Sunday, September 30, 2007

Notable & Nationalistic: You Go for It, Jesús!!!

[Commenting on the new CBS drama series Cane, the saga of a heterogeneous family of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Colombians who pretend to be Cuban]:

"What's the matter with Hollywood? Don't they realize the unparalled antiquity of our Cuban culture? Heck, I know that (in some fashion or another) we were already a civilization before the Etruscans... before the Greeks and even the Minoans. In addition, we invented the first lightbulb from coconut husks and the first steam engine from fermented sugarcane bagazz [he means "bagasse"]. Forget the Scots, Germans and English... we Cubans invented the modern world. How dare Hollywood use "lesser" nationalities to impersonate a "Hellenistic culture" like ours in a T.V. series. Equally, how dare books sell a book called "Up Dog Street," which invents a Miami nationality identified as "Madrugans" and who control the city with an iron fist. We want to be correctly represented and identified by all these directors and writers, so we can feel adequately insulted and justified in organizing boycotts and demonstrations. Today Hollywood, tomorrow the world!!!!"
Posted by: Jess Martinez @ The Miami Herald Forum, 9/30/2007 2:47 PM

What Judge Jeri B. Cohen Should Take to Bed Every Night

In case you are unaware of it, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen is a graduate of Harvard Law School (class of 1985). This may explain a great deal because at Harvard Law the law is not on the curriculum. I kid you not. Just slightly before Cohen was admitted Harvard Law School decided that there was more to making a lawyer than teaching him law. Now, instead of reading law, as the old expression was for learning the law, a student is expected to intuit the law from other eclectic studies surrounding, approaching but not quite legal studies.

The 20 years since she graduated from law school do not seem to have supplied the deficiencies of her legal education and now it is probably too late to expect that she can fill all the holes in her knowledge of the law.

But there is a book which I think can help her get a handle on the duties and responsibilities of fatherhood, which are central in this case. In fact, we are surprised that she was never exposed to the book in law school, and she must really have gone through hoops to avoid it in grammar school. It was written by the greatest liberal mind of the 20th century.

The book is still in print and it has many nice pictures to further her enjoyment and comprehension.

The book is called Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.

It's the story of an elephant named Horton who sits on an egg which its mother Lazy Mazie left in its care (or, more accurately, abandoned) while the bird went on an extended vacation in Palm Beach. Horton the Elephant goes through many ordeals protecting and nurturing that egg.

Then the egg hatches and the mother shows up to claim it:

"But it's MINE!" screamed the bird, when she heard the egg crack.
(The work was all done. Now she wanted it back.)
"It's MY egg!" she sputtered. "You stole it from me!
Get off of my nest and get out of my tree!"

Poor Horton backed down
With a sad heavy heart...

But at that very instant, the egg burst apart!
And out of the pieces of red and white shell
From the egg that he'd sat on so long and so well,
Horton the Elephant saw something whizz!



And it should be, it
should be, it SHOULD be like that!
Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat!
He meant what he said
And he said what he meant...
And an elephant's faithful

Does Henry Want to Resurrect the Undead BUCL?

We thought we had buried BUCL and buried it deep, with a stake in its heart and a garland of garlic around its neck. But we begin to detect the stirrings of life in the monster as the earth shakes around its grave. This should be a matter of concern to all the bloggers in the Babalunian orbit who were begged, cajoled and otherwise inopportuned to join and contribute their mite to Henry Gómez's dream of world conquest founded on the conceit that the same advertising skills which served to sell a given brand of condoms or oven cleaner could prevail in the marketplace of ideas no less than in the supermarket. Perhaps if such a campaign had been spearheaded by somebody else with some actual insight into Cuban history or culture it might have succeeded in doing something constructive for the cause of Cuba's freedom. I hope Henry is a lot better at selling soap than he is at selling ideas. In any case, we are more comfortable with the idea of him selling soap.

BUCL's first campaign, which RCAB followed step by step, as you will recall, was directed at Spain, a country about which Henry and Val know absolutely nothing, not even the language. Whether with a campaign for Palmolive or a "Campaign Against Spain," it really does help to know the language of the targetted country; otherwise, you might end up accusing Spain of "exploding" Cubans rather than exploiting them, as was Henry's second gaffe. (The first was the acronym for his organization which is pronounced BUCKLE, as in collapse or defeat). From there things only got worse.

Henry's biggest mistake, however, was his inability to distinguish between Spain and Spain's Socialist government. The two are not the same. Ironically, Zapatero's Socialists were given a free pass as the BUCLers focused their feeble guns on the Spanish people and their legacy in the Americas. In effect, Henry and Val took a card from Castro's deck, who, in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery, proclaimed himself a spiritual Indian and champion of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, denouncing Spanish colonialism as the fountainhead of all of Latin America's problems. We know why Castro did this. He needed a scapegoat during the "Special Period" and Spain was easier to blame for Cuba's problems than Marxism-Leninism. But why the hell did Val bring up the Siboneys in BUCL's "Campaign Against Spain?" Too late to save the Siboneys. We are living in the 21st century, not the 16th; and starting at the beginning is definitely not the best strategy for solving the problems of today. This approach frankly reminded us of the Muslims' obsession with the wrongs of the 13th-century Crusades.

The "Campaign Against Spain," which consisted of putting up three stickers in a New York subway station and another one within 13 blocks of the Spanish consulate in Miami, as well as purchasing ads on Google and posting an illiterate manifesto on Spain's equivalent of DIGG, was what it was: not much.

Finally catching on towards the end of its "Campaign Against Spain" that the enemy was not the motherland but its vastly unpopular Socialist government, BUCL declared victory when the Socialists overwhelmingly lost Spain's municipal elections in June. We were glad for that; let them claim as many "victories" as they want if they will only stop from making fools of themselves and all Cubans.

Having been cured of their taste for future jihads against entire nations and peoples, BUCL next took on Sting and the Police, not in an aggressive way, but as worshipful supplicants for their favor. Having heard a rumor that they would be playing a free concert in Cuba, the BUCLers embraced them as Cuba's future liberators. Only one little problem: these guys were Marxists who had no intention of saying nary a word against Castro's regime. This didn't stop Henry from accosting the group's guitarist at the Versailles or flying a cropduster with a banner beseeching Sting to say a word about human rights in Cuba at his concert in Miami. No word was said. Not even a nod. They were probably lucky that he was too high to read the banner; otherwise he might have sneered at it.

We thought that BUCL had expired in the wake of its failure to coax even one word of support from Sting for human rights in Cuba. There was no way to claim "victory" there. They had invested real money and great emotional capital on Sting's conversion and the return was nil. All BUCLers, besides Henry, breathed a collective sigh of relief. Maybe the embarrassment and financial drain was finally over. The less said about it the better. Let people forget the forgettable.

But no. Henry would not leave well enough alone. In a post by Ziva yesterday rightly criticizing the Socialist government's continued coddling of Castro, in the midst, even, of the regime's latest crackdown on dissidents, Henry appended this postscript:

"You'll remember that we were criticized heavily, both by domestic and Spanish bloggers, for our first Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty campaign denouncing Spain's cooperation with repression in Cuba. We were right to denounce it then, and we are right to denounce it now."

"Criticized heavily?" Yes, here. And by Killcastro. So much for the "domestic" bloggers. The Spanish bloggers, as I pointed out then, the BUCLers declined to engage other than by posting their illiterate manifesto on the aforementioned Spanish DIGG. As for denouncing "Spain's [i.e. the Socialist government's] cooperation with repression in Cuba," this is not something that the BUCLers invented. Cubans have been denouncing the perfidy of both Socialists and Fascists in Spain for nearly half a century, ever since Franco underwrote the Castro regime in the period between Castro's repudiation of the U.S. and embrace of the Soviets. It was not for naught that Castro declared 9-days mourning in Cuba when his kinsman Francisco Franco died. (I wonder if the Socialists will return the favor when Castro dies).

Henry can sit on his withered laurels if he wants. So long as he doesn't resurrect the undead.


Charlie Bravo has an excellent post on this subject entitled "¡Viva España!" at Black Sheep of Exile which merits your attention:

More posts on BUCL at RCAB:


The BUCL Belt: Henry's Imagination Strikes Again

Henry Gómez Accuses Spaniards of "Exploding Cubans"

Is There Anything At All in Henry's Mind On Any Day?

BUCKLE But Don't Tighten Your Belts

BUCL's Siren Song

BUCL's Last Hurrah

BUCL Again

"BUCL Up, It's Gonna be a Bumpy Ride"

BUCL Is Killing Babalú

Dissent Comes At Long Last to Babalú

And From the Peanut Gallery...

