Friday, November 30, 2007

And Shall the Fishes Have No Vote In Venezuela?

When Fidel Castro increased the number of Cuba's provinces from 6 to 14, I was surprised that he had not created 1444, because such divisions, which have no real jurisdictional or electoral purpose, are mere manifestations of autocracy as cheap at a dozen as at a ten dozen dozen. The purpose of this "reform" was to show that the maximum leader could make a five-sided square, or, in this case, invert a country's regional affiliations and oldest traditions, rendering a man's territorial moorings meaningless as well as the life that he has built around those familiar landmarks. This is worse, far worse, than moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. It is, in fact, moving everything that men are proud of or identify with. When Cuba is free, the six historical provinces will be restored as established in the Constitution of 1940. Those born under the Castroite disposition will then feel dispossessed themselves and will have to reformulate their provincial allegiances. Of course, this is unavoidable: there can be no "Granma Province" in a liberated Cuba; nor, indeed, any monument left standing to the tyrant's caprice. Where Castroism has taken root, it must be uprooted; and where, like a mushroom, it has only left a stain it must wiped clean. The future must be constructed not only with clean hands but on an immaculate canvas.

I said yesterday that Hugo Chávez has never had an original idea, that everything which he has done so far, or will do in the future, shall be in imitation of Castro. The Venezuelan copies his mentor in all things because, over 50 years, there is very little that Castro has not done to destabilize his country and erode its historic foundations. Since he seeks the same things as Castro, and, chiefly, Castro's durability, Chávez would be a fool (which he is not) if he disregarded the Appian road which Castro has laid out for him and all future Latin American despots.

So Chávez has also decided to reconfigure and expand the geographical divisions of his country. No, he has not yet proposed a Fidelia province, although we may be sure he will when Castro finally obliges him by dying. (Castro's shroud is Chávez's mantle and at times it seems, even to Castro, that the disciple is a bit impatient to assume it).

Chávez's improvisation on Castro's idea is no doubt more radical than the inspiration itself. This is another key to understanding Chávez. He is not content merely to copy but wants to leave his own distinctive stamp on every second-hand notion, and there is where he usually trips himself up. The man has no sense of proportion (which is bad because neither does Castro) and blithely turns Castro's enormities into greater enormities.

What has he done, then? Made a hundred provinces? A thousand? No, not quite.

Chávez has proposed creating maritime provinces for Venezuela (yes, dividing the ocean) and according these co-equal status with the country’s more conventional dry provinces, including congressional representation. It is not known whether the congressmen will actually have to live on dinghies to qualify to represent the fishes. It is possible, also, that the fish may just be used for representational purposes; the most densely populated maritime provinces being accorded the largest number of legislators. The question of whether the fishes will be allowed to vote and how their votes would be tabulated, has not yet been considered. It would be highly undemocratic, however, if the piscatory population were excluded from suffrage where they are the majority. It is also possible that new pioneers (humans, that is) may be encouraged to move into these virgin provinces and provided with homesteads, barges perhaps, or other suitable aquatic platforms. Wasn't a bad movie made about this a few years ago? Anyway, this is to date the most radical (read ludicrous) of Chávez's proposals.

And, no, I am not joking. My imagination is a paltry thing compared to the realities of Latin American today.

The Precolombian Rites of the Babalunians

"Five hundred years of exploitation [of Cuba] does not appear to be sufficient for the Spanish government."Alberto de la Cruz, Babalú, November 30, 2007

To the ancient chant of "¡Cubanacán for the cubanacanos!," Alberto de la Cruz, now to be known as Alberto del Semí, has been inducted into the Order of the Black Legend by Cacique Siboney Val after having received the blessing of High Priest Enriquillo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quotable & Reprehensible: Alex of SotP Mourns Freedom for Elenita

"And not to put too fine a point on it, but for those who were too quick to label a Cuban father abusive just for living in Cuba [no, not for living in Cuba, but for wishing to sell his daughter to Castro in exchance for a better life in Cuba], who made up stories about him [the worst stories about Izquierdo were not told in court because the Cuban regime refused to grant visas to villagers from Cabaiguán who were willing impeach his perjurious testimony] and speculated he and his attorneys were in Castro's pockets [can anyone even dispute this?], there's no Brawny absorbent enough to wipe the egg off your faces [because there is no egg on our faces just joy in our hearts]. You will claim a "victory" because he's staying [not because "he's" staying but because she is], as if this was a war [not to those like you who wanted to surrender the child to Castro without a fight], but he's doing it in his terms [no, "his terms" would have entailed immediate return to Cuba] and with the custody of his child which you hoped to deny [it is Castro who denied him custody of his child as he does to every parent in Cuba, and Castro, also, who sent him to the U.S. to reclaim his daughter as property of the state]."Alex, Stuck on the Palmetto, November 29, 2007

It's a victory because it didn't end with a gun pointed at the girl's face.

It's a victory because she won't be sent back to Castro's hell, which is not a fit place to raise any child, and where you have yourself admitted you wouldn't want your daughter to be raised.

It's a victory because she won't be separated from her brother, who is the only person who's been there for her all her life.

It's a victory because Joe Cubas, as he has done before, saved not one individual but an entire family from Castro's clutches to which you were more than happy to consign them.

We who always championed her cause are certainly as justified in claiming this as a victory as you were when you proclaimed Elián's repatriation at gunpoint a "victory." Our victory ensured freedom for this little girl; your "victory" turned Elián into the most used and abused child in Cuba.

In Elenita's Case, Freedom Wins

Despite his protestations to the contrary, Rafael Izquierdo has desisted in his plans to return Elenita to Cuba. He has been persuaded by Joe Cubas that it is in Elenita's best interests to remain in the U.S. Of course, it is also in his other daughter's best interests; and in his common-law wife's best interests; and, most importantly, in Rafael's Izquierdo's best interests since the most exalted lacquey in Cuba will not make as much as a busboy here. The out of court settlement is also in the best interests of Judge Jeri B. Cohen, whose earlier award of custody to Izquierdo will not now be set aside by the Appellate Court because of judicial misconduct on her part; and, also, it is in the best interests of Kurzban and Montiel-Davis, who are less likely now to be subject to disciplinary proceedings or disbarment springing from their outrageous conduct at the custody trial, which included suborning perjury and fabricating evidence. The Cubas, Elenita's foster parents and the only well-intentioned parties in this case, will continue to have visitation rights on alternate week-ends. Elena Pérez, Elenita's abusive mother, will not (unless Izquierdo wishes to risk losing custody). And Elenita's 13-year old brother, who has been her real father and protector since she was born, will not be separated from her nor she from him.

As the result of this Solomonic compromise, four people are free instead of one. Although we despise Rafael Izquierdo for abandoning his daughter and then reclaiming her for Castro, we are even glad that he has opted for freedom over slavery. Perhaps he'll learn to be a man and a father here. In any case, Elenita will remain in the U.S. and under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Children and Families until May 2010. Then her father will have to decide whether he wants to return to Cuba with his biological daughter or remain here. Nothing that this cretinous man might decide to do would surprise us. But I'm personally betting that the guajiro is not that great a fool since this compromise more than just assuring his daughter's safety for now is a golden parachute for her father.

The entired saga as covered by the RCAB:

Judge Jeri B. Cohen Stopped Dead in Her Tracks By Appellate Court

Judge Jeri B. Cohen Seeks the Spotlight Again

Judge Jeri B. Cohen Awaits Her Report Card

Judge Cohen: The Little Girl Is Lying

Now Judge Cohen Officially Banishes the Truth from Her Courtroom

A Letter to Florida Governor Crist Appealing for Elenita's Life

More Fabricated Evidence Exposed and the "C Word" Banned from Judge Cohen's Courtroom

Elenita's Fairy Tale: Grimm Was Never This Grimm

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

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

Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles

The Real Parents — Joe and María Cubas

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

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

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

What Creature Do I Despise the Most in the World?

The "Elenitas" Keep Multiplying

Is Oscar Corral In Cabaiguán, Cuba?

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

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

Judge Jeri Beth Cohen Gets Her Man (Off)

The Guajiro Hamlet: Rafael Izquiedo

Elián's Father was "Adopted" Too

El Bitongo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Poor Little Cuban Girl that They Call "Eliana"

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

¡Viva Ziva! The Moral Conscience of Babalu Blog

Venezuela to Go on "Castro Time"

Chávez is undoubtedly crazy; there can be no doubt of that. But his original ideas are few. He is the the Great Recycler (of failed ideas). Because we are so far-removed in time from Castro's earliest bizarreries, many of these have been forgotten even by those who were there at the time. Those born, like Alberto de la Cruz, after the Revolution and raised in exile, would have no reason to be acquainted with them. Hence it astonished Cruz that Chávez had devised a unique Time Zone for Venezuela, which would put it a half-hour behind all the other countries of the world. Cruz wittily named this "The Twilight Zone."

