Friday, August 31, 2007

Vote in the Name of God!

Polling for "The Prince of Darkness or The King of Fools" shall end when at least 50 votes have been cast. We are already half way there. Then I shall reveal what I think about each of the players in this farce which I have dubbed the "War of the T-shirts." What I think about them, of course, is not much; and I confess I have been unable to decide for myself which is the least odious. That is why I need you to tell me which I find less disgusting, for only then will I know how to proceed in this matter. Split the hairs for me; look beneath the surface. Undoubtedly I have paid more attention to Babalú than to Stuck on the Palmetto. But does this indicate that I find Babalú more disgusting, or just the opposite? Can it be that I despise SotP even more and show my contempt for it by refusing to acknowledge its existence in more than a cursory manner?

I have never faced such a crux!

How can the enemy of my enemy be my friend if my enemies are enemies?


Help me!




Could this be a conspiracy on the part of Babalú and Stuck on the Palmetto to drive me insane? If so, it appears to be working.

The Prince of Darkness or The King of Fools?

In the flame war between Babalu and Stuck on the Palmetto, which would RCAB feel less disgusted siding with?
Stuck on the Palmetto free polls

Thursday, August 30, 2007

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

Never underestimate the fragile psyche of a madwoman or trust her to do your bidding. Never, never place your reputation in her hands, much less your livelihood or, indeed, your life. This is a lesson that will cost Ira Kurzban and Magda Montiel Davis a great deal now and in the future. Any lover of liberty or common decency cannot but rejoice at their fall. In any circumstances it would have been welcome and is certainly long overdue; but in the present circumstances, in particular, it is doubly satisfying and doubly-deserved. May justice find all the enemies of Cuba as it found them and confound them as it confounded them.

These artificers of evil in wolf's clothing — or is that a redundancy? — have committed the gravest offence of which any attorney can be guilty. They have fabricated evidence and suborned a witness to perjure herself. Disbarment is inevitable and jail and a monumental fine are by no means to be discounted as punishments for such conduct.

Yesterday, we meditated upon the mysterious disappearance from Judge Cohen's courtroom of Elena Pérez's deposition of custody, whereby she surrendered her daughter to the state. Missing also were the minutes of the judicial hearing where this document was formalized. As Charlie Bravo rightly commented the material does not beccome immaterial except by human agency. There can be no other conclusion except that pertinent documents were stolen to alter the court record and make it more difficult for the Cubas-Izquierdo custody case to proceed. I asked, cui bono? The answer escaped no one. If the mother can't be shown to have relinquished custody, then there is no custody case.

Now the inverse has happen. Castro's attorneys have fabricated false evidence which they have attempted to introduce into the court record. One of the most important elements of this case which goes to show that the father had abandoned his daughter and never inquired about her health or well-being after she left Cuba with her mother was the fact that he had never sent her a letter or birthday card, made a phone call to her or written to the mother inquiring about his daughter. Such an omission is difficult to explain, and coupled with the fact that he had signed away custody to her insane and abusive mother before she left the island and had only taken an interest in the girl when the Castro regime did, would seem to indidate that the birth father felt no paternal attachment to her, and, indeed, had rejected the child in word and deed.

To correct this situation and improve the image of the birth father, Kurzban and Davis (the mother vacilated between the two) fabricated letters from the father to his ex-girlfriend, which Izquierdo wrote out in his hand and Elena Pérez agreed to say she had received in Houston 2 years ago, as per her own testimony. We would not be surprised if the Castro regime provided pre-postmarked envelopes for the letters to make the ruse more convincing. They might have gotten away with it except that the mother couldn't go through with it at the end because of her fear of going to jail for perjury. This price was more than she was willing to pay to insure that the daughter she had abused ended up with her indifferent father. Given her mental condition and the pressure exerted on her by Izquierdo's attorneys this would have been unlikely. It is highly likely, however, for Kurzban and Montiel, and should also carry consequences for their client (Izquierdo, not Castro).

Judge Cohen was taken aback and somewhat incredulous at this turn of events. Clearly, she didn't want to believe Pérez. Kurzban and Davis must be dear friends. In the end, she did ask that magic question, cui bono? She phrased it as "What do you [Pérez] have to benefit by lying?" What indeed, Judge!

Re-read the first paragraph. I couldn't decide whether to make it the introduction or the conclusion.

The Pot Calls the Kettle Prieto

Beneath the feigned hurt and indignation, Val Prieto is probably celebrating this evening. It's not every day that Babalú — his "humble blog," his "lowly blog" — is featured in El Nuevo Herald much less accused of being so unhumble and unlowly as to be able to fuel mass hysteria in Miami with last Friday's "Breaking News: Fidel Castro Is Dead" post, and even, which Cossio does not mention, compel the White House to disavow the rumor.

Cossio also blames blogger PerezHilton, but this seems hardly fair since his stock in trade is gossip-mongering and one would have to be stupid to credit anything he says. Babalú, on the other hand, aspires at least to be respectable, although if it continues to wave the bloody shirt it may find itself classed with PerezHilton and the other the scandal blogs forever.

Cossio labels Babalú "irresponsible," which is rather a mild criticism given the level of its deception. The possibility that it may have been self-deception as well does not excuse the enormity of reporting Castro's death as a fact when Babalú had nothing to back it up with but fantastical scenarios of its own invention.

One would wish that Babalu's "editor-in-chief," as Val Prieto now styles himself, would acknowledge his responsibility and take his lumps as a man. But, no such luck. Unrepentent and unchastened, we can only expect more of the same from him.

Sad but not unexpected.

Never unexpected.

Senator Larry Craig's Dalliances in Castro's Boy Brothel

Senator Larry Craig's sexual indiscretions would be of absolutely no interest to me if he inopportuned on adult men who were free to reject his sophomoric advances in whatever way they thought most appropriate. But Mr. Craig's history shows that he is also a predator with no regard for the age of his victims. This fact has been known and tolerated by both his colleagues and his constituents since he was implicated in the first Congressional page scandal in 1980. A lifelong bachelor who, until the age of 62, had at least the common decency of not ruining a woman's life by marrying her, Craig suddenly proposed to a staffer last year when Mike Rogers of BlogActive outed him on the Ed Schultz Radio Show in Oct. 2006. His now wife brought 3 children into the marriage which Craig adopted this year and claims as his own in his official biography, which gives no indication of their adoption. Given his past conduct these children may be to him what Michael Jackson's blonde blue-eyed made-to-order children are to him — not just a cover but perhaps something more sinister. In view of his history, we should all rejoice at Craig's arrest and public humiliation, literally, at his own hands. It is just what is required to put an end to more than 30 years of deceit, hypocrisy and worse, and it may discourage other politicians who adopt homophobia as a means to conceal their own hatred of who they are, because homophobia appears to be becoming, in right-wing Republican circles, the most reliable indication of homosexuality itself.

There is still one aspect of the Senator's "secret life" — which was no secret to anyone in the Washington establishment — that has not received any scrutiny thus far: Craig's junkets abroad to exotic places that pedophiles favor because of lax laws and the people's poverty. I will let the suddenly active corps of Idahoan reporters, who have sat on this story for 25 years, pursue these leads themselves and limit myself to the senator's dalliances in Cuba.

These were made possible by Craig's sudden interest in Cuban affairs and advocacy of the interests of Fidel Castro, which he developed against the interests of his own party, which won the 2000 elections thanks to the support of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans, its largest minority constituency. It's impossible for Republicans to carry the state of Florida without the votes of Cuban-Americans and impossible for the Republicans to win the presidency without Florida. I mention this just in case any reader from Idaho thinks that their first-in-the-nation primary counts for anything.

No, I don't just blame Craig for his courting of Fidel Castro. I also blame his constituents who were more interested in selling potatoes to Castro than Craig was in selling to them the idea that the Cuban people are also deserving of freedom. Politicians should lead their constituents, not follow them like dogs. Trading with a future democratic Cuba would be greatly in the interest of Idahoans, but trading with a bankrupt larcenous state is not. Not only is it morally wrong, but economically ill-advised. It means going to the back of the queue of creditors which Cuba has defrauded over last 48 years, including every country that it has ever traded with, as well as thousands of foreign companies and individuals. But Craig not only wanted Idahoans on that line, he was also in favor of repealing the only protection which they had against Castro defrauding them. Craig wanted the Cuban regime to be able to buy U.S. goods on credit; presently they are only allowed to do so by paying cash on the barrel. In the end, by enabling Castro to cheat them, Craig was doing a great disservice to his constituency of government-subsidized farmers-in-name-only corporate conglomerates. Although they are not worth shedding tears about, Craig's indifference to their real interests does call into question his real interests in this matter.

As a U.S. senator who does Castro's bidding, Larry Craig was received in Cuba with every distinction accorded to a visiting chief of state, including the obligatory 8-hour tete-a-tete with its Maximum Leader. Gifts were exchanged: Castro gave Craig a box of his special-reserve Cuban cigars and Craig gave Castro a case of Idaho wine. [The 639th (unintentional) attempt on his life?]

But Craig got more than the cigars. Craig also got the gold pass to Castro's boy brothel, maintained for the benefit of Raul and his circle, diplomats, foreign journalists, Castro's celebrity groupies, and, of course, visiting dignitaries like Craig who peddle their influence in exchange for satisfying their warped libidos in a pedophile-friendly state closer to home and not so well-known for catering to such "eclectic" tastes, as, say, Thailand. Besides having a wider selection in Cuba where all races are represented, the pedophiles are not only protected by the government but there are no agents from the Society for the Suppression of Slavery hounding their footsteps, as in Thailand; nor are they subject to deportation to their native countries for prosecution there, as provided in the latest international accords (to which Cuba, of course, is not a signatory).

