Sunday, April 13, 2008

Notable & Almost Quotable: Helping Henry Make Sense

"They are all people [Ana Menéndez, Aruca, Lesnick, Aruca and Rangel] that hate the exile community and are openly embracing [Joe] Garcia, not because he's a fidelista (he's not) but because the change these people seek is not in Cuban policies that make Cuba a failed police state but instead a change to American policy that doesn't recognize the legitimacy of a government that killed scores of our countrymen and imprisoned scores more." -- Henry "Economist" Gómez, "Barnyard Wisdom," Babalú, April 13, 2008

What's wrong with this statement?

Doctrinally, nothing; we all know what Henry means to say even if he does not quite say it, or says it badly.

First of all, no Cuban patriot should ever refer disparagingly to Cuba when it is Castro that he means. The two are not interchangeable. On the contrary, they are antithetical. If he is going to attack "Cuba" it must be qualified as "Communist Cuba" which is the antithesis of the real Cuba, or, to make it simpler for Henry, the "unCuba."

Moreover, Communist Cuba is not a "failed police state." It is an eminently successful police state. In fact, it is successful at being a police state and nothing else.

It is at the end that Henry's sentence collapses completely, as so many of his sentences do. It is his attempt at an antithesis that dooms it because Castro's repressive policies and U.S. foreign policy are not in any sense equals, much less the same thing. You can compare and contrast U.S. foreign policy and Castroite foreign policy. You can compare and contrast Castro's repression of the Cuban people to American complicity in their repression. But you can't compare the policies of a police state to policies (or even politics) of a democratic state. To obscure, or, perhaps, in a failed attempt to clarify matters the "Conductor" loads the antithesis with too much rhetorical baggage (the "scores" of dead) and derails it at the end.

We are still puzzled by his statement that "the [Cuban] government [sic] killed scores of our countrymen and imprisoned scores more." Does Henry know what a "score" is? It's just 20 people. Of course, one could say that Castro has killed "5,000 score" of our countrymen, but isn't that a bit contrived and self-defeating when the "100,000" he uses elsewhere is far more direct and powerful?

It is possible, of course, that when Henry wrote "our countrymen" he did not mean Cubans but Americans, who are, after all, his countrymen because he was born in this country. In that case he would be correct. Castro has indeed killed scores and imprisoned scores more of his American countrymen. Here, again, we hope that he is not implying that these incarcerations and deaths are more to be lamented than the myriads of Cuban dead. Of course, this is exactly what U.S. courts ruled when they handed the relatives of the handful of U.S. citizens killed by Castro $200 million per head from the frozen assets of the Cuban Republic in U.S. banks while refusing to compensate with even one cent Castro's Cuban victims.

Finally, Henry refers to the Castro regime as a "government" which bestows a legitimacy on it that it does not deserve. Let others who accept it as legitimate call it a "government." Free Cubans never should without calling attention to that absurdity (with "so-called government" or "government [sic]" as above). Otherwise it should always be "the regime," "the dictatorship," "the tyranny," or any other appellation that attests to its illegitimacy. That Henry should use "government" to describe the Cuban dictatorship is particularly ironic because he is condemning those who bestow legitimacy on it (like Charlie Rangel or Ana Menéndez).


We've just noticed something about this post that we had overlooked before. The "Conductor" is no more. Henry Gómez has discarded the moniker that he used since he began blogging and now signs his posts at Babalú by his baptisimal name: "Henry Louis Gómez." (Sounds so very Bourbon). It seems "Conductor" had acquired a rather bitter taste in Val's mouth after Henry tried to wrest control of Babalú from its august editor-in-chief. So the "Conductor" has made his last run on Babalú. Henry could, of course, have adopted a less dictatorial title. "Maestro," perhaps? A "maestro" is also a conductor, of a different kind. Henry, however, is content to be his unpretentious self for now.

Henry can call himself whatever he wants; but we shall continue to refer to him as "Henry 'Economist' Gómez," a name which was bestowed on him when he revealed, to the astonishment of all and sundry, that he majored in economics at college. We shall keep "Economist" because it is a token of the respect we have always accorded him.


Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that you respect him because what would you do to him if you didn't.

Simon, the deli owner said...

Conductor, like, the Great Conductor, and in Stalin or Kim Il Sung?
Not even my old foe Hitler dreamt ever of being a conductor.
Conductor, shmuctor....

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Henry had in mind a train conductor, his dreams of grandiosity, at the beginning of his blogging career, being rather circumspect. But, as you point out, he outgrew the confines of the caboose and imagined himself, like those other "Great Conductors," at the helm of a ship of state. Unfortunately for him, the "Minnow" already had a captain and Gilligan's island wasn't on the map.

