrary, they have become aware that Babalú is a ghost town, where, as I have noted previously, there are no comments hitched to the posts. This must have alarmed and alerted them to the fact — at long last — that their points of view are at variance with those of a majority of their readers and that Babalú's decline is attributable to that fact. If they were to save Val's creation, they would have to modulate Val's fanatical positions, which, at their root, were vastly un-Cuban positions.

Of course, this puts me in an awkward position myself. What is a critic to do when there is nothing to criticize? As I wrote to Agustín:

I think they are trying to put RCAB out of business by agreeing with everything I have ever said.

Their new strategy is to out-Tellechea Tellechea; that is, to become me.

Is it time to call it quits, after all?

Is this Victory?

Is my mission accomplished?

Should I silently fade away?

Or is retrogression on their part inevitable and my services still of the essence?

Steve Klotz: A True Friend of the Cuban People

My good friend and fellow blogger Steve Klotz, with whom I share a repugnance of censorship and a tolerant view of the Universe (more or less), has seen fit to honor the Review of Cuban-American Blogs and its editor with a post. I am honored by his generosity, of which, sadly, there can be no reciprocation owing to the rather restricted subject matter of this blog. However, if Steve converts to Cuban I shall certainly feature him, for he has always been a steadfast defender of the Cuban people's right to freedom.

I ask you all to visit Steve's blog.

In fact, I insist upon it:


Unfunny Joke of the Day

What is the difference between a Cuban refugee and a seal?

It is illegal to club seals to death. An international convention protects them.

No such luck for Cuban refugees, who are the quarry of Castro, the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela and every two-bit Caribbean state.


For Ted, Who Did Not Get the Joke

Ok, Ted, I’ll explain the joke, though I am sure that it will take all the fun out of it.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, seals were killed with clubs for their hides. You may have seen a picture? Hundreds of seals, stuck like mushrooms to the ice, being clubbed to death madly by a drunken Eskimo. Very National Geographic. The practice of seal-clubbing was outlawed by international accord 30 years ago. Dunken Eskimos will have to kill something else.

Keep that idea in your mind.

Now try to remember the plight of Cuban refugees under the “Dry Foot/Wet Foot” policy. See in your mind’s eye again the pictures of Cuban refugees being beaten with clubs by the Coast Guard in a frantic attempt to force them back into the ocean.

Do see any similarities or parrallels between the fate of the seal and fate of the Cubans?

1). One can’t be clubbed anymore (seals)

2). One can still be clubbed till hell and back, literally (Cubans).

One is human (Cubans) and one is not (seals)

Hence the irony of treating seals better than Cubans.

Very funny, isn’t it?

Actually, no. It’s not intended to be funny.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Truth In Season

I am glad that Cuban-American bloggers are finally getting around to condemning the Coast Guard's cold-blooded execution of Cuban refugee Anay Machado de Uralde, which ocurred on July 8, 2006. Of course, we did not wait a year to condemn it, but did so a mere three days later. All the facts were not known then, but one fact was very clear: a 24 year-old Cuban woman was dead as a result of an overzealous Coast Guard interdiction that involved a high-speed chase and the firing of guns at the boats engine's to disable it. They would have been quite pleased, I think, to have hit the boat or anything on the boat [including the passengers]. Their target, the engine, was hit by sheer luck and could have set the boat on fire and possibly blown it up. Even their "best" intentions, then, could have spelt death for all on board. As it was, the sudden jolt from the boat's abrupt stop did split Anay's skull. The miracle was that more were not killed by the impact, which was comparable to a car hitting a brick wall at 120 mph. In purpose and execution it seemed to me that there was no difference between the Tugboat Massacre of July 13th 1994 and the Coast Guard's actions of July 8, 2006. The only difference was that Castro's maritime assassins were more successful than their American counterparts.

For the last year, I have been presenting the facts of this case on other blogs as prima facie evidence that the U.S. has adopted a genocidal policy against Cuban refugees, but, not unexpectedly, my fellow Cuban bloggers were not disposed to question the motives or even the actions of this great Republic which has historically been our best friend as well as our worst enemy. Until today. Well, if they are always a year behind me, I will be pleased enough.

Here is what I wrote a year ago which is still more unequivocal than what others have written a year later:

When the U.S. Coast Guard kills Cuban refugees in cold blood, as they did in this instance, it is customary for them to blame so-called "smugglers" just as the slaveholders blamed the abolitionists whenever one of their captives escaped on the underground railroad.