What Craig didn't realize was that all hotel rooms in Cuba which are made available to VIPs are outfitted with concealed cameras, as is, of course, the house where the boys are kept. Unbeknownst to him Craig must have starred in dozens of X-rated movies, stored in the vaults of Cuba's Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI) and viewed regularly for laughs by his cordial hosts. Of course, they were not gathered just to have a laugh at his expense, but as insurance against his ever becoming less than grateful for the "hospitality" that he was shown in Cuba.

We know of the existence of this brothel thanks to the legendary Argentine soccer player and notorious closet case Diego Maradonna. He visits Cuba frequently to fight (or indulge) his monumental cocaine habit and has related his "intergenerational adventures" to fellow pederasts in Argentina, who in turn have spread the news of the "good times" to be had there. Of course, Castro's boy brothel is only for his "special guests." All other tourists with dollars must find their own quarry, although they, too, enjoy the indulgence and protection of the Cuban regime.

Maradonna sports a large tatoo on his arm of fellow Argentine "Che" Guevara, who was the 20th century's biggest persecutor of gays after Hitler. It is possible, of course, to expect anything from men like Craig and Maradonna but self-recognition. For Craig, however, reality has come knocking at last on his bathroom stall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sumner Welles: When Public Men Commit Private Acts In Public Places

Sumner Welles with FDR in Warm Springs, Georgia, in Nov. 1933, where Welles had gone to brief the president on the Cuban situation. This is a posed photograph intended to mislead the public. Roosevelt, of course, could not drive a car.

You would think that being a public figure he would have avoided sex in public places. You would think that being a middle-age man, not a teenager, he would have avoided sex in public places. You would think that I was alluding to Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, but I am not.

At 6'5" tall, he would have stood out anywhere. In Cuba, where the average male height in 1933 was closer to 5'5" than 6'5", he was a virtual colossus. To make the contrast even more striking, he always wore a black woolen suit in a semi-tropical country where white linen suits were de rigour for men who wore them. He seemed to embody in his person the country which he in fact represented diplomatically — imperial, ominous and a bully.

His name was Sumner Welles, recognized by The New York Times in 1998 as "among the half-dozen most influential career diplomats of this century." He was also the last American pro-consul in Cuba and the most important foreign diplomat in in our country's history.

Welles had known FDR since he was a boy, and as a 12-year old had been a page at Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's wedding. He followed in Roosevelt's footsteps to Groton and Harvard and FDR sponsored his entry into the foreign service. In 1933, FDR sent Welles to Cuba to stop a revolution. He didn't succeed. Despite his efforts at mediation, Gerardo Machado was overthrown. His next mission was to insure that the revolution would not do what, well, Fidel Castro's revolution did in Cuba 25 years later — renounce its debts and confiscate U.S. properties. In this he was successful principally because the Cubans themselves wanted no such thing. They were quite satisfied when the provisional government lowered electric rates.

Welles did not think they would stop there, which was probably the logical conclusion when the new provisional president Ramón Grau de San Martín refused to swear fealty to the Cuban Constitution because it contained the Platt Amendment, which gave the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuba at its pleasure. Welles' diplomacy was punctuated by the U.S. fleet within sight of Havana. But the Cubans rightly sized up Welles and his boss and didn't blink but continued progressive reforms that weakened U.S. influence on the island without challenging it outright. In less than a year, Roosevelt would proclaim the "Good Neighbor Policy" and the Platt Amendment would be abrogated, though the U.S. retained Guantánamo naval base.

His mission to Cuba having been considered a success, Welles was appointed Assistant Secretary and then Under-Secretary of State and was considered the likely successor to Secretary Cordell Hull, then in his 80s. No doubt had Welles, who was half his age, been appointed to succeed him, he would still have been a major player 20 years later in the Kennedy administration and might have offered useful advice on how to deal with Castro. But Welles' star had long dimmed by then, or perhaps it would be more correct to say that it had been put out.

It happened on the presidential train as it was returning to Washington, D.C. from the funeral of House Speaker William Bankhead, in Jaspar, Alabama, where FDR and Bankhead's actress daughter Tallulah drew a crowd of 65,000 to the tiny rural church. It was summer and the temperature must have been 120 degrees or more in the train. Everybody was pretty much stewed either from the heat or efforts to combat it with mint juleps and sterner stuff. The president, vice-president Wallace and the cabinet went to bed early. Welles was up till 4:00 in the morning drinking and was the last to retire to his sleeping compartment, which was between the president's and Labor Secretary Frances Perkins'.

Before calling it a night, Welles asked a porter to bring him coffee (porters at that time were all black men or boys). Welles then requested something else with his coffee. He propositioned the porter and offered him money if he would bugger him. The man politely declined and fled in terror. Declining a white man's request then could have gotten any black man lynched in the south. The porter's solution to this dilemma was to send the youngest porter, a 13-year-old boy, with the coffee. Surely he supposed, in his world-class naïveté, that this would stop Welles' advances. It did not. The boy ran off and yet another porter was sent with the coffee. And still another and another, with similar results. If just one of them had remembered, in his shock, to put the coffee down; but they obviously held unto the pot as some kind of protection. Finally, word got to the President of the Railroad, who was on board, and he in turn contacted the chief of the president's Secret Service detail, named Whitehead, who enlisted yet another porter to entrap Welles, ordering him to leave the compartment door open so that he and his deputy could catch Welles in fragranti. But Welles saw Whitehead lurking in the corridor and slammed his door shut. He had, of course, slammed the door on his life and career.

No police report was filed. None of the dozens of reporters on the president's train filed the story. Welles was even allowed to stay on the job till Secretary Hull learned the truth and threatened to resign himself unless Welles did. Roosevelt, who said he didn't blame a man for what he did when he was drunk, was forced to request Welles' resignation. Welles' career was over at 50.

Sumner Welles became a bigger alcoholic and his long-suffering wife finally left him. Welles hired a French bisexual butler to replace her, who finished the ruin of him that had begun on the presidential train. In 1948, Welles attempted, unsuccessfully, to commit suicide by jumping into a frozen creek on his 500-acre Washington estate. He was too tall and the creek was too shallow. Although he didn't drown, he almost froze to death. In 1956, he was outed by Confidential magazine, which that same year almost exposed Rock Hudson as well. Liquor, which had precipitated his ruin, finished him off at age 68 in 1961.

No Cuban historian ever mentioned Mister Welles' strange fate. Perhaps they felt pity for him or thought it all just too monstrous to believe much less confine to paper.

Here's the article from Confidential Magazine, which relates the story of another train incident, from 1937:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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

Cui bono? Whom does it benefit? The ancient Roman formula for determining responsibility as well as culpability for any given act. As far as such constructs go, it is the gold standard: so brief yet so profound, encapsulating the psychic history of man better than Freud ever did.

Also known as the "Rule of Cassianus," the Roman judge who devised it in the days of Cicero (who recommended its use), cui bono is still the most relevant question that can be asked at any trial. For, except in very few instances — so rare that we erect statues to the exceptions — man is activated by his own interests, first and foremost. If you would know the architect of any work, do not look at the inscriptions, but at the bottom line. Whoever benefits directly by any act may be presumed to have committed it, whether as hero or villain.

Keep that in mind.

It appears that the most important documents in the Cubas-Izquierdo custody trial, which begun today, in Miami, have mysteriously disappeared from from the Juvenile Court Clerk's Office, adjacent to Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen's courtroom, where they had been deposited by the Department of Children and Families as per official procedure. The documents in the lost folder, which constitute the court's official record, include the mother's voluntary surrender of custody to the state, known as a dependency disposition (that is, she disposed of her dependent). Also "misplaced," as The Miami Herald characterizes it, is the transcript of the legal hearing where Elena Pérez agreed with the state's contention that she was an unfit mother and renounced custody of her children.

Now this is no mere case of casual negligence which can be easily remedied by duplicating the lost documents. The court has, or should have, the originals documents and these cannot be duplicated. So irregular is this loss and ominous its consequences that it could impact or even preempt the case. In fact, the abusive, psychologically-unbalanced and suicidal mother, who is supposedly penniless, has hired her own attorney to represent her "interests" in the case, though legally she has none. It is obvious that the Castro regime is hedging all its bets, and if it does not succeed in getting custody for the father, may just claim on the basis of the lost court record that the mother never surrendered custody and attempt to have her so-called "parental rights" reinstated. Kurzban, the lawyer hired by the Cuban regime, threatened to avail himself of the opportunity afforded by the "lost" of the official court record to petition the Third District Court to halt the trial and give custody to the birth father.

It was reported by The Miami Herald that Judge Cohen was outraged with this development and blamed, of all people, the Department of Children and Family Services. Yet the pertinent documents had been deposited by DCF with her court clerk. The documents had disappeared from the court's own custody and jurisdiction. How is it possible that the most important documents in the most important case to be heard by Juvenile Court could just vanish without a trace? Yes, flukes do happen, but there are no indications that this was a fluke. If the documents were permanently removed or misplaced for the interim from the clerk's office, who could have done it and why?