Before I say anything else (and I think all of you know where I am headed), let me remark that Cruz's post — the genre, that is — is exactly what Babalú needs to become relevant again. Since Val realized that the well of his own hardly-fecund inspiration was running dangerously dry, he recruited fresh voices with fresh perspectives and they have worked a wonderful transformation at Babalú. Yes, Henry is still shilling for the Republican anti-Hispanic xenophobes, who left no doubt at last night's presidential debate that they had written off the Hispanic vote and were only courting the anti-Hispanic vote; and Val, when he makes a cameo appearance on his blog — which, mercifully, is rarely nowadays — is still as homicidal as ever in his plans for the Cuban people (which can be nicely summarized as "More Blood and No Butter"). Yet, like Reagan, Val has the gift (in his case, almost an imperative) of delegating authority without feeling threatened by others more talented or knowledgeable than himself. He realizes that, in the end, he'll get the credit while they harp about the "honor" of serving him. (Val, incidentally, has had to "crack the whip" — his own expression — because Babalú's new and old contributors, now numbering 15, have lately come down with serious case of "let the other guy do it" which reduces output from a potential minimum of 15 posts per day to just two or three).

But we have strayed too far afield. Alberto de la Cruz is wrong. It is Fidel Castro who first devised a new Time Zone for Cuba which was one-half hour at odds with everybody else's. It was not so children could have one more half-hour of daylight but so the cane cutters (including, of course, children) could start earlier and finish later. What Chávez is actually doing in Venezuela is going on Castro Time; no doubt another step towards the "confederation" of the two countries, that is, the destruction of Cuban sovereignty.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UN Rapporteur Jean Ziegler: On the Art of Not Giving Offense to Castro

Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Food, whose recent trip to Cuba, the first by a UN rapporteur in 20 years, revealed to the world that Communist Cuba was a horn of plenty, has admitted that he intentionally avoided meeting with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during his 10-day visit to the island from Oct. 28 to November 6, as the New York-based human rights organization U.N. Watch had charged. Although several European Union ambassadors in Havana had offered to arrange such meetings in their embassies, supposedly beyond the regime's prying eyes and ears, Ziegler declined because "it would have compromised the new spirit of openness signalled by Cuba." Besides, his itinerary had already been approved by the regime and to stray from it would have been "irresponsible on his part" and "an absurdity." Although meeting with NGOs would have been "humanly understandable," Ziegler averred that it would have threatened future visits by rapporteurs as well as a UN pact with Cuba on social, economic and cultural rights and a second pact on civil and political rights.

"Openness" on the part of the Castro regime is contingent upon lack of openness on the part of the rapporteur. The more inoffensive that Ziegler is, the more rapporteurs Cuba will allow to visit the island in the future. With each successive rapporteur competing to be the least offensive, the number of inoffensive rapporteurs could grow exponentially. Therefore, it would have been "irresponsible" and an "absurdity" if Ziegler had by his damnable lack of inoffensiveness provoked the regime to be less welcoming to other inoffensive rapporteurs. Meetings with NGOs, although "humanly understandable," would have offended those whose actions are not humanly understandable, and that would never do. Ziegler's job is to conceal and justify inhumanity, not to expose it, much less condemn it. Under such circumstances it is perhaps more prudent to avoid those who might strike notes of discordance in the perfect symphony of sympathy which has characterized the UN's interactions with Cuba in general and Ziegler's interactions in particular. It is precisely this wonderful meeting of minds that has enabled Ziegler to secure a promise from his Cuban friends, in consideration of so much inoffensiveness on his part, to agree to sign "pacts" with the United Nations regarding "civil and political rights." It is not enough, of course, that Cuba abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory. No, that could be construed as being offensive. Instead, there should be a special "pact" with Cuba wherein Castro decides what constitutes human rights and agrees to abide by his definition.

Of course, the mere fact that Ziegler was sent to Cuba in the first place was a victory for the regime because as a prior condition the UN had to abolish the position of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cuba. Although no such rapporteur was ever admitted into Cuba for as long as the office existed, it was nonetheless a symbolic rebuke that one did exist and was thought necessary. Well, in the era of inoffensiveness to Cuba, even an implied rebuke was too explicit. Now there will be no more rebukes, real or implied; only regurgitations of Jean Ziegler's inanities.

What Do Henry Gómez and Fidel Castro Have in Common? The Exploitation of Elián González

This morning Henry Gómez has posted on Babalú blog the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of Elián González at gunpoint with the caption: "In 49 weeks we'd like you to vote Democrat. For old time's sake." It is not the sentiment that I object to. I should no more like to see a Democratic president than would Henry. But neither, for that matter, am I enthused at the prospect of another Republican president, especially Henry's idol Fred "Cubans Are Suitcase Bombers" Thompson. I don't like either political party and believe that both have royally screwed the Cuban people from the beginning. The Republican Lincoln wanted to annex Cuba and use it, in Martí's words, as the world's "basurero," disgorging into it America's emancipated slaves, convinced as he was that the two races couldn't co-exist in the same country and determined as always to assure white supremacy. Ulysses S. Grant denied belligerancy rights to the Cuban rebels in 1868 and did everything in his power to quell their movement, with half his cabinet in the pay of Spain. The Democrats were just as bad and had been at it longer. They were not always content to let the apple ripen, as Jefferson suggested. On several occasions they tried to pry Cuba from Spain to use as a slave colony. Lincoln's predecessor, James Buchanan, when Secretary of State, had personally betrayed Narciso López to the Spanish. Grover Cleveland had followed Grant's example by imposing a perverse "neutrality" during Cuba's War of Independence (1895-98) which allowed Spain to buy guns with which to kill Cubans while embargoing all arms intended for the rebels, nearly causing Martí's Revolution to fail even before the first shot was fired. His successor, William McKinley, did intervene in Cuba, in order to rob the Army of Liberation of their victory and impose an American protectorate over the island. In the "American Century" Eisenhower's State Department deposed Batista in order to give us Fidel; and John F. Kennedy betrayed the Cuban freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs (betraying Cubans is America's oldest diplomatic tradition) and formerly relinquished U.S. control of Cuba by ceding the island to the Soviet Union in the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact. In recent times, Bill Clinton introduced the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy which George Bush has implemented longer than Clinton did. The Elián affaire is not an isolated incident in the history of Cuban-American relations but par for the course. Clinton and Reno, of course, bear most of the responsibility; but the Republicans are not without blame either. They controlled both houses of Congress at the time and refused to pass a relief bill that would have bestowed citizenship on the boy because their constituents, ill-served as always by the MSM, had concluded that slavery in Cuba was the best thing for the boy. That attitude, of course, was also fomented by the Republicans' anti-Hispanic xenophobia, which became a party credo under Henry's other great hero, Newt Gingrich.

Of course, Henry can be as partisan as he wishes. What he has no right to do, however, is to use Elián as a political prop because Henry was one of the few Cuban-Americans who supported Elián's return to his father before his kidnapping at Reno's orders. The prospect of sending the boy back to Cuba without the use of guns didn't in the least perturb Henry. What had him in a panic then was the prospect that those loud but peaceful protestors would tarnish by their passion and "Cubanness" the good opinion which Henry's Anglo neighbors had of him and other invisible Cubans.

This kind of shamelessness is not unknown to us. In fact, it reminds us of the modus operandi of someone we all know: it is Fidel Castro's conceit that everybody else is stupid and can be conned at will.

Not me and not here, Henry.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum is the fat one.

The worst president since Carter and the only man who could have done worse than Carter.

The two met today for the first time since 2000 at a White House reception for this year's American Nobel Prize winners.

The Castro Regime Exploits a British Woman Disabled in Cuba

Most tourists manage to "do Cuba" without doing themselves much damage. 32-year old Kirsty Offord, from Wollaton, England, was not so lucky. She sustained a life-altering brain injury when she was hit by a car while training for a charity bike ride across Cuba 9 years ago. As a result of her accident, she is now spatially-impaired and has balance problems as well as difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss. "My brain injury meant I had to let go of many of my dreams," lamented Ms. Offord. Not all, however. One dream she did not "let go of." She returned to Cuba this year to complete her cross-country bicycle tour, aided by 25 other cyclists who were there not just for moral support but to make sure she did not kill herself this time. It must indeed have been quite an ordeal to attempt such a feat on Cuba's dilapidated roads, especially for one who has difficulty walking a straight line. In recognition of her achievement, Ms. Offord has been named as one of three finalists for the title "UK Headway Achiever of the Year," which is awarded by Britain's brain-injury foundation.

A few observations.

They should really change the name of the Award.

