In the most characteristic Stalinist manner, without an explanation but consonant with its unethical practices and complete want of transparency, George Moneo's name has disappeared from Babalú's masthead as a contributing writer. Although he posted irregularly by his own admission and rarely about Cuba, Moneo was more than just another of Babalú's "cadre" of co-editors. Preceded in seriority only but Henry Gómez and Val Prieto himself, Moneo was well-known for his low threshold of tolerance for the opinions of others, and although not the only one to censor commenters at Babalú, he seemed to take the most pleasure in it and was the most vocal about it. It is ironic, therefore, that George himself should have been ousted from Babalú for expressing opinions that Val deemed diversionary and unacceptable.
As we noted early this morning, George's post asserting that Babalú was a "conservative blog" and not one dedicated exclusively to Cuba was unceremoniously yanked from today's featured line-up. As this is not an uncommon occurrence at Babalú, where posts tend to vanish only to reappear days or even months later, we at first assumed that George had thought better of it and removed the controversial post himself or agreed to its removal. Since Babalú bills itself as "an island on the net without a bearded dictator," George's assertion that the "island" was not "insular" (that is, an island) seemed to contradict its mission statement and caused deep distress to its founder Val Prieto, self-proclaimed father of the Cuban blogosphere.
Both George and Henry had tried Val's patience lately by turning Babalú into an anti-McCain blog, ignoring the Republican candidate's lifelong support for Cuban freedom and focusing, instead, on the fact that he was not a Newt Gingrich clone and hence unworthy in their estimation to carry his party's banner. Henry was by far more dogmatic and persistent in his bashing of McCain and cheerleading for Barack Obama. Val, however, was no doubt afraid to move against Henry who is the blog's most prolific writer and plays a bigger role in setting its agenda than does Val. By purging George, Val not only rids himself of an insidious influence but sends a timely warning to Henry that Babalú is his baby and that he won't become a pariah in Republican circles, no longer to receive invitations to the White House or participate in conference calls on Cuba policy, because others use Babalú to wage their internecine turf wars against his interests.
Moneo's departure, although it will hardly be felt at Babalú, will be more conspicuous from the Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour, which he has hosted more frequently lately than either Henry or Val. Although with ten regular listeners to the show's live broadcast even this cannot be said to impact it too much.
Now all the contributing writers' names have disappeared from Babalú's masthead, leaving only Val's as the editor. No doubt this was done to conceal the absence of George Moneo's name.