Now is when we must ask ourselves cui bono?

Monday, August 27, 2007

One Man's Obsession: The Smugglers Who Risk All to Free Castro's Slaves

For more than a year Babalú's Henry Gómez has been trying to convince every member of the MSM who will listen (not many) to do a story on the intrepid men who rescue Castro's captives from his clutches, otherwise known and persecuted as "smugglers," in the old Southern tradition of labelling rescuers of men as "yellow dogs," "scaliwags" and "rascallions," among the nicer names given them by slaveholders whose victims they "stole" to freedom.

Henry, of course, doesn't want the MSM to champion their cause much less recognize their merits (small chance of that). He wants the media, always hostile to Cuban refugees and those who champion their cause, to do (or invent) a story about how these men are really in Castro's service, if not agents of Castro.

There is just one glitch: no evidence exists to back up Henry's allegations except in his fertile imagination where anyone who rescues a Cuban is a villain and abetter of Castro and all Cuban newcomers should be returned to the island to add their body temperature to Henry's cherished pressure cooker where saints and sinners will be sacrificed for the greater glory of, well, Henry and those like Henry who believe that the Cuban people, not Castro, are the only obstacle to Cuba's freedom.

As Alfonso's Chardy's story in The Miami Herald points out, there are dozens of smugglers of Cubans in U.S. jails. If what Henry presumes were true, they needn't be. All they would have to do is state that Castro has some part in their activities and their sentences would be commuted in exchange for their testimony. But none has "confessed" to this because it is not true. They prefer to remain in prison for the "crime" of rescuing men from slavery than to go free for the sin (but no crime under U.S. law) of being complicit in their enslavement. Still, Henry is not convinced: maybe the smugglers really want to be in jail, or are too loyal to Castro to betray him, preferring instead to betray their families and destroy their own lives in order to continue serving him. Yes, Henry will believe anything because in fact he believes in nothing. If all men were like Henry, all men would think and act like Henry. Thankfully, most men aren't and don't.

These so-called smugglers are the moral giants of our generation, conductors on a new underground railroad that travels over the ocean, no less noble an enterprise than the first or one less fraught with dangers. Castro's Coast Guard even shoots at them and has killed at least one of them, and also imprisons them by the score. This, however, doesn't convince Henry that Castro and the smugglers are not in cahoots. On the contrary, he seems to believe that it bolsters his case. You see, according to Henry, if the Castro regime wants deniability it has to interdict and even kill a few of them. Of course, if the smugglers were in fact in business with Castro, shooting at them and killing them is not the best way to win their trust nor would it be especially good for business. You can hardly sell someone "protection" by shooting him dead. That would surely discourage the others. It should be clear, then, to anyone but a halfwit that the smugglers are Castro's quarry, not his allies. They should certainly be our heroes for challenging Castro on a daily basis, face to face and under his own nose.

As for Henry, he is a case study in self-hate and rabid assimilationism: the Cuban Tom Tancredo, who doesn't want to free Cubans, but to free the U.S. of Cuban "migrants." Though the son of refugees, Henry has a special disdain for all who flee Castro's prison today (including the 4-year old whose birth father wants to make a gift of her to Castro). No one believes more firmly that "Cubans belong in Cuba" than this self-described "American-Cuban." His stated support for Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson leave no question as to his xenophobia and nativism, which reminds us of another first-generation American — Tom Tancredo.

Henry's post at Babalú ends with a plea to Alfonso Chardy of The Miami Herald to investigate the smugglers for supposed Castro connections. Mr. Herald Watch seems to forget that Chardy was a co-writer of Oscar's Corral Martí Moonlighters story.


According to information furnished by Pedro Argüellos Morán, one of the 75 independent Cuban journalists imprisoned by Castro in 2003, there are two alleged smugglers confined with him at the Canaleta Provincial Prison, in the so-called "province" of Ciego de Ávila. They are Jorge Luis Echemendía Solano, 42, sentenced to 12 years in 1999 for "human trafficking," and Edvín (Edwin?) Alfonso Ruíz, 31, sentenced to 3 years in 2006 for "entering the country illegally." Both men are residents of South Florida. The Ministry of the Interior has offered to release both on the condition that they request "repatriation" (that is, agree to remain in Cuba permanently). Both have opted to complete their full sentences rather than pact with Castro. Since entering your own country or assisting others to leave it is not a crime anywhere in the world except Cuba, these men should be classified as political prisoners, or even as prisoners of conscience. Of course, they are not. International human rights organizations follow Castro's lead in such matters. One wonders how many more rescuers of men are jailed in Cuba's 300 other prisons that we know nothing about because there is no one to report on their incarceration. H/t Charlie Bravo.

Angels Who Smuggle Men to Freedom
Insanity, Homoeroticism and Xenophobia on "The Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour"
Henry Explains Fred Thompson to Us
Fred Thompson: Cuban "Immigrants" Are Suitcase Bombers
Since He Was 7
"The Most Serious, Systematic Revolutionary of Modern Times"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Fellow Cubiches: I Come To Chastise Val, Not to Praise Him"

For the last 3 days, the leading post on Babalú blog has been Ziva's homage to Val Prieto on reaching and surpassing the 2-million visitor mark on Friday. She praises Val in the most exaggerated terms which makes her sincerely-intended accolades sound contrived and overreaching, like the slogans that the smiling cadres carried in Stalin's May Day Parades:






Really, if I weren't laughing, I would be weeping, too. But it is physiologically impossible to do both at the same time, and my first instinct is to laugh.

Readers have also been penning their own tributes to Babalú's founder. Fifteen by last count. Yes, 15 individuals out more than 2,000,000 and many of these associated in one way or another with Babalú. Not even one of the 100,000 that took Val's bait last week about Castro's death bothered to thank Val for having misled him. One, in particular, even took Val to task for it. Before all the Babalunians fall upon the dissident voice and brand him an ingrate and traitor for striking a note of discord in the weekend-long Prieto lovefest, or Val himself, feeling greatly wounded exercises his prerogative of re-writing the record by banishing the critic from his blog, I think I'll copy and save the dissident's remarks before they vanish into the ether leaving nary a trace:

Fellow cubiches,

I am a first time blogger, long time reader of Babalu. Generally, the postings I have so far read on this site have been excellent. However, this particular posting commemorating the reaching of the 2 million hits milestone, achieved to a great extent by erroneously reporting the death of Fidel Castro is, to say the least, in very bad taste. Yes, it is a significant milestone for any blog to get 2 million hits and you have every right to celebrate. Pero coño, handing out kudos to the boys at the same time Babalu is suffering from a major credibility slump is a little too much. How about an apology? That should be your next posting boys and girls.

Yes, indeed. It would show character. It would show the willingness to learn from past mistakes. It would show humility. It would show honesty.

Which is why it will never happen.


Just as I predicted, Ziva trashes the infidel:

TVdude, you can take your insults somewhere else. Unlike some bloggers who brag a lot about who visits their blogs but keep their site meters private, ours is open for inspection. So feel free to take a look, and you will see that we were close to the two million well before recent events. In fact, the post I wrote commemorating our milestone was written weeks ago and has nothing to do with Friday's post. So take a hike asshole and your way out you can kiss our collective Cuban asses.TVDude

Another reader comes to TVDude's defense:

I agree with Tvdude.

I guess that makes me an a-hole.

Far be it from me to give you guys advice since I am entering Val and companies house here at babalu, but I can't imagine me and Tvdude are the only ones that find this out of line. At the very least you guys should have held off on patting each on the back after what happened on Friday.

Just my two cents on this. My intention is not to offend, just to give my opinion.
Angel Rodríguez

Henry Gómez continues the pile on, or perhaps we should just say "piles" since it's from that scatological perspective that the Babalunians argue:

The idea that the rumors of castro's death were started by Babalu as a ploy to drive readership is ridiculous and anybody that makes that accusation is an asshole. First of all the rumors having flying around since Nuevo Accion reported a sudden decline in castro's health about 3 weeks ago. Last weekend Perez Hilton reported on his widely read blog that fidel had died and this week even Drudge got in it. It's not our fault that castro's health is Cuban "state secret". If you don't like the postings here, or how we happened to cross 2 million, then do yourself a favor and get lost. And don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.Henry Gómez

No, Henry. It's not your fault that the state of Castro's health is a state secret. It is your fault, though, if you exploit that fact to raise people's expectations with false reports of Castro's death which, intentionally or not, garner you 100,000 visitors over a 24-hour period when Babalú's average is 2-3 percent of that number. If you compare yourselves to Perez Hilton, a self-avowed and unapologetic purveyor of gossip, then don't expect to be accorded more credibility than he is. If your "victory" seems less than pristine, it is because you yourselves have clouded the waters.

Fidel Castro Undergoes Tracheostomy

Our good friend Charlie Bravo informs us that Killcastro's contacts in Cuba have learned that Fidel has undergone a tracheostomy in recent days. This has been confirmed independently by Karmchand, a blogger from Cuba, whose Bitácora Cubana we recommend to your consideration.

This development tells us something about the present state of Fidel Castro's health. He was obviously having difficulty breathing on his own, which necessitated the tracheotomy; however, his condition is not yet so critical as to require a ventilator to do his breathing for him. Still, a tracheostomy is not a positive development. Speech is now difficult if not impossible for him.

Castro now has an artificial pipe for inhaling air and an artificial pipe for exhaling air. I wonder, if Chávez blew on one end, whether the air would come out the other? We know which end Chávez would choose to blow into.

