Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bigotry Against Anti-Castro Cuban Gays at Babalú

Pototo, Babalú's oldest (surviving) commenter, has booted himself because of what he perceives as a pro-gay bias there. He says that he refuses to "get in bed" with homosexuals to fight Castro, as if that were necessary or even desired by them. Defending gays from being pumelled by our enemies is not tantamount to offering them your ass for consolation.

Val and George reacted with surprising aplomb to pototo's announcement, respecting his opinion without endorsing it, which may not be what pototo expected (certainly it wasn't what I expected). George maintained that gays have a place in civil society, whether here or in Cuba; and Val insisted, rightly, that condemning the persecution of gays is not an endorsement of their lifestyle. Also challenging pototo in somewhat more forcible terms was one of Babalú's two resident gay commenters, Cangrejero de Caibarien, whose presence on the blog has significantly increased the level of tolerance there. It was not too long ago that "the guys" were hurling gay insults at non-gay dissenters. The presence of these two prolific gay commenters has put the sophomoric trio on their best behavior, which is a good thing because our enemy's first line of attack has always been to try to label anti-Castro Cubans as the very thing that we denounce. This takes the form of equating intemperate words with intemperate acts; frustration with repression; and personal prejudices with state-induced pogroms.

Frankly, Pons' cartoon did not merit such a reaction from pototo since Babalú reproduced it without comment, that is, without explicitly endorsing it. Nothing is more detrimental to the cause of Cuban freedom than to fight among ourselves about which group has been victimized more by the anti-Cuban Revolution. But we live in the U.S. where the game of victimhood is a national obsession and it could hardly be unexpected that some Cuban exiles would also become addicted to it.

But let me correct myself. One thing is more deleterious than parsing one another's pain: To suggest that the persecution of some may be justified or even commendable. Tyranny is odious whatever its guise or whomever its victims. Once we sanction the persecution of one group, we have sanctioned persecution itself. Then its application to other groups becomes subjective, and tyranny devolves from being an absolute evil to a partial evil, or a tolerable evil, or a necessary evil, or even an acceptable evil. Acceptable for others, of course. Man rarely clamors for evil to be a part of his life. Nothing can be more noxious to Christ's new commandment than establishing exceptions to the Golden Rule.

In the struggle against Communism in Cuba homosexuals have not evaded their duty or shown less courage in confronting the regime than has any other group. In fact, the only victory that Cubans have ever obtained against Castro's propaganda juggernaut is owed to them. The documentary Improper Conduct (1984), which exposed the regime's systematic persecution of gays as gays, forced the liberal media to admit for the first time (25 years after the fact) that human rights were violated in Cuba, and convinced the "small s" socialist countries in Europe that had hitherto regarded Castro's Stalinism as a more disciplined version of their welfare states, to condemn in international forums what they had never condemned before -- Castro's persecution of his own people. Homosexual were regarded then in the most condescending manner by liberals: not as political beings entitled to their natural rights as citizens but as sexual beings indifferent to politics whose persecution, therefore, was onerous because it was unnecessary.

Nevertheless, regardless of the prejudices which sustained it, the reaction against Castro's persecution of gays as depicted in Improper Conduct was universal and devastating in the extreme to the proggresive image of itself which the regime projected to the world at large. Even today it is still struggling to shed the image of intolerance that replaced it, but it has stuck for good and no amount of burnishing at home or abroad over 25 years has managed to unstick it, not even the appointment of Raúl's daughter as Communist Cuba's "Gay Czarina." The cancelled Gay Pride March has given a needed reality check to those who regard the promise of free sex-change operations (which has nothing to do with homosexuals) as yet another Raulian reform and happy omen for Cuba's indefinite future.

The damage to the regime's international reputation caused by its persecution of gays has contributed more to making Castro's Cuba a pariah state than has its placement by the U.S. on the State Department's List of Terrorist States, which has now became a joke with Bush's opportunistic removal of North Korea.

When anyone in Cuba, white or black, young or old, gay or straight, sane or Obama-supporter, raises his voice against the regime or puts his life on the line to protest it, the last thing that any exile should do is shout him down.


Guajiro de Broward took over where pototo left off, accusing Cuban gays of being allied with Fidel Castro in a worldwide conspiracy to destroy Christianity. Giraldo, coming from the other end of political spectrum on this issue, concluded like pototo that he could no longer continue to contribute to Babalú:

This blog's homophobia gives [me] the creeps. ¡Qué asco! I'll never come back here. Comparing the gays to Stalin!!! Incredible! Babalú's readers, in general, are just a bunch of intransigent troglodytes. If this is the kind of people we'll have to deal [with] in a free Cuba, then why take the trouble to change anything?
Posted by: giraldo at June 28, 2008 04:30 AM

In the liberal media being attacked from both sides of an issue is considered proof of objectivity. Of course, it is no such thing. It merely shows that one is playing both sides.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

Fantomas said...

When anyone in Cuba, white or black, young or old, gay or straight, sane or Obama-supporter, raises his voice against the regime or puts his life on the line to protest it, the last thing that any exile should do is shout him down.

Or a Obama suporter raises his voice against the regime

You showed me a lot of integrity right there , with that phrase

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I give you the cake but you complain because I won't let you have the candle.

