Monday, March 24, 2008

The Birth of RCAB: Its Foundational Documents

[On March 29, 2007, the Review of Cuban-American Blogs published its inaugural post entitled "The Biggest Cocksucking in Cuban-American Blog History." The history of its birth is already well-known: I was booted from Babalú when Val Prieto declared that the next person to criticize the Estefans would be. Actually, I had made a rather mild comment before Val issued his edict of expulsion. Nevertheless, Val, who should have known better, booted me ex post facto, thereby committing the biggest mistake of his blogging career. He realized it soon enough and within minutes had rescinded his ban. Of course, the executioner cannot recall the blade once it has fallen. A moment's rashness turned into a year's lament for Val. What he had intended as no more than a casual insult (back then, when Babalú actually had commenters, Val was quite fond of abusing them) devolved on him with such fury that it stunned him for a moment. When he recovered (?) Val penned his rebuttal entitled "I'm a Cocksucker, Don't You Know" and I replied again by deconstructing and annotating his own remarks. (That, incidentally, is a definition of hanging someone by his own petard). These are the two foundational documents of the RCAB. We present them for those who may have missed them the first time around (which was mostly everybody). As readers of RCAB know, the anger that I felt originally towards Val & Co. was largely sublimated into humor long ago. I regard them now with no personal animosity but merely as convenient props for illustrating common errors which are perpetrated from within our community to its detriment. I note with some satisfaction that my admonishments have not gone unheeded and that Babalú has rectified many errors in policy and polity over the past year. Of course, this progress is offset in part by newer errors. It is not Val, however, who is responsible for most of the latest aberrations but Henry Gómez, who has effectively wrested control of Babalú from Val and is leading it in unexpected and strange paths, which are more calculated to effect its discredit than anything I ever wrote in the spirit of constructive criticism].

The Biggest Cocksucking In Cuban-American Blog History

"I Hang My Head in Shame" [As Well You Might]
by Val Prieto (as annotated by Manuel A. Tellechea)

The majority of the time I live my life with the utmost pride that I am a Cuban exile, [you mean that there are times when you have not felt proud to be a Cuban-American?] and that I have never been and never will be part and parcel of that communist scourge that plagues the island of my birth [having left the island at age 3 that would hardly be possible and whatever credit is owed in that regard belongs to your parents]. Yet there are moments, very few and very far between, that a profound and all encompassing sense of shame of being a Cuban Exile envelops me [yes, we know, you have already unbosomed yourself].

As I type this, I live in that envelop [envelope?]. Never have I ever felt such embarrassment and such remorse and self-disgust [at being a Cuban-American, again].

I just got off the phone with Emilio Estefan [some people feel enriched just talking to a semi-billionaire] and I will state here publicly [is there any other way?], in no uncertain terms, that he and Gloria deserve an apology from each and every one of us [you don't say?] for our trampling of their reputations [do you speak for yourself or everybody else?] vis-a-vis their upcoming album 90 Millas [so which has been trampled, their reputations or the album? Their album is an unknown quantity and the Estefans themselves will shortly prove one too]. I feel ashamed simply for even having the slightest doubt as to their convictions, whether or not I stated these publicly or not [so you are apologizing for what was in your heart, the secrets of which only you know, like Jimmy Carter?].

So here it is, like it or not:

I support Gloria and Emilio Estefan's new work 90 Millas completely and wholeheartedly [although you have never seen it nor do you know its contents] and I will not allow [even if I must resort to censorship] any further slander of their persons [if published it's libel, not slander] or conviction [?] on this blog. It seems, my first instinct were 100% correct when Henry posted on this subject last week [really, 100%! That's infallibility. I think you may fall a little short of that].

No one here knows what is exactly on that album [and neither do you].

No one here knows what conversations the Estefans had prior, during and after the recording with Carlos Santana [and neither do you, except on Estefan's authority, which for you is vox dei].

No one here knows what the album is truly about [you said that already], who else is featured on same and what the accompanying documentary features and focuses on [but we do know that the "Che"-loving Castro (p)sycophant Carlos Santana will be featured there].

Moreover, you can criticize their music til your hearts content [no, that's what the critics do], but as I've stated here and elsewhere, the Estefans have been impeccable examples of the Cuban exile community their entire lives [yes, the Oprah and Stedman of Cuban-Americans] and have represented our community and its convictions with dignity, class and honesty [and don't forget altruism], with little or no thought to their professional careers [is there even one minute in the last 30 years that their careers have not been at the center of their thoughts and lives?] and despite being in an industry where their particular views - our views - [are you sure their views are our views?] are less, much less, than popular and constantly criticized and denigrated [the Estefans are Democrats, friends of Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela and champions of all the liberal causes; their liberal political allies have certainly never denigrated them].