Vana said...


The whole post explaining what Henry means is awsome, but the punch line in the poscript...LMAO, what can I say, Love It!

Ms Calabaza said...


don't you think that calling out Ana Menendez's physical looks diminishes the message? I have a problem with putting down people for the way they look when there is so much that can be said about ideas.

I find his "equine" and "barnyard" comments is low. People in glass houses should not be throwing stones . . . methinks.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

In our society, people's looks define them as much as anything else. It's unfortunate but it's a fact. The 19th century was not as shallow. One of its sirens was the (female) author George Sand, whose equine looks and sexual allure to men were both legendary.

As for Ms. Menéndez, she has made a career of portraying her fellow Cuban exiles as monsters more horrifying than any horse.

Ms Calabaza said...

I confess I have not read much of Ana Menendez. Years ago, I really enjoyed reading Ana Balmaseda but she's gone. I guess Menendez was her replacement.

Did anyone see Fantomas last night? I did not and was wondering if anyone got to see the TV show . . .

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

If internet tv is anything like blog radio, it should be possible to see the show whenever one wants.

If fantomas is proud of his performance, I am sure that he will provide us with the pormenores.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Henry "chivato" Gomez said: that killed scores of our countrymen and imprisoned scores more.

Wow, so what Henry literally meant is that Fidel killed "only" 40 Cubans. MAT, after the recent "outings" by Henry and Val. I think Henry's "score sentence" was a deliberate attempt to minimize Fidel's crimes. My eight year niece knows that a score equals twenty.

Nevertheless, before last week, Henry's remarks would have been chalked up as just more stupidity. Now, i take a more skeptical view of Henry's "so called" mistakes or oversights. And now view Henry's words through the prism of a "chivato."

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Remember that Henry had a very special education at Belén School on the knees of those octogenerian Falanguist priests who doubtless taught him everything they taught Fidel but to less effect.

P.S.: John, you have not commented on "Toasters and Cubans" (previous post). Your observations on that subject would no doubt be very hard-hitting and most welcome.

Ms Calabaza said...

"Henry Louis" sounds much more apropos for his planned emergence in the American punditry. What a self-promoter . . . today he's decided to promote George's essay ONLY to be able to plug his one at C/A Pundits . . . Ugh!

BTW, did you know he went to Belen?

nonee moose said...

MAT, why all the scapegoating on the Jesuits? Isn't just rationalizing your rejection by them enough?

You were such a peaceful man...

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Mat said: John, you have not commented on "Toasters and Cubans

Yah i was surprised that nothing formulated in my mind. My inability to form a post, was due in large part to my mother asking me to clean up her basement that i live in it.


Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Henry recently bragged that he was educated by some of the same priests who moulded Fidel. This is what I was referencing about the Jesuits: Fidel and Henry.

No one has ever rejected me, nonee. If I were a Jesuit, I would be the order's Superior General by now and would be doing my best to get it banned by the pope a second time.

Vana said...

Henrys way of explaining himself with too many words, leaving one like uh? what did he say? reminds one of his fellow Belen alumni dying in Cuba.

nonee moose said...

So when you call the Cuban Jesuits falangistas, you mean it in a good way?

Well, at least it means they were anti-communists, at least back then...

It is good to know you are a bit subversive yourself.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Did you find anything of interest in the basement?

Old toasters?


Other instruments of freedom?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Recommended reading: Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which demonstrates that Fascism and its variants (= the Spanish Falange), Naziism and Communism are on the same historical and ideological continuum.

Fascism (or Naziism) is not the opposite of Communism. The opposite of Fascism, Naziism as well as Communism is democracy.

Hence it should surprise no one that the Jesuit priests at Belén, radical falangists all, should have produced an admirer of Mussolini who turned into a tropical Hitler under the aegis of Communism.

Mamey said...

Yes, it's odd that Monsieur Gomez should point out his Belen connection to the tyrant. Is it like a guy who is proud to have slept with a gal who in turned had slept with a celebrity? Yuck!
Perhaps he is not a Bourbon genetically, but must have plenty of bourbon in the blood.

nonee moose said...

So you're using falange, but not in the traditional sense, rather in the a bagel is like a pretzel-sense?

I haven't read Jonah Goldberg, though I am familiar with the political ideology continuum. All political ideologies happen to be on it. It is very difficult to figure when you've gone too far until you're in the throes of consequence. And the greatest obstacle to preemptive clarity? Moral certainty. There's enough of that to be found on any point on the continuum.

Humans. Meh.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Nonee said: It is very difficult to figure when you've gone too far until you're in the throes of consequence

Impressive. It is unfortunate that you refuse to tap your potential more often. I find that this has been a common trait within "some" communities within Miami!!