It is a miracle that more Cubans were not killed in this incident because the Coast Guard were firing indiscriminately at them in order to disable the boat's engine. Of course, in the past the Coast Guard has been known to capsize refugee boats and let the survivors drown while they gleefully congratulated themselves on their "catch."

When Cuba is free, these men should be indicted for crimes against humanity along with Clinton and Bush.

Posted by: Manuel A. Tellechea July 11, 2006 at 09:01 AM @ Miami's Cuban Connection.

They Say I Waste My Time And Squander My Talents

They say that I waste my time and squander my talents by my "fixation" on Babalú. But do I really? For 2 years, I debated with Val on Babalú the "Dry Foot/Wet Foot" policy, and, in particular, the U.S. Coast Guard's brutal treatment of Cuban refugees, which he continually refused to acknowledge. But no more. He has seen the light. About the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy. About Bush. About the U.S. Coast Guard. Two years behind me, but still in my footsteps. For which I am nothing but glad. I am sure that all our political differences will resolve themselves in precisely the same way.

August 2005:

Alright, George Bush's quirkiness and anti-intellectualism can be endearing traits, and he himself appears to be an altogether likable man. I would like him, too, if he'd just stop sending Cuban refugees by the boatload to Castro. Such shameless flaunting of U.S. tradition as a haven for the oppressed would have been unthinkable during the Cold War. In Cuba, however, nothing has changed since the Cold War. But, for purposes of immigration, Cuba has apparently been "liberated" by U.S. policymakers because Cuban refugees are now routinely returned to Cuba under the assumption that they will not face punitive measures there. This assumption is on its face a lie and the height of disingenuousness on the part of those who claim to enforce U.S. laws, and, in particular, on the part of the chief law enforcer himself, President George Bush II. The Cuban Resettlement Act (1965) did not establish a "dry foot/wet foot" policy. This was purely the invention of Clinton and Reno, who never saw a law they wouldn't subvert. For 30 years (quite a long precedent!), Cuban refugees were admitted legally to the U.S. regardless of whether they reached land or were rescued on the high seas. Besides the element of luck (which should make us pity those stranded on the high seas even more), what difference is there between these two groups of refugees? Both are fleeing the same oppression and both are deserving of the same protections that the Law establishes for them. But George Bush has seen fit to adopt and make his own Clinton's tendentious reinterpretation of the Law. If he wanted to, George Bush could reverse Bill Clinton's heartless policy today. Such a policy shift (or, rather, restoration) would require no special laws, amendments or congressional imput. All the President has to do is inform his Attorney General than henceworth we will again be enforcing the Cuban Resettlement Act (1965) according to its original intent. That's all. George Bush is on record as supporting amnesty and legalization for illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S. Why, then, does he continue to forcibly repatriate Cuban refugees? Why does his Coast Guard harass and abuse them every day, presumably at his orders or at the uncountered orders of his predecessor? George Bush is in the White House because Cuban-American voters in Florida put him there, as he has himself acknowledged on several occasions. What are Cuban-Americans, then, wasting their political capital on, since it certainly isn't being spent on behalf of Cuban refugees? Will some of the Bush supporters on this forum stop supporting him long enough to say one word on behalf of their own brothers?
Posted by M.A.T. at August 12, 2005 09:32 AM

Oh, gimme a break, MAT.
Posted by Val Prieto at August 12, 2005 09:42 AM

[Val deletes my comment where I stated that Bush had, by 2005, enforced the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy longer than Clinton had and that it was as much Bush's policy as Clinton's. I also made reference to the predations of the U.S. Coast Guard on Cuban refugeees, which had escalated, not decreased, under Bush; and finally, I mentioned the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard and Castro's Coast Guard were actually collaborating on the interdiction of Cuban refugees on the high seas, which effectively erased any distinction between them].

