Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Notable & Stupefying: Antonio Maceo Demoted to Colonel by Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen
"Just as Colonel Antonio Maceo battled tirelessly for Cuba’s independence against the Spaniards, Dr. Biscet is the “Titan de Bronze” of our generation of freedom fighters against the Castro regime. No longer wielding the machetes of Colonel Maceo’s time, Dr. Biscet has replaced physical force with peaceful strength, yet the battle remains the same." — Congresswoman Iliana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), petition nominating Cuban human rghts activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Review Online, October 24, 2007
Credit goes to our friend Charlie Bravo of Killcastro blog for discovering this gem. There are moments in life when heaven sends down a lightning bolt that illuminates everything for us. This is such a moment. If we fail to see what Charlie is pointing out to us we shall deserve whatever fate befalls us in the future:
Yes, Antonio Maceo was once a Colonel. He rose through the ranks quickly, with heroism and gallantry, with the chilvalry of men of honor in arms. Antonio Maceo earned his General's stars during the first independence war exactly in 1873, before he was knicknamed "El Titán de Bronce" [the Colossus of Bronze] by the Cubans and "El León Mayor" [the Lion of the Pride] by the Spaniards. Comparing Dr. Biscet to Antonio Maceo could seem like a great idea. But though both men are examples of bravery and dedication to the freedom of Cuba, the comparison is simply not just for either of them. There was only one Antonio Maceo y Grajales and there is only one Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. Each one is unique, each one is a unique a representative of two different struggles, with the common objective of the liberation of Cuba [...]. I hope she reads a Cuban history book, and I hope she calls President Bush to reject and eliminate the unjust "Dry Foot/ Wet Foot" policy, and to order the Coast Guard to assist and rescue the Cuban refugees on the high seas, instead of becoming an extension of the Cuban Coast Guard and be the ones used by Castro for offshoring and outsourcing his repressive ways."
Is there any other Cuban above the age of 5 who doesn't know that Maceo was a general? And the woman is hardly a child.
Why does she compare Maceo to Biscet? Why not to Martí? Biscet is not a warrior. Neither was Martí. No doubt Biscet would become a soldier, as Martí did, to defend his country in the hour of her redemption. But Biscet is not in any way a military man, much less the military genius that Maceo was. And, honestly, much as we admire and support Dr. Biscet, he is not and should never be expected to be another Maceo. Such a comparison is not a compliment; no man, not even Biscet, can withstand it, and I am sure that Biscet himself would be the first to reject it. Such a man as Maceo is sui generis; beyond comparison, and, indeed, had he not actually lived, beyond imagining.
The only reason Ros-Lehtinen compared the two is because they are both men of color, the worst reason to compare them. What does that have to do with anything? What an embarrassment, ignoring the essential and focusing on the superficial, and, in the process, disrespecting both men.
Really, words fail before such an enormity.
But words must be found.
No one with such an abysmal ignorance of our history should be allowed to represent our interests in Washington, or anywhere else; much less have any imput in deciding the future of our country (I mean Cuba), which as a U.S. congressman she should not presume to do in any case. There will be men and woman enough to be the future leaders of our country who know whom Antonio Maceo was and what he represents to our people, alongside Martí, the highest peaks of our nationality, a natural phenomenon that cannot be repeated in our country or any country: el lugarteniente.