Although we are glad that Ms. Offord appears to be recovering, in whatever measure she can, from the devastating injuries she sustained in Cuba, we cannot but observe that she would have been spared 10 years of rehabilitation as well as this no doubt honorable but hardly desirable award if she had limited her cycling ambitions to her native England and the continent. If she had known then (which we doubt she did) that Cubans are prohibited from undertaking such an excursion without government approval, that, indeed, they require internal passports to move within their own country, she would, perhaps, have arrived at the conclusion that it is neither decent nor fraternal to do in Cuba as the Cubans can't, much less to be used as a pawn by a totalitarian regime that wishes to create the false impression that Cuba is an "open island" no different from her native Britain. Open it certainly is to foreigners like Offord who can travel the island in their own movable bubble; but once they step out of the Cubatur bus, say, onto the street, they risk confronting realities for which they are wholly unprepared, such as streetlights that have been decommisioned for years, cars without working brakes or potholes that are more like craters with their own peculiar habitats.

We do not know this for a fact but it seems a fair assumption that Ms. Offord's present difficulties were aggravated by the fact she suffered her accident in Cuba. No doubt much irreversible damage was done while she languished in a Havana hostipal waiting to be stabilized so that she could be transported for treatment to Great Britain. Unlike a Cuban in her situation, she received the best that Cuban medicine could offer; but, as Castro's own recent encounter with Cuba's health care system has shown, Cuba's "best" sometimes means performing a lobotomy through the anus. A tourist to Cuba who is unaware of this fact and actually believes the propaganda may pay a price higher than he imagines for his credulity, that is, he may pay the price ordinary Cubans do.

What I find intriguing and sadly disturbing about this story is that the victim has learned absolutely nothing about her experience in Cuba and has lent herself to be exploited again by the regime. Perhaps the experience itself and its consequences put her beyond profitting from its lesson. Certainly there can be no more contemptible human beings than ones who would avail themselves of another's misery in order to increase misery among men, and here we allude not only to the Castroites themselves but their fellow travellers in Britain and everywhere.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Human Rights Activists Detained in Cuba After House Invasion

The human rights situation in Cuba continues to worsen under the leadership of Raúl Castro. The regime's assault brigades stormed the home of human rights activist Juan Bermúdez Toranzo on Thursday, Nov. 22, where a prayer vigil was being led by Pastor Yordis Ferrer on behalf of Cuba's political prisoners.

The armed troops, who numbered about 30, fell upon the family and its guests with savage fury, beating even the women and children, and then ransacked the house in the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón, destroying the family's furniture and personal belongings.

Bermúdez was dragged to the patrol car with his 2-year old son in his arms, who was wrenched from him so that he could be pushed inside. Nothing is known of the child's whereabouts. Bermúdez's wife, Nery, who was not allowed to follow them, was also beaten by security forces. Pastor Ferrer attempted to come to her defense, whereupon the Pentecostal minister was also arrested. Nery Bermúdez was advised to "look for a lawyer" because formal charges were to be pressed against her husband for engaging in activities contrary to the interests of the State. These might include the holding of a religious service in a private home without a government license as well as defaming the Revolution and other singularly Cuban offenses.

The 30-year old Bermúdez founded an independent labor union for Cubans denied a permit by the government to work for themselves. He is also involved in programs to better the quality of life for the impoverished children of his neighborhood, one of Havana's most marginalized.

In an encouraging development, which is now becoming more common in the wake of such arbitrary arrests, family members and friends of the arrested men protested outside the police station to demand their release, risking, of course, arrest themselves.

News of the detention of the human rights activists was reported by Juan Carlos González Leiva, a blind lawyer who leads the Cuban Human Rights Foundation and the Human Rights Rapporteur Council in Cuba.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Juventud Rebelde Hails Metrosexuality in Cuba

"[A] short walk down the streets in Havana will suffice to be struck by the frequent sight of men with shaven arms and legs, polished nails, plucked eyebrows, earrings and other until very recently female attributes (later extended in the article to include "tight pants, long dyed hair, lipstick, facials, pierced navels," etc.). They are regular customers at beauty parlors, highly selective about their clothes, and fond of jewellery — deemed until a few decades ago by social norms as being exclusively female attributes." — Juventud Rebelde, November 11, 2007

One would think that in a country where women use sugar syrup (almíbar) for hair dressing and lightning fluid for deodorant (both excellent for their purposes if these are to catch bees or fire), the likelihood of men co-opting their "beauty products" for their own personal toilet would be slim. But, if Juventud Rebelde is to be believed, metrosexuality has taken Cuba by storm. Metrosexuality can best be defined as homosexuality without the sex. That is, it copies the habits and fashions of homosexuals as well as a certain female sensitivity. It is even said that certain women are attracted to these denatured men.

Juventud Rebelde sees metrosexuality as conducing to "men's liberation." But from what? Masculinity? If this were indeed its object, then it would certainly resonate with the capos of the regime, for that is one kind of "liberation" which they could support. Anything which emasculates the Cuban male, which deprives him of his standing within the family or society, will be received with gratitude by the Communists. The day is long past when the Revolution tried to turn effeminate males into "real men." That experiment failed for many reasons, not least of which because sexuality is destiny. You can turn a homosexual into a sadist or masochist, and the UMAP concentration camps produced many of those; you cannot, however, reorient him towards heterosexuality.

Metrosexuality is a lot easier to implement because its transformation is not essential or permanent, though its superficialities create a mindset and general attitude which fosters narcissism and a preocuppation with external appearances that masks internal conflicts. By promoting metrosexuality as a means of "social recognition" the regime is shifting the focus from the rights of man to the rites of manhood. And, of course, it is not a means of "social recognition," as Juventud Rebelde contends, but of social control.

The "new man" — Juventud Rebelde uses the term in parentheses — is no longer like "Che," brutish, homophobic and a coward. The "new man" as newly defined is "oblivious to any boundaries set up by a phallocentric culture." Since man is essentially phallocentric himself, biologically and psychologically, a culture that would encourage him to deny that fact or obscure it is depriving him of his bearings.

Juventud Rebelde claims that this trend, which has already played itself out in the West, is a phenomenon that could not have occurred during the Special Period in Cuba. By implication it is saying that this period of involuntary self-denial has been transcended and that Cubans are now living in headonistic times, where excess is, if not the norm, then at least no aberration. It compares the present time to ancient Rome at its most self-indulgent and claims that this is not a new trend but a revival of a very old one.

Now this is very strange indeed. In Cuba, a monthly bar of soap of the cheapest and coarsest type and a razor dull enough to cut but not to shave are the foundation (no pun intended) of Cuban metrosexuality. How far an obsession with one's appearance can be carried within those narrow confines is anybody's guess. Cubans do have a genius for improvisation but this supplies basic needs not extravagances. It is easy enough to look like a male on one bar of soap and one razor per month but quite another to ape a dandy (the 19th century term for metrosexual).

Juventud Rebelde claims that metrosexuality was introduced to Cuba through globalization. Funny how Cuba appears to be immured from its effects in so many areas, indeed, in almost all areas; yet this frivolous trend managed to penetrate its cordon sanitaire. Unless the government sanctioned and promoted it, it would seem highly unlikely that it could make any headway in Cuban society.

As further evidence that this trend did not casually come to moor in the Caribbean backwater there is now an Office of Ibero-America Masculinities, in Cuba, headed by a Dr. Julio César González Pajés, a professor at the University of Havana. Juventud Rebelde does not say if Dr. González Pajés is himself a metrosexual but his cosmology does seem to point in that direction: "Today’s man is much more androgynous and 'feminine' – not effeminate, but feminine from the female standpoint of socialization." And likely to become more so now that Juventud Rebelde has published a 2500-word guide to becoming a metrosexual.

While admitting that "Cubans have a variety of views about their metrosexual countrymen" Juventud Rebelde highlights only the positive ones. The most critical Cubans it surveyed contend that metrosexuality is just an imported fashion trend or manifestation of adolescent rebellion and protest (much preferable, say, to youths wearing wristbands emblazoned "CAMBIO"). The most laudatory applaud it as "a male recipe for self-esteem that men can use to undergo an aesthetic alteration [which] displays the subject’s open-mindedness like a neon sign." Expert González Pajés agrees: "What is beyond question is that Cuba is under the influence of that global movement and our youth are ever more eager to look like their peers overseas." Yes, look like their peers; the government will now gladly accept this compromise if its youth do not demand greater rights than to resemble foreigners in externals while still yoked to a superannuated ideology and denied the civil and human rights that their peers in Western countries take for granted but would not trade for the right to wear navel rings. Cuban males, on the other hand, are advised by designer Guillermo González Lezcano to embrace "aesthetic freedom" and to "preserve the country's beauty values."

So the Revolution which began by stressing, and, indeed, demanding an almost camp machismo of Cuban males ends its days by admonishing them to "tend to their feminine side" and to "preserve the country's beauty values."