Insanity, Homoeroticism and Xenophobia on "The Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour"

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

BUCL's Bizarreries to End at Versailles Restaurant

BUCL (2007-2007)

BUCL and The Black Legend: Using Racism to "Liberate" Cuba

Babaloo's Waterloos: Spain "Forced Religion" on Cubans

La Raza

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Henry Gómez Crushed: Newt Gingrich Will Not Run in 2008

[George Moneo has posted the news of Gingrich's decision not to run in 2008 at Babalú ("Bad News on the U.S. Political Front"). He would have put black borders around the announcement, but since he doesn't know how to do that he had to settle for a plaintive "Damn!" That people who are always accusing other bloggers of being racists should themselves be enamored of this country's preeminent racist (and one who targets them specifically) is one of the mysteries of Babalú. The other is, how did Cubans of that particular and very peculiar ilk find themselves? This is what I wrote on the subject earlier this year:]

From the RCAB Archives, May 31, 2007:

Since He Was 7

"[I]'ve been following presidential politics since I was 7 years old, that's 30 years now, and in order to win the presidency you have to win your party's nomination and, mark my words, Rudy will NEVER be the Republican candidate. First of all he's not a conservative. The Republican base wants someone it can be energized about and [a] liberal NY Republican isn't it. Besides, I think you overestimate Rudy's appeal and ability to beat Hillary. There's only 2 Republicans that I could see as destroying Hillary in a debate and they are Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich. I think Thompson brings a lot of the qualities of Gingrich without a lot of the baggage. None of the other candidates in the Republican field is worth a warm bucket of spit."
Posted [on Babalú] by: Henry "Conductor" Gomez at May 30, 2007 10:49 PM

It was John Nance Garner, the first of FDR's three vice-presidents and the last American politician born in a log cabin, who first used "warm bucket of spit" to describe the office of vice-president. Some claim that what he actually said was that it wasn't worth a warm bucket of shit, but reporters, in order to publish his remark, were obliged to substitute "shit" for "spit." There is some logic to this assumption, since back then Americans used spitoons not buckets to dispose of excess salivation but did employ buckets, especially in the Deep South whence Garner hailed, as portable outhouses. Whether shit or spit, I don't think, however, that Garner would have had any objection to Henry using that expression to describe a bunch of Republicans.

In fact, one Republican whom Henry exempts from this description Garner would have found much to his liking, fellow southside Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. You see, Garner was the product of his age and place, as apologists for racism once used to say. Never had a more rabid racist ever been one heartbeat away from the presidency since Andrew Johnson. The Democrats chose Garner because he balanced the ticket and was much older than Roosevelt and actually made FDR look young and vigorous in comparison (though Garner was to outlive FDR by nearly 25 years). Still, it shows perhaps a little too much tolerance on FDR's part to have twice chosen as his vice president a man who was not only an enemy of blacks but of all legislation meant to improve the lot of working-class Americans. AFL-CIO head John L. Lewis, speaking to a congressional committee in 1939, called Garner a "labor-baiting, cigar-smoking, poker-playing, whiskey-drinking, evil old man." [Ah, for the days when public figures actually spoke their minds publicly!]

Garner was an equal opportunity racist and as a congressman had opposed the immigration of "inferior stocks" from Southern Europe, Russia and Asia while "championing" Mexican migrant labor, which he considered a suitable substitute for black slavery with the additional "advantage" that these slaves were "temporary, powerless and easily expelled." Yes, old "Cactus Jack," as Garner was known back home in Texas, is responsible for embracing as a "solution" to high wages and good benefits what is now denounced as a crisis in illegal immigration.

Of course, I am sure that Henry didn't know the source of his quotation, nor, indeed, had ever heard of Garner despite all his precious precociousness at 7 (prodigies usually never fulfill their promise). Yet it is ironic that he appropriates Garner's phrase in a post where he settles for Fred Thompson as his candidate for president only because his real choice Newt Gingrich carries too much "baggage." What he doesn't say is that this baggage consists of a lifetime of nativism and an inveterate hatred for all Hispanics, whom he was the first to demonize nationally as the greatest menace to this Republic since polio. Even old "Cactus Jack" Garner had more sense than that. He knew that they were here to be exploited and approved of their exploitation. Gingrich also knows that it is Americans who exploit the Mexican migrants and not the other way around, but being less honest and more evil than Garner, he makes the beasts of burden his scapegoats. With Gingrich, of course, it is not the fact that they entered this country illegally that offends him. He hates all Hispanics, illegal or legal. That's why he applied all the punitive measures of the "Contract on America" to both alike. So to him it doesn't matter if Hispanics play by the rules or not; they are all a pestilence in his eyes and should be booted from this country.

This is the man that Henry Gómez, who has been following presidential politics since he was 7, desperately wishes he could support for president except for all that "baggage" (which also includes venality and moral turpitude). So poor Henry has to settle for Fred Thompson. We all knew already that Henry considers himself an "American-Cuban," not a "Cuban-American." That is, we all knew already that Cuba comes second with him. What we didn't know is that other Hispanics come last with him.


From the RCAB Archives, May 3, 2007

"The Most Serious, Systematic Revolutionary of Modern Times"

The Babalú Radio Hour sans Val this week gave Henry Gómez twice the responsibility to say foolish and idiotic things, and he did not disappoint. There was fodder there this week for several posts and the difficulty for me was deciding on which of so many gaffes to focus. Of course, I could have highlighted all of them if I wanted to, but Henry is merely the prop that I use to educate others. Some of his assertions are so esoteric and sui generis that I am sure that they never occurred to any sensible person before. To correct Henry just for the sake of correcting Henry is no public service, except to increase the amount of laughter in this world, and perhaps that, too, is a commendable goal.

This one was a close call. Could any other Cuban (or Hispanic) in the country seriously consider voting for Newt Gingrich for president besides Henry, who says that he has narrowed his list to Gingrich and Fred Thompson? A close call indeed. In the end I decided that it was highly unlikely that any other Cuban (even the staunchest Republican) would lend his support to Newt Gingrich unless he knew absolutely nothing about him. This, I hope, is the case with Henry, who apparently doesn't know (or care) that Gingrich was the previous generation's Tom Tancredo. Except that Gingrich was never a joke. He was deadly earnest in his xenophobia and 100% successful in implementing "reforms" aimed at destroying this country's Hispanic population. It is doubtful or, rather, impossible that Tancredo will ever become Speaker of the House, let alone president. Gingrich did and as master of Congress orquestrated the re-introduction of chattel slavery in the U.S. and made Hispanics the bondsmen.

Since Cuban-Americans reflexively remove themselves from any equation involving Hispanics (we are white, don't you know?), it is important to point out that Cuban exiles were not exempted from Newt's 1994 "Contract With America" (more accurately described as the "Contract On America.") In fact, Newt Gingrich is second only to Fidel Castro in the number of deaths of Cubans for which he is directly responsible. Ten years ago, thanks to provisions in Newt's "Contract On America" which denied social security and Medicaid benefits to legal residents, elderly Cuban exiles who were not U.S. citizens were committing suicide in Miami on a daily basis rather than face the prospect of homelessness and an ignonimous death on the streets. Dozens are known to have tried and nationally the figure may be in the hundreds since no one really cares to find out what kills the elderly.

Since the time of Newt Gingrich's "Contract on America," I stopped supporting the Republican Party (but could never bring myself to support the Democrats). As originally presented to the American public, Newt's "Contract" would have barred illegal immigrants from receiving welfare benefits. On the basis of that pledge Republicans gained a majority in Congress for the first time since the Eisenhower administration. It was only after the Republicans had captured Congress that Newt revealed his real xenophobic agenda, which encompassed, of course, not only illegal but legal immigrants.

Legal immigrants, who did things "the right way," obeyed immigration laws, paid taxes and were part of the social contract, had the safety net pulled out from under them. Although they were still required to pay income taxes, social security taxes, Medicaid taxes, unemployment insurance taxes — in sum, all taxes — they were not allowed to participate in, or benefit from, the various social programs to which they contributed, but obliged to work to support those same benefits for Newt's parents and Clinton's.

In other words, the Republicans turned all immigrants, legal or not, into non-persons (not even 3/5ths people). And still this was not enough. Now they want to denaturalize the immigrants' U.S.-born children so that they can prevent them from receiving school lunch, or, indeed, bar them from school altogether. The Republican hatred of Hispanics does not exempt children, but targets children specifically. After all, it is a demographic war.

Gingrich has done his best to contribute to that demographic war (the other kind of war he simply dodges) by asking his cancer-stricken (and barren) wife for a divorce on her deathbed so that he could marry his girlfriend, and then, while excoriating Clinton for his infidelities, engaged in adulteries of his own, which he now admits. He must have decided, at some point, that copulation was not the way to win the demographic war and concentrated his efforts instead on making blacks second-class citizens and Hispanics national pariahs.
What Newt Gingrich did to blacks was almost as odious as his campaign of terror against Hispanics. He is the man who pioneered the "harrassment brigades" (sounds familiar?) which "challenge" and turn away tens of thousands of African-American voters from the polls as a means to neutralize the black vote.

Having given up the hope (if he ever entertained it) that blacks or Hispanics would ever flock to the Republican party, Gingrich invented a policy of "containment" whose object is to disenfranchise them. Cuban-Americans got caught up in his web, because, although a majority are Republicans, it was impossible to exclude them from the punitive sanctions implemented against all Hispanics.

So this is the man that Henry Gómez wants to be the next president of the United States, a man who defines himself, incidentally, as "the most serious, systematic revolutionary of modern times;" or, as I would define him, the no less catastrophic photographic negative of fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter. Who would have guessed it?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Linked, Unlinked and Relinked: RCAB and Uncommon Sense

In the short span of the Review of Cuban-American Blogs we have had a long history with Marc Másferrer's Uncommon Sense. It was the second blog to link to us after Killcastro. It was the first blog to unlink us, 2 weeks later. And, yesterday, it became the first blog to relink to us after unlinking us. All in less than 6 month's time.