Seriously MAT. I deleted your last comment. If you dislike Bush thats one thing, but dont place the blame on him for the wet foot/dry foot policy.
And you certainly cant expect the POTUS to open up the cuban border and allow a huge number of immigrants to come into the states. Because thats exactly what would happen. Thousands upon thousands of Cubans fleeing the island, many on rafts and many dying at sea, then those that get here causing havoc on the system and the economy. If you wanna bash Bush, I suggest another blog. I aint going to blame the man for shit that isnt his fault.
Posted by Val Prieto at August 12, 2005 09:58 AM

March 2007:

Before Clinton, the Coast Guard's mission was to save Cubans. Now it is to intercept them and return them to Cuba by any means fair or foul. "Interception" can take many forms, including capsizing the Cubans, watching impassively as they drown, beating them back into the ocean, or even repatriating them after they have already made land by the curious expedient of determining that a bridge to nowhere is a bridge to hell. Let's see if even one Republican candidate denounces the travesty of justice that the calamitous George Bush has enforced longer than Clinton did. I used to laugh when human rights organizations would condemn the U.S. for violating human rights. I no longer laugh. It's done here and it's done to our fellow Cubans.
Posted by: Manuel A. Tellechea
at March 9, 2007 08:16 AM

I have to take exception to:
watching impassively as they drown...
I dont recall a single incident where the Coast Guard caused or stood by and did nothing while a would be refugee drowned.
I agree with the rest wholeheartedly, but that mentioned above simply doesnt ring true.

Posted by: Val Prieto at March 9, 2007 08:32 AM

July 2007:

Tired, wretched and poor?

I dont want to get into a debate on the totally absurd "wet foot/dry foot" policy, but I do want to take this opportunity to say the US Coast Guard can kiss my ass.
Posted by: Val Prieto at July 23, 2007 10:38 AM


Cubamania: How Acquainted Are You with Pure Evil?

"Ever see little kids play? Use 5 yr olds as an example. One group of kids can have the best and most expensive toys, the other groups can have a stick and a plastic bag. There is no guarantee that the kids with the cool toys will have more fun than the kids with nothing. Cubans are the kids with the stick and the empty bag. The material things make life easy, not happy. — A commenter on the Canadian forum Cubamania

Is a "stick and a paper bag" good enough for your own children? You certainly have it in your power to make it so. Do you? To free your dear children of materialism do you deny them all luxuries in order to promote asceticism in them and disdain for material things? Or, more to the point, do you deny your dear self anything at all? Of course you don't. You and your children enjoy the best and nothing but the best. But the worst is good enough for Cuba's children because they can have fun "with nothing."

It is every parent's wish to give the best that they can to their children. The parents of the Cuban child who must play with a stick and paper bag for want of toys would gladly lavish all the toys in the world on their child if they could. But in your opinion, their unrealized materialism might spoil that child and is best not realized, whereas your own fully realized materialism is not in the least deleterious to yourself or to your children.

This dualism is easily explicable in light of the fact that you regard Cubans as noble savages who exist to give the world an object lesson on the joys of uncivilized living, sans food, clothes, medicines and toys, sans everything but the baubles that you chose to give them in order to degrade and exploit them as your ancestors degraded and exploited the aboriginal peoples a century ago.


The foregoing comment and my reply appeared on Cubamania, a Canadian forum dedicated to Cuba whose commenters share personal experiences gleamed from their trips to the island, which some of them claim to have visited on more than 50 occasions. There are also a couple of actual Cubans on the board who remain their 24/7 countering the endless stream of Communist propaganda. To assist their Anglo supporters, offering orientation when their own pro-Castro instincts fail to rise to the magnificence of Castro's thought, are so called "journalists" from Granma, including the head of CubaDebate and columnist for Juventud Rebelde, Rosa Miriam Elizalde (aka Mambito), who was recently outed by Peter Pérez, one of the ace anti-Castro commenters. If this is even conceivable, the Australians, British and Canadians (the new "ABC" Alliance) who moor at Cubamania are even more canine in their defense of Castro than his American acolytes because they have benefitted more fully from the perquisites with which the regime rewards its foreign apologists. Cuba is their playground, where they can cavort in unwholesome ways with the natives, howsoever young: there they can feel (and act) like "ugly Americans" without being exposed at home for what they really are.