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

There's an explanation for everything in life, and, of course, there is one for Elena Pérez's sudden desire to see her daughter's custody awarded to her biological father and penultimate boyfriend Rafael Izquierdo. It is not for love of the girl, that much is obvious. It is not because Izquierdo is a good man, nor because she particularly wishes to have him and his wife raise her. No mistress would ever want her lover's wife to raise her child, under ordinary circumstances. As for Rafael, Elena may still have illusions about him, though his neighbors in Cabaiguan have none. There neighbors remember, even if she does not, the many times that he beat her, the stories which she related of her abuse and the bruises that confirmed it. The same stories, incidentally, which his neighbors in Cárdenas told of Juan González's abuse of his wife, Elián's mother. That evidence was never aired in a courtroom because Clinton and Reno preëmpted the legal process. It will be otherwise at the Cubas-Izquierdo custody trial. And it is powerful and self-corroborating evidence: for why would Izquierdo's neighbors (or González's, for that matter) take a position contrary to that of the Castro regime in the question of Rafael Izquierdo's character and reputation when they know the consequences that might attend their defiance, why, indeed, unless they were telling the truth?

It was, in fact, Izquierdo's physical abuse, coupled with her own schizophrenia, which earned her a reputation as the town "crazie," that caused her to abuse her own infant daughter. Why, then, does she desire that this man be entrusted with her daughter's custody now? Because he has purchased her acquiescense. We do not know everything that passed between them at their recent "reunion" in the States; but we at least know one thing, because Rafael publicly admitted it. Elena has received assurances from her onetime flame that she will be allowed to be a part of the child's life (and hence his) in Cuba: "I am not going to be so strict," he said. "I am never going to keep her from her mother." That is, he is going to repeat his role as catalyst and enabler of her daughter's abuse at the hands of her mother. To return the child to Cuba, then, is tantamount to returning her to the tender mercies of not only Castro but also her abusive, psychologically-unbalanced and suicidal mother.

It is interesting that Ms. Pérez had no objection to Joe Cubas' adoption of her 13-year old son, who was her personal favorite (she never beat him). Of course, her son is now the legal heir to the Cubas fortune and she doesn't need two heirs to that fortune when one will suffice. It may prove useful to her to have a millionaire son sometime down the road. In any case, a man of Joe Cubas' proven humanity and fellow-feeling for the oppressed Cuban people, surely would never turn his back on his son's birth mother, no matter how execrable her sins or the wrongs that she has committed against her own children or Cubas himself. She is no doubt counting on that as some kind of personal insurance for the future.

Her plans for the immediate future, however, are to return to Cabaiguan to dethrone whoever has replaced her as town "crazie" and taken her place on left side of Izquierdo's bed. Oh, yeah, and to reunite with her daughter, the same daughter, incidentally, whom she tried repeatedly to give away to strangers before signing her over to the state. She has promised, however, that "I won't leave Miami until my daughter does." Of course not. Can't let her only tangible tie to her old flame escape through her clutching fingers. In other words, we can reduce her "parental concern" to one thing and she'll be chasing it and her daughter down to Cuba.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

When Shall We Know that Fidel Castro Is Dead?

We will know instinctively that Fidel Castro is dead when we wake up one morning and the air is purer, the sunlight brighter, the earth more teeming with life and our hearts lighter.

It is not this morning.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Death of Fidel Castro Redux

Every rumor is a new blossoming of hope. Let us rejoice in Castro's death as long and as often as we can. It shall anticipate but not diminish that sublime hour when we shall inhabit an earth that is free of him. No, his death will not bring us closer to freedom but it it will remove the greatest obstacle to it and end the darkest chapter in our history. The legacy of the man will survive him for the moment; but that moment will be brief. Cuba must move forward. It is an inexorable law of Nature and Cuba is not the exception.

We shall say no more until Castro is really, really dead. If you read it here, it will be true.


The glorious day has been reached. After crawling there inch by inch, over a period of weeks, making slow but certain progress, it suddenly rode on an unprecedented wave of its own creation over the much-anticipated goal and then some: Babalú blog passed today the 2 million mark on its Sitemeter, which means that it has entertained that number of visitors since 2003. Today will surely be remembered in the annals of history for it. With 2 or 3 such epic events per week, supposing that Castro cooperates by not really dying, Babalú may hope to reach its next million landmark in 4 weeks rather than 4 years. Congratulations to the self-appointed dean of Cuban-American bloggers and much success in his future circulation drives.

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

"If she can't be with me — her own mother — then she should be with her own father who wants her. Material things don't matter in life, but being raised and loved by your real parents does. You can't treat real parents like nothing; they are the most important thing."Elena Pérez, birth mother of the Cuban refugee girl

Elena Pérez:

You appear to have been restored to a semblance of sanity, or if not sanity, to your real self, which insanity may actually have ameliorated. Your real self, as revealed in your despicable declarations to the media, shows you to be a warped human being, incapable of empathy even for your own daughter, or, rather, the baby that you delivered just so you wouldn't explode.

For her entire life, in Cuba and the U.S., and for as long as she was condemned to be in your custody, you abused her; and even now, that she has been removed from your custody, you are still endeavoring to inflict pain on her. So you want her to be with her biological father, your sometime sexual partner, who never took any interest in her welfare, in Cuba or here, the man (he is as much a man as he is a father) who allowed you to abuse her in Cuba and consented that the abuse should continue in the U.S. by surrendering sole custody to you. In another father, with no possibility of leaving Cuba himself, such a sacrifice would have been an expression of parental love, as it was in the Jews who gave their children away to Christians so that they would not end up in the ovens. But it was no expression of love on his part that guided his decision to cut her off from his life forever. He knew when he signed away custody that he had entrusted his daughter to a monster and washed his hands entirely of her and you (the last part must have hurt you). No letters, no phone calls, no birthday cards were sent to his daughter. You and her were a nightmare for him which he was glad to shake off forever, or so he thought, little realizing that someday his dormant parental instincts would be miraculously reawakened through the wondrous agency of the fatherfucker of all Cubans, the tyrant from whom you fled.

Of course, you want us to believe that you were a loving mother and are ceding your daughter to her biological father only because you can't have her yourself. But she is not yours to cede anymore. You do not now and never shall have any say in her life again, thank God. Your opinion in this custody case matters less than a stranger's, less than mine. There have been too many deaths of children in recent years due to the negligence of family services agencies and judges who believed that it was always in a child's best interest to be in the custody of a birth parent, even when the child had known nothing but abuse at her (his) hands. So resign yourself to the fact that your parental status is terminated and your opinion of no consequence whatever anymore.

So "material things don't matter in life," you say. Well, they mattered to you once, anyway. Didn't you come to this country in the first place because you were dissatisfied with living conditions in Cuba and wanted the material things that you now disdain when it is more profitable to disdain them? Didn't you in fact enter and win a lottery to come to this country and be "corrupted" by its materialism? Surely it was not the quest for freedom that brought you here since you are now so eager to have your daughter returned to slavery. And will you follow suit so that you can keep her company?

Ironically, this time it was not you who won the "lottery" but your cast-off boyfriend. If he succeeds in his attempt to deprive his daughter of a life and future, his own fortune will be made. The miserable landless "farmer" will become a protégé of the Cuban state. Like Juan González, Elián's father, he will literally eat at Castro's table (or at least under it). He will never have to work again (not that he works now). And if he behaves himself — that is, if he takes himself entirely out of his child's life and allows her to be used (not that he will have any choice then) as abuelito Fidel's (or Raúl's) marionette — the aptly-named Izquierdo, like González, will be made a "Hero of the Republic" and selected a deputy to the People's Assembly. Not bad for a malanga farmer (when was the last time anyone saw a malanga in Cuba?)

At least you have the assurance that if your child is deported to Cuba, she will not want for milk. Unlike other Cuban children, her supply will not be cut off at age 7. She will always be well-fed and well taken care of because she will represent the (false) face of Cuba's children to the world. Those material needs that you pretend not to care about will be satisfied in Communist Cuba. It is everything else that she will be deprived of. Her personality will be washed from her with mild-altering drugs and mind-control techniques, exactly as happened to Elián. Her expression will become distant and vacant, as if her very soul had been vacuumed through her eyes. This is the fate that awaits your daughter in Cuba, and given your past history, we are not surprised that you see nothing objectionable in it.

You are right in one respect — being raised and loved by own's parents does matter. You and your boyfriend are not capable of providing love to this child or raising it. You have proved it already beyond a doubt. If you had even the least love for your daughter you would not still be trying to destroy her life. Neither would your tethered ex-boyfriend, who is speculating with his own flesh and blood.

Of course, it is of no importance to you — your heart is incapable of love and much less gratitude — but the child that you abused and your boyfriend abandoned has been lucky the second time around, for now she has parents who do love her and are worthy to raise her. And, of course, she still has her older brother, who protected her from you and filled-in for the father who abandoned her. They are her family. They are the most important people in her life. Not you. Not your ex-boyfriend.

The Poor Little Cuban Girl that They Call "Eliana"

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

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

Henry Gómez is in sackcloth and ashes tonight and it becomes him. His greatest nightmare has come true: the little Cuban girl whom he has spurned with callous disregard, stubbornly refusing to see her as anything more than a pawn and refusing to say even one word on her behalf, has no need of him as a champion; for the man fighting to save her life and upholding the honor of our country, who adopted her brother and now wishes to adopt her as well, is Joe Cubas, a man Castro hates even more than Posada Carriles, though he won't give him the satisfaction of acknowledging it.