We have always acknowledged our gratitude to Marc for those 2 weeks of past linkage and understood the pressure that compelled him to unlink us that first time around. During those 2 weeks, Val & Company and all the Babalunian satellites "discovered" us and got on board (and have never left since). Of course, we can understand their fascination with RCAB. It is, after all, about them. Many of them come here in the hope that I will notice them, even though they know that I, like another Marc, did not come here to praise them. Let me not discourage their hopes: I will get to them by the by. In case anybody has any doubt about it, I am here for the long run (knock on wood).

Everybody carves out his own niche in the Cuban-American blogosphere. I like to see myself as the iconoclast. Marc Másferrer's own niche is as the publicist for Cuban political prisoners. I use "publicist" in its 19th century meaning, which conveyed no trace of commercialism. A publicist then was a sincere and disinterested advocate, such as Charles A. Dana, editor of The (N.Y.) Sun and Marti's friend, who championed the cause of Cuba's independence for 30 years in the columns of his newspaper. In terms of sheer usefulness and commitment, it would be hard to top Marc's Uncommon Sense.

Of course, everybody knows (and he knows) by now that I don't like his blog's name and have on more than one occasion commented here that common sense is better than uncommon sense. I also object to the fact that he keeps repeating "300" as the number of Castro's political prisoners, taking that ridiculously low figure from renowned human rights organizations which, in turn, define "political prisoner" in Fidel Castro's terms. This is very unfortunate, to say the least. Perhaps now that Raúl Castro has in one fell swoop arrested 200 more in one day, the received figure will rise to 500, which is better than 300 but still less than 1 percent of the real total. I suppose that such spurious low figures are cited in the hope that more people will believe them. If you state honestly that they are between 50,000-100,000 political prisoners in Castro's jails, you might not be believed. Being believed is apparently more important than being factual.

I also object to Marc's two-tier ranking of the Cuban-American blogs to which he links (the "A list" and the "B list" blogs). This is not in keeping with his character or the character of his blog. If I did it (and it would perhaps be more expected of me), I should rank them across the entire spectrum of the alphabet (A-Z) and review their rankings often. But I have no time for such games. Besides, I am nothing if not egalitarian in my outlook and I am loathe to create artificial social barriers in any sphere.

There, then, is only a small part of RCAB's history with Uncommon Sense. Before I forget, there is something else that I like about Marc: he is not afraid of me. That is a rare quality among Val & Company.

As I believe that reciprocality is the glue of civilization, I have also added Uncommon Sense to the "Fraternal Links" at the bottom of the page. I hope our association is longer than the first time around.

Notable & Quotable: They Also Are Traitors Who Only Stand and Wait

A Thank-You Note... (from Charlie Bravo & Killcastro)

"To all of those who promoted cowardice and silence, to all of those who turned their backs to the little girl that today is being stripped from the only happiness that she has known to be given to the person who wanted her dead, abandoned her with an abusive mother, and to whom the "justice system" is trusting today with her care.

"To all of those who were silent cowards, who closed their eyes before perjury, prejudice, fabrications, lies, conspiracy, and consorting with a tyrant in his death bed, a big thank you in the name of castro. He's sending thank-you notes, all of them poisoned.

"From KillCastro and Charlie Bravo, a big and resounding fuck you, cowards. If you were born Cuban, well, fuck you again, damn traitors."
Posted by Charlie Bravo @ Black Sheep of Exile, Sept. 27, 2007


Vana said...
I cannot believe our people in Miami have turned their back on Elenita, what has happened to them? they have lost their heart, not to care when a fellow Cuban is turned over to the beast, I never thought I would see that day, as Charlie says Fuck them all!
9/28/2007 12:39 PM

Ziva said...
Tell me Vana, exactly what have you done to further freedom for Elenita? How many letters have you written? Phone calls? Have you put yourself in harms way and been arrested to protest the judge´s bias? Has someone publicly threatened to beat the shit out of you for your advocacy? Have you not eaten for weeks in protest of the pre-determined outcome? Have you gotten fired from your job, you know, the one your family depends upon, so you can spend your days picketing in front of the court house? No? Do you know anyone who has? Are you willing to lose your job and get arrested in order to interfere with an American court of law? Just exactly what have you done to free Cuba? Where´s your blog? How many years have you gone without sleep in order to write about a free Cuba? Inquiring minds want to know Vana, just exactly what have you done to free Cuba?
9/29/2007 3:18 AM

Manuel A.Tellechea said...
I believe that the sympathies of the Cuban people — with a few isolated and unexpected exceptions — are wholly with the little girl. But we cannot deny that there is a fatalistic streak a mile-wide in our community as a result of the Elián case which has convinced most exiles that the government will impose its will in this case regardless of the courts and the democratic process, and, of course, regardless of which party is in office.

Consider: George Bush has maintained in place the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy longer than Clinton did, and with the Republican candidates fighting among themselves to see which can be the most xenophobic and anti-Hispanic, it is doubtful that Bush will scrap it before he leaves office or that his successor will regardless of party.

The conclusion that most Cuban exiles appear to have arrived at is that it is better to do nothing than to do something. To do something means to bring upon themselves the media's wrath and the visceral hate of a majority of the American people (no, I'm not mincing words here). I think most exiles would say with Charlie Bravo "What the Fuck" if they believed that such an emotional investment, such an expenditure of political capital (?), would yield positive results for this already much-abused little girl. But they don't believe that, and in view of the Elián case there is no reason for them to.

Theirs is actually the logical position. But logic is not always the best guide in life. It is too cold and often detached from the imponderables of the human soul. In sum, logic is too calculating and man too incalculable for the two ever to reside in perfect communion.

In this case, the logical thing and the right thing were not the same. The life of this little girl was worth all the insults, all the infamy, and, yes, it was even worth another defeat. The real defeat is when one abandons principles to expediency; the real defeat is when we can regard even one child as expendable.

Vana, your criticism of the conduct of most exiles in this case is fair.

There are no lost causes; only lost men.
9/29/2007 9:11 AM

Manuel A.Tellechea said...
We must each do what lies within our possibilities. There are many people in a far better position than Vana, you or I to effect change in this case, who have chosen to remain silent. Some have even damned the little girl to hell (literally) because they did not want to be cast in a negative light in the media. These include some of your fellow editors at Babalú, as you know.

Vana has always maintained a principled stand in regard to Elenita. This is more than most have done and all that I ever asked Val or Henry to do.

I understand the depth of your heartache because I share it, as I am sure Vana does also. But I understand also that you are not really attacking our good Vana. It is, rather, a case of displacement. Those whom you wish you could attack, those who have disappointed and defrauded you, you cannot attack.

But don't let it worry you: I can and do.
9/29/2007 9:22 AM

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Notable & Variable: Well, Well, Henry

Henry in Autumn:


You assume a lot of things and get a lot of things wrong. You take at face value the idea that this guy wants to take responsibility for this daughter that he fathered with some crazy lady he got into the sack with once. Given the fact that the foster family is one that the Cuban regime would really like to hurt (because the guy makes his living getting Cuban ballplayers to defect) you can't rule out the idea that the regime dug this guy up and shipped him over here with instructions to reclaim the daughter.

Your examination of the "father's rights" doesn't take into account the rights of the little girl. The only stable person she's had her entire life is her half brother, who was adopted by the Cubas family. By giving in to the father's "rights" you are ripping her out of the arms of her closest sane relative. The girl left Cuba when she was 2 years old. She doesn't even know this man who has parental "rights" over her.

Posted by: Henry "Conductor" Gomez @ Babalú blog on September 27, 2007 03:12 PM

Henry in Summer:

"Here we go again.... Let me first begin by saying i'm a Cuban American. I honestly think this could become another Elian-like scenario all orchestrated by Castro. Are we going to allow Castro to win again as we did with Elian and hurt the Miami Cuban image by playing this game? People let's pick our battles - THIS ISN'T ONE OF THEM. Whether we like it or not, the biological father has every right to reclaim his daughter since her mother is unfit to raise her. Let's put our political beliefs and passion on the side right now and think clearly about this issue. This isn't politics. This is a child whose father did sign the consent form to let her leave with the biological mother...however, since the mother cannot raise her appropriately, he has every right to take her back. YES - most likely the Cuban Government is financially supporting him here in the U.S. (that's obvious). Let's take a moment and reflect on the consequences we as a people face if we decide to make this a political battle. Look what happened with Elian and the credibility we lost as a people. Cubans in Miami lets wake up and pick out the right battles... let's attack Castro on real issues that impact Cuba and not play his little game and fall victims to his plow that will eventually end in failure. To the eyes of the world we will be seen as ruthless and immature for not allowing a girl to live with her father. It's his choice to decide what to do... if he is brave enough, which I doubt, he will publicly inform the press he was paid by the government and risk his family back home to uncover the truth... but I doubt he will do that and I don't blame him. Let's stop allowing Castro to win these stupid battles and attack him with more credible reasons such as the fate of the two Cuban boxers who simply because they wanted to defect and were deported to Cuba face prison, family persecution and the loss of their professional athletic careers - just to mention one case. This is already well documented as the coach already mentioned in Brazil that their careers are "dead". There are numerous issues we can certainly use to attack Castro and uncover the real truth and show the world his true colors. This isn't one of them. For those in Miami and elsewhere who look at any Cuban issue as a way to simply bash Cubans and Cuban Americans, I think you have to question yourselves and your personal hatred or jealousy and stop attacking a group of people simply because you cannot stand the fact that the Cuban community is one of the most successful migrant groups in the U.S. History. However, that's not the point here and honestly, your ignorant insults just make me laugh and just show your true colors and the issues you have. Having that sort of hatred won't lead you anywhere and you will just be losers forever. It's attitude people. Back to the issue... Cubans wake up and let's move on... this is not an issue we should stir up and allow the real issues to get clouded over parental rights. The world is watching... let's not make a sequel to Elian."
Posted Anonymously [by Henry Gómez] @ The Miami Herald Forum on August 6, 2007

Judge Jeri B. Cohen's Decision: We Should All Want "Marginal" Fathers

We have very little to say about Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen's decision on Rafael Izquierdo's fitness as a father. She has been telegraphing her verdict since the first day of the trial and throughout the preliminary hearings. Not once but hundreds of times she admonished the Florida Department of Children and Families for not proving to her entire satisfaction that the birth father abandoned his daughter and was an unfit parent. Yet all the testimony given in her courtroom admitted of no other conclusion. In the end, she could only find that Izquierdo was "marginally" fit but that was good enough to rule in his favor. We should all want marginal fathers, marginal spouses and marginal judges.