Notable & Redundant: Still Beating Old Rocinante

"Spain has the most foreign investment in Cuba and as a result Spanish political leaders are impotent to stand up to their corporations and require Cuba to adhere to international norms of labor practices. Spain's incestuous relationship with [the Cuban] regime makes Spaniards de facto enablers of the regime." — Henry Gómez, Babalú, November 24, 2007

One would have thought that Henry Gómez, having launched a new BUCL campaign after keeping that organization in abeyance for months, in the hope, perhaps, that its epic failures would be forgotten, or that I would die — pretty much the same thing — and having received from me the closest thing to a blessing that I will ever give him for his newest and seemingly innocuous CAMBIO campaign, would, in his own interest, bury and forget forever his "Campaign Against Spanish Explosion" (he meant exploitation). But no. He resurrects again the Black Legend in his latest post about Condé Nast.

Once again he defames all Spaniards for the actions of some Spanish corporations who have become partners with Castro in the exploitation of the Cuban people. He has never named these corporations and I doubt very much whether he even could. It is easier to tar the entire Spanish nation with their misdeeds. I wonder if ordinary Americans should also be blamed for Enron's predations on them, or for the neverending assaults on the dignity of foreign laborers by America's own rapacious multinationals who taught their Spanish counterparts everything they know.

But no. Americans — according to their folklore — are the victims of their corporations, who exploit them at home and discredit them abroad. But Spaniards, according to Henry, are to blame for all the misdeeds of their multinationals in Cuba as well as the silence of its government. Henry has never blamed Americans for the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy or even the U.S. government. In his heart of hearts he himself approves of the policy: it's part of his master plan to stop Cubans from fleeing to the U.S., which serves the double purpose of protecting the unbarnished name of Cuban exiles already here as well as raising the temperature on that pressure cooker which Henry and Val keep brewing in hopes it will blow up and take the whole Cuban people with it.

Still, it is Spaniards who are wanting in morality. Even when Spain's King and Socialist president, for once, find the gumption to stand-up to Castro's overlord and strike a blow for civilization amid a gathering of the worst and dumbest in the region, Henry remains unimpressed and hostile as ever. The Spanish government, ignoring the interests of its multinationals but upholding the honor of its people, did confront Chávez and in public, threatening their corporations' incestuous relationship not only with Venezuela but Cuba as well. The Spanish people responded by overwhelmingly supporting (82%) the severing of diplomatic relations with Venezuela, which would be the death knell of Spanish corporations there (and probably in Cuba as well). Monkey see, monkey do.

Still, Henry is not satisfied.

I assure you that if 82 percent of Canadians were in favor of breaking ties with Communist Cuba, I should be singing "O, Canada" right now.


Killcastro has left a very important comment which I urge you all to read.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Notable & Suicidal: RCAB Makes Him Want to Kill Himself

"I went to his blog site... Who is this Manny and what turns his crank? Well... after reading a few of his blogs [i.e. posts] I wanted to kill myself. Whew, man, oh man, does that guy ever froth at the mouth... like a rabid dog. Betcha he's a regular blast at a party." "Saborami," Cubamania Canadian Forum, November 22, 2007

Yes, I am.

Read more:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Canadian "Herbert Matthews" Returns to Cuba 47 Years Later

Evil is something which is ingrained in people's characters and cannot be uprooted any more than goodness can. Repentance is possible but always unlikely since self-justification is of more importance to most people than self-correction. In modern times there is no more remarkable an example of this than Herbert Matthews, who knew Cuba at its apex and helped it to reach its nadir. Matthews, more concerned about his feeble place in history than the great harm which he had done to generations of Cubans, died in Australia defending his Frankenstein's monster to the last. I did not know but should have supposed that there had to be a Canadian Matthews. There is always a Canadian equivalent of anyone who is odious and grotesque in the U.S. Being derivative is their identity (mark that sentence; it is the entire history of the Canadian people). Much as they try to differentiate themselves from their Southern neighbor, Canadians always manage to be more of the same, only blander, in that supernumerary, surplus kind of way.

The Canadian Herbert Matthews is called Michael Maclear. He was born in London and you can't get more Canadian than that. He was a tv correspondent in Cuba at the time of the triumph of the Revolution and his reportage from there "launched a hugely successful career as a foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker," according to the Montreal Gazette, which interviewed him. So Maclear has good cause to say "Gracias, Fidel" and he still does. At 77, he returned to Cuba to survey the cost of his "hugely successful career." He even filmed, wrote and narrated a documentary about his return trip, which will premiere tonight on Canadian television. Cuba is still grist for his mill.

His hatred for the U.S., which is as ingrained in the Canadian MSM as in its American counterpart, enables him to still see Castro as a "hero," although having been there at the beginning he knows that being a revolutionary "hero" has nothing to do with heroism and everything to do with propaganda (i.e. using tools like Matthews and Maclear himself). He acknowledges that Castro used him and others more notable than him during his ascent to power to foster the myth of "Fidel Castro as poet/warrior." Castro is no more a poet than he is a warrior, but it is the warrior part that Maclear rejects: "Really, it wasn't like there were any great battles then. Batista's army basically laid down their arms, and Batista fled the country." That's good. There was no revolution; only random terrorist acts. This is the only myth about the Cuban Revolution that Maclear is, well, mac-clear about, much clearer in fact than Matthews, who saw mighty legions in the Sierra Maestra where there were only a handful of campers in camouflage. In the 1950s, Maclear was young and cynical and could see through such ruses, while the besotted Matthews, who shilled for Franco in the Spanish Civil War, was too invested in siding with the "angels" this time to realize that Lucifer was an angel too. Also, Castro and his henchmen were Maclear's contemporaries, and this also gave him an advantage over the sexagenerian Matthews.

But let us not give more credit to Maclear than he deserves. With the passage of time, he has become Herbert Matthews and now sees Cuba as dimly. He claims to still have a "fondness for the Cuban people" and "empathy" for their situation. He shows it by dismissing the 48-year tyranny that Castro has exercised over them as the cause of their woes, preferring, instead, to see them as victims of the "the world's longest-lasting David and Goliath confrontation." In Cuba's case, however, David has been aiming his slingshot at his own people rather than at the giant. Although he claims to have interviewed Cubans critical of the regime for his documentary, Maclear does not deny his bias, which is all the more shocking because he doesn't pretend that Cuba is something it is not. Elections there, he effortlessly concedes, are no exercise in democracy. Still, they are all the Cuban people deserve or want: "Cubans well know theirs is not a democracy, but it is theirs, no longer some colony for sale. It is a nation, hard won." Well, not so "hard won," as Maclear earlier admitted; more like ceded to them. Maclear does not say who "won the nation." The answer, of course, is the Castroite oligarchy. It is they who took Cuba, all of Cuba, 48 years ago as booty and have never relinquished "their" prize. If Cuba was an "American colony" before the Revolution, it was not by Cuba's doing. The fact that Cuba was made into a Soviet colony for 30 years and now into a Venezuelan province is entirely Fidel Castro's doing. When colonialism is imposed by a stronger state on a weaker one, it is a tragedy. But when it is agreed to by small clique in order to control a majority of the population, then it is treason.

In the documentary, Maclear uses archival footage of an interview which he conducted with Fidel Castro in 1959. In it he is told by Castro that "Cuba would have free elections, a multi-party system and not nationalize foreign companies." He does not blame Castro for lying to him or the Cuban people. He blames the U.S., instead, for not "reaching out to Castro when he was eminently reachable," that is, for not bribing him out of his Communist convictions and anti-American fanaticism. Maclear believes that Cuba was auctioned in 1959 and the Soviet Union was the top bidder. If so, it is Castro who closed the bidding.

Still, things have not turned out so badly for the Cubans, who are now the happy subjects of their homegrown tyrants, which Maclear confuses with the triumph of nationalism. He doesn't want Cuba to be judged by "First World standards" though he should know that Cuba was once a First World country like his own. He is transfixed by the fact that Cubans supposedly pay no taxes, though their blood and sinew bankroll the regime. Rents in Cuba are a nominal $1 per month, or so he claims. He fails to mention that although Cuba's population has doubled since 1959 its housing stock has decreased by one third and much of what remains is in a state of near-collapse. University is "free" he also claims, but fails to note that it was free before the Revolution for poor students and that no political test was ever applied for admission there before Castro. And, of course, universal [bad] health care is the Revolution's greatest achievement.

Most horrific of all, Maclear purports that Cuba is not a police state, or not so bad a police state. He rejects "the usual stereotypes of police being on every corner, of everybody being oppressed and downtrodden and in revolt. Cuba may be far from perfect, but it's just not like that, either." Of course, it is exactly like that and worse. He blames "the U.S. media" and the "anti-Castro faction in Florida" for perpetrating this image of Cuba on innocent Canadians like himself. "Westerners," he explains, "tend to look at Cuba through the standards of a first-world nation, but we have to accept the fact this is a very poor country trying to survive."

Though he lives very comfortably in the First World and would never approve of a Cuban solution to Canada's congenital colonialism, which is no less a national obsession for being largely illusory, Mr. Maclear is quite content that Cuba be governed by Third World standards, which requires it to forgo democracy and the Rule of Law in exchange for plutocracy and the rule of tourists.

