I visited Uncommon Sense today and was very pleased to discover that Marc Másferrer no longer divides his Cuban Blogroll into "First Tier" and "Second Tier" blogs. We had chastened him before for such an uncharacteristic display of elitism, not to mention bad judgment, since he had actually consigned RCAB to the "Second-Tier."
Since then Marc has become Babalú's most independent contributor, challenging Val Prieto whenever he goes too far in his penchant to extract a pound (or 10, 20 or 30 lbs) of flesh from every Cuban who doesn't freely shed his blood on his (Val's) behalf. We could take that as an encouraging sign of glasnost at Babalú except for the fact that Marc is the only one of its 15 contributing editors who has ever voiced any objection to Val's well-known plan to render the Cuban people in a pressure cooker. We are today baptizing (excuse the pun) Val's pressure cooker theory as the "Hatuey Option." The "Hatuey Option," of course, succeeded only in making Cuba's indigenous population extinct. Castro, also, needless to say, has his own "Hatuey Option."
But to return to Marc. He has a post today about one of the youngest Cuban dissidents, 11-year old Raumel Vinajera Montoya, who defended "Las Damas de Blanco" in class when his teacher described them as "yankee mercenaries." The boy's family was subsequently visited by a state psychologist and social worker who threatened to put a "black mark" on his school dossier. Those familiar with Armando Valladares' autobiography know what can befall an 11-year boy in Castro's prisons who gets such a "black mark."
Marc performs an invaluable service to Cuban dissidents and the cause of freedom by highlighting cases such as Raumel's which might otherwise receive little or no publicity. He committed, however, a grave error in judgment himself by contrasting Raumel's conduct to Elián González's:
"Cuba's most famous teenager, Elian González, is now an official communist. Here's guessing 11-year-old Raumel Vinajera Montoya will not be joining him anytime soon, despite the best efforts of the dictatorship's 'psychologists' and 'social workers.'"
And again at the close:
"You have to give the dictatorship credit. With its strong-armed tactics, it knows how to start shaping the minds of Cubans while they are still young, whether it is a future communist big-shot like Elian Gonzalez or a future freedom fighter like Raumel Vinajera."
Personally, I have always avoided starting a sentence with: "You have to give the dictatorship credit." But what I object to is the suggestion that Elián has somehow been "tainted" or become "damaged goods" by his enforced association with the Castro regime. What exactly do we expect of him? Elián has been a literal prisoner since the moment he was deported to Cuba 8 years ago. His "security detail" is probably larger now than Fidel's. If the U.S. government would not protect him and his own father fed him to the wolves, what exactly is it that we expect this hapless boy to do to prove to us that he is still a victim? In fact, he doesn't have to prove a thing.
Elián is a victim of Fidel Castro no less today than he was when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and delivered to his tender mercies. Whatever atrocities might be visited on Raumel have already been visited on him. Even before he set foot in Cuba again, Elián was being administered psychiatric drugs while living in the home of Castro's (and Clinton's) lawyer Greg Craig, now Obama's adviser on Latin America. In fact, a doctor sent from Cuba to treat him was apprehended at the airport with a bag full of mind-altering drugs. Once back in Cuba, Elián disappeared from view for 3 months while he was interred in a psychiatric hospital. For years afterward his face exhibited the blank expression of one who was heavily medicated and emotionally drained of life. He was also forced endured to endure the indignity of becoming Fidel's marionette and the poster child of the "New Boy" and now "New Youth." As if watching his mother being eaten alive by sharks and seeing his father castrated was not trauma enough for a lifetime.
Elián is still as much a victim at 14 as he was at 6. He will always be a victim of the Castro regime and its American accomplices even when and if he becomes a Communist "big-shot."