Monday, July 23, 2007

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


Vana said...

If it wasn't for your prodding, he would not have learned anything, your comment was right on, and all he could say was, Give me a break Mat, it's quite obvious to me he did not give a shit, not believing that the Coast Guard sat around and watch Cubans drowning, what planet was he living in? he goes on to say, those that get here causing havoc on the system and the economy, WTF? it's obvious he wants them drowned at sea, and does not want them here, and now he reverses his position? I don't believe it.
Will the real Val Prieto please stand up

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I think that what happened in the intervening years is that Val soured on George Bush. After all, who hasn't? You will note that 2 years ago he deleted a comment of mine because it was critical of George Bush. He's no longer deleting comments critical of "POTUS." Sadly, he knocked down one clay-footed idol only to erect another: the Estefans. I should not be surprised, however, if in two years (after his expectations are defrauded) Val writes that "the Estefans can kiss my ass." Remember, always two years behind me.

Vana said...

Seems he lags behind every other blogger, it takes him two years to change his mind, my what a hard head, I'm sure Manuel he bemoans himself to this day for having kicked you out, after all you are a great teacher, I have learned a lot from you, his loss is our gain, I would not be surprised either about the eschefans, seems every time he urinates he changes his mind

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I have no doubt that booting me from Babalú was the biggest mistake of Val's blogging career and that no day passes that he doesn't kick himself for it. It was like setting off a firecracker and discovering it was the Atomic Bomb. I hope he has learned that rash decisions are regretted at leisure.

LibertadparaCuba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LibertadparaCuba said...

The Torch of Troy continues...Are you disappointed Manuel by being rejected by the emperor of Babalicious.It's not a big deal--certainly not worth losing sleep over it. I don’t think Val is agonizing at all and I don’t think he's losing any sleep over it. You have a high level of confidence which is good. Like they say, if you don't have confidence in yourself, how will you ever become your best?

LibertadparaCuba said...

Personally, I believe that if you are a good writer, you can write good stories.But I don't really find that quality of self-absorbed appealing. Hence,Social skills and courtesy are definitely the right way to go.Wouldn’t life be good? but I like the way you get into the mind & skin of these immorals…an easy enjoyable read whether you’re joking or not…I can't be a hypocrite and say I dislike your blog. But we both know that's not true.I do enjoy reading your blog.

LibertadparaCuba said...

Freedom of expression is very important in my opinion. People should be allowed to voice their opinions to whoever they want. I think that if the persons views are abusive to others that they should not voice them as it would hurt other people.There's a lot of different views, there's a range of views, there will be different expressions of liberty and a different pace—"but we are all adults here. We can have a disagreement without getting personal or upset is only views and opinions
...I like debating not spewing ugly insults.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I have always been at my best. I don't know another state of being. And certainly I don't need to aspire to something which I have already attained.

It is no supposition on my part that Val regrets his intemperate actions. His friends and even relatives have confirmed it while attempting to effect a reconciliation between us, something which, incidentally, would benefit him more than me and therefore concerns me not at all.

I am glad that you think I am a good writer. I do too: self-knowledge is the highest knowledge. You err greatly when you suppose that I could write good stories. My talents are polemical, not narrative.

Val, incidentally, is a story teller of the first rank. I recommended to him a long time ago that she should give up blogging and devote himself to cultivating his gift as a memorialist which is as considerable as Carlos Eire's. He has not listened to me, unfortunately, and may miss his opportunity for greatness in life.

Agustin Farinas said...

What a difference 5 months make!
Once they were against condemning the Coast Guard for their actions and now the tune has changed. I wonder what brought about such a change of heart? Awareness? Does anyone know?

mamey said...

Sigues apretando Manuel. A travesty indeed, when some Cubans continue to confuse the aims of foreign political parties (Democratic, Republican) with the goals of a free Cuba. Peccato!