Maclear's documentary, After Fidel, which should have been entitled "After Fidel, Raúl," airs this Friday in Canada on History Television at 8:00 PM. No doubt it shall find its way to some PBS channel soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Barack Obama Admits to Drug Use: "Kids, You Can Be Me Too"

He only failed to mention crack, but admitted to having abused cocaine, marihuana and alcohol in his "youth." Which is when? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Anyway, it happened when Barak was "Barry" Obama.

Substance abuse was a means by which he could "push questions of who I was out of my mind." What questions? That he was a cokehead and a pothead? No. Obama means the agony of being what was once known as a tragic mulatto, born between two worlds but belonging to none. They made a movie about it once called El derecho de nacer. Of course, the word "mulatto" is now considered politically incorrect, although the angst about being one is apparently still acceptable. In Obama's case, however, the elements which usually go into making one a tragic mulatto are wholly missing.

Obama is not a descendent of slaves since his father is an African-African, born there and living there. In fact, if "reparations" were ever distributed to the descendents of slaves, he wouldn't be on the receiving end of the line. His ancestors were the slavetrappers who sold blacks from other tribes to the slavers. On his white mother's side, Obama is descended from the family of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America. He better be careful or the Sons of the Confederacy may elect him their president.

Obama's own life seems to have been wonderfully free of discrimination. Obama admits that he was a poor student — and, we may add, he's done nothing noteworthy since — and yet this did not stop him from becoming the Senate's youngest member and a viable presidential candidate. Discrimination should be made of sterner stuff.

Obama unbosomed himself before an audience of high school students, no doubt to stress the fact that he too was (and is) young. The message that his listeners are likely to draw from this personal admission is that you can abuse drugs, put sex and sports before academics, nearly flunk out of Columbia and still end up in the While House. Well, that lesson has already been taught by the incumbant. Religion saved Bush and the race card will probably save Obama.

Fidel Castro's Heritage

"I agree with what [Chávez] said, that I am a strange blend of races. I have Taino, Canary Island, Celtic and who knows what other bloods in me."Fidel Castro Ruz, "Reflections of the Comandante," Granma, November 18, 2007

No you don't, Fidel. Your father's people are from Galicia, in Spain, and your mother's are Sephardic Jews from Syria who immigrated to Cuba in the early 20th century. You are descended from a long line of rabbis on your mother's side and illiterate cave-dwelling peasants on your father's.

Your half-brother, Raúl, is the one who has a variegated heritage. He is a descendent of Tainos and Afro-Cubans on his father's side, though he does not advertise that fact. Standing side by side, the two of you look like anything but brothers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The RCAB Responds to the Rebirth of BUCL

Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty (BUCL) is back. After disappearing for a respectable period and fanning everybody's hopes (especially those of its impressed members) that BUCL was no more, it has been brought back from unspeakable disgrace. Its founder Henry Gómez proudly proclaimed its re-birth on Babalu, or, perhaps, we should say reincarnation, because its coming back in a different form, with a revised history and new objectives. The calamitous campaign which launched it, the now-legendary "Crusade Against Spanish Explosion" (they meant "exploitation") has been re-baptized posthumously as "The Campaign Against Spanish Investments," thereby lifting the anathema that BUCL had placed on the entire nation of Spain. Its hagiographic and hopelessly starstruck second campaign, which sought to recruit Sting and the Police in the fight against human rights abuses in Cuba, and which memorably culminated in a BUCL streamer being flown at the Sting concert in Miami, with all the BUCLers in attendance, and, apparently, expecting to be called on stage at any moment, that deluded exercise which plumbed the depths of sycophancy in the belief that Sting could incite a youth revolution in Cuba, is now to be officially known as "The Campaign to Point Out the Hypocrisy of Would-be Human Rights Champion Sting and his band The Police." Exposing Sting's hypocrisy was an (undesired) by-product of the Campaign, not its objective.

After two such spectacular failures, the Third Campaign seeks to be more conventional than those which preceeded it. This is not going to be hard. They are looking for a campaign which everyone can rally around, one which won't offend the 90 percent of Cubans who are descendents of Spaniards and which won't puzzle the 90 percent of Cubans who have never heard of Sting and the Police. The final criterion is to choose a campaign that I won't object to.

Well, they have done it.

BUCL's new initiative is to be called "The Campaign for CAMBIO en Cuba." I hope that this involves support for the CAMBIO wristband movement there. Hopefully, the BUCLers won't launch another CAMBIO of their own to rival theirs. It would really be shameless if they were piggybacking on the campaign of civil disobedience initiated in Cuba by people risking their lives.

Past posts on BUCL at RCAB:

Does Henry Want to Resurrect the Undead BUCL?


The BUCL Belt: Henry's Imagination Strikes Again

Henry Gómez Accuses Spaniards of "Exploding Cubans"

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

BUCKLE But Don't Tighten Your Belts

BUCL's Siren Song

BUCL's Last Hurrah

BUCL Again

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

BUCL Is Killing Babalú

Dissent Comes At Long Last to Babalú

And From the Peanut Gallery...

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

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

BUCL's Bizarreries to End at Versailles Restaurant

BUCL (2007-2007)

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

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

La Raza

"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?"

Díaz-Balart vs. McGovern: The Lincoln-Douglas Debate It Wasn't

Henry Gómez's critique of the C-Span debate on the trade embargo is actually rather good. The Lincoln-Douglas debate it certainly wasn't. Díaz-Balart was an ineffectual advocate for the trade embargo and Cuban freedom. Not exactly outfranked by his dim partner, Díaz-Balart did not manage to do what McGovern did — get his talking points across. Lincoln Diaz-Balart simply cannot think on his feet. I don't know whether this is because of a paucity of brain matter, tired feet, or both. Henry's riposte was 100 percent on target. If Henry had debated McGovern and limited himself to this statement, he would have won easily. Henry, who suffers from a painful lack of gravitas and decomposes when exasperated, would not have done better on stage than did Díaz-Balart. But it is a fact and I will not deny it that not in a million years, working like the proverbial monkey at the typewriter, could Díaz-Balart produce Henry's eloquent and reasoned brief for the trade embargo.


Leftist bloggers are not satisfied with Congressman McGovern's performance either. Left I On the News (how cute!) had this to say about it:

"McGovern, the liberal? Not one word of rebuttal! All he had to say was, the blockade (they called it an "embargo" of course) is a "failed policy" ("failed" because it hasn't overthrown the government), and if we really want to "change things" in Cuba, the best way to do that is to drop the blockade and let American college students on spring break "invade" Cuba. [L]iberals like McGovern are so frightened about being "tarred" by association with Cuba that the thought of saying one word in Cuba's defense is simply too much for them to deal with, even on a subject like the end of apartheid. Instead, he retreats to the "safer" area of "Americans' Constitutional right to travel" and the "best way to change things in Cuba. Feh."

Monday, November 19, 2007

A New Poll of Cubans Shows Their Rejection of the Castro Regime

In what has been described rightly or wrongly as "the first authoritative poll of the aspirations and attitudes of the Cuban people," it was found that the overwhelming majority of the Cuban people (75 percent) want to be given the opportunity to elect Fidel Castro's successor. At least that's how the pollsters from the non-partisan International Republican Institute (IRI) have presented the data. It would have been simpler and truer to say that Cubans want a return to democracy, which necessarily entails dismantling the present system. Nor is the implication correct that they are content to see Fidel Castro become the first Cuban dictator to die in his own bed. That may be inevitable by now, but it is not so by the will of the Cuban people. The poll also found that a corresponding number (79 percent) believe that the present regime is incapable of solving the country's problems and that only a market-based economy could improve their daily lives (83 percent). Since it created the problems and declined to solve them by the only expedient that could — namely, disappearing from the national life — it is certainly no stretch of the imagination to suppose even in the absence of a poll that Cubans are fed up with 48 years of unrelieved economic failure supported by an unprecedented apparatus of repression, whose maintanance aggravates that failure. At best, this poll confirms what should be taken for granted by everyone since surely no people on earth wear chains as a talisman for one much less 48 years. That even the presumption should exist that this is still an open question shows the extent of the world's delusion about Communist Cuba.

600 Cubans in "14 of the 15 provinces" were polled by IRI, which I interpret to mean (since for me there are only six provinces) that 94% of the national territory was covered. What is different about this poll from, say, the recent Gallup poll which also claimed to be the most extensive and authoritative to date, is that the pollsters were in cognito when they sounded out their subjects on these various questions. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this modality. For one thing, as an official pollster — or an official anything — you are unlikely to elicit honest answers, since most Cubans would assume that you were either working on behalf of the regime or that it was monitoring your activities and would somehow gain access to your data. Gallup pointed out that engaging subjects in exploratory conversations might skew the results because the questioner must also reveal to some extent his own opinions in order to expect equal frankness from those he engages in conversation. If the pollster were to present a series of questions, one after the other, without commentary or feedback, his subject would presume, at the very least, that he was a pollster. And that would certainly never do. Just how must better are IRI's protocals than Gallup's may be be judged from the response which each received to the question, "Do you disapprove of Cuba's leadership?" 39% of those polled by Gallup answered in the affirmative. 79% of those surveyed by IRI did.