There are some folks out their who are of the belief that the Estefans dont do enough for the freedom of Cuba given their public exposure and notoriety [in fact, they do nothing for the Cuban cause compared to what they do for liberal causes]. To those folks all I can say is you are dead wrong [about what? The Estefans have never contributed anything but lipservice to any Cuban cause, including Elian]. While they may not be constantly in the news spouting the evils of fidel castro and his regime, they have taken on industries, kings, presidents, the United Nations and countless other people and entities ["taken them on," you say? That means that they have met with world leaders who were sympathetic to Castro. Well, one, at least, Nelson Mandela and they didn't "take him on"]. That implies that they have met enemies of [what?] and are always fighting for what all of you here and I are fighting for on a daily basis, only they have been doing so their entire adult lives [oh, the Estefans not only fight more than us but they have been doing it longer than any other exiles. Imagine, two people doing more than 2 million, and still managing, in the process, to make a half-billion dollars!].

Our passion sometimes get the better of us [you don't say?] and when we jump the gun [yes, a very apropos phrase, that about 'jumping the gun'], as in this case [really?], we only hurt ourselves and our cause [you are right there]. And then we certainly live up to that stigma that we are always trying to rectify [how can one "live up" to a "stigma"? Do you mean that we deserve the "stigma"? You must because you say we are trying to "rectify" it].

In the words of Emilio: "Some of the comments directed at me and Gloria questioning our convictions as Cubans and as exiles are like mentandome la madre" [no they are not. Besides, why should it matter to Emilio Estefan if any of his compatriots "question his convictions" if he and Gloria actually lived up to them? What, they haven't gotten enough of their usual brown-assing quota from the community this month? Well, you've just got them over that hump].

I apologize to Gloria and Emilio, personally [that is your right], for any discord or detriment this blog may have caused and I hope you all will do the same [yes, sir, with all deliberate speed, let all of us bow before their power and wealth as you do].

Update: I forgot to menton that Emilio will be issuing a press release tonight or tomorrow regarding this which Ill post as soon as it's recieved [that is true and to your credit].

Someone [Henry?] mentioned to me that perhaps Emilio may be doing some PR damage control and that perhaps the call and the subsequent media appearances - Emilio was on a phone interview on TV just after speaking to me - are an attempt to diffuse waht could be a major issue regarding 90 Millas. That may be so [what else could it be? Does Emilio call you everyday?], but from my conversation and what I took from it, he is more angry about criticisms regarding their convictions from their own community. That said and my conversation being off the record, time will most certainly tell [and within the hour]. Should I have been duped or be wrong, Ill be the first to publicly eat crow [while still continuing to defend them].Val Prieto, Babalú, March 27, 2007


"I'm a Cocksucker, Don't Ya Know." Yes We Do, Val

"I'm a Cocksucker, Dont Ya Know"
by Val Prieto (annotated by Manuel A. Tellechea)

One would think that after nearly four years of blogging day in and day out about Cuba [that's 1460 days] and the reality of same [of what? blogging 1460 days about Cuba?], that after nearly four years of taking on leftists, fidelistas, communists, and other assorted idiots, [didn't you want to take them on?] that after four years of arguing with and about the MSM, [have you actually argued with the MSM?] politicos and assorted officials, [you've never argued with politicians except those that take no cognizance of you, but never with our "don't-rock-the-boat" Cuban-American congressmen and senators] that after four years of busting my ass from sun up to sundown, [which you wouldn't have done, otherwise?] that after four years of being called a fascist, an asshole, a right wing extremist, close-minded, intransingent and a slew of other ephiteths, [I think you mean "epithets"] that after four years of death threats and picking up coconuts and dead chickens from the front of my home, [why do you "pick up" the evidence? why don't you pick up the phone and call the police?] all because of and on behalf of my work for the freedom of Cuba, [a fair assumption, but an assumption nonetheless; it could just be that your neighbors hate you] I would have at least earned a modicum of respect [is a "modicum of respect" all the respect you want?]. Not a reverence, [oh, is reverence what you think you deserve?] , mind you, [mind yourself] nor some shrine dedicated to me, [like the Virgin of Charity's, perhaps?] but just a simple nod, if not for my personal opinions, [certainly not] but [you mean "then," not "but"] for the thousands and thousands of hours work depicted here on the pages and archives of this blog and the thousands and thousands of hours spent behind the scenes in a humble attempt to [do] something for the island of my birth and the people therein. [But didn't you say that the Estefans have done more for the cause of Cuba than all of us put together? Then why are you taking credit for "thousands" of hours of work when surely they must have done millions (at least)?].