What struck me most forcefully about them was their disdain for Cubans (the ones on the island even more than those in Miami). No one who degrades a people and exploits their misery can be supposed to feel any real sympathy for them, although they are forever telling us how much they love Cuba and how generous they have been with their Cuban "friends." Not only do they reject the label of "exploiters" but actually claim that it is the Cuban people who "exploits" them. One even candidly admitted that "El cubano es tu amigo hasta el último favor" [A Cuban is your friend only until your last gift.] "Friend" is a euphemism and so is "gift," of course. The commenter went on to elaborate on the ways that Cubans "exploit" foreigners:

"One of the travesties of today's Cuban culture is that it has created an environment where it is morally acceptable to steal, lie and cheat. Like they all went to politician school (sorry, couldn't resist). There are those who do it to just enough to get by, and then there are those that can often be ruthless, their sense of entitlement astounding and their greed unlimited. Like it's their divine right to steal and cheat anyone in their path.

Some of the forms of "exploitation" listed at length include theft from inbound luggage at the airport; ridiculous tariffs on goods set by customs inspectors who want to see the tourists "bleed money"; taxi drivers who don't turn on meters or sell 80 cent beers for $2.00; sales clerks and waiters who give tourist "special prices" which are higher than the "normal price" and pocket the difference; Cubans who ask them to buy milk for their babies or "invent a tragedy" in order to "extort" them for money; brand name water bottles refilled with tap water, and, of course, fake cigars.

My reaction was that I was glad to learn that Fidel Castro has not killed completely the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cuban people. Nothing that they described seemed to me in the least exploitative. The goods that are being sold to the tourists have been stolen from the Cuban people by Castro and they are right to squeeze the tourists for as much as they can. All of this seems triffling stuff to me, which tourists wouldn't even notice if they were visiting any other country but Cuba (where they expect to be the exploiters not the "exploited"). Certainly, none of this is exclusive to Cuba and tourists probably would be taken for a great deal more if they visited any other country because in Cuba the means are few and the expectations lower.

And yet, despite this so-called "exploitation" on the part of Cuban nationals -- not to mention the predations of the Castro regime on their pocketbooks via a bogus exchange rate, which is the only brief that they have against their otherwise accommodating Castroite hosts -- most of them have travelled to the island more than once, indeed the average must be at least a dozen times per individual. Apparently, they are not satisfied with being "exploited" once. They want to be "exploited" over and over again.

Of course most deny that such a thing as sex tourism exists to any great extent, and the few who do acknowledge it insist that they themselves have so such motivation. Here's a typical comment (with my reply) from someone who denies the very reason for Canadian tourism while offering his own prescription for survival in Castro's Cuba without it:

"[Cubans] don't need to prostitute themselves or their family members to live and eat. Just work extra hard, minimize your participation in black market activity and stay out of politics. Most Cubans I know do just that and are more content than the average North American I know, plus the quality of family life is way superior."

Let me see if I understand you. No, let me re-phrase that: I will never understand you; but I can at least release your words from the cozy prison of euphemisms in which you have confined them. Cubans, you allege, are "more content" than North Americans. Is that right? They are content to live in the world's oldest dictatorship, which is run like the Castros' own private corporation. Strange, but I don't see North Americans risking their lives in the world's most dangerous waters for the slim chance of sharing the Cubans' "contentment." In fact, the traffic is all in the other direction. Poor deluded souls! If only they could realize how "good" they have it in Cuba. But you, of course, are far more deluded than they are. For you claim to have found this socialist paradise and yet deprive yourselves of the "contentment" of living there full-time. Why it's so easy. All you have to do is '[j]ust work extra hard, minimize your participation in black market activity and stay out of politics." So, in other words, become more of a slave to the fascist-communist corporate state; forgo the chance to eat as much as you can by not dealing in the black market; and renounce the idea of democracy or the Rule of Law. Yes, that is certainly a fulfilling life which conduces to nothing but "contentment." Certainly, starvation and misery do bring families closer together, but you don't have to be in Cuba to practice self-denial. And, of course, it would be a conscious decision on your part, not one force upon you by the government. Don't be content to envy the Cubans their lifestyle, but adopt it yourselves. It's a lot easier for you to adopt their lifestyle than it is for them to adopt yours (as most of them would if they could). If only it were possible for you to change places with them!

On Cubamania it is not the foreigners who are considered the chief culprits in the sexual exploitation of Cuban children by foreign pedophiles. Nor is the Castro regime held accountable for promoting, sanctioning and abetting such exploitation. Who, then, is responsible for perpetuating it? One (who claims to be married to a Cuban) enlightens us:

"I blame the parents of the [Cuban] children for OFFERRING their children up.....that's completely different than a child who gets molested in Canada. One is where the parents are CONTRIBUTING to the exploitation of their own children.....a child molested in Canada is not being offered up by their parents. Maybe some [Cuban] parents shouldn't be so damn quick to offer up their children as a means to bring in extra dollars for the family."