Cubanologists on the left, who are mostly concerned with justifying the Castro regime, do not believe the findings of the IRI poll to be any kind of indicator of Cubans' real feelings about the regime or Cuba's future. Phillip Peters, of the Lexington Institute and Cuban Triangle, regards the poll as a godsend — for Raúl. All he has to do now, according to Peters, is fix Cuba's economy to earn the support of the Cuban masses. This presupposes that Raúl cares about the support of the Cuban people. Having ruled 48 years without it, why should he be concerned about it now? It also assumes without any basis that if Raúl Castro were able to raise the living standard by implementing some reforms (such as allowing Cubans to own airplanes?) they wouldn't care about human rights or anything else. In this Peters is echoing Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise, which deferred civil rights for a place at the common table (or, rather, under it).

Vicki Huddleston, a fellow at the Brookings Institute and former chief of the American Interests Section in Havana, following in Wayne Smith's footsteps, as have most of his successors regardless of party, opined that the poll shows that Cubans want to reform the system in order to "preserve some things, such as free education and health care." There is more to life than going to school or getting sick. Very little of life, in fact, is spent at school or in hospital. But even if that were all there was to life the Cuban people would not be any less miserable for it, because Cuban schools are anything but free and Cuban health care both inadequate and dangerous. Still, Ms. Huddleston believes that Cubans "do like some of the things they've been given [by the Revolution] and might not be willing to give up stability for democracy." So the present situation, the greatest convulsion in Cuba's history, represents "stability" to Ms. Huddleston, while democracy, which would certainly disrupt the status quo, conduces to disorder and chaos. And what about the things that Cubans have not been "given" by the Revolution? Such as democracy, the Rule of Law, economic, civil and human rights? No, those are of no importance to the Cuban people; there both Peters and Huddleston agree. What they fear and reject — the restoration of democracy in Cuba — even the Cuban people, locked in a box for nearly 50 years, recognize intuitively as the only hope for their country. Why must Cubans choose between "stability" and democracy? Why can't they have both? Or, more to the point, why can't they be presumed to want both?


Phil Peters said...

Mr. Tellechea, I think you got a little carried away with a single sentence where I was quoted in the USA Today article.

Regarding the poll, it seems to me to be a good effort in an environment where accurate polling, as we understand it, is not really feasible.

This is certainly not the “first authoritative poll” done in Cuba. It bears noting that the poll itself has not been released. A link to the selected results that IRI released is on my blog, here.

I believe the poll is probably accurate in its finding that when Cubans are asked to identify the biggest problem they face, they predominantly cite economic issues. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want political freedom too, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t think they deserve it.

But if the poll is accurate, and if Raul Castro delivers effective economic reforms – two significant “ifs” – then he stands to benefit politically. That seems obvious, doesn’t it?
11/19/2007 10:06 PM

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Mr. Peters:

You do seem rather fixated on the idea of Raúl as an agent of change. This he never has been. What change could he possibly implement that would place him in a better position than he is right now? The only positive change that can be expected of Raúl is for him to die. If he should do so before his brother, it would be the best thing that could happen to Cuba.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For the First Time, Hispanic Surnames Among the Top Ten in the U.S.

Well, we have arrived; or, rather, the consequences of our arrival are becoming patent. As The New York Times reported today, the "Garcias Are Catching Up to The Joneses." Of course, the Cuban Garcías surpassed the Joneses, white or black, many decades ago. However, The Times does not mean economically but demographically. For the first time ever, two Hispanic surnames are now among the 10 most common in the nation. García is now the 8th most common last name and Rodríguez is 9th. Martínez almost made it to the Top Ten, but was edged out by Wilson. The rankings are based on the 2000 census. It is remarkable that it was taken the Census Bureau nearly eight years to make these calculations. By now, it is likely that Martínez is already among the Top Ten and possibly one or more Spanish surnames have cracked the name parade. As of 2000, 6 Hispanic names were among the top 25. One-fourth of the total, though Hispanics account for just 13 percent of the population (that figure is also grossly underestimated).

Well, the United States would certainly be an adornment to the other Hispanic nations. Since 1990, the U.S. Hispanic population has grown by 58 percent. A few more decades like that, while non-Hispanic whites obligingly plan, control and abort themselves into demographic extinction, and America will revert to its original inhabitants and colonists.

I see it. And so do all the Anglo bigots in this country who, if being themselves is not bad enough, must now contend with the additional humiliation that they are being unmanned in their own corral, to use a delicate phrase. They had better take a lesson from the mules or the inhabitants of Utah and stop this foolishness about building a Great Wall on the Mexican border when the Trojan horse is already intra muros.

If you know a García or a Rodríguez (and we all do), congratulate them.

Look for your surname:

Should We Cheer for Cuban Athletes At International Competitions? Only If We Revel in their Degradation

An actual discussion, sans obcenities, threats or anathemas (so far), is taking place at Babalu blog in response to Alberto de la Cruz's observation that "they must be eating out their livers in Havana right now" because the Americans beat the Cubans to win the Baseball World Cup in Taiwan. A commenter, Espirituano, observed correctly that Cubans on the island do root for their players (we might add, whether playing in Cuba or the U.S.). Cruz, and, especially, abajofidel (fantomas), forcefully brought home the point that a victory for Fidel Castro is a victory for no one except Castro, certainly not for the Cuban people or even the Cuban athletes themselves.

Do Cuban athletes represent the Cuban people? The Cuban people believe they do and they are closer to them than Americans are to their athletes. For one thing, though they receive perks which ordinary Cubans do not, these afford Cuban athletes, even at the highest levels, a lifestyle which is far, far closer to that of ordinary Cubans than the salaries of their American counterparts place them in relation to their own countrymen. A professional athlete in the U.S. can aspire to earn as much or more than a CEO of a Fortune 500 company; no athlete in Cuba earns more than a major in the army. Cuban players are obviously exploited by the regime and denied the opportunity to employ their talents to their fullest potential. All Cubans can empathize with their plight because all Cubans share it. Excluding the parasites of the regime, all other Cubans would be doing better today, whatever their positions, if the state released them from the yoke which it imposes on all Cuban workers, that is, if serfdom were abolished in Cuba. Of course, athletes are the most exploited of all Cubans; their real value, as confirmed by those who have escaped their involuntary indenture, is sometimes in the hundreds of millions of dollars; yet they are forced to squander their talents and their futures in the stables of their decrepit master at whose pleasure and for whose glory they compete — or not; for, in many cases, they are denied the opportunity even to exhibit their talents because they are deemed unworthy of the privilege of serving him.

Of course, it would be unjust to ask these young men and women to renounce their dreams of athletic glory, circumscribed as those dreams are. The ultimate dream — that of escaping and realizing their potential elsewhere — is contingent on their participation in Cuba's sports programme. No one would want them otherwise because they would be unknown quantities. That is the one advantage which accrues to them from being showcased by the regime: they get noticed. To go beyond that they must risk their lives on the high seas just as all Cuban refugees must do who want to realize their potential, or attempt the even riskier feat of defecting abroad and running the same fate as the Cuban boxers who were deported by Castro's slave catchers in Brazil.

It is correct to see Cuban athletes as victims of the regime, because they are; it is quite another thing to root for them at international competitions because that is just to applaud their status and prolong their servitude. Applause in their ears rings as hollow as that bestowed on gladiators by spectators to, and participants in, their degradation. It is well to remember that almost all Roman gladiators weren't Roman. Foreigners were sacrificed in the arena while Romans cheered. If freemen cheer the exploits of Cuban athletes they are in fact condoning their exploitation.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

In Happier Times the Seeds of Discord Were Sown

Hugo Chávez amuses Chilean president Bachelet to no end; but observe the exquisite smirk on the King's face. His eyes appear to be closed; it is not as easy to turn off the audio. The King's entire demeanor seems to be saying: "Why don't you just shut up!" Hours later he would say precisely that.

Notable & Ominous: "I Don't Want the King to Kneel Before Me"

"If the Spaniards don't want this incident to become a problem for them, they have to rectify their conduct. I am not going to ask the King to get on his knees before me, but to recognize in some way that he exceeded his limits, that he did something that was improper because he's not the king of Latin American presidents. Speaking for myself, I did nothing 'improper,' as Zapatero has suggested. I simply made an historical observation. Moratinos, for his part, has sent conciliatory messages while throwing oil on the fire by asserting that we precipitated this incident. I don't understand Moratinos. He claims that they don't want this situation to escalate but declares in Chile that Daniel [Ortega] and I crashed with Zapatero because we were defending our Old Left, which means that the Spanish government does not understand that there have been great changes in Latin America." Hugo Chávez, speaking on Venezuelan television, November 15, 2007

Oh, I think the Spanish government understands it a lot better now.