The judicial battle to save Elenita's life is not over. In fact, it has hardly begun. At some point it will be taken out of Judge Cohen's courtroom and there might even be a chance that right might prevail.

Here are, I believe, all the posts I have dedicated to Elenita's struggle for freedom (from the newest to the oldest):

Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles

The Real Parents — Joe and María Cubas

Joe Cubas: Castro's Worst Nightmare (and Henry's)

Ana Menéndez & Robert Molleda: The Hag and the Gelding; Or, Love in the Stable

Notable and Hateful: No Mercy for Children Who Straggle From Castro's Knee

What Creature Do I Despise the Most in the World?

The "Elenitas" Keep Multiplying

Is Oscar Corral In Cabaiguán, Cuba?

The Saga of Babalú's Henry Gómez & Alex of SotP

Judge Jeri B. Cohen Just "Hates It; Hates It; Hates It"

Judge Jeri Beth Cohen Gets Her Man (Off)

The Guajiro Hamlet: Rafael Izquiedo

Elián's Father was "Adopted" Too

El Bitongo

The Last Redoubt of Magical Realism: Judge Jeri Beth Cohen's Courtroom

By Their Scars You Will Know Them: The Ordeal of Elenita and Her Brother

Castro's Lawyers Kurzban & Davis Face Disbarment in Cubas-Izquierdo Custody Battle

Cui Bono: The Unasked Question in Judge Cohen's Courtroom

Elena Pérez: Her Life As a Mother and a Mistress (Or Chasing Cod in Cabaiguan)

Letter to Elena Pérez: Birth Mother of the Cuban Refugee Girl

Judge Jeri B. Cohen: Love Child of Janet Reno and Doris Meissner

The Poor Little Cuban Girl that They Call "Eliana"

What "American-Cuban" Bloggers Really Think About "Eliana"

¡Viva Ziva! The Moral Conscience of Babalu Blog

If you wish to read all the post in sequence, go to:

Alfonso Chardy is the New Oscar Corral

I have long suspected that Alfonso Chardy was being groomed as Oscar Corral's heir to the unofficial position of resident Cuban reporter at The Miami Herald, known in earlier times as the "house Cuban." Chardy apprenticed under Corral himself and contributed to the infamous "Martí Moonlighter" story. He has for some time been growing into the position and now has formally assumed its duties.

What are those duties, you ask? Well, obviously, to write the bulk of the stories relating to Cuban-Americans with the authority of a Cuban-American's byline. This gives him both a greater authority and a greater latitude for criticism of the community, and, in the beginning, at least, greater access to it as well. The "criticism," of course, if directed at any other community, would be called bashing. I do not know if his editors directly communicate to him that this is what he should do or if this is an unspoken charge which is part of the bylaws of the brotherhood of sell-outs. Eventually, of course, the cumulative effect of so much bashing will dry up his sources and make him anathema in his own community, or, to put it as simply as possible, nobody will want to talk to him because everybody will know he will be the worse for it. That is exactly what happened to Corral prior to the incident with the prostitute. Corral actually had to be removed from the Cuban-American beat (how appropriate that word!) because his community turned against him; but that, for Oscar, at least, was a good thing; it meant that he could leave the Cuban-American ghetto (which was his objective) and be assigned to national stories having nothing to do with Cuba or Cuban-Americans. The house Cuban had moved on to be the company lackey at large. With his newly-minted credentials, Oscar was ready to move on to new and redder pastures. And then, as fate would have it, Yamilet entered his life and the ace reporter was demoted to cub reporter and assigned to the boondocks of Broward — a cautionary tale if there ever was one for his successor. The lesson, of course, is not about avoiding teenage prostitutes (though that would be smart too); but rather about not betraying your own people, because, in the end, they are all that you have (or don't have).

Chardy's debut as Corral's replacement is entitled "The Thieves Struck in the Middle of the Night," a vacuous headline that hardly describes the peculiar thrust that he gives the story. A better if longer headline would have been: "Cuban Smugglers Responsible for Spike in Boat Thefts (Though There Is No Evidence for This Conclusion)."

The story recounts the attempted theft of "Plan B," a 36-foot fishing boat worth $200,000, which ran aground not far from its mooring in Key Largo. The boat belongs to Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Committee. This connection seems to impress Chardy, though it is doubtful that it impressed the would-be thief, who certainly did not know the identity of the boat's owner or else he might have thought twice about stealing that particular boat.

Although the person(s) responsible for, in effect, taking Barreto's boat on a joyride of less than 5 miles have not been apprehended that doesn't stop Barreto from conjecturing that it was Cuban smugglers who stole his boat and are behind the recent spike in boat thefts in Miami-Dade.

The evidence for reporting that smugglers (and, more specifically, Cuban smugglers) were involved in the theft of Barreto's boat? "[T]wo drums with fuel, a tarp and a duffel bag with water and potato chips" were found aboard the abandoned boat. Well, that clinches it for sure. It is notoriously well known that smugglers (and especially Cuban smugglers) love potato chips and will often cleanse the salty taste from their mouths with water. As for the oil, the tarp and the duffel bag, these items also identify the culprits as smugglers (and particularly Cuban smugglers) since surely they are never found on any other vessels except those employed in "smuggling" Cubans into the U.S. (Incidentally, a perfectly legal activity under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Back then it was known as rescuing fugitives from injustice and entailed no punitive measures either for the rescuer or the rescued).

Besides the water and the potato chips, etc., what other evidence is there that Cuban smugglers are to blame for the 20 percent spike in the number of boat thefts over the last year?

Now is the time for Chardy to prove himself Oscar Corral's organic successor and continuator, and he does not fail to rise to the occasion.

In the same period, Chardy reports, there has been a rise in the number of Cuban "migrants" intercepted by the Coast Guard in the Florida Straits as well as in the number of "migrants" who evaded its cordon sanitaire and landed in U.S. territory, or who entered the U.S. legally through the Mexican border after making land in that country.

The rise in the number of refugees (the word "migrant" is nowhere in the Cuban Adjustment Act, which defines their status) does not proof prima facie that so-called Cuban smugglers are responsible for the spike in boat thefts any more than an increase in the number of men with beards in this country would prove that there is a corresponding increase in support for Islamic terrorists among Americans.

Of course, there is absolutely no real evidence to back the contention that smugglers are to blame for the recent rash in boat thefts. No so-called smuggler of Cuban refugees has ever been interdicted with a stolen boat, though many have had their own boats stolen by the government for engaging in that activity. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good story. If Chardy learned nothing else from Oscar Corral, he learned that.

He learned something else as well from his mentor: always sound at least one alarmist note in every article about Cubans; leave them (the Anglo xenophobes and their self-hating "American-Cuban" counterparts) with the awful specter of a new "invasion" of Cuban "migrants." This simple expedient will add interest to even the dullest story.

So Chardy tells us that Cuban "migrants" are arriving on U.S. shores at the highest rate since the 1994 balsero crisis. Of course, this is always the case; there is always a small increment every year, yet the total number does not rise about 3,000, which is nowhere near the figure of 37,191 that arrived in the 1994 balsero exodus.

Well, Chardy is on his way. No doubt he has dreams of outstripping Corral as a maligner of his people and may well succeed if anyone of his ilk can truly be said to have been a success. If his predecessor's cautionary tale is not enough to dissuade him from taking this course, let him reflect if life does not hold something better for him than to be a 21st century descendent of Lord Haw-Haw and Tokyo Rose.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Babaloo's Waterloos: The Mark of "Cain"

Babalú has published 6 or 7 posts within a 24-hour period about Cane, the fictional saga of a multinational family masquerading as Cuban sugar barons in Florida. Val Prieto is responsible for most of the posts. It's obvious that Val is a frustrated tv critic (it would be too horrible to think that he is a frustrated actor). In fact, he shows more than a little aptitude as a reviewer and should consider marshalling his talents in that direction. He does much better writing about fictional Cuban characters than real ones. Well, they always say to write about what you know.