And there you have it: innocent tourists to Cuba -- for the most part unaccompanied middle-aged males on a pilgrimage to the "Virgin of Charity," no doubt -- bravely resist the enticements of "Lolitas" and "Lolitos" who are literally pressed on them by their rapacious parent-pimps. And why do these beneficent Canadians place themselves in such a compromising situation? Because of love -- the purest kind. For, you see, they have assumed the "White Man's Burden" of teaching the natives the rudiments of civilization. Consented, yes, to be exploited shamelessly by them, even lured into sin, to redeem them from the moral ennui which their carefree and contented lives foster.

We shall leave the denizens of Cubamania where we found them, admiring ominously a little Cuban boy playing with a stick and a plastic bag...


What the foreign pedophiles don't seem to know, or discount because of their insatiable and unnatural lust, is that their every move in Cuba, their every interaction with Cubans, is noted and recorded in the DGI Archives in case it should become necessary to blackmail them (as hundreds have already been blackmailed, even in the highest echelons of the Canadian government). When Cuba is free these records will be made public immediately and used to bring to justice all who have violated the sanctity of Cuban children. Even those who are not prosecuted will still be afraid to set foot in Cuba ever again because foreigners will never again enjoy in our country the rights of conquerors or slavemasters.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Final Days of Babaloo Are Here

Well, Babalú blog is a ghost town of posts to which not a single comment is hitched (no comments today and just 2 yesterday). It would seem that its commenters have quit in droves because of Babalú's practice of censorship and the nonsense of BUCL's self-annihilating campaigns.

Most of its vaunted readership of 1500-3000 consists of googlers researching Cuba-related topics who stumble there by accident and stay "0" seconds. Who are they kidding?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Babaloo's Waterloos: Has There Been a Coup at Babalú?

Has there been a coup at Babalú blog? The long dormant or neutralized George Moneo has suddenly begun to blog furiously while the other editorialists are holding back (or being held back). George also has taken over The Babalu [Faux] Radio Hour and banished Henry from the show and even kept Val waiting on the phone for 15 minutes because he could. Is the monumental failure of BUCL's campaigns — which has brought so much discredit to Babalú that even its regular commenters have abandoned it in disgust — the reason that Henry has been shunted aside as Number 2?

Whatever his new role may be — the Raúl who subs for the ever ailing Val, whose hypochondria is one of the charms of Babalu? — George has taken over with a vengeance, relegating Cuba to the back of the bus while placing his Crusade Against Islamo-Fascism at the front alongside his Campaign to Canonize Ronald Reagan, the two passions of his warped life. When a commenter objected, and rightly so, that Reagan had done nothing for Cuba, Moneo roared back that Cuba did not matter in the great scheme of defeating Communism. This is what we have always suspected was Moneo's position. Cuba is a prop to him. Nothing he feels or loves.

Ronald Reagan, whom Moneo considers the greatest American president of his lifetime, did help to liberate the Western World from Communism, but appeared to forget that Cuba was also a part of the West. In fact, Reagan even sent General Vernon Waters to Cuba to talk detente with Castro and actually hoped to make Cuba his "China." As far as Cuba was concerned, Reagan was a complete accommodationist. He may not have been afraid of Gorbachev, but he was afraid of Castro. How ridiculous and inexplicable! All that Reagan did for us was to put frijoles negros on the White House menu and for this he is still idolized as a demigod by many of Más Canosa's crowd.

As he stated on The Babalu [Faux] Radio Hour yesterday, Moneo believes that "Jimmy Carter is the worst president of my lifetime and that's saying a lot considering we have Lyndon and Bubba [Clinton] to consider." George is 50 years old. His lifetime encompasses both Eisenhower, whose government handed Cuba over to Castro, and Kennedy, who betrayed the freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs and codified that betrayal in the Kennedy-Khruschev Pact, wherein the U.S. agreed to act as the guarantor of Communism in Cuba (one treaty, at least, which the U.S. has kept even after ther implosion of the Soviet Union).