When Chávez attacks Moratinos, who is the very personification of the left-wing fellow traveller and has always been a cheerleader for both Castro and Chávez, there is more at play than a bruised ego. What Chávez sees is an opportunity to embark on the final phase of Venezuela's transformation into a Communist state by promoting a second "Bolivarian War of Independence" against Spain.

On the positive side, we may be witnessing the implosion of Spain's Socialist Party courtesy of their fraternal ally in the Socialist International.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Notable & Inevitable: Fidel Calls Zapatero a "Coward"

"All hell broke loose at the Ibero-American Summit. Zapatero’s cowardly and untimely remarks, his defense of Aznar, the King of Spain's abrupt interjection, and the dignified response of the President of Venezuela who, because of technical problems, was unable to hear precisely what the King had said, were an unambiguous display of the genocidal ways and methods of the empire and its accomplices exercised over the anesthetized victims of the Third World." Fidel Castro Ruz, Granma, November 15, 2007.

Zapatero has now been labelled a coward by Castro, who is, undoubtedly, the greatest coward in Cuban history and should know whereof he speaks in this area, at least. Whatever the benefits that might accrue to the Cuban regime from maintaining cordial relations with a spineless Spanish ally adept at softening the hard stances of other European nations is nothing compared to the material assistance which it receives on a daily basis from Castro's chief idolator and heir presumptive. Zapatero is expendable; Chávez is indispensable. A sucker like that is not born every minute. If panegyrics are the currency in which Communist Cuba repays its debts to Venezuela, then Castro's wagging tongue is a printing press that will never stop spewing the specie of the realm.

In his last days Fidel Castro reminds me more of Hitler than at any other time of his life. In this latest "reflection" he is mimicking the Hitler of the bunker days, fulminating about the German people having let him down and proving unworthy of the great mission which history had entrusted to them. Fidel Castro also feels that "the anesthetized victims of the Third World" have fallen short of the grace of Marx and he cannot but be perturbed to see that the lessons of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe did not entirely escape them as they did him.

Barry Bonds: Reviving the Salem Witch Trials or Castro's Purges

Anabolic steroids were criminalized in the U.S. in 1990. The American Medical Association (AMA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) all opposed the classification of anabolic steroids as controlled subtances at the time because "use of these hormones does not lead to the physical or psychological dependence required for such scheduling under the Controlled Substance Act." Nevertheless, Congress ignored all scientific evidence in favor of a bizarre kind of morality which proscribes certain natural or synthesized substances as avatars of evil. Alcohol was such a subtance once. In 1919, its manufacture and consumption was outlawed by Constitutional amendment, which was subsequently repealed in 1933 when it was realized that it would take a great deal of alcohol to get through the Depression and the government could use all tax revenue that its sale would generate. Still, alcohol, unlike anabolic steroids, is certainly physically and psychologically addictive and could be listed as a controlled substance tomorrow if the government so decreed it.

When alcohol was an illegal subtance in the U.S., the government did not go after athletes who used it. The period of its proscription coincided almost exactly with Babe Ruth's baseball career. Was the country's most famous alcoholic ever indicted for consuming alcohol or denying that he consumed alcohol? Were his records challenged because he was almost always drunk or nearly-drunk when he came to bat, or indeed, drunk or nearly-drunk all the time? Alcohol, of course, can be a performance enhancer or not, depending on the individual. Clearly, it worked wonders for the Bambino. (General Grant is another example).

If Barry Bonds or any baseball player used anabolic steroids before 1990, they were guilty of no crime. After anabolic steroids were made illegal in 1990, athletes were tested periodically for the use of performance-enhancement drugs. Bonds never failed any drug test administered by Major League Baseball. Yet he has just been indicted on a spate of felony charges which could send him away for 30 years for allegedly lying to a grand jury about his alleged use of anabolic steroids, ten times as long as if he had been convicted of actually using them. This tactic, incidentally, was used to convict mobsters and traitors like Alger Hiss when the statute of limitations had expired or other recourses failed. For the offense of perjury Hiss received 3 years. Obviously, it's not as great a crime to betray your country — that is, to endanger the lives of millions — as it is to endanger one's own life (allegedly). Not only does the punishment not fit the "crime" but it is tantamount to what the Victorians used to do to failed suicides — hang them.

Does anyone besides me see a grievous miscarriage of justice here? Is this not an attempt to destroy the life and reputation of a man that many see as "unworthy" to wear Hank Aaron's mantle or Babe Ruth's? This kind of historical revisionism goes far beyond attaching an "*" to his records. It is the recourse of a judiciary turned star chamber, which is not enforcing the laws but creating new "moralities" to persecute. This is always the recourse of tyranny. If there is no evidence to convict someone of a crime (even one which was invented ex post facto to entrap him), then simply declare the defendant's refusal to admit to the crime as evidence of his guilt. It worked at the Salem witch trials. It's also what enabled Fidel Castro to murder 15,000 Cubans in the first year of the Revolution. In another parallel to Castro's Cuba, a judge in California has imprisoned Bond's personal trainer, Greg Anderson, for nearly a year for refusing to testify against Bonds. Since when is testimony compulsory in this country? That's another resourse of tyranny.

Well, let Americans take care of their own house (or not). A country that implements the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy is not beyond sending Barry Bonds to jail for 30 years for denying he used steroids. Para Cuba que llora, la primera palabra.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Dignidad Ante Dinero": 82% of Spaniards In Favor of Severing Relations with Chávez's Venezuela

In a poll conducted by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, 82 percent of Spaniards were in favor of severing diplomatic relations with Venezuela over Chávez's continued insults and threats to their country.

This is the real Spain, not the caricature advanced by her enemies, whether the Castro clique or the BUCLers of unpleasant memory. The people of Spain feel no love or loyalty to Spanish conglomerates or political parties and appear to have no difficulty repudiating them. Spaniards do care about their Cuban cousins and all Spanish families are related in some degree or other to the children of the emigrantes, whose descendents constitute the majority population of the island.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Manuel, Spaniards love Cubans — especially las mulaticas. Millions of them vote with their ... every year.

Problem is that 83% vote is not in support of the Venezuelan people, it's nothing more than a predictable nationalist reaction.

No brownie points from me today.
11/16/2007 1:40 AM

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Millions of Spaniards do not visit Cuba every year. The millions stay home; the thousands visit Cuba. And who are these Spanish tourists? Fellow travellers and admirers of the gallego's son, loathesome fidelini without an island of their own to ravish. These pathetic degenerates should be attacked as I have always attacked them; but they no more represent the Spanish people than do the Spanish conglomerates.

The Spaniards' opposition to this tyrant — whether as a nationalist reaction or any other kind of reaction — will rebound to the benefit of both the Venezuelan and Cuban people. It certainly rebounds to the credit of Spaniards.

Notable & Risible: Castro Excoriates Spanish Colonialism and Warns Chávez to Beware the Ides of November

"Time, distance and space were reduced to zero. It seemed unreal. There has never been a dialogue like that between heads of state and government, representing, almost in their totality, countries sacked for centuries by colonialism and imperialism. No other incident could have been more enlightning. Saturday, November 12, 2007 will go down in the history of Our America as the day of truth. This ideological Waterloo occurred when the King of Spain asked Chávez abruptly, "Why don't you shut up?" In that instant the hearts of all Latin Americans quivered. The Venezuelan people, who on December 2 will answer "yes" or "no" [to Chávez's constitutional reforms that would allow him to remain in power indefinitely], was profoundly moved to realize that they were living anew the glorious days of Bolívar. The betrayals and low blows which our bosom friend receives on a daily basis will not change the feelings of his Bolivarian people towards him.

On his return to the airport in Caracas, from Chile, having been told from his very lips of his plans to mix freely with his people, as he has done so many times before, I understood with absolute clarity that, given the present circumstances and the far-reaching ideological victory obtained by him [at the Ibero-American Summit], a paid assassin of the Empire, a debased oligarch influenced by the Empire's propaganda machinery, or a mentally disturbed person, might try to put an end to Chavez's life. It is impossible to dismiss the impression that the Empire and the oligarchy have led Chávez up a blind alley putting him well within the reach of a bullet.

In Venezuela's case, victory will not be turned into a terrible setback but into an even greater victory, in order to prevent imperialism from leading us to the suicide of our species. We must continue fighting and running risks but not playing Russian roulette every day nor heads or tails. No one can escape mathematical calculations [of probability].

Under such circumstances it would have been preferable to use modern means of communications to transmit to the world live and direct the debates of the Summit."
Fidel Castro Ruz, "Reflections" of the Comandante," November 12, 2007

I am willing to bet my last dime that Fidel Castro actually wrote this "reflection." Either that or they have finally found a ghostwriter who can mimic him to perfection. What is more remarkable, however, is that this imitation, if in fact it is one, is not of the addled Fidel, which would be easy enough to parody, but of Fidel at the height of his powers of deception, bombast and Machiavellianism. There are so many concealed barbs in these few paragraphs, the points of which are barely visible to the eye, so much concentrated hypocrisy and dissimulation, that never was the maxim "the style is the man" more applicable.