In Cuba or here, any Cuban who supports Obama is crazy.

In Cuba, however, because of the limited access to information, it is a delusion in the absence of facts.

Here, however, you have no excuse.

Fantomas said...

I dont need the damn candle .Thanks for the cake . it was delicioso

Anonymous said...

Pototo , Giraldo, whos next?

Mutiny in the Animal Farm

Vana said...

So pototo has shown himself to be a homophobe, intolerance is wrong, no matter who it's applied against, I would have been happy to see the gays marching down the Malecon, it would have been the only march not organized by the regime.

Fulano de Cal said...

I put Reinaldo Arenas' farewell letter in your post about the gay rights parade. In his last bit of writing, Arenas does not go on about some gay "agenda" or whatever. Instead, he talks about the pain of exile, his love for Cuba and the righteous struggle for her FREEDOM. His letter speaks to what was truly in his and all of our hearts. Many, many gay Cubans toiled in UMAP camps and jails for who they were/are. For the commenters on Babalu to suggest that Cuban gays are inherently less patriotic is ludicrous and odious. They should have been castigated in a forceful manner. Great post Manuel.

Anonymous said...

The writers at Babalu were the ones who weren't intolerant, only the commenters, and it's their right to read or not to read.

As for you, you're a typical yellow journalist. You tease your readers with a headline that screams a lie, only to find a defense of the blog you slam in the headline within the story itself! Amazing!

If we were to judge your blog by its commenters, well, let's just say you wouldn't come out smelling like a rose. Fantomas, anyone? Vana the sycophantic echo chamber? Agustin the pretend intellectual?

Please, stick to writing your excellent commentary on Cuba. This kind of stunt really shows your true colors.

serafin el carnicero said...

anon 8:56pm...
you sound familiar... I'm sure MAT knows who you are .....

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I forgot to mention you, Serafin. Make sure to wipe your little nose: you missed one of MATs turds.

Vana said...

I see Babalunians have payed us a visit, they just cant keep away.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Yes, I have always striven for balance and fairness, and contrary to every instinct in you which predisposes you against them, you are obliged to acknowledge that I have done justice to Val and George by commending them for repudiating pototo's homophobic assertions.

I am also pleased to see that they did so without censoring or banning him.

The headline is correct as written. The body of the article makes it quite clear whom the bigots are.

Perhaps you would have preferred me to dredge Babalú's past and cite previous instances of homophobia on the part of its editors that would rival pototo's.

But I believe in evolution, Henry. And I am hopeful that in this respect, at least, Babalú will become more not less tolerant.

serafin el carnicero said...

So, it was you ...

Hello Henry... I see you don't want trouble with Val and George so you have to comment "a la anonymous"

thanks MAT we can always count on you to unmask a babalusiano....

Anonymous said...

Does Henry get spanked if he visits here. why is he making fun of fanotmas if he was on there blogroll since last week.

Anonymous said...

MAT- Henry, Val, and the poodle would never praise your writing in public. It has to be someone other than them. They are too much acomplejado for that.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Actually the opposite is true. They have praised me time and time again, always lamenting, of course, that I do not give wider berth to my talents but focus them on their little selves.

Last time he appeared here, Henry called me a "great writer," which caused me to lament that he had missed his life's real calling as a literary critic.

maxnippon said...

Just by allowing bigotry from their commentators they are scrawling a tag on the wall that reads bigot for themselves. Their resident bigot, Moneo, tacitly compares gays to Hitler and Stalin, while explaining that even Churchill went to bed with Stalin to defeat Hitler -Hitler and Stalin once had a pact.

Cocinero del restaurante el intransijente said...

The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

Posted by George Moneo at 08:55 PM | Habla (0) | Leenkaso (0)

Speaking of Intransigentes . Que diferencias hay entre Juan Amador and Bill Clinton when it comes to intransigencia

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


One could write a book about the differences in the Cuban and American characters simply by concentrating on their idiosyncratic interpretations of the word "intransigence."

For Cubans, it is a very high virtue on the same plane as patriotism, indeed, almost interchangeable with it: the refusal ever to compromise one's principles for any reason whatever.

For Americans, "intransigence" means a stubborn and sometimes self-defeating refusal to compromise for the greater good. It is synonymous with implacable and unmerciful.

A similar difference exists between the Spanish and English acceptations of "bizarre"/bizarro." In Spanish it means the bravest of the brave. In English, it means a crazy person.

All words, even those with the same roots, are strained through the sieve of national experience and reveal much about the history and culture of the volk.

desde cuba said...

There was a slogan for Cuban tourism that was re-translated: Cuba, alegre como su sol / Cuba gay as its sun, to Cuba HAPPY as its sun.

Vana said...

OOOOPS meant to say paid*

Anonymous said...



Agustin Farinas said...

Anonymous of 6/28/2008 8:56 PM
I don't comment on despicable characters who hide behind the mask of Anonymous to spew their hatred and hurl insults at others.
I sign all my comments with my first and last name.
Those who avail themselves of the anonymous mask to cloak their identity in order to vomit their bile and venom safely hidden, are like sewer rats and in my opinion hardly worth mentioning.