Joe Cubas is one of those noble latter-day abolitionists who smuggle Castro's slaves to freedom. The slaves that he helps escape Castro's plantation are the ones most prized by the dictator, his own personal pets, groomed for his amusement and aggrandizement. Castro exploits all Cubans and robs all Cubans of the product of their labor and talents. But the talents of these slaves, in particular, have the greatest market value and their theft by Castro amounts to billions in the aggregate. Joe Cubas has restored to these Cubans the dignity of labor, and, in doing so, redeemed more Cuban lives than anyone since Mariel.

It is not a baseball player whose life Joe Cubas has saved this time, but two of the legions of children whom Castro has condemned from the moment of birth to lives of misery and want, stunted and circumscribed lives. There was nothing that Castro could do to reclaim his emancipated athletes: Castro's Fugitive Slave law is only enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard on the high seas, not in U.S. courts.

It is, of course, different with the little girl that Joe and his wife have taken into their home and into their hearts. Castro thinks that he can use the courts to kidnap her as he used Clinton and Reno to circumvent the courts. Possession of the little Cuban girl means more to Castro than even Elián's did. This thing with Joe Cubas is personal. Lázaro González and his family meant nothing to Castro; they were simply obstacles in his way that had to be disposed of so he could have his way. Joe Cubas, however, is the exile Castro hates most: the head that he most wants to see on a platter before he can see no more. What better way to take revenge on Joe Cubas than to steal the child he loves and who loves him?

Joe Cubas' money, influence and position do not sway Henry as the Estefans' once did Val Prieto. Even with Joe as her foster father, even acknowledging, as he does on Babalú, that this is a "vendetta" against Joe Cubas by the Castro regime, Henry is holding steadfast to his oft-stated position that she should be returned to her father-by-proxy Fidel, so that he can have a matched set for his puppet theatre. It is still all about his identity crisis not the little girl's fate: "We're going to be hearing a lot about this. The Herald got its wish, a huge international story complete with an opportunity to mock the exile community."

Who cares if they "mock" us," Henry? I mock you, don't I? A great many people mock you and deservedly so. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It is the life of an abused little girl that hangs in the balance. Let her story have as much publicity as it can get. Let Cuban exiles, safely in this country, be insulted and mocked a thousand times ten thousand. What does it matter? The only thing that matters is this little girl's life and future. We may not be able to rescue all the children of Cuba, but we should not drop this one down a well.

A Peculiar Kind of "Conspiracy" and a More Peculiar Kind of Conspiracy Theorist

Having tired of harping on Oscar Corral's disgrace (which I, for one, will never tire of), Henry Gómez is now suggesting at Herald Watch that the long-suffering 4-year-old Cuban refugee girl whose father wants to sacrifice her to Castro on an altar of cowardice and self-interest, is in fact a secret weapon being deployed by The Miami Herald and the Castro regime, which have joined in a conspiracy to discredit Cuban-Americans by appealing to their better natures in the hope that they will do for her what they did for Elián, and, against the tide of popular opinion, champion her right freedom.

We have refuted his ridiculous contentions several times over the last 5 months, all the while marvelling that he could be so depraved and lacking in human empathy as to blithely drop this child into a bottomless well in order to be spared the censure of his Anglo neighbors and judges, who, on every survey and opinion poll, have never needed an excuse to look with contumely on Cuban-Americans. They hate what we represent — success; we are too "uppity" for their taste; no one ever taught us to behave as their inferiors. But, of course, there are exceptions to Cuban dignity, and Henry is obviously one. Their approval — which, incidentally, he shall never have, no matter how obsequious or accommodating — is necessary to him in order to feel like a real American, or, an "American-Cuban," as he styles himself. The happy resolution of his identity crisis matters more to him than the life of this child. Nothing can be more monstrous or unnatural. Or, rather, one thing can: to admit it publicly without one drop of shame.

What is so terribly wrong about defending another Elián, or a thousand Eliáns?

All other Cubans I know are proud of the part they played in the Elián affaire. Popularity is never a basis for principled action, nor should it be its end. The victory that our enemies obtained through the use of foul and underhanded means doesnot vindicate their position or justify their action — not then, and certainly not now. The history of Elián in Cuba has given the lie to the credulous or stupid who accepted at face value the regime's assurances that the boy would not be used as a political puppet, which is a motive that they reserved for Cuban exiles but disdained to attribute to Castro. How patently wrong they were! How manifestly right those who oppossed his illegal extradition to Cuba!

At first, I believed that the Elián affaire had proved a traumatic experience for Henry which he did not want to relive. Now I am of the opposite opinion. I now believe that Elian's repatriation was a victory for Henry, that he actually championed it from the first as he has the Cuban girl's, and even celebrated his kidnapping at gunpoint as the vindication of his position. His position now is consistent with his position then. To hold any other position would be to admit that he was wrong about Elián, and that he will never do. Henry should rather all the children of Cuba perish than have to admit he was wrong. If there is a word for that kind of evil, I, for one, don't know it.

From the Tellechea Digital Archives: Carl Hiaasen and Jesús Díaz Battle Over Martí Moonlighters Story and Díaz Blinks

[Thanks to Tom Fiedler’s unguarded remarks about Cubans "extremists" being "chihuahuas" guilty of a "blood libel" against Oscar Corral for questioning his source for the Martí Moonlighters story, racism assumed its rightful place at the center of the witch hunt against Cuban-American journalists last year at The Miami Herald. Another bigot at The Herald, Carl Hiassen, not merely muttered his racist insinuations like Fiedler but published them in a column that The Herald itself characterized as "sarcastic." Publisher Jesús Díaz Jr., fearing the escalation of the crisis, had tried to postpone the scheduling of Hiassen's column on the Martí Moonlighters. Hiassen complained to the McClatchy corporation, the new publishers of The Herald, who in turn phoned Díaz and, in effect, instructed him to publish Hiassen's column, whereupon Díaz resigned as publisher. Díaz did not acknowledge until much later, when Hiassen's role was made known, that he had resigned because Hiassen had ratted him out to the boss, undermining his authority at the paper. Instead, Díaz preferred that others should think he was leaving the paper because The Herald had rehired the fired reporters and failed to live-up to his own exalted concept of journalistic ethics learned in accounting school. Here is our dissection of Hiassen's column whose intent was to further besmirch the Martí Moonlighters but whose unintended result was to force the man who had fired them to resign, the only public service that Carl Hiassen has ever done for the residents of South Florida]:

Finally, Someone Appreciates Journalists’ Work
By Carl Hiassen
September 17, 2006

Like many taxpayers, I’d always thought Radio and TV Martí was just another political boondoggle, squandering millions of dollars while fruitlessly beaming anti-Castro programming to Cuba. [You obviously don’t read your own newspaper, which is something that you have in common with most of your colleagues in the editorial department, who didn’t appear to know that their reporters’ work for Radio Marti had been covered in The Herald for years. If you read The Herald (is it hard to get in your home in Maryland) or bothered to verify what “[you’d] always thought,” you would know, from the testimony of Cuban dissidents and deserters, that Radio Marti is heard by a majority of the Cuban people and that that the regime has always resented and combatted this “intrusion” on its monopoly on information, which it certainly would not do if it had been ineffective. For you, however, it is “fruitless to beam anti-Castro programming to Cuba.” Why is it fruitless? Don’t you believe that Cubans deserve to know the truth? Even if you don’t believe that it is the truth, don’t you think that they deserve another perspective than the official one? Apparently not. For you, Castro is not a problem, and if he is not a problem then there is nothing to fix].

Now we find out that the U.S. government-run stations are actually running a charity for needy journalists, at least 10 of whom have been paid to appear on their programs. [Perhaps you just found it out, since, admittedly, you don’t read your own paper; but the Herald has known all along that its journalists also contributed to Radio Marti and fired them ex post facto. As for Radio Marti being “a charity for needy journalists,” I think you are probably the last person who could empathize with “needy journalists” since for you journalism is not a job but a hobby. Perhaps you are suggesting that only rich men like yourself should be journalists since, supposedly, you wouldn’t need “charity” since the Republicans in Congress already provide the rich with all the charity they could possibly want (tax loopholes, repeal of estate taxes, etc). When a man works for a living and is paid by the entity for which he works, it is not “charity.” Or are your royalty checks also “charity?”]

Some people might call this corrupting the press; I call it compassionate conservatism. [”Compassionate convervatism,” as already noted, consists of tax breaks for the very rich like yourself. And, by the way, have you ever failed to cash your government checks?]

Is there a more underpaid, ragged and dispirited sector of the American work force than reporters? [Are you including yourself?] At long last we’ve got an administration that appreciates our toil and sacrifice and reaches out to help. [Yes, you in particular, may well rejoice at the administration’s largesse].

Look what it did for Armstrong Williams, a newspaper columnist and conservative talk-show host. Back in 2004, he got $240,000 from the government to babble wonderful compliments about President Bush’s No Child Left Behind education program.

Many journalists called Williams a sellout and a prostitute, but they were probably just envious [Finally, a little truth creeps in]. The same sort of thing is happening now to the reporters moonlighting for Radio and TV Martí. [No it is not. Williams was paid to slant the news and shill for the Bush administration. The Cuban journalists were employed by Radio and TV Marti and their employment was a matter of public record, as Armstrong’s sub rosa arrangement was not. And there was no commitment on their part to slant the news or shill for the Bush administration.]