Castro is concerned, foremost, in turning his ally's monumental embarrassment at the Ibero-American Summit into a victory. But, of course, that is not enough for Fidel. It must be a transcendental victory of the most transcendental kind; one that, literally, causes the world to pause in its revolutions, or, as Castro puts it, "reduces time, distance and space to zero." It is, moreover, the most instructive political exchange in history; an ideological Waterloo or ultimate defeat for the forces of imperialism; and it revives the glorious days of Bolivar's triumphs against colonialism. And here we thought that all that had happened of note at the Ibero-America Summit was the well-deserved desplante which the impolitic and impolite Chávez received from King Juan Carlos. It is obvious that Chávez was profoundly humiliated at the summit and he has gone from trying to dismiss the incident as irrelevant, to making fun of it, to exploiting it for political gain, to fuming at the arrogance of kings, to demanding an apology from Spain, and, finally, to threatening to nationalize Spanish banks in Venezuela. Fidel assures Chavez, however, that this was his finest hour and "the hour of truth" for all Latin America. More interesting still, Castro predicts that this may possibly be Chávez's final hour. This epoch-making victory has made him the Empire's "Public Enemy #1." Yes, he has displaced Castro himself as a target for assassination. That mantle, too, Castro is graciously ceding to his Venezuelan counterpart even before the first bullet has been fired.

Here is where the concealed barbs to which I previously alluded become more conspicuous to the trained eye. Fidel's praise is mockery. He knows his subject well enough to assume that the last person in the world who could ever see through his cynicism would be Chávez himself. And not only mockery, but payback.

Since Castro fell ill and even before, the heir presumptive has been predicting Castro's imminent demise. First, it was in the form of funereal praise: Castro could never die, Chávez said, because he is part of the earth, the air, the water, in short, elemental and eternal. To many that sounded like a eulogy in the absence of a corpse: Castro will live forever but only allegorically. Lately, Chávez has become less poetical. While transmitting his tv program "Alo Presidente" from Santa Clara, Cuba for the 40th anniversary of "Che" Guevara's death, Chávez spoke of his lastest meeting with Castro as possibly his last. The Cuban ministers of state in attendance at the live show turned redder than the red tee-shirts they were all wearing in homage to Chávez. Castro himself called the show to castigate his overeager disciple for his pessimism (optimism?). Still, one can't blame Chávez for being a little impatient. He's been paying the bills for a long time and expects some kind of return for his investment. Fidel's mantle is not good enough anymore. Hugo wants him in a shroud and soon. He certainly doesn't have the patience of Prince Charles, nor is Fidel his mother.

In these few paragraphs Castro warns Chávez against unduly exposing his life by mixing freely with the populace, which he compares to playing Russian roulette. The odds, he says, are definitely against Chávez and one can beat anything except the odds. Implicit in this is the admonition that one has to be Fidel Castro to beat the odds as he did, and that Hugo Chávez is no Fidel Castro. In fact, it is certainly possible that Fidel could outlive his replacement if that "imperialist bullet" finds Hugo Chávez and this "reflection" is Castro's way of reminding him.

Castro may be dying and senile. But his personality, at least, is unaffected.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aznar as Chávez Sees Him (Can You See This Picture Now?)

Chávez Threatens to Nationalize Spanish Banks In Venezuela: Sounds Familiar?

Hugo Chávez is threatening to nationalize Spanish holdings in Venezuela in retaliation for King Juan Carlos' verbal rebuke at the Ibero-American Summit. Zapatero and Moratinos are ready to do any penance themselves to satisfy him, afraid that they will be blamed, as already they are being blamed, for cultivating such "friends" for Spain and endangering national interests for the sake of international grandstanding. The summit was a much-needed wake-up all for the Spanish Socialists. It was not just Hugo Chávez who was castigating Spain for the very "abuses" which are always charged against the U.S. at international forums. Since this was a meeting of the leaders of "La Raza," it was the original hagemon which was the target of their resentments and envy. The most adamant denouncer among them, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, railed for an hour about his country's Spanish-owned electric company. Public utilities were always a popular target in Latin America. In pre-Castro Cuba, the U.S.-owned Cuban Telephone Company was perhaps the only foreign monopoly which everybody hated. When Cuba was Cuba, Spain was poorer than Cuba so there were no great Spanish-owned conglomerates in Cuba other than those which belonged to Spanish emigrants whose roots were no longer in the motherland. By contrast, in Venezuela today, Spanish investments are held by Spanish capitalists who have no roots in their host country. It is even easier, then, to foment popular resentment again them and use that as a pretext to tighten the government's stranglehold on the economy.

All foreigners must be evicted in order for Venezuela to become the Socialist (read robber) state which Hugo Chávez says he wants it to be. The first page in the manual of economic ruin, which Castro graciously lent his Venezuelan protege and benefactor, is to privatize, nationalize, and, preferably, confiscate without compensation, all foreign capital. This is always the preclude to the theft of all national wealth regardless of whether it is in foreign or native hands.
After Chávez has confiscated Spanish investments in Venezuela — say a decade or two later — he will offer to settle all Spanish claims, now deemed irrecuperable and already written off, for a fraction of a cent on the dollar. The duped will rejoice that they were able to recover even that much, and calculating that bigger investments will offset past losses, grandiose plans will again be drawn for Spanish capitalization. Now, of course, it will be a different kind of investment. The state (Chávez) will be a majority holder in all new enterprises and the salaries of Venezuelan nationals will be paid directly to him, who in turn will allocate some pittance to his hapless subjects, negligible except when compared to the even smaller pittance which the state pays its unindentured servants. Of course, being partners and mindful of each other's interests, Chávez will never again raise the specter of the Black Legend in Venezuela. Once the Spanish firms are in effect working for him there will be no need to decry them as exploiters when it is in his interest to have them refine and expand their exploitation.

In order to reap this double-fortune Chávez must lay the groundwork with a concerted campaign of vilification against Spain and Spaniards. Or perhaps just demand an apology from a Spanish king intent on upholding the honor of his people and his country. All would work as Chávez had hoped and Castro assured him except for his own Socialist allies in Spain who are intent on ruining a good thing for Chávez by kow-towing ten meters into the ground if necessary to placate him and forestall the inevitable piñata until their conservative opponents are in office again, when they will be free to blame the confiscations on their "intransigence" while simultaneously applauding Chávez's "purification of national interests" or "dignification of his people."

Notable & Pedantic: Cubans Are Now "Cubands"

"Cubands is an elastic and all-inclusive term I developed in order to simultaneously take account of the layered presences that constitute Cuban cultural and national identity (such as those of Spain, Africa, Ireland, France, the United States and the former Soviet Union, etc.) as well as allow room for the hybrid identities that are continuously transforming in an ever-changing diasporic context, which is at once global and transnational... Added to the mix are the experiences and expressions of Cubands, either born or raised outside the island, who claim to possess a Cuban consciousness that has been shaped as a result of what I term a second-hand experience of exile... The diversity that exists within the Cuban diasporic population, coupled with the permutations and transformations that have occurred outside the island, thus speaks directly to the need to relinquish and move beyond a monolithic idea of nation or cultural identity, or the misleading binary of island and diaspora, aquí y allí. The emphasis then is not so much on locating 'home,' but on the fluid process of voyaging between identities and worlds; in other words, the journey is 'home.' In this sense we as Cubands — on and off the island — are at once post- and trans-national. " Andrea O'Reilly Herrera, author of Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced, quoted in The Miami Herald, November 14, 2007

Professor O'Reilly is the very proud of herself. Proud of her Irish extraction. Proud of being the chairman of the department of "Ethnic Studies" at Colorado University. Proud of her theory that there is no such thing as a static Cuban nationality. But proud, above all else, of having invented the word cuband. You don't understand this professor's "cutesiness?" Well, let me parse it for you: Cuba + and = nothing. This formula may be too easy for the professor to understand and she would certainly disavow it if she could. But, in a nutshell, that is her philosophy. We are nothing because we are nothing in particular, just hybrids. Second-generation exiles are the biggest nothings of all, because they received their national and cultural consciousness at second hand. In fact, according to Professor O'Reilly, they even experienced exile at second hand. O'Reilly Herrera believes that our "journey" (read exile) is home and that we had better resign ourselves to this fact. On the other hand, "Cubands" are in the vanguard of the post-national world. For her, statelessness is the promised land and perfection of human existence. And we happy, happy Cubans and "Cubands" got there first.

Of course, Professor O'Reilly Herrera is herself a cuband. Which is to say, a specter, an illusion, nothing. Yet this "nothing" is very vocal about her ideas of what constitutes a Cuban nationality and what does not. Shouldn't "nothing" be more circumspect? Shouldn't "nothing" know her place or her "non-place?" Nothing certainly should.