While Val does not like Cane (not Cuban enough for his taste), Henry is more than satisfied with its entertainment value. Somehow we knew that the less Cuban Cane was the more Henry would like it, although we are surprised that Henry's idea of "assimilation" is becoming Mexican or Puerto Rican. Well, if it conduces to annexation, Henry can have no objection to it. But let me not suggest that Val is the greater Cuban patriot; for he is as committed to having the Star-Spangled-Banner supplant our estrella solitaria on the flagstaff at Morro Castle. It's just that Val still cares about appearances; he is, as you all know, a very important man whose unfounded rumors the White House values enough to deny. Henry is not as self-important as his senior partner, though he compensates for that trace of deference (which becomes less each passing day) by his unshakable conviction that he is infallible. This is a common conceit among heartless people like Henry which allows them to live more or less at peace with themselves no matter how contemptibly they act (and scapegoating a 4-year-old girl is really the ultima thule of contemptuousness).

The great controversy on the merits of Cane threatens to tear apart the already very disfunctional Babalú family and is itself a real-life imitation of the tv show's storyline (that is, un-life imitates un-art). As I have not seen the show (and will never see it), I cannot write the allegory that my readers expect. They will have to make those connections for themselves if they deign to watch it themselves. For me, Babalú is soap opera enough.

Guantánamo Naval Base, Playground for Pedophiles

Well, they have to put them somewhere, and the place where the U.S. military sends its pedophiles is Guantánamo Naval Base. Incredibly, this actually does make some sense. Guantánamo is the only U.S. military facility in the world whose personnel is not allowed to mix with the local residents. The gates at the naval base have been locked for 46 years. The Castro regime has mined its environs not just to slow down an American invasion but to restrain its own citizens from seeking refuge there. If you are going to tolerate pedophiles in the armed forces — and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" apparently extends to them as well — then the place to isolate them is where they have no access to children and must limit their predations to 18-19 year-old soldiers or prisoners, not 8-9 year olds. Or so one would suppose.

Of course, children do sometimes manage to find their way to Guantánamo and the pedophiles find their way to them. Under the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy," when Cuban refugeees are picked up by the Coast Guard on the high seas and it is determined that they have legitimate grounds to claim asylum, they are not transported to the U.S. but sequestered at Guantánamo Naval Base, where they are segregated from the alleged terrorists confined there but subjected to the same draconian security measures. These measures until recently included cavity searches of the children and even babies. When this became known last month — in fact, it was the last story that Oscar Corral reported on before his long hiatus — the government sought third-countries that would accept the Cuban refugees at Guantánamo, thereby preempting another scandal to rival that of the Arab military translators.

A story in the news lately confirms that Guantánamo has long been a pedophile's playground for the U.S. military. Kirby Logan Archer, a military police investigator at Guantánamo during the 1990s balsero crisis, was recently plucked from a life boat in the Florida Straits along with a Cuban teenager when the chartered boat on which he hoped to flee to Communist Cuba disappeared along with its 4-man crew. The fugitive Archer, a suspect in a $92,600 theft from an Arkansas Walmart, was apparently attempting to defect to Cuba with the teenager whom he first met when he and his family were confined at Guantánamo more than ten years ago. Archer maintained contact with him since his arrival in the U.S. and Archer's ex-wife claims that as a boy the Cuban teenager had even vacationed in their home in Arkansas. The Archers' marriage ended recently when she came out as a lesbian and Archer as a homosexual.

It has been assumed that Kirby Archer was fleeing to the island because he was wanted in connection with the Arkansas theft. It seems more probable, though, that the theft was committed in order to provide him with the funds to flee to Cuba with his teenage victim. The Cuban regime's open tolerance of sex tourism, and, particularly, the sexual exploitation of children, must have convinced Archer that he would have been welcome there along with his teenage companion, a Cuban national.

Although this is admittedly a unique case in many respects, the catalyst for it is not unique. The U.S. military must end its longstanding policy of using Guantánamo Naval Base as a dumping ground for all kinds of dysfunctional and anti-social elements from its ranks. With the scarcity of recruits in wartime and the cost of training replacements for them, it is unlikely that this will happen any time soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles

Meet Ana Menéndez. You know her already, of course, as The Miami Herald's spokesman for Cuban-Americans who does nothing but speak ill of them, in contrast, for example, to its African-American columnist, whose job it is to champion his community, which often translates into attacking other communities on their behalf when he feels that his own has been shortchanged or victimized. Menéndez is no champion of her people; on the contrary, she exists for the sole purpose of misrepresenting them and embracing all and sundry who oppose them. But this is not news to you. She is what she is, and by now everybody knows what that is.

But you would do Ana Menéndez a great injustice if you thought she was merely a self-hating Cuban who trades on her ethnicity while remaining aloof from "her people" and even contemptuous of them; who discovered at the age of 35, after denying her roots all her life, that being a Cuban by accident and a liberal by choice had its advantages in the world of journalism, where such rara avis are collected and sheltered and even presented to the world as representative of their species when in fact they are only freaks.

There are many faces of Ana (as if one were not enough). There is Ana Menéndez, exponent of moral equivalency between victim and victimized; Ana Menéndez, critic of all things Cuban except tyrants; Ana Menéndez, beleaguered uber-conscience of her people; and, my personal favorite, Ana Menéndez, martyr for truth. All in an amateur capacity, of course.

Today, we will concentrate on Ana Menéndez, amateur psychologist. Since Cuban-Americans are such a disturbed and conflicted bunch (so unlike her, their therapist), it is necessary for the transplanted Valley girl to psychoanalyze them in all her columns, for only in the light of her intuited knowledge (the only knowledge she has of them) can her non-Cuban readers understand the depths of their depravity. The most famous example of this tendency to read the worst into anything they do was her column on the Cuba Nostalgia convention a year ago. Where most people would see a bunch of old folks lovingly fingering ancient postcards and reliving their past through its relics — imbibing, as it were, cubanidad with their coffee — Menéndez saw only the commercialization of patriotism and the cheapening of culture. Such criticism is ridiculous on its face (Menéndez as a champion of Cuban patriotism and culture!) and shows just how disconnected she is from her own roots or any fellow-feeling for her people. She also indulged in psychological mumbo-jumbo to explain this Cuban obsession of looking backward at one's life (exclusive to us, of course) while cheapening that past by fetishisizing its nostalgia (exclusive to us, as well). This particular column even won a prize (actual money, $4000) from some Cuban-bashing group, which should be a powerful incentive to continue doing what she's doing because there is a paying audience for her work in addition to her employer. (I wonder how many other journalists get "bonuses" for their columns from likeminded readers?)

Today I am going to dissect her last column, also written in that psychological vein of hers, entitled "Cuban Girl's Case Is Part of a Larger Story" [The Miami Herald, Sept. 23, 2007]. Quite a keen insight, as usual. Isn't every story a part of a bigger story? But don't let me shoot down her column before she's even started.

Menéndez is puzzled that anyone should give a damn about Elenita, the refugee girl whose custody is being contested in a Florida courtroom by Fidel Castro (using her father as his proxy). "Every day, children are lost, abused and shuffled around. Why then so much attention to the plight of one little girl?" she asks.

Before proceeding to answer the question which everybody already knows the answer to, she takes a detour to castigate the wealthy Cubas for making the state of Florida spend $250,000 on this case rather than just surrendering the girl so she can take her place in Fidel Castro's trophee case. Of course, the Cubas had nothing to do with the Florida Department of Children and Families' decision to challenge the fitness of the birth father or to spend whatever monies it saw fit to make their case. Joe Cubas has probably spent much more than that on his own legal team. But Menéndez can't pass up an opportunity to bash rich[er] right-wing Cubans, even those who are less rich today precisely because they put their principles ahead of money. The inference which Menéndez wants her readers to make is that rich Cubans control Miami and can make the local government do their bidding and even compel it to spend $250,000 on a custody case (which surely no poor Cuban child is worth to Menéndez).

While berating the DCF for "spending about $250,000 on behalf of the wealthy foster parents, Joe and Maria Cubas" [n.b. "on behalf of the wealthy foster parents," not the child) who want to keep her here" [that is, adopt her], Menéndez makes no remonstrance against the Castro regime for spending at least an equal amount of the Cuban people's scarcer resources to repatriate the girl.

"On the other side," she writes, "Ira Kurzban has assembled a high-powered team to make the case for the father, Rafael Izquierdo, who wants to take the girl back to Cuba." How nice of Ira! He "assembled the team," unasked and unbidden. Well, maybe Rafael Izquierdo phoned him from Cuba and retained his services. He never called his own daughter, but the simple guajiro was able to find Ira. No doubt Ira has plastered the island with his business cards; or, maybe, he doesn't have to, since one card is enough, the one kept in the Rolodex of the Ministry of the Interior. Well, but Ira is doing all this "pro bono." Yes, pro his bono.

Having clearly established by innuendo which side in the custody case she favors (the one that supposedly doesn't spend any money) Menéndez resumes her psychological musings:

"Enough therapists have gathered to convene a symposium.

We in newspapers and television have also made a huge deal of an otherwise ordinary case. Why? The obvious answer is Elian. Memories of that debacle are so fresh that court insiders refer to this case as Elian II.

But there is a deeper reason for the frenzy surrounding this little girl: The slender outline of her story is poignant short-hand for the larger story Cubans have been writing for half a century.

