Friday, October 26, 2007

Notable & More Delusional Still: "Patrick Henry" Prieto Rides Again

"Freedom isn't going to knock on [the Cubans'] doors and ask to come in. It isn't going to arrive in a package from Hialeah or in the suitcase of a family member coming from abroad. Freedom is going to hide behind hunger. It's going to hide behind pain, it's going to hide behind sacrifice. It's going to hide behind bruises and in a pool of blood. And it's only going to be found when it is painstaking[ly] sought after, sought after with extreme hunger and empty bellies, with broken bones and bloody hands and with sheer desperation. There are 11 million people in Cuba, yet you see merely a handful standing firm in their convictions and against their government. Until that handful exponentially increases, not a damned thing will change."Val Prieto, judging the Cuban people and passing sentence on them, Babalu blog, October 25, 2007

The rhetoric is worthy of Patrick Henry; the sentiments are not. Patrick Henry said: "Give me liberty or give me death." Val Prieto says: "Give me liberty or give them death." The "them" are the Cuban people.

While starving Cubans "with broken bones and bloody hands" are heroically confronting an enemy with its guns, tanks and bomber planes, Val Prieto will, no doubt, be blogging about it with bloody stumps for fingers. He may even decline an extra beer (although that may be taking patriotism too far).

Meanwhile, the Cuban people are a perpetual source of disappointment to Val. He believes himself to be deserving of another people, a braver people, a better people; one willing to throw themselves into the void in order that he may cross it.

I, on the other hand, am of the opposite opinion. I believe the Cuban people are deserving of a better Val. This Val has no right to judge them.


Response to an Anonymous Commenter

I always try to fit what I write to the occasion. I did so when I wrote this post. The presumptiousness and arrogance of Val's comments on the courage (or, rather, the lack of courage) of the Cuban people deserved and received the response it got. 4000 Americans died in the American Revolution. More than a half-million Cubans died in Cuba's 19th-century wars of independence. To suggest that the descendents of the mambises lack courage is a canard. What they lack is opportunity. Two superpowers connived to enslave them for 30 years, and now a lunatic vent on succeeding Castro underwrites his machinery of repression. A people cannot rise in arms that has no arms; nor can they oppose tanks with fists. It was tried in Budapest in 1956; in Prague in 1968; and Tiananmen Square in 1989. It didn't work. In the past, Communism has been defeated in only 4 ways: a military mutiny as in the case of Spain (1936-39) and Chile (1973); direct U.S. intervention as in Greece (1948) and the Dominican Republic (1965); indirect U.S. intervention as in Central America and Afghanistan (1980s); or the internal implosion of the Communist system.

No mass uprising against a Communist regime has ever succeeded in a vacuum. It was the collapse of the Soviet Union that allowed the Eastern bloc countries to challenge their satraps and recover their long-lost freedom and independence. Without the collapse of the Soviet Union, Solidarity and Pope John Paul II would have been as helpless in the face of a Soviet invasion as their ancestors were in 1939 when the Polish cavalry gallantly (and hopelessly) charged Stalin's and Hitler's tanks.

This is what makes the present situation so difficult for Cubans to overcome. The regional hagemon (the U.S.) is perfectly content with Communism in Cuba; it reached an accomodation with Castro a long time ago and fears a post-Castro Cuba more than it does the Castro regime. Any regime, Communist or not, that can contain its citizens within its own borders has the nominal support of the U.S., and it appears that for now and the foreseeable future, only Castro will be able to be America's policeman in Cuba as the U.S. is his policeman on the high seas. The repatriation at gunpoint of fleeing refugees under the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy has literally brought that fact home to all Cubans.

The Cuban people, who are given too little credit by Val & Co., know their neighbor well and will not so much as throw a stone until they are sure that the U.S. is no longer the guarantor of Communism in Cuba as it has been since the days of the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact (1962). It was not the Soviet Union that was an obstacle to freedom in Cuba. That is obvious now. It could not have saved its backwater client-state at such a remove from it, or under the nose of the U.S. were the U.S. disinclined to allow it. The real obstacle to Cuban freedom is and has always been the United States.

If the U.S. ever decides to stop propping up Castro, dispenses with the empty rhetoric and confronts the enemy within its doors — the long-announced and now consummated spread of Castroism to South America — then and only then will the Cuban people be prepared to sacrifice as their forebears sacrificed to obtain the freedom of which they were robbed in 1959 and not just by Castro.


Fantomas said...

