Although there are very few things that RCAB and Babalú admire in common, there are a great many things that we hate in common. Near the top of that list, along with Lesnick, Aruca and Montiel-Davis, is Ana Menéndez, the transplanted Valley girl who discovered in her 30s that being Cuban — or the right (that is, left) sort of Cuban, anyway — could jump start a stalled writing career and make her the pin-up girl for every Cuban-hater in the universe. Her ignorance of all things Cuban and her contempt for all things Cuban were invaluable credentials in becoming a media expert on all things Cuban.
But she possessed something else which set her apart from the other "Cuban experts" anointed by The Miami Herald as representatives of a community which did not know them, and, worse, which they did not know: Ana Menéndez only consented to "pass" as Cuban if she could make it clear in each and every column that she was not a Cuban exile, but better, nobler and more sophisticated, an almost unique pattern of Cubanhood which had evolved in exile along the same lines as Castro's "New Man (Woman)" without the excuse of indoctrination or coercion.
She was such a perfect stooge of left-wing interests that the only way we could hope to rid ourselves of her was through promotion, and the gods have smiled upon us when they heaped on her more unearned honors and cushy sinecures. A Fulbright Fellowship — named after one of the Senate's most strident anti-Communists, architect of the Cuban trade embargo, relentless enemy of the Castro regime and reliable friend of Cuban exiles — has been awarded to this disciple of accommodation, apologist for the Castro regime and inveterate enemy of her exiled countrymen. The irony is so rich that it is almost lethal to consume it let alone savor it. I am sure that Fulbright himself would appreciate it.
Thanks to the agency of the old Cold Warrior this execrable woman is to be sent out of the country for one year, to Lebanon, of all places, the land of her ancient ancestors, where she will impart her wisdom on Cuba (which she has never seen) to that country's hapless university students. There is at least one valuable lesson which she can teach them: how Cuba, once the "Lebanon of the Caribbean," and Lebanon, once the "Cuba of the Middle East," shared a common fate which was consummated 50 years ago: both, once vibrant redoubts of civilization, are now wastelands; Lebanon, because of a civil war and numerous invasions; and Cuba, because one man, without dropping a single bomb, turned marble to dust.
The good news doesn't stop there, however. After her return from Lebanon, she will became an international correspondent, which means that she will spend most of her time out of the country, still writing for The Miami Herald but not about Miami anymore. This is the best possible news for all Cuban exiles, whom Menéndez will now have to go out of her way to malign. One Cuban, more than the others, will celebrate this fact: her own beleaguered father.
The only time that I was ever moved by anything that Ana Menéndez wrote was when she related the anguish and shame which her father felt because she was his daughter. How on one occasion, in particular, he stopped speaking to her because he interpreted her negative portrayal of our community as a rejection of her own parents. I felt sorry, of course, for him, not for her. And now I feel sorry for Lebanon, as if it didn't have troubles enough.
The royal palms sway carelessly today and the cedars of Lebanon shake with fear.
Also of interest:
Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles (09/24/07)
RCAB is proud to announce that it will issue its first commemorative virtual lithograph (suitable for printing) to mark the migration to greener pastures of former Miami Herald columnist Ana Menéndez. Do not miss it. It is sure to become a virtual collector's item. Keep looking here and it shall soon appear and just as soon disappear (we don't want to glut the market).