Two of those who accepted money from the stations were fired from their day jobs at El Nuevo Herald. Said Publisher Jesús Díaz Jr.: “I personally don’t believe that integrity and objectivity can be assured if any of our reporters receive monetary compensation from any entity that he or she may cover or have covered, but particularly if it’s a government agency.” [In its final denouement, this story highlighted the lack of “integrity and objectivity” at the Miami Herald itself.]

Since Díaz is also my boss [but not for long, as (your) long knife were already out], I should be careful how I put this, but: Lighten up, bro! [Diaz, in hindsight, should have been the one who was more careful with you].

You’re right: Once a reporter starts cashing a government paycheck, his or her credibility as a public watchdog is shot. [Is that right? But only when it's a “paycheck.” Not when it’s tax breaks for the rich, exemptions from estate taxes, agricultural subsidies and other perks which super-rich journalists like yourself enjoy at our expense].

But how about a teeny exception for TV Martí? Lots of folks in the newsroom could use the extra dough, and nobody will ever see them on the air because Castro jams the signals. [Do you ever set foot in the Miami Herald (let alone Nuevo Herald) newsroom? Don’t you just e-mail your columns from home while “moonlighting” for your publishers?]

Over the last five years, while staff reporter Pablo Alfonso wrote columns and covered Cuba for El Nuevo Herald, he was getting paid nearly $175,000 to host programs on Radio and TV Martí. [That’s $37,000 a year, the median wage in Florida]. During that same period, staff writer Wilfredo Cancio collected almost $15,000. [That’s $3000 a year, or pocket change to you. They weren’t paid this money as a bribe or gift, but for their work at Radio Marti. Thousands of other journalists (99% of them non-Cubans), including Edward R. Murrow, have worked for government-sponsored broadcasting. But, of course, The Miami Herald and you only bothered to cast aspersions at the Cuban-American journalists].

The fact that it took so long to catch them tells you how puny the audience is. You’ve heard of Pirate Radio? This is Pipsqueak Radio. [The audience for Radio Marti, in any case, is larger than the audience for the Miami Herald. Just how “puny” your own circulation is can well be gaged by the fact that the loss of 1800 subscribers sent the paper into a tailspin. But you are not suggesting, of course, that we judge the credibility of the Herald by its circulation? That is exactly, however, what you are suggesting about Radio Marti].

Both TV and Radio Martí broadcast from a blimp in the Lower Keys until it was popped by a hurricane last year. Then a plane from the Pennsylvania National Guard was procured to transmit to Cuba for a whopping four hours on weekends. [Four hours of truth on weekends still trumps 24/7 of the Castro regime’s lies].

Now the programs are being beamed by a specially equipped private aircraft flying out of Key West. After Fidel Castro underwent surgery, the broadcasts were increased to six times a week, but even that failed to kill off the Cuban leader. [Do you expect radio beams to ‘kill off the Cuban ‘leader’?”]

Some parts of the island do pick up transmissions from Radio Martí, though interviews with recent arrivals indicate that its listenership has dipped. [Actually, most parts of the island pick up transmissions from Radio Marti. As for its listenership having “dipped,” what do you actually base that conclusion on? How many “recent arrivals” have you interviewed? Can a “recent arrival” make it even within 50 feet of your guarded compound?]

As for TV Martí, it’s basically a ghost station that few in Cuba can receive because of the electronic jamming. Since it began ‘’broadcasting'’ in 1990, TV Martí has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $125 million. Naturally, Congress keeps shoveling money at it. [So if Castro starts shooting down our airplanes again, we should ground all civil aviation?]

Radio and TV Martí are currently funded at about $37 million annually, including $10 million for the airplane that flies around transmitting the signals, which may still be easily blocked.

That leaves about $27 million lying around for executive salaries, studio production and talent. There are plenty of U.S. journalists, including me, who are eminently qualified to host TV programs that no one will ever see. [Or to write a column that nobody ever reads except when it libels Cuban-Americans, as this one does].

Getting paid to say snarky things about Castro would be an easy gig. For years I’ve done it for free, characterizing El Comandante as a windbag, geezer, liar, despot and all-around phony. I never received a dime from Uncle Sam, even when my columns were properly punctuated. [Leave your guarded compound and sinecure, get a job at Radio Marti, go work every day, and you too will be paid for your work].

But now, thanks to the Bush administration’s generous Outreach Initiative for Ethically [do you mean "Ethnically"] Muddled Reporters, financial opportunities abound. So does temptation. [Well, now we know that it is not “ethically muddled reporters” who are the Herald’s problem but ethically muddled policies and racist editors].

According to a report last week in El Nuevo Herald, numerous magazine and newspaper journalists in the English-language press have accepted payments to appear on Voice of America radio, the government’s official overseas megaphone. Among them: syndicated columnist Georgie Ann Geyer, Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News and David Lightman, chief of The Hartford Courant’s Washington bureau.

These folks are probably in hot water today [no they are not; no one was purged except the Cubans] because of people like my boss, who cling to this old-fashioned notion that the mere appearance of sliding into bed with the institutions we cover is intolerable. [It’s delicious irony to hear you defending the “boss” that you stabbed in the back and led to the door].

Party poopers! Do they really believe that a journalist’s integrity can be compromised for a lousy $175,000? [Again, $37,000 a year over 5 years for hosting a radio show. How much does Howard Stern get? One billion?].

Where’s the trust? Where’s the compassion? More important, where’s my damn check? [Look in your mailbox, or send the help to do it].

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

RCAB News: The British Are Coming!

Before Goo-Goo went Gaa-Gaa this morning — that is, before Google shut down Blogger for maintenance — the Review of Cuban American Blogs was honored by a visit from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). If ever any people on earth were misinformed about Cuba and Castro, it would be the sons and daughters of Albion (not to call them anything else). There is no lie about Cuba which they have not swallowed, especially of the kind that demeans the Cuban people and our history. By their lights, Castro introduced both fire and toilets to Cuba, and the Cuban people have the "government" that they have always needed and deserved.

The British have kept their notion of the "White Man's Burden" long after they ceased to be burdened by it. "Colonials" to them, whether theirs or anybody else's, are at best noble savages to be led along the paths of civilization by whatever means necessary, even the most uncivilized means; for in their minds, civilization follows the flag, not the other way around.

When Winston Churchill was 21 he was attached to the Spanish Army in Cuba as a correspondent for an English newspaper during Cuba's War of Independence (1895-1898). In a report sent to The Saturday Review, Churchill wrote: "They [the Cuban rebels] neither fight bravely nor do they use their weapons effectively. They cannot win a single battle or hold a single town. Their army, consisting to a large extent of coloured men, is an undisciplined rabble. The rebel victory offers little good either to the world in general or to Cuba in particular. Though the Spanish administration is bad a Cuban Government would be worse, equally corrupt, more capricious, and far less stable. Under such a Government revolutions would be periodic, property insecure, equity unknown."

Not only did he write "pestes" about the Cuban rebels and the population in general and sympathize completely with the killers of Marti and Maceo and 300,000 other Cubans, Churchill even fired his rifle at those fighting for Cuba's freedom and was awarded the Military Cross by the Spanish government. Imagine: there was still a place on earth where you could hunt humans like animals! Jolly good show!

Churchill returned for a visit to Cuba after World War II, and we Cubans, of course, being the hospitable and forgiving people that we are — or were then — put out the red carpet and feted him as the savior of civilization and a national hero. Perhaps we impressed him, or he did what a polite "guest of honor" should do: praised Cuba to the skies. Of course, there would have been no Cuban Republic to praise if Churchill and his Spanish allies had prevailed 50 years earlier.

The British have never outgrown their bias for imperialism, not even when they outgrew their empire. Today they are more racist, xenophobic and insular than at any other time in their history, because now they must tolerate the presence among them of millions of dark-skinned peoples from their former Third World colonies. In the heyday of British imperialism, Her Majesty's subjects  could afford not to be overt racists in their own country (just in their overseas colonies). That made their hypocrisy a lot easier to perpetrate at home. Now their innate racism festers at home as it never did anywhere else in the 400 years of British colonialism. In fact, this is the very heyday of British racism. The more inferior they become in the world, the more superior the British feel at home.

So, yes, welcome BBC! There is much for you to learn here. I can't teach you not to abhor Pakistanis or West Indians, but I can teach you why you should abhor Castro.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Cuban-American Misfits Review: Of Dead Blogs and Other Irrelevancies

Today I was going to revise my Fraternal Blogroll, for at least three of the links are now dead. Two of these were founded after mine and were very short-lived; one in particular, The Cuban-American Misfits Review, is a sensible loss to me; for it was the first (but not the last) homage blog dedicated to me. I do not call it a parody blog because humor, in any form, was in short supply there. Orthography, syntax and style didn't fare too well, either. Still, it was an earnest and sustained effort, with more than 40 posts before it folded under the weight of its own dullness. Its birth certainly boded well for it. Its godfather, Val Prieto, who is also the godfather of this blog though not quite in the same way, even devoted one of his asinine posts to publicizing it on Babalú and took a big chance doing so, since those unaquainted with the joke discovered there the existence of the Review of Cuban-American Blogs and migrated here, where they have moored ever since (along with Val and the whole Babalunian crew). I myself welcomed the Misfits Review in a post and also linked it immediately, realizing that this was something that could only rebound to my favor. I suppose fantomas and Val realized it, too, eventually, and shut it down. Too bad. Its consistent lack of humor, unwavering focus on me and, most of all, its obsession with my superiority in all things, which its author appeared to accept and confirm in all his scribblings, was a kind of joke to me, at least, which, though pathetic rather than bathetic, nevertheless amused me with its unsupported pretensions. You know that you have really failed to wound or even annoy if the target of your "humor" recommends and links you and then forgets about you. Just as, conversely, you can be sure you have hit a raw nerve if the object of your humor is too afraid even to acknowledge the existence of a blog that to some extent revolves around him. Now that is fear, raw and pure, and the greatest satisfaction that a critic can ever enjoy at the expense of his subject.

