Sunday, June 1, 2008

On the Fine Art of Judging Cubans

A rare opportunity has presented itself to compare a pro-Cuban and an anti-Cuban blog because today both Killcasstro and Babalú have commented on the same Miami Herald article ("Many Cubans Don't Work, At Least Not Officially," May 30). The article, in a nutshell, implies that Cubans are "lazy" because they won't work for the $7-$15 per month that Castro offers his slaves, preferring, instead, to join the world's longest-running spontaneous general strike. They do work, of course, in spite of the state, and, often, at the expense of the state in what The Herald describes as "quasi-legal, unofficial activities." They are the resistance in Cuba, numbering millions, doing everything in their power to sabotage the regime economically, which is also to hurt it politically. The Castro regime understands their "dangerousness" and punishes those who refuse to work for the state with 8 years at hard labor.

Henry Gómez, who is more dense than the Castro regime or the anonymous Miami Herald reporter who wrote the story, does not understand that what these "strikers" are doing is subversive in the extreme. He prefers, instead, to parrot the official line that they are lazy and selfish. He also regards them as proof of the harm which remittances and other forms of aid supposedly wreak on Cubans. Since working for Castro necessarily means starving, it is not surprising that Babalú should wish that all Cubans consented to serve him. Starvation, of course, is the general panacea (or should that be "sine panacea?) that will spur Cubans to face down tanks with their bony fingers. Or so Henry hopes. "No Cubans, no problem" is Babalú's motto. They have moved from demanding freedom for Cubans to demanding a Cuban-free Cuba.

If Henry had been born and raised in Cuba, I wonder what he would be doing right now? Winning certificates of merit as the exemplary revolutionary prole, breaking his back for Fidel for $2 a day and, of course, all those certificates? Or would be choose to become an unlicensed entrepreneur, or what we know here as a street hustler? Or would Henry sit at home making jingles for his own amusement while waiting for his $100 monthly allowance from his aunt in the Yuma? Well, he would have to do one of the above or a combination thereof to survive. My guess is that the "niño bitongo," as Val describes him, wouldn't have the savvy to be a street hustler. Henry would either become a "Hero of Socialist Labor" or a collector of remittances. Perhaps both.

In contrast, Charlie Bravo's take on The Herald article is informed by two advantages which he has over Henry (among others): he was born and raised in Cuba and knows what it takes to survive there. For him, in particular, it meant digging ditches for one year because he was considered an "anti-social" element for wanting to flee Castro's "Socialist Paradise." His empathy for the uncommon man in Cuba, his respect for his exertions to put food in his family's mouths, which is a daily struggle without respite that requires more ingenuity than becoming a millionaire in this country, everything that Charlie knows, in short, which Henry doesn't know and never will know, makes Charlie a better judge of the Cuban people.

I urge you to read his brilliant deconstruction of The Miami Herald's latest canard against Cubans, which is also a rebuke to all the Henrys of the world who look down on our countrymen on the island, when, except for the accident of birth, they might have shared their fate and borne their burden:


Don't miss Killcastro's comments on "resolviendo" on the same thread.


Julio Rey said...

Manuel: The link doesn't work. You put a "c" where there needs to be a "k."

Charlie Bravo said...

Thanks Manuel for the link, and thanks also to all who have come to read it, and to our commenters.
Alex from Miami and Beyond offers his own take on it, too.

joep said...

MaT, please correct the link to Charlie's post ASAP. Thx

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

julio & joe:



Manuel A.Tellechea said...

julio & joe:

I had meant to thank-you both before for the very kind words that you have used to describe certain posts of mine on your respective blogs. I am deeply grateful to both of you and pleased that I have been able to provide some insight into our country's condition that resonated with you.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Thanks for the link to Alex's post at Miami & Beyond.

I recommend it also to all my readers.

Vana said...

Cubans have risen above other ethnic groups in earning power in exile, can't they see? is the world so blind or so damn jaded that they don't realize Cubans have been using peaceful resistance agains those who enslave them.

I would not work for 7 or 15 dollars a month, to ask that of anyone is insane.

pedro el panadero said...

who is mambi ? el de los comentarios estupidos en babalu... si lo conosen- saquenlo del escondite--

Julio Rey said...

Manuel: It is I who needs to thank you for sharing your perspectives with us. Your blog is always a source of enrichment for me.

rin tin tin said...

Si el niñobitongo viviera en Cuba hoy es posible que estuviera haciendo lo mismo que Yoani

Dije es posible?

Tambien pudiera estar bailando en tropicana

Anonymous said...

Manuel, sorry to do this to you again, but is your email Please leave a comment in reply in that I would like to write you. Thanks.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Yes, that's my e-mail.