But, remember, George thinks and speaks as an American, not as a Cuban. George may well be the only Cuban his age who doesn't speak Spanish. This alone confirms how completely detached he is from his Cuban roots because this could not have been anything but a conscious choice on his part.

It is no secret to anyone that most Cubans consider JFK the worst U.S. president, not Jimmy Carter. As it happens, JFK's monumental ineptitude, which the Cuban crises gave him the chance to demonstrate in all its dimensions, makes Kennedy even a worse president than Warren G. Harding, who was corrupt (like Kennedy), dimwitted (like Kennedy), a satyr who turned the White House into a brothel (like Kennedy) but not ineffectual, nor an abettor of Communism, nor a threat to world peace.

Yes, John F. Kennedy was the worst American president as Cuban exiles were the first to see.

As for Jimmy Carter, he may have been a "horrible president," but he has been an even worse ex-president. As president, however, he admitted 125,000 Cuban refugeees into the U.S. within a matter of months without questioning their right to seek asylum here. What would Clinton have done with (or to) those 125,000? After he was booted from the presidency (for, among other reasons, giving the marielitos asylum), Carter became the marionette of Castro and every other America-hating despot, that is true. But his calamitous presidency will be judged by his tenure as president, not the prelude or the sequel to his presidency. All of Carter's good works with Habitat for Humanity will mean absolutely nothing in judging his presidential years, just as his shilling for despots after his presidency will not impact (how could it?) the fact that he was the second American president to be held hostage by a foreign government. The first, of course, was JFK, whom Nikita held more tightly by the balls than even the Ayatollah did Carter.

As for Lyndon B. Johnson, I recently posted a tribute to him on the occasion of Lady Bird's death in which I acknowledged the debt of gratitude that all Cubans owe him for opening the doors of liberty to us. I stated that LBJ was our Statue of Liberty, a man who understood the nature of Communism and who did not think that Cubans or the Vietnamese were unworthy of freedom. Moneo, who is free, like the rest of us, because of LBJ, reciprocated with a hate-filled post accusing Johnson of the usual "crimes" which appeasers and adherents of the Viet-Cong still level at him. For George, it doesn't matter that LBJ was the first U.S. president to make the Constitution protect all Americans regardless of color and the first to embrace the poor and marginalized and give them the tools (such as education grants) to improve their lot and realize the promise of America.

As for Bill Clinton, we are surprised that George also classes him among the worst American presidents of his lifetime since nothing that Clinton did can be said to be outside George's moral universe. In fact, at one time, George even supported the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy," as did Val Prieto, as a means to exclude "undesirables" and even defended, as did Val Prieto, the Coast Guard's predations on the refugees.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Val Praises Fidel's "Charisma" and Moneo Calls Him "One of the Smartest Politicians Who Ever Lived"

Many people may not actually believe me when I say that no one desires more fervently than I that the Babalunians grow in wisdom and maturity and stop embarrassing the rest of us with their amateurishness and improvisation. But, in truth, I am their well-wisher, now and always. If I sometimes flog them with a belt, I never use the buckle end. Indeed, if I am to be faulted for anything, it is probably for my tendency to use more balm than leather, true, always, to Marti's legacy.

It is very different with them. Lately I've received credible reports of just how deeply Val & Company hate me. Generally speaking, people will hate someone who makes them look stupid more than they'll hate someone who bashes their heads with a brick. They hate me because I dare to criticize them. They hate me because I do it very well. But, mostly, they hate me because this blog shows others that they can challenge them, too. They could almost withstand the criticism if it came from any other pen but mine. But there is no answering me and they don't even try anymore after their esteemed leader attempted it and had to withdraw (that is, delete) his own comments within 3 hours of posting them and retreat again into silence. I think their strategy is to wait for me to disappear. In fact, I am not quite sure that if given a choice between funerals they would schedule Fidel's before mine. That is who they are. But, in my heart, there is only forbearance for their limitations and a desire to expand their knowledge and effectiveness. This, however, necessarily entails correcting their errors. There is no other way to open the path of truth to them.

I confess that I enjoy dissecting The Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour more than I do Babalú blog. The editorialists on Babalú are their studied selves. People are watching, you know. Hell, I'm watching! But no one is listening to the Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour so it is there that they can be their unstudied selves. That is, their real selves. And what a study in ignorance, pretentiousness and hubris Val, Henry & George are! ["Look ma, he's including me with Val & Henry!").