But no. I am called a cocksucker by someone who is supposedly my own and who is supposedly on the same side of the argument as that of this blog. A cocksucker. [Why? Because of what you said about the Estefans, criticism of whom you expressly forbade on your blog upon penalty of expulsion].

For four years I have been arguing with pro-dialogue Cuban-Americans who always claim that this Cuban-American community behaves like rabid fascists, knee-jerk reactionaries and intransignet extremists who turn on their own if the opinions expressed by others aren't on a par with that of the "community." "Nonsense," Ive always said. You need look no further than the archives and writings of this blog to prove that this is not true. Some of us dont turn on our own [yeah, just the "rabid fascists, knee-jerk reactionaries and intransigent extremists" which you claim exist in our ranks and to which you imply I belong]. Some of us dont shit where we eat [certainly not you. Although whatever made you think you could eat off the Estefans' plate, I'll never know]. Some of us prefer to not air our dirty laundry, however tempting that may be, so it will not be detrimental to the community as a whole [you mean like not airing your dirty laundry exactly as you are doing right now?].

Manuel Tellechea, who has always been afforded a voice on this blog, who, despite much commentary where this blogger has disagreed with wholeheartedly [the only times you ever disagreed with me was when I attacked Bush and the Coast Guard for the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy and when I questioned the motives of the Estefans in embracing Santana] , has never been debased nor denigrated nor publicly scorned here by myself or by others [should I have expected to be "debased, denigrated or publicly scorned" for my opinions on Bush and the Estefans? Wasn't booting me enough?]. It is not that I have not disagreed with him, nor found his arguments to be less than realistic and sane, nor found them to be detrimental to the cause, I have many a time. [Wow! My arguments were "less than realistic and sane" and "detrimental to the cause" to boot, and yet you never took me on!]. And I have vehemently disagreed with him on many occassions [still in petu] , but never, never, have I taken him to task publicly nor with disdain and merciless criticism and slanderous accusation [again, you want brownie points for this?]. Never, ever, has this son of a welder [what does that have to do with anything except to sow class hatred?] referred to an "intellectual and moral bastion" such as Manuel as a cocksucker or anything to that effect [I have never given you cause to].

I was brought up with respect and taught to respect others, whether their opinions were diametrically opposed to mine [the only people whose opinions are "diametrically opposed" to yours are the fidelistas. Do you "respect" them?].

Yet Manuel Tellechea chose my Shame post, where I stated my opinion and feelings upon realizing that my community had perhaps jumped the gun vis-a-vis the Estefans/Carlos Santana issue [no, you jumped the gun in defending them], and in which post I not only spoke from the heart [with all the insincerity you could muster], but had the fortitude and integrity [praising yourself again?] to immediately admit I was wrong when same was proven [What else were you going to do after the Estefans made you look like a fool? Nevertheless, you continued your proscription against anyone criticizing the Estefans on your blog upon penalty of expulsion], to not only begin a new blog [as is my right] but to call me out as a "cocksucker" [Not exactly right. I didn't call you a "cocksucker" but did say that you had participated in the biggest act of cocksucking in the history of Cuban-American blogging. Still, I must admit that cocksuckers are as cocksuckers do].

The irony of this is that through his very first post, the mere fact that he not only self-righteously criticized my post, denigrated my name and labeled me a cocksucker, Manuel pretty much confirmed the criticisms I expressed in the Shame post to begin with. [My first post on the RCAB consisted of reproducing your "I Hang My Head in Shame" post and annotating it. You denigrated your own name by writing it]. He shat on his own [you mean I shat on you] and publicly debased the person [didn't you mean to say "exalted person," or is that implied?] that has been fighting it out here on the internet on behalf of Cuba the longest and with the most exposure [the longest, no; with the most exposure, probably]. All because I refused to shit on Gloria and Emilio Estefan, however meritted it may have been or still be, in public. [Well, you finally got over those scrupples 4 months later, when you allowed the Estefans to be called "traitors" on your blog. I guess they did not quite fulfill your expectations of them in the interim: no more phone calls and Emilio even reneged on his invitation to "do" lunch with you].