There was a second blog devoted to me which I have recently discovered entitled Review of the Review of Cuban-American Blogs. It is a title which fantomas first suggested here, but which would have suggested itself to anyone if it suggested itself to fantomas. But fantomas did not act quickly enough and "Manuel A. Chechechea" beat him to it. A much better writer by far than fantomas, he did not have fantomas' staying power. This personal effort Val did not promote on Babalú as he had fantomas' Misfits Review. It elicited only one post, better than anything that fantomas, the proverbial monkey sitting at the typewriter for one million years, could ever write, but still just one single and solitary post. This blog, obviously, was born in a moment of anger (which are the best moments for humor) but then quickly abandoned but not erased. I invite you to visit it. Maybe you can encourage its author to re-start it by leaving your comments. I will always do everything in my power to encourage the efforts of my self-styled enemies, because without them, where would I be? Where they still are, God forbid!

The funniest thing that my esteemed tocayo "Manuel A. Chechechea" ever created was not his superannuated parody blog, but his (mine) Blogger Profile, which I reproduce here before it disappears without a trace (as "Chechechea" himself already has):

Manuel A.Chechechea

•Industry: Communications or Media
•Occupation: Know-it-all
•Location: Union City : New Jersey : United States

About Me:
I think and I write and I lay bare the folly of anyone who does not agree with me, the greatest mind and most original thinker in the history of the world. In anything I write, the wisdom of the ages is distilled for all lesser beings to marvel at. Read and be dismayed at your smallness in the presence of my intellect.

Me. Myself. I.

Favorite Movies:
None. No one can make a movie about the greatest man and do me justice. I would be the greatest subject for a motion picture in the history of motion pictures. The Hollywood worms do not know what they are missing in telling my life story.

Favorite Music:
None. No one can play and compose like me (even though I am not a musician).

Favorite Books
None. Except what I write. I am the greatest writer that has ever lived.

If everybody thought about me as highly as Val does I wouldn't have to write those checks.

BTW, I've decided to leave my "Fraternal Blogroll" exactly as it is, as a tribute to those departed blogs: Ya No Más; Cuba: Island Paradise, Island Prison; and the Cuban-American Misfits Review. You have made poor Tocororo's mistake by deleting your blogs. I hope you do not regret it.

This one still lives but barely:

A Judas Gets the Judas Kiss

If after the appointed time of his bondage is complete, a slave shall plainly say, "I love my master and shall not leave him," then his master shall bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. — Exodus, xxi, 2-6.

Now would seem to be the time to bury, and bury deep, the honors and decorations which the Castro regime has bestowed on its accomplices, apologists and worse. No man, even if dedicated to the degradation of his people, desires to extend it to himself by embracing an association which is already emblematic of treason and shall one day stand for the most depraved and sustained indifference to human life in the annals of history. No man, that is, except Max Lesnik, Castro's friend of 60 years and inveterate enemy of Castro's victims whether in Havana or Miami. The author of the slogan "Cuba sí, yankee no," unable to tolerate Communism himself except as a fawning admirer from afar, Lesnik is pleased to wish this curse on the Cuban people and has done everything in his power over 48 years to make that curse a permanent one. Imbued with the same hatred for his countrymen as Fidel and the desire to make them suffer, he has not found it difficult to confound his interests with the Cuban dictator's. I ask myself: Why does this man hate his fellow Cubans so much? The people who provided a refuge to him and his parents from the same evil, under another disguise, with which he is now himself complicit? But why question the roots of evil when it is enough that evil exists in the world?

Evil had a holiday in Havana last week when the unsinkable Max Lesnik was awarded a journalism prize by the same entity that had earlier that same week awarded its "Dignity Prize" to Fidel Castro. Lesnik was praised for "upholding the Cuban flag high in Miami [and] using his honor to fight terror and lies, the favorite weapons of the anti-Cuba mafia in southern Florida." Supposed attempts on Lesnik's life because of his pro-Castro activities were characterized as "occasions of counterrevolutionary terrorism," implying that Lesnik represents and embodies the Revolution. UPEC also praised Lesnik's "contribution to the struggle to obtain the release of the Cuban Five, serving long prison terms in the U.S., and his work towards putting an end to the U.S. blockade [sic] against Cuba."

UPEC, the official "union" of Cuban "journalists" — you know, the same people who are restricted to one hour of internet usage per day and have their internet logs examined daily by the DGI and are not allowed to write one word which is not approved by the political commisars — recognizing in Lesnik a kindred soul, although one allied to Castro by personal choice rather than from lack of choice, and from real opportunism rather than feigned conviction, elevated the "hero journalist" Lesnik to the first rank of the regime's most servile hacks. And this stupid man — for, above the treachery and arrogance, Lesnik is first and foremost a stupid man — actually accepted the award, which makes it impossible for him or his daughter ever to claim again that he is anything but a servile stooge of the regime (and that is putting it kindly, very kindly). It must have been a macabre joke at his expense, the Judas kiss of an enemy who wishes to destroy him for good; but Lesnik is too stupid or too vain or too enamoured to see this and accepts as an "honor" what was meant as an insult and bar sinister; for Max Lesnik is no less contemptible in their eyes than he is in ours, though for different reasons.

Lesnik is certainly deserving of Castro's "Pulitzer Prize." Not only for the reasons cited at the awards ceremony, but because it was Lesnik who either planted the Martí Moonlighters story in Oscar Corral's ear or who informed Havana of its imminent publication, so that Cuban TV's "Mesa Redonda" could scoop The Miami Herald on the story. This is the kind of "journalism" that Lesnik practices and the kind that is rewarded in Communist Cuba. All the "honorees" were in their eighties: not until then, I suppose, when they are tottering on the grave and passed all defiance or hope, does the regime see fit to festoon its servants with their putrid honors. Oscar Corral himself has a long wait.

Monday, August 20, 2007

CubaVerdad: A Valuable Internet Archive

I don't believe that it is on anybody's blogroll but it should be on everybody's. It isn't even necessary for me to describe it as it describes itself very well: an archive of more than 35,500 articles about Cuba; 73 targeted RSS newsfeeds about Cuba; and 33 pages of audio recordings and videos about Cuba, such as the Castro-Chávez Radio Hoax (audio); Che: Anatomy of a Myth (video); and Cuban Students Punished for Accessing the Internet (video).

Its mission statement assures us that this is a resource as valuable as it is well-grounded:

Cuba Verdad aims to provide it's members with a central exchange to receive both articles and links about Cuba with the aim of providing them with an extensive source of information for those interested in freedom and democracy in Cuba.

Cuba Verdad hopes to become a central data source for those supporting the cause of freedom and democracy in Cuba providing members with a wealth of published articles and links to sites containing information about Cuba.

Cuba Verdad is in principle open to all that support freedom and democracy in Cuba independent of their political affiliation provided they support human rights, political freedom and freedom of expression.

I strongly recommend CubaVerdad to your consideration.

From the Tellechea Digital Archives: Oscar Corral's "Martí Moonlighters" Story Revisited

[We are approaching the first year anniversary of Oscar Corral's now infamous hatchet-job on anti-Castro Cuban journalists at The Miami Herald and elsewhere, whom he accused in a Sept. 8, 2006 front-page article of being in the pay of the U.S. government (and hence co-opted by it) because they received pro-forma honoraria for appearing on the anti-Castro Radio and TV Martí, which they had done with the knowledge and assent of The Herald itself and following in the footsteps of Edward R. Morrow and thousands of other MSN journalists who had worked for government broadcasting since 1942, when the Voice of America radio service was founded. Corral's "underground investigation," as he called it, led to the arbitrary firing of the journalists and created a schism at 1 Herald Plaza involving the staffs of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, for which the fired journalists had worked. The subsequent revelation that there had been no internal Herald policy prohibiting them from freelancing at Radio Martí, that they had indeed requested and obtained the permission of their editor to do so, and, finally, that The Herald itself had published an article 4 years earlier which reported one of the journalist's association with Radio Martí and even boasted of it, led to the rehiring without prejudice (but without an apology) of the fired Cuban journalists and precipitated the departure of The Herald's publisher Jesús Díaz and its executive editor Tom Fiedler, who resigned and retired, respectively, in the wake of the fallout from the story.

We are reproducing here our response to Jesús Díaz's justification for the firing of the journalists, published in
The Herald, on Sept. 17, 2006. In future days we will be publishing other significant documents in the Martí Moonlighters' Affaire, leading up to the Sept. 8th anniversary of Oscar Corral's libellous and discredited story. — MAT]:

September 17, 2006
A Free Press Can Require Painful Choices
By Jesus Diaz Jr.

