Babalú controls a very large galaxy in the Cuban-American blogosphere. If you would know the names of its many satellites, you have but to read its "Cubiche Blogroll." Of course, not all of its tributary stars are the same size and weight. A dozen or so blogs, whose editors have been invited to join Babalú's "magnificent cadre of writers," constitute a confederacy of its own. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Nothing at all. It is known as free association and is one of the reasons that we are here and not in Cuba.
But it is one thing to choose our own compañeros and quite another to force our choices on others. This is, in effect, what Val did by outing Killcastro on his own blog 2 months ago and repeating the same chivateria here over the weekend. Apparently, the results of the initial outing, a cracked skull and a stint in jail for Killcastro's relatives in Cuba, gave Val a moment's entertainment but did not achieve his goal of silencing him.
Killcastro's independent voice, the first to challenge Babalú's monopoly of opinion, was feared by Val even before the veneer of civility that had first characterized their relations melted under the seething resentments concealed beneath. Val's insecurity was the fuel that ignited those resentments. He tried at first to co-opt Killcastro and Charlie Bravo, too, by inviting them to write for Babalú and was greatly displeased when they both declined. Val has an assimilationist mindset: he prefers to bind potential rivals to him rather than fight them, which not only supplies his deficiencies but assures that he will not become vulnerable because of them. For the most part, he has been successful in neutralizing would-be challengers and avoiding conflicts where he would be at a disadvantage (with one really big miscalculation).
His overtures to Killcastro and Charlie proved unavailing. They knew better than to form any kind of connection with him, which offered nothing to them but the opportunity to lend creds to him and share in his gaffes. Rejection is unacceptable to Val as it is to all who share his insecurities. Killcastro, who had never personally challenged Val except by his refusal to become his satellite, became by virtue of his rejection an enemy.
Since he could not induce Killcastro to join him in calling for the blood of Cubans to be shed in expiation of Castro's sins, or in defending the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy or George Bush's "get tough with the Cuban people" approach to undermining Castro, Val, after endeavoring to isolate and proscribe his blog, decided that the affront of Killcastro's authenticity, and, worst of all, the influence of his example, had to stamped out at any cost (that is, at any cost to Killcastro).
So he did it. Outed Killcastro on his own blog.
RCAB devoted 20 consecutive posts to excoriating this unprecedented act of perfidy and its author. Others joined us in decrying Val's conduct and even a few in Babalú's own orbit wrote to Killcastro disassociating themselves from Val's act if not from Val himself.
Frankly, we did not think that there would be a sequel. Not that I thought Val had learned his lesson. Still, I thought it likely that he would want to put some space between himself and this episode, and allow those naturally disposed to forget the opportunity to do so. Instead, Val deputized the malleable fantomas again, the Barney Fife of Cuban bloggers and Babalú's "weakest link," and authorized him to launch yet another attack on Killcastro. Although it was hardly necessary, Val bullied and even banned fantomas from Babalú to make sure that he would be susceptible to his brandishments. The threat of removing fantomas' blog from its conspicuous place on Babalú's blogroll secured his collaboration though he's more than a little afraid of Killcastro, whom he ridiculed publicly at the time of his first outing while assuring him of his support in e-mails. As fantomas has stated here before, he cannot "afford" to lose Babalú's patronage.
Fantomas, who has as much tact as a child, first announced that he would be leaving RCAB forever, which news our resident experts on fantomas, his ertwhile keepers in The Madhouse, Vana and Agustín, received with the skepticism and ridicule which such an announcement from such a party merited. Fantomas then donned his most familiar "disguise" as "Anonymous." He, of course, fools no one. He thinks one has to check Sitemeter to identify him. Yet, really, why would one have to? Every comment of fantomas' whether signed or not is marked with his DNA. He may not be his own man but he is certainly his own character, unmistakable in any guise and only more obviously himself when he tries to be someone else. As a final precaution before carrying out his assigned mission, fantomas wrote to Killcastro offering him a putrid olive branch, which was not accepted. If anything this was a warning that fantomas was up to no good.
The second outing of Killcastro was more persistent than the first. Val's attack was strictly a hit and run. Fantomas' was also, except that he kept coming back to the scene of the crime as if he thought, or had instructions, to back his car over and over the hapless victim. Those of us familiar with fantomas' antics will not doubt the pleasure that he derived from this exercise.
I could have delegated his comments to The Madhouse or even deleted them because I do not consider yelling "Fire!" in a theatre to be protected speech. But this would not have stopped fantomas, who has more identities than he does opinions. Killcastro and Charlie, who will be undertaking an important trip shortly, found it necessary to close their blog for the duration so that fantomas would not use the occasion to compromise them or their families.
Their readers and ours, who tend to be the same people, need not fear that Killcastro and Charlie Bravo have quit the field. They will return shortly to settle accounts with those who have conspired against them and the dignity of all Cubans.