You write much better cuando tocas temas interesantes y actuales

El pueblo de Cuba necesita alguien que escriba bien de ellos . Tu puedes hacerlo sin caer en lo chavacano y lo que debe ser ignorado. No sufras tanto . Se feliz...

Deja que los otros tengan su punto de vistaaunque para ti esten wrong. You are not God to judge people

fantomas Oct 26, 2007

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I believe I am more justified in critiquing Val Prieto's opinions than he is in judging the courage or resistance of the Cuban people. If he were in Cuba himself standing up to Castro like Biscet or Fariñas, Val would be justified in passing judgement on his countrymen. But, of course, if he were Biscet or Fariñas, he wouldn't.

Anonymous said...


It is clear you are enjoying being Val's alter-ego. Babalu has needed a countering voice and you've done a good job providing it.

That said, I've noticed a change in your rhetoric lately that in my opinion detracts from your earlier writings and from your self-described mission as a voice of reason.

Please, don't devolve this blog to the Babalu of Ziva, Henry and Moneo. Or to the equally shrill opposing equivalent at KillCastro.

Clearly, there are two Cuban exile philosophies evolving and refining their positions. Both will be heard more clearly if they stand on their own merits without mudslinging, name calling, etc.

A civil society requires civility above all else.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Charlie Bravo said...

Note to Anonymous:
We are not the "equally shrill opposing equivalent " of any other blog, Anonymous.
We are our own blog(s) with very well defined identities which fortunately do not depend on whatever else other blogs write about or on what they chose to omit. As they say in Cuba, "alla ellos con su condena".
Nice to know that you read KillCastro.
Charlie Bravo
(from both KillCastro and the Black Sheep of Exile)

Mamey said...

Val's time at the keys would be better spent attacking Cuba's human rights situation or the absurd US laws that send Cuban exiles back to the island. Instead he asks the unfortunate inhabitants of Cuba to commit collective harakiri. Le zumba!

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


You are very right. There is no comparison between Babalú and Killcastro. It is Val and Henry who practice histrionics, never you or Killcastro. How many times has Val Prieto buried Fidel since starting his blog? At least two dozen times by my count, and each successive time with greater invention and mendacity. Val sold his soul to Sitemeter a long time ago and is to exile politics what Pérez Hilton is to entertainment: a festering boil.

Killcastro, on the other hand, though always passionate, has never been "shrill." Nor has it ever fallen into any of traps laid out for it by the regime, which have always been the bane of Babalú's existence.

Anonymous said...


As a frequent reader, my impression is that there is occasional give and take between KillCastro and Babalublog. I'm sure it's not intentional, but since you are both covering the same "beat" from different corners of the same side, the perception may be inevitable.

I'm glad you are out there with your message and I am equally glad Babalu is there too (and all others including this one). Our ability to express differing opinions freely, and for me to read them, is what liberty is all about.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


It's exactly what Ghandi asked the Jews to do on the eve of the Holocaust: commit collective suicide as a great moral lesson to their persecutors.

Some lesson, some holy man.

Charlie Bravo said...

Exactly Anonymous, we at KillCastro exercise our liberty to inform about what happens within the island of Cuba, on how the politicians here have a full bag of tricks for agendas, and how the regime of Havana tries to doré the pill with their propaganda dit alchemy with total indepedence of whatever else other might chose for themselves.
Our existence is in no ways tied to other people's work, it's only tied to the existence and work of both authors.
As Manuel says, we can be catalogued as passionate, but that's all. As per the regime multiple traps, well... we have been cyberattacked, and some elements of the government have tried to sell -and feed- dry vulture for tasty turkey to our sources in more than one ocassion.
Fortunately, we have been able to pretend that the vulture was indeed turkey long enough to be able to publish stories that time prove right.
We are not for wishful thinking or unfounded optimism. We have also taken the task to defend the Cubans of the island against those who judge them as cowards.
As you do, we are glad that every one can be free to express their opinions, with total liberty and independence.

Charlie Bravo said...

By the way Manuel and Mamey, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also compared Dr. Biscet to Ghandi, and following those myths, I would not be surprised that she one day also compares him to Nelson Mandela....

Mamey said...

Excellent postscript Manuel. Who can forget what happened to the Hungarians during Eisenhower, or the Shiites of southern Iraq during Bush Sr.? And, as you have pointed out numerous times before, what the hell is going on between the Cuban and USA Coast Guards? Their sick romance is a metaphor for US policy towards the Cuban regime since the Missile Crisis.