The 20th edition of their faux radio hour was unique in that George Moneo was the sole host. Val did call in as usual lately and complained that he was kept waiting on the line 15 minutes by Moneo. Henry was not heard or mentioned on the program. Perhaps he has had enough; we certainly have. The official guests on the show were CubaWatcher Anatasio Blanco (not his real name), who is so jealous of his privacy that he would not even confirm that he lived in the North East, and Uncommon Sense's Marc Masferrer, the Cuban blogosphere's only professional English-language journalist.

It was the first time that I had heard Marc and I was impressed by the fact that he did not say anything stupid. No, my expectations are not high. But how could they be after 20 weeks of hearing this crap drop? Marc is someone who is fair by nature, but, unfortunately, can be compelled to act contrary to his nature, which is sad. I will always be grateful to him for having linked to RCAB on his blog for about 2 weeks before being browbeaten by Val into severing the connection. But it was long enough for the Babalunians and future BUCLers to come on board and here they have remained like crows on a power line. Sampling the waters of tolerance again 2 weeks ago Marc linked to an article I wrote on Fred Thompson's anti-cubanism, but even though he took care to cover himself this time ["Here's a strongly worded, and well-crafted, reminder that Thompson and other candidates may disappoint when it comes to the Cuba-related interests of Cuban American voters. I just wish the writer wouldn't make it so much about something so petty, as well"], Val would still not allow even so frivolous a connection and ordered Marc to delete it from his blog. It always amazes me how superior men will pamper and placate inferior ones. But, then again, that is the history of the Cuban Revolution in a nutshell.

The program trodded along quite innocuously until Val erupted on the scene via telephone. It did not take him long to pronounce the most stupid and shameless paean that anyone can utter in praise of the tyrant. It was all the more astonishing because Val had actually delivered himself of an accurate assessment on how Castro had manipulated the media into believing and never questioning the lies pressed on them by his regime, which they in turn transformed into myths.

But Val himself believes the biggest myth of all: "The only thing he [Fidel] has is that affable character, that charisma that everybody talks about." Wow! Fidel has an "affable character?" Fidel is not even affable with his friends. In fact, the only thing more dangerous than being Fidel's enemy is being Fidel's friend. No man can be called "affable" whose presence every Cuban dreads as the Romans dreaded Caligula's. But even this is nothing compared to his allusion to "that charisma that everybody talks about." My God, when was the last time I heard anyone refer to Castro's "charisma?" It has been a while. Old people's "charisma" is not generally of interest to the world.

"Charisma," Val says. It must be wonderful to be able to use words with no inkling of what they mean. "Charisma," of course, means to possess an extraordinary power given to a Christian by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. Castro, in fact, is an anti-charismatic, since he serves another master and his actions profit only himself. There is no more obscene coupling than Castro and charisma. Are you unsure? Here's the other meaning of charisma: "Christ-like."

Not to be outdone since yesterday it was his show, Moneo chimed-in with the second most stupid thing said on the show last night: "I agree [with Val]. I've always said that he [Fidel] was one of the smartest politicians who ever lived — a master at doing what he's done." Wow. George too merits a "Wow!" So Fidel Castro, in George estimation, is not only a "politician" but "one of the smartest who ever lived!" So he's up there with Jefferson and Lincoln, right? Except — a very big except — that Castro is not a politician at all. It is impossible to be the only politician in a country because politics necessarily demands more than one. Castro is a dictator, a tyrant and a despot; and, at one time, was even a satrap; but he is no politician. And, since he is not a "politician" he cannot be be "one of the smartest." First you must belong to the species to claim to be a subspecies ("one of the smartest who ever lived"). And then there is that peculiar assertion that Fidel "is a master at doing what he's done." And what would that be? Destroy his country and the lives of his countrymen? I did not know that they gave a Master's degree in that or that having done so (that is, destroyed a country and its people) bestows upon a man the title of "master" in any sense.

So there you have it, in their own words, the sum and total of Val and George's knowledge of Castro. I only regret that Henry was not present because we could have depended upon him to up the ante.

After Val's call, more than half of BUCL converged on the show (maybe it was the 1st reunion of this defunct organization). One final observation: I think it's neat that there is an anti-Castro blogger who uses the expression "honky dorey" and another who uses "nigga" as a familiar form of address. The tent must always be made bigger, never smaller.