A "deeper reason" than "the obvious answer" (Elián)? This "deeper reason" is supposedly to be found "in the larger story that Cubans have been writing for half a century." OK, the "deeper reason" than "the obvious answer" is to be found in "the larger story." Knowing, as we do, that Menéndez has absolutely no knowledge of that "story" (history), we are not surprised when she fills the recesses with her patented psychological mumbo-jumbo:

From the beginning, one of the Revolution's great tragedies has been the thousands of families riven by ideology and separation. It's a trauma that has touched every exile family, regardless of politics.

Any of the therapists in residence in Cohen's courtroom can tell you that early traumas continue to mark us until they're fully addressed. Elian was, in its own way, a giant acting-out, a revisiting of all the resentment toward Fidel.

Eight years on, the case of this little girl seems similar, which explains the attention. But it's also different, which may help soothe the inevitable outcome.

Her great psychological insight: Cubans are traumatized and act like traumatized people. What has "traumatized" them? Being "riven by ideology and separation." Is this a phenomenon without an agent? Whose ideology were they "riven" by? Who caused the separation of thousands of Cuban families? And on a grammatical note, "riven" means separated. So she's saying that Cubans were "separated by separation." Again, who is the separator?

We will not get that answer from her.

When she does mention Fidel Castro, it is as the recipient of our "resentment" towards him. Poor man, so greatly resented for nothing that he did.

And how are traumatized Cuban exiles to address this resentment which they feel towards Fidel for apparently no reason?

You guessed it. By turning their backs on this little girl:

"Everyone may have an opinion about where the child belongs, but this time around, most people seem willing to keep it to themselves.

There have been no demonstrations, no public shouting matches, no prayer vigils. Why? The popular explanation is that exiles learned from the Elián embarrassment."

What was it exactly that Cuban exiles "learned" from the "Elián embarassment?" That they were right. Everything they said would happen to the boy happened to him in Cuba and worse than they could even have imagined. The "lesson" which Menéndez would have Cuban exiles learn is that they should never oppose the objectives of Fidel Castro. This will cure them of any residual trauma and resentment which they may feel towards him.

She seems to be implying (and will say later) that Cuban exiles have gained political maturity since the days of Elián. It is more likely that they have lost their blind faith in American democracy (which may be the one good thing that came out of the "Elián debacle"). And who is responsible for increasing their political maturity? Fidel Castro. He is responsible for the fact that no unseemly public emotions that might offend Menéndez's Anglo neighbors and judges have been seen in this case.

And how did a moribund Fidel accomplish this?

By refusing to involve himself in this case.


This case exists only because of Fidel Castro. It is his deathbed revenge on his #1 enemy. Not Posada Carriles, who never personally affected Castro's own interests; but Joe Cubas, who stole to freedom many of Fidel's prized slaves, the regime's gladiators who fight for the honor of Caesar and are lucky to escape with their own skins as a reward.

Menéndez also credits Judge Jeri B. Cohen and "to some extent" Joe and María Cubas for "shielding the girl from publicity." You see, the greeat evil here is publicity not propaganda. Who is going to protect this little girl from Castro's propaganda in Cuba? Who protected Elián? No one. Menéndez is not concerned about that. She candidly admits at this point in her article that she wants the girl returned to Cuba for the whole Elián treatment. That doesn't concern her. Publicity concerns her, that is, the free flow of information. The manipulation of information in Cuba, the state's monopoly on all media, does not concern her:

"Joe and Maria Cubas made many missteps. But in one important area, they did the right thing: It must have been tempting to drag the story of the cute little auburn-haired girl before the cameras.

It would have been easy to make an emotional plea directly to a community still easily manipulated through ancient hurts.

In refusing to do so, they have proved their love, for which no one can fault them. They've also helped move this community that much closer to maturity. For which we can all be grateful."

The "first misstep," of course, that Joe and María Cubas made was to challenge Castro. That is always the "first misstep," as far as Menéndez is concerned. As for "dragging the girl" before the cameras, it would obviously have been a worse offense than dragging her back to Cuba. At least she concedes that Cuban exiles are also capable of love. Usually, she credits them only with the capacity to hate (as she did earlier in this article). For her, the wounds and scars which Cubans bear, physical and psychological, are "ancient hurts" which should long ago have been forgotten. Only when Cuban exiles can forget those "ancient hurts," which are as fresh as the uncongealed blood on the faces of dissidents in Cuba, today as in every day for the last 48 years; only when they accept their own victimization and are "grateful" for it (as she is), will Cuban exiles move "closer to political maturity."

Where was Menéndez when the Jews needed her?

"Che's" Children Are Fasting for Ramadan Like Good Muslims

"Che" Guevara's middle-aged children, Camilo and Aleida, are visiting Iran at the invitation of the Culture Alliance Center, described in news reports as a "non-governmental organization" as if it were remotely possible for any group not connected to the government of this Islamic theocracy to declare a "culture alliance" with infidels (no pun intended). The children of the inveterate enemy of religion — all religions, including, of course, Islam — assured their hosts that their father would have supported the Iranian Revolution, which is true insofar as the methods of that Revolution are concerned. Iranian students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University assured them in turn of their admiration for and commitment to the ideals of "Che" Guevara, the practice of which, in any form, would lead to death by stoning in their country, not just because Communism is atheistic, but because it is a competing theocracy and a Western one at that.

The Guevaras trip coincided with the Muslim observance of Ramadan, during which the faithful fast in the daytime hours. The internationalist Guevaras are also fasting while in Iran, which I suppose makes sense, since they could hardly eat at a luncheon in their honor when their hosts don't. Of course, for any other Cubans but the privileged Guevara siblings, Ramadan might actually be a welcome reprieve from the hunger and starvation to which they are accustumed. Muslims voluntarily fast during daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan (but eat before sunset and after sundown). Ordinary Cubans, of course, fast involuntarily at all hours and all year long.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Notable & Quotable: Marc is Sorry, Too

Oops, let's not do it again
By Marc Másferrer

"I admit, I jumped the gun last month, when I repeated rumors of Castro's death... As a journalist, and as a blogger who has tried to instill my site with journalistic quality and integrity, I should have been more careful, more skeptical, in the absence of a proof of death.

The lesson to be learned is simple: Be careful with rumors. If you are going to report them, make clear that you don't have anything more to go on. Don't stake your credibility on something you don't know, can't know, for sure. Don't let your wishful thinking, the pain you and your family have felt for decades, get the better of you. I know many of you detest the "mainstream media," but the standards of the MSM — verify all your information, report only what you know, what you can verify — might serve all of us well in these turbulent times. Obviously, people are paying attention to us, so we all need to act accordingly." —
Uncommon Sense, September 22, 2007.

At least in his mea culpa, Marc Másferrer didn't ask anyone to "Kiss [his] ass," as did the leader of the Babalunians. Marc hints at the fact that he is the only professional MSM journalist among the Cuban-American bloggers. He should have known better. In fact, he should have provided guidance to those like Val who don't have clue about how to handle news. It is true that no MSM newspaper has ever gone to press announcing Fidel Castro's death. Whether this is because they take their cues from the regime or are careful to avoid committing a "Mark Twain" (i.e. reporting prematurely a celebrity's death), or because Castro's death is a non-event for them — his obituaries having long ago been written and updated periodically — the fact remains that whatever malfeasance the MSM have committed in their reportage about and from Cuba (and they are guilty of every other kind), they have at least avoided this particular Castroite trap that has ensnared so many Cuban-American bloggers.

It is ironic that Cuban bloggers who have been trying for years to get the truth out about Castro have lost much of their credibility by spreading (or initiating) these rumors, while the mainstream media, which haven't told the truth about Cuba in more than 5 decades, should have escaped unscathed from this debacle. Of course, the media have one advantage which Cuban bloggers don't when it comes to reporting on Castro's alleged death. They can report the news as a "rumor" originating among Cuban exiles in Miami. If wrong, they lose nothing. If right, they were right, too.

Extreme caution — perhaps even exaggerated caution — is now likely to prevail among most Cuban bloggers in regards to Fidel's death (with the obvious exception). And maybe this is what Havana wanted all along: to discredit them in order to control them. If so, the plan has succeeded, with an assist from the self-admitted "dupes" at Babalú.

Albert Quiroga said...

We should ponder these wise words, stated in another time and place, when once a mere man, albeit a unique one, exerted undue psychological influence on his foes:

"There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a ... bogeyman to our troops... He is by no means a superman, although he is undoubtedly very energetic and able... I wish you to dispel by all possible means the idea that Rommel represents something more than an ordinary German general... we must refer to 'the Germans' or 'the Axis powers' or 'the enemy' and not keep harping on Rommel."
Gen. Claude Auchinleck, Commanding British 8th Army, summer 1942

In fairness, comparing the Desert Fox to the vermin of Biran is like comparing Saladin to Usama Bin-Laden... still, hope this will somewhat illustrate the point.

Perhaps the best approach all of us can take, instead of allowing the castroites to play cat-and-mouse games, in the process mocking the Cuban diaspora, is to stop paying so much attention to this dying entity, instead thinking of and acting towards him AS IF HE WERE ALREADY DEAD. Because, for all practical purposes, he is. This sociopathic megalomaniac has thrived on being the center of attention during his entire un-natural life, getting his kicks at seeing both friend and foe fuss, rant, rave, fawn, and go through the gamut of human emotions as he mesmerizes them in cobra-like fashion. Even as death approaches, he is getting the last laugh, and perhaps this is giving him a psychological boost and keeping him alive longer.