Mind you, Mr. Tellechea was not privy to any correspondence between myself and the Estefans, nor was he privy to my actions behind the scenes nor was he privy to my heated conversations with Emilio Estefan and other members of his organization. [If you had wanted to make me or your other readers at Babalu privy to any of that you could have. But you didn't because you promised the Estefans you wouldn't and your first allegiance was to them].

I am fallible just like any other human being is [you mean you are not the pope], and I have made many mistakes in my tenure on Babalu as in life [you forgot to add "as every other human being has done"], but I have always been true to my principles and my convictions and I would have been dishonest with you all and myself, had I not proffered my sentiments on the issue. [No one objected to you "proferring your sentiments." What I objected to was your refusal to allow others to proffer theirs without threat of expulsion]. While my position may not have been the popular one, nor necessarily, in hindsight, the correct one, had I not expressed my opinion honestly it would have been an affront to my integrity [and a credit to your commonsense].

Because, in the long run, it's all about integrity, Manuel. And this cocksucker still holds his head up high. I wish I could say the same for you. [What? Cocksucker without quotation marks? You are calling yourself a cocksucker and one who holds his head high about being a cocksucker? You leave me speechless and I leave you exactly where I found you — with your mouth wide open]. Val Prieto, Babalú, April 2, 2007


Vana said...

I cannot believe it has been a year since this fine blog began, it's also a first year for me as it was in this blog I made my first comment, loved rereading the whole thing again.

Congratulations Manuel on your first anniversary, may it be around for many years to come!

Anonymous said...

Ha! A great laugh last year and still a great one a year later. Terrific ending!


Fantomas said...

Manuel pareces un niño de high school sacando trapos sucios ,chismes, dimes y diretes deja eso compadre it makes you look so inferior

you have much talent use it wisely

Iam still waiting for your stats

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

fantomas. :

It's called history. You have a blog history too, fantomas, except that you are afraid to air yours. Maybe I shall do you the favor. After all, you are also a part of RCAB's history.

Anonymous said...

If I laugh anymore I am going to die. Manuel, I hope I never do you dirty.

Fantomas said...

except that you are afraid to air yours. Maybe I shall do you the favor. After all, you are also a part of RCAB's history.

No manuel tu no me vas a air nothing, gracias , dont need your favors , not only Iam part of Rcab's history , Iam who kept RCAB open, interesting and fun , without me this blog could have folded a long time ago

You owe me big


Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The Babalunians are well aware of the part that you played in popularizing RCAB and will never forgive you. George Moneo went down in flames cursing you for it.

Fantomas said...

Dont stir it Mat, dont

Ms Calabaza said...

Happy Blog Anniverary. I've learned a great deal of history from you and everyone once in a while I need to take out my dictionary . . . phew! You can write.

carlos miller said...


You need to change the date in your opening line to 2007.

Although I don't agree with you on everything about Cuba, I do agree with you more than I do with the Babalunians.

One thing I never liked about them is how they took the stance of the right-wing republicans against immigrants.

I remember Val even went as far as saying that other Latin American immigrants, unlike Cubans, enter this country with a sense of entitlement.

It takes a lot to offend me, but I found that quite offensive.

I spent eight years in the Southwest, including two where I lived 30 miles from the Mexican border in New Mexico, and nothing could be further from the truth.

You either support immigrant rights or you don't. As the son of immigrants, it is very hypocritical to criticize other immigrants who want nothing more than to provide a better life for their children.

I also like this blog because we are able to have civil discussions without resorting to personal insults, which is common on other blogs.

Charlie Bravo said...

Happy "birthday" Manuel.....

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


And "Happy Birthday" also to you and Killcastro on the occasion of the first anniversary of Black Sheep of Exile which, as I recall, was born a day or two after RCAB.

realistic reviews said...

Lovely reviews ..very good

realistic reviews said...

The only word to describe is hilarious...

Anonymous said...

A writer like you comes once in a 1000 years.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Why so stingy? Writing is 8000 years old.

Agustin Farinas said...

Congratulations on your first year anniversary.
I remember when it seemed that only a few of us were lurking around here to make comments, but now I see a great many folks giving their opinions on all sorts of things. I now I have enjoyed the year and I am sure many other have too.
As usual, Fantomas wants to take center stage and says your blog would be dead without him. Well, let's consider the source of that comment and take it from there.
He has been lucky that you decided to let him loose from the Madhouse.
He has been keeping a low profile lately and we are all much happier for it.
Happy Anniversary! Keep up the good work and let's keep those postings coming. Interesting and funny reading at RCAB.

Anonymous said...

I loved your blog. Thank you.