In order to have democracy, a country must enjoy freedom of the press. [In order to have freedom of the press, the millionaires who own the presses and their lacqueys must convince us that a corporation’s interests also represent the interests of their community or the nation at large.] The past week has been painful for many in the Cuban community and for employees at The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. [It has been principally painful, however, for the 3 journalists you arbitrarily fired and their families. You and your employees, who did not have the basic decency to protest their firings in a formal petition, are the cause of their pain]. Many have questioned the motives behind the dismissal of two El Nuevo Herald reporters and a freelance writer who did a significant amount of work for us while simultaneously working for and being paid by Radio and TV Martí. [By “significant work” what you really mean is fair, impartial and objective work that was beyond reproach. Since you could not impugn their work for The Herald (and didn’t even try), you chose instead to assassinate their character].

I approved the dismissals because, as the publisher of these newspapers, I am deeply committed to the separation between government and a free press. [The only thing that you were “deeply committed” to was beating out the Chicago Tribune on this story. As for yourself, you have yet to explain why it is not a conflict of interests for you to chair the official U.S-government Cuba Transition committee while serving as Herald publisher]. Further, our employees violated our conflict-of-interest rules. [You have thus far refused to make public these “conflict of interests rules.” When were they adopted? By whom? How specifically do they apply to these three journalist? Where, in short, does it say in your “Rules” that reporters or freelancers are forbidden from working for government-sponsored foreign broadcasting? It is certainly not in the contracts that these journalists signed]. All of our journalists acknowledge and agree to adhere to our policies, which include this statement [Which is it, “rules” or “policies?" Rules are not the same thing as policies. Rules are immutable whereas policies are whatever tickles the publisher’s fancy at any time]. 

We demonstrate our principles by operating with fairness, accuracy and independence, and by avoiding conflicts of interest, as well as the appearance of conflicts of interest [Like Caesar’s wife?]. Our news operations will be diligent in their pursuit of the truth, without regard to special interests." [Then you have certainly violated The Herald’s principles (which is it now? Rules? Policies? Principles?) by acting yourself without “fairness, accuracy or independence” in this matter. You have already admitted, after initially lying about it, that The Herald knew about the journalists’ involvement with Radio Marti as early as 2002, when The Herald actually published a story which presented as a laudable activity what you would later characterize as a conflict of interests and assault on freedom of the press. What were the “rules, policies and principles” in 2002? When did they change? And did you ever apprise anyone that they had changed? I don’t mean the way you “apprised” the 3 journalists 30 minutes before you fired them. The victims of Stalin’s purges were accorded more due process than the 3 reporters you fired].

Our decisions, painful as they were, reaffirm our commitment that reporters and editors at our newspapers are free of even the hint of a conflict of interest. [Well, that’s the second time that you mention how “painful” your decision was. Perhaps it might not have been a “painful” decision if it had been a reasoned and thoughtful decision. But you made it “painful” by your own premature and unmeasured acts. Doesn’t it seem odd to you that no other newspaper in the country has fired or disciplined reporters involved with Radio Marti, VOA or Radio Liberty (not to mention PBS or NPR)? Perhaps they don’t have the same high ethical standards that you do. Or, more likely, they are not as draconian, unfair and undemocratic as you are].It is by sustaining this transparency [What “transparency?” Due process for these journalists would have been transparency. Kicking them out the back door isn’t transparency] that we can assure that our reporters will continue to function as impartial and independent watchdogs in our community [Has anyone ever suggested let alone proved that the fired journalists’ reportage was ever anything else?] and tackle investigations leading to stories such as the House of Lies series, which disclosed corruption in the Miami-Dade Housing Authority, and Fire Watch, which uncovered abuses in Miami-Dade’s fire-watch program. [That’s right, pat yourselves on the back; nobody else is going to. Whatever your past scoops may have been, they do not excuse this miscarriage of justice]. 

As a child in Cuba, I lived under a totalitarian government where freedom of speech did not exist. I remember my parents telling my sister and me, over and over, ‘’Do not say anything bad about the government'’ for fear of reprisal. I do not want my daughter to ever have to say that to her children or to her grandchildren. [You do not live now in a totalitarian regime, although you yourself act with the same star-chamber arbitrariness characteristic of all such regimes, including Fidel Castro’s].I am committed to fair and independent journalism because I firmly believe that a totalitarian government cannot survive under the spotlight of a free press. [If you are “committed to fair and independent journalism” then you should practice it for a change. What little free press there is in Cuba must struggle across the skies over the Florida Straits to reach Cuba. You would stifle and silence that lonely voice by denying it the support of some of the best U.S. journalists who bring to Radio and TV Marti the fairness and objectivity which, again, none has ever suggested that their reportage lacked]. Throughout this past week, I have been reminded that a dictator such as Fidel Castro would not be in power if Cuba had a free press. [Fidel Castro came to power precisely because the U.S. had a free press. Ever heard of Herbert Matthews? A free press is only as good as the commitment to freedom of individual journalists. The three fired reporters have shown their commitment to freedom in word and deed time and time again. Have you?]

A SHORT JOURNEY [Too short].

History has proved that the journey from an open society to a totalitarian regime can be a short one. [Full of profundities, aren’t you? How exactly did you get your job? I’ve heard of all ten journalists that Corral’s story smeared, but I’ve never heard of you. How did you get to be The Herald’s publisher? By flying under the radar? Well, you did a very good job there]. When journalists receive regular payments for government-sponsored reporting while working for free-press outlets, we take a step down this dangerous path. [Professional journalists, hundreds if not thousands of them, have worked for government-sponsored radio since the Voice of America was founded in 1942. On exactly what “dangerous path” has this taken us? The end of the Cold War and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe? Why did you specifically target Cuban-American journalists for your censure? Didn’t non-Cuban Latin Americans and Spanish-speaking Anglo experts also appear on Radio and TV Marti? Why weren’t they named? For that matter, why weren’t paid-contributors to the Voice of America and Radio Liberty named? They work for the same government and the checks they receive are also identical].

Let me be clear: [Now you are going to start?].

• The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald are committed to fair and independent reporting. [However many times you repeat it won’t make it true].

• The institutional position of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, as expressed on our editorial pages, has been to support the work and goals of Radio and TV Martí. [Except when you try to sabotage their work by denying them the services of those who allow them to fulfill their mission with professionalism and fairness. Your now often-repeated “support” for Radio Marti includes portraying it as a “propaganda machine” with which no reputable ethical journalist would be connected, and with which The Miami Herald, in particular, is loathe to associate even indirectly. With “friends” like you, Radio and TV Marti better watch their backs].

I also wish to clarify our position on a number of questions and rumors, which we have heard over the past week:

• The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and our parent company, McClatchy, have no plans to open a bureau inside Cuba. [Really, hasn’t that been your expressed objective for many years? Did that objective change at the same time you changed your “rules, objectives, policies”?].

• Cuba rejects or does not respond to our requests for visas for our reporters. [So you are trying?]. As such, any reporting by Miami Herald staff members from Cuba comes from those who have made their way into the country as tourists, requiring us to run their stories without bylines in order to protect their identities. [Wasn’t Oscar Corral recently in Cuba? Is that where he “researched” his Sept. 8 story?].

• We do not know why the Cuban TV program Mesa Redonda commented on the essence of our story before it ran. [So you admit that this “rumor” at least is true].We are confident this information did not come from anyone at The Miami Herald, and we believe that Mesa Redonda may have gained this information from a review of our public-records requests, since these requests are available to the public. [On what grounds are you “confident” that no one at the Miami Herald informed the Castro regime on your story prior to publication? Or, for that matter, how “confident” are you that the flow of information wasn’t the other way? There are no coincidences in this world. As a journalist, you should be a little more inquisitive. That’s “inquisitive,” not inquisitorial].

I am concerned about our readers’ reaction to columnists Carl Hiaasen’s and Ana Menendez’s opinion columns in today’s paper. [Yes, you should be concerned about columns that are inflammatory and unfair. And you shouldn’t write unfair and inflammatory columns yourself like the present one]. My first reaction was to keep both columns, which represent Carl’s and Ana’s opinions, from running in the paper at this time because I believe they may inflame sentiments in the Cuban community. [So you considered practicing censorship because you and you alone know what’s best for the community. Have you ever considered that truth may be what is best?].


However, many in our organization have told me that doing so would be the equivalent of suffocating the very freedom of the press I was trying to protect when we dismissed the El Nuevo Herald reporters. Therefore, the articles are published in today’s paper. [In this case, you listened to your subalterns’ opinions. You, obviously, were not as open-minded about the 3 fired journalists, because several editors, including the executive editor of El Nuevo Herald, objected to your unilateral decision].

I am saddened by the pain [The pain never stops for you, does it?] these events have caused in our community during the past week. [Not that “these events caused,” but that your own actions caused; and you shouldn’t be “saddened,” but sorry]. We are not perfect, [Really? You had us all fooled] but rest assured that we will continue to work diligently for the betterment of our community. [Is that a threat?].

Jesús Diaz Jr. is [was] the publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

[Footnote: I had originally posted this article last year on both the Orlando Sentinel Forum and New York School of Journalism's PressEthic blog. Upon checking today, I discovered that the article had been deleted from both. So much for "PressEthic" (is there only one?). Fortunately, I always keep backup copies of everything I write.]