We need to, psychologically, convert him into an irrelevancy and dismiss same from our thoughts. This is not easy - it certainly is not for me. Still, let him be dead in our minds and perhaps his body will soon follow. Our energies should be concentrated in helping Cubans achieve both physical and spiritual freedom. Let us keep this in mind at all times, and dismiss from our thoughts that dying, empty shell of a NOTHING.
9/24/2007 4:12 PM

What Creature Do I Despise the Most in the World?

What creature do I despise the most in the world?

I don't even have to think about it.

Certainly not Val & Company whose ignorance of Cuban history and suppositions based upon that ignorance inspires pity in me, though not enough to excuse or ignore their foibles committed at the expense of our country.

Not even Castro's acolytes in Cuba, whom I do hate but not as much as I hate his acolytes here.

Who are Castro's acolytes here?

Not the idiotic kid who wears a "Che" T-shirt or the bigger idiot who thinks that he is defending Cuba by defending Fidel.


The Castro acolytes that I despise most are the scions of aristocratic Cuban families who supported the Revolution because they enjoyed the thrill of placing bombs in public places, in theaters, night clubs and schools, with absolute immunity from prosecution because daddy had the connections to make sure that the law didn't touch them in Batista's Cuba.

Many of these revolutionary aristocrats maintained their privileges in Castro's Cuba, but it was not enough for them. The decaying world around them depressed them, though it was the world they themselves had created. In the end, they left Cuba and rejoined their bank accounts abroad.

In the U.S. many of them shed their revolutionary garb and became outspoken enemies of the regime and pillars of the Cuban-American community. Others did not. These last were decidedly in the minority. While enjoying all the benefits of capitalism here, they continued to applaud all the predations of Communism in Cuba. And they bequeathed to their children, born or raised in this country, their bogus revolutionary ideals.

I feel no more sympathy for the progeny than I do for their denatured parents. They were not raised in a vacuum in the U.S. All around them was the negation of their parents' lies, but they chose to believe the lies and perpetuate their treason.

It is such a creature who placed her ritzy $2 million condo, in a building called "The Atlantis," on Bricknell Avenue, at the disposition of Rafael Izquierdo and his family (or, more correctly, Cuban State Security) during their extended stay in the U.S. for the expressed purpose of returning a free Cuban child to the very slave society that the red doyenne and her parents had fled and fled early.

The creature's name is Elena Freyre. She owns an art gallery in Miami.

More about her later.

h/t Cari

Ana Menéndez & Robert Molleda: The Hag and the Gelding; Or, Love in the Stable

"Why do we care if a little girl returns to Cuba or not?

The question is not meant to be provocative, or rhetorical. It's something I've been thinking about since the case now before Judge Jeri Beth Cohen became public.

Every year, thousands of children fall into the foster care system, a bureaucracy that doesn't so much manufacture heartbreak as it does institutionalize it.

Every day, children are lost, abused and shuffled around. Why then so much attention to the plight of one little girl?"
Ana Menéndez, column, The Miami Herald, September 23, 2007

"I've arrived at the conclusion that if the girl's father really wants to take her back to Cuba, go right ahead. Please. Leave us alone already. I'll be shocked if Judge Cohen rules for the girl to stay. That may sound insensitive, but let's face it, one girl's return to Cuba isn't going to change anything regarding Cuba. Neither would her staying here accomplish much in the larger picture."Robert Molleda, Babalú editor @ his satellite blog, 26th Parallel, Sept. 20, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"We Love You, Val, Even If You Are Completely Unreliable"

The biggest Babalunians have been defending and comforting Val Prieto in his hour of trial, assuring him time and time again that they would rather be wrong with him than right without him.

And what do we call this?

A personality cult.

Some personality.

Some cult.

Notable and Inspirational: What Eduardo Chibás Has to Teach Val Prieto

The biggest favor I ever did for Val Prieto was to introduce him to Professor Antonio de la Cova. If he follows Dr. de la Cova's sage advice, Val may yet hope to extricate himself from this disgrace of his own making. Never having had Chibás' brains or popular appeal, Val can never hope to aspire to his glory but may yet save himself from the consequences of his folly:


In 1951, "incredibly trustworthy sources" told Eduardo Chibás in Havana that they would give him evidence that Minister of Education Aureliano Sánchez Arango had bought property in Guatemala with funds stolen from his ministry. The impulsive Chibás made the accusation on his radio program before receiving the evidence. He then held up his briefcase to reporters and falsely assured that the documents were in his briefcase and that he would release them at the appropriate moment. Weeks went by and Chibás and his briefcase became popular choteo. In consequence, Chibás purged himself with Milk of Magnesia before shooting himself in the colon at the end of his radio program. He was on his way to full recovery nine days later, when his physician prescribed decoagulants for developing blood clots. In consequence, he internally bled to death.

Such is Cuban politics. There are always people who claim to have the "inside scoop" but it is just a figment of their imagination to make others believe that they are important. I trusted one of those people when I was younger and paid a high price for it.

Don't let what happened discourage you. Bounce back.

Posted by: delacova @ Babalú on September 22, 2007
12:08 PM

Professor de la Cova's advice would probably have done Val more good if he knew who Eduardo Chibás was.

Notable and Delusional: Henry Claims Val Never Said "Fidel Is Dead"

"I'm pretty sure that if you read Val's posts and comments on the subject that you'll see that he never said fidel was dead. He reported things he had heard from a variety of sources and stated it as such. He has said that fidel was, in his opinion, dead. The problem here is that we have to rely on the word of an opaque and dishonest regime that is not beyond manipulation and misinformation."
Posted by: Henry "Conductor" Gomez @ Babalú on September 22, 2007 09:28 AM

The "problem" is also dupes who are not beyond being manipulated and misinformed. Don't forget that, Henry.

Babaloo's Waterloos: Val Admits that Fidel Is Not Dead, Claims to Have Been "Duped Again"

It takes a dupe to be duped and a world-class dupe to be "duped again."

Here is Val's mea culpa, or, rather, his "it's my sources' culpa," before he deletes or re-writes it:

Kiss my ass
By Val Prieto
, September 22, 2007

Even though I've yet to see the latest video, I'm told fidel castro is still alive, contrary to the many assurances I received from some pretty good sources. Duped once again.

Así es la vida.

I think I mentioned it in the fidel is dead posts, but there was always the possibility of him still being alive and we being manipulated, once again, just like we have been for so many years.

I do apologize for my zeal, but being wrong comes with the package. I trusted incredibly trustworthy sources and I would have been dishonest with you all if I had not stated my personal opinions on the subject. To those that are glad he's alive, all I can say is kiss my fucking ass.

Mamey Banned From Babalú After Refusing Teabagging Request from Henry

Hey, little kids, how about doing something meaningful to help our brothers and sisters in Cuba instead of all this silly speculation. How do they say it in Cuban? Stop eating shit. Nothing personal, just a right on Cuban expression.
Posted by: mamey at September 21, 2007 11:31 PM

Hey mamey,
How about you suck on my balls for a little while.
Posted by: Henry "Conductor" Gomez at September 21, 2007 11:34 PM

Several months ago we exposed mamey as fantomas. Now fantomas (as mamey) has been banned from Babalú. His comment in this instance is no joke, however. Babalú needs to acknowledge and regret its central part in assisting the Castro regime to spread false rumors of Fidel's death intended to discredit the Cuban-American community.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Notable and Hateful: No Mercy for Children Who Straggle From Castro's Knee

"I've arrived at the conclusion that if the girl's father really wants to take her back to Cuba, go right ahead. Please. Leave us alone already. I'll be shocked if Judge Cohen rules for the girl to stay. That may sound insensitive, but let's face it, one girl's return to Cuba isn't going to change anything regarding Cuba. Neither would her staying here accomplish much in the larger picture." — Robert Molleda, Babalú editor @ his satellite blog, 26th Parallel, Sept. 20, 2007

If ever we have occasion to mention his execrable name again — and we do not think that very likely — we will be sure to call him "Robert the Pragmatist." Or, perhaps, "Molleda the Aztec" because of his devotion to child sacrifice. He is Babalú's evil face, without dissimulation. Such a one would have been useful to the regime. I suppose we should be grateful that he is on "our side."

Babaloo's Waterloos: Friday's Scheduled "Fidel is Dead" Announcement Preempted by New Video

Ain't that a bummer.

On Monday of this week, Val Prieto intimated that another "Fidel is Dead" post was in the works. He even revealed, for the first time, the methodology he uses to determine Castro's death, which entails counting the number of "Fidel is Dead" Google searches which bring visitors to his blog; and if these appear to increase during the week, the cock crows on Friday (or, rather, the horse dies). But not this Friday. Castro preempted the announcement this week and even had a laugh at Val and the other gossipmongers' expense when his obsequious interviewer, Randy Alonso, pointed out that Miami is rife with rumors of his death and that exiles "would fall from their chairs" when they saw the new video. Indeed, Val has not been able to get up from the floor to comment on Fidel's video. Of course, this is nothing unusual. Val is usually laid out on the floor on Fridays by his own admission.

Notable and Hateful: No [Cuban] Child Left Behind

"Start treating Cuban parents as parents with their full rights." — Alex of Stuck on the Palmetto, in a heartfelt plea not to Castro, but the Florida Department of Children & Families.

