Chávez is undoubtedly crazy; there can be no doubt of that. But his original ideas are few. He is the the Great Recycler (of failed ideas). Because we are so far-removed in time from Castro's earliest bizarreries, many of these have been forgotten even by those who were there at the time. Those born, like Alberto de la Cruz, after the Revolution and raised in exile, would have no reason to be acquainted with them. Hence it astonished Cruz that Chávez had devised a unique Time Zone for Venezuela, which would put it a half-hour behind all the other countries of the world. Cruz wittily named this "The Twilight Zone."
Before I say anything else (and I think all of you know where I am headed), let me remark that Cruz's post — the genre, that is — is exactly what Babalú needs to become relevant again. Since Val realized that the well of his own hardly-fecund inspiration was running dangerously dry, he recruited fresh voices with fresh perspectives and they have worked a wonderful transformation at Babalú. Yes, Henry is still shilling for the Republican anti-Hispanic xenophobes, who left no doubt at last night's presidential debate that they had written off the Hispanic vote and were only courting the anti-Hispanic vote; and Val, when he makes a cameo appearance on his blog — which, mercifully, is rarely nowadays — is still as homicidal as ever in his plans for the Cuban people (which can be nicely summarized as "More Blood and No Butter"). Yet, like Reagan, Val has the gift (in his case, almost an imperative) of delegating authority without feeling threatened by others more talented or knowledgeable than himself. He realizes that, in the end, he'll get the credit while they harp about the "honor" of serving him. (Val, incidentally, has had to "crack the whip" — his own expression — because Babalú's new and old contributors, now numbering 15, have lately come down with serious case of "let the other guy do it" which reduces output from a potential minimum of 15 posts per day to just two or three).
But we have strayed too far afield. Alberto de la Cruz is wrong. It is Fidel Castro who first devised a new Time Zone for Cuba which was one-half hour at odds with everybody else's. It was not so children could have one more half-hour of daylight but so the cane cutters (including, of course, children) could start earlier and finish later. What Chávez is actually doing in Venezuela is going on Castro Time; no doubt another step towards the "confederation" of the two countries, that is, the destruction of Cuban sovereignty.