If the Florida Department of Children & Families had returned Elenita to her father (after waiting 7 months for him to decide that he wanted her) and had offered, for good measure, to pay her fare back to Cuba, Alex of SotP would proclaim that the rights of Cuban parents had been vindicated in this country and that we were at last first-class citizens.

All we need, apparently, to secure this co-equal status is to sacrifice some of our children every few years to Castro.

The "Elenitas" Keep Multiplying

Since Cuban women have the world's highest suicide rate, it must naturally follow that they have the highest rate of mental illness as well. Another of the Revolution's real "achievements" as yet unreported by the MSM. In light of those statistics it should surprise no one that more "Elenitas" are waiting to have their cases adjudicated in Florida courts. The most similar of three cases involves another 5-year old girl with a mother in a psychiatric hospital here and an alcoholic father in Cuba. The girl is currently under the care of the mother's cousins in Miami, an even more striking parallel to the Elián case.

One of the Castro regime's attorneys defending Izquierdo, Steven Weinger, attempted to alert reporters to the existence of the other cases by mentioning these in open court, earning a sharp rebuke from Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen, the second she has merited in as many weeks. The first was for verbally harrassing an opposing lawyer with details of his private life. No doubt about it, there is no depth of wretchedness or illegality to which the Kurzban-Davis team will not sink; no dirty trick is beyond them; no underhanded ruse; no ethical violation. Already accused by their own witnesses of suborning perjury and obstruction of justice, the rest is simply the topping on the cake. It is doubtful, however, whether anything will be done about their gross professional misconduct. Judge Cohen has refused to sanction them or even to refer their cases to the bar association for disciplinary action.

The reason that Weinger was so anxious that the other cases be publicized was to create the impression that there was nothing special about this particular case. That it was, in fact, just another run-of-the-mill custody case with nothing to distinguish it from the rest but the fact that the principals were Cubans.

I frankly don't know why Weinger even bothered. Judge Cohen's decision to "leave politics out of the case" has in fact meant that those distinctions were never raised in her courtroom. The central fact of the case was never mentioned even once in the deliberations: the fact that this entire custody case is a personal vendetta undertaken by the Castro regime against Joe Cubas, its Number #1 enemy among Cuban exiles. Cubas has snatched dozens of Cuba's prized athletes from Castro's clutches and delivered them to freedom in America. Now it's Castro's chance to "get even" by stealing from Cubas his son's sister, whom he wishes to adopt as well. Rafael Izquierdo abandoned his daughter from the moment of birth, no, even before she was born, since the three-time bigamist asked the mother, Elena Pérez, to abort the baby. He's not the one who wants his daughter back for love's sake or even duty's sake. He never wanted any part of his daughter before she became his meal ticket. It's the regime that wants her so it can consummate its revenge on Joe Cubas.

There is nothing but politics to this case. To refuse to acknowledge that fact, to banish that fact from the courtroom, to erect that fact into some kind of bogeyman, is to subvert justice itself and become a tool of the enemies of the Rule of Law. It is, in fact, to transform an American courtroom into a Cuban one.

[Do not neglect to read the article that follows for more insights on this case, which is expected to be decided today].

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Judge Jeri B. Cohen Just "Hates It; Hates It; Hates It"

With every passing day, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen becomes more impatient with her duties and more partisan in her conduct. We need hardly say to which side she is partial. She has made no secret of it since even before the formal trial got underway. Her constant refrain has been that the state will never be able to prove that Rafael Izquierdo is an unfit parent because, in effect, the state of Florida has set that threshhold so high that there really is no such thing as an "unfit parent" anymore nor can anything that a parent do short of dropping his/her child down a garbage chute constitute "abandonment." She has berated the Department of Children and Families for even presuming to believe that they could prove their case for neglect or abandonment.

What could be more conclusive proof of abandonment than signing away your parental rights so that your mentally-ill ex-girlfriend can take your daughter to a foreign country, where she has no family and knows no one, and then severing all communications with your child, even after her mother had attempted suicide, refusing even to ask for a humanitarian visa to go see her, until compelled to re-assert your parental rights by a tyrannical regime for its own purposes?

Even in the face of what is unquestionably abandonment, continuous and unapologetic, Judge Cohen refused to accept it as abandonment, not even relying on her own judgment, as she confessed, but on her apprehension that an appellate court would overrule her if she found that there was a case for abandonment because "appellate judges have construed the law so leniently that the most uninvolved and uncaring parent can get his or her children back." In short, she refuses to rule on principle and concedes everything to precedent.

Yes, a Florida circuit court gave O.J. Simpson custody of his kids after he murdered their mother (as proved civilly). Is that really the threshhold? Not even murdering your children's mother makes you an unfit parent? Isn't this the ultimate form of abandonment — murdering the one fit parent and sueing to have custody granted to a murderer (yourself)? If this is so, should it be so? If this is the "precedent," isn't it in desperate need of revision?

In a case as complicated as this one has proved to be Judge Cohen even took the DCF to task for not allowing Izquierdo to testify by phone from Cuba at the hearing, as she allows most litigants in custody cases to do. What makes Rafael Izquierdo any different from a father in Alabama? she asked. And if that wasn't bad enough, she added: "You would have handled it differently if the parent lived in Switzerland." The simple answer is that the Rule of Law is observed in Alabama (and Switzerland) and not in Cuba. No one in the government of Alabama (or Switzerland) would be telling the litigant what his answers should be to the questions asked of him. In Cuba, of course, Izquierdo's entire testimony would be scripted. In fact, there would be no guarantee that Izquierdo himself would be the one answering the questions from Cuba. In person, he made a very bad advocate for his own cause; no doubt they would have found a better one in Cuba.

But Judge Cohen is not receptive to that line of argument either. She brands any attempt to highlight the differences between a democratic and totalitarian system as "politics" and she wants none of that in her courtroom. The politics of the Castro regime — or, rather, the absence of civil society and hence politics in Cuba — does not concern her. As a good liberal she refuses to make "value judgments" and embraces the moral equivalence of those who believe that morality is universal and uniform, which is the same as to say there is no morality, because universal and uniform it has never been.

"The U.S. is reluctant to repatriate children to a communist country. Let's not mince words," Cohen recently asserted. No, she's not "mincing" her words at all. What the U.S. is supposedly reluctant to do, she shows absolutely no scrupples about doing herself. It is odd that those who want freedom for this girl (which necessarily means no repatriation to Cuba) must "mince" their words in Judge Cohen's courtroom, while those who advocate dumping the child down Castro's well need make no excuses for favoring this course.

Cohen even berated herself in open court for her "error" in consenting to the DCF request to require Izquierdo to testify in her courtroom rather than by phone from Havana. Apparently, she wanted to make her verdict based on the fewest possible facts. Izquierdo's perjurous testimony has complicated her life by actually complicating the case. The simple farmer from Cabaiguán turned out to be a highly questionable character. She would have preferred that he had remained the simple farmer. It's easier to handle stock characters than actual facts especially when these don't correspond to your preconceived notions of "justice" in this case.

It is doubtful whether even Solomon bitched as much as this woman. Even the snippets of her comments reported in The Herald would seem to leave no doubt of her extreme distaste for this case. Her real feelings may be otherwise. She seems to take great pleasure in her courtroom histrionics and comports herself like Judge Judy on a bad day every day. In a characteristic outburst Wednesday she complained: "I hate this stuff. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it." I would be more inclined to believe that she "Loves it. Loves it. Loves it." The publicity anyway and its renumerative possibilities.

The verdict, in this phase of the trial, which considers Izquierdo's competency as a parent, will come tomorrow (Friday).

The Re-Conquest of Florida

An exchange with an anonymous run-of-the-mill bigot at "Klotz" As In Blood:

anonymous Says:
September 19th, 2007 at 3:38 pm
fuck the cubans and their goddam museum. fuck you too. cubans ruined miami and theyre working on fucking up the rest of florida, too.

Manuel A. Tellechea Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 1:04 pm
Hopefully Cuban exiles will be able to settle the rest of Florida and complete the heroic work of civilization begun by our ancestors in 1565, when settlers from Cuba founded the first permanent colony in what is now the United States, at St. Augustine, FL.

So, yes, Cubans are the original settlers, the FFF (First Families of Florida) and the FFUS (First Families of the United States).

When Cuba is free, Florida will once again become, for all intents and purposes, a colony of Cuba. If nothing else, these last 48 years of tyranny and forced residence in the U.S. have helped Cubans recover their erstwhile political and economic domination of Florida.

This testament to dignity could be called reverse annexation. All the Babalunians and most of their satellites, as well as Alex at Stuck on the Palmetto, are in favor of the annexation of Cuba by the United States. In other words, they think it's OK to negate our entire history; unbury and profane the bones of our forebears; betray and destroy the essence of our country MORE COMPLETELY THAN EVEN CASTRO HAS DONE. That is annexation, the conventional kind; the treasonous kind which Martí and Maceo deplored and which Val & Company support. My version of annexation will not destroy the U.S. A small country like ours cannot overwhelm their big country. A democratic Cuba will be no threat to it. Our benign stewartship of Florida will not threaten it. In fact, I can see no reason that it would be less welcome when Cuba is free than it was when Cuba was not.

An interesting discussion has ensued at: