"What we are hearing from Cubans in Cuba is they don't need money because there's nothing to buy." -- Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, at press conference, in Florida, September 17, 2006
It's not every day that Valentín Prieto is quoted by the Secretary of Commerce much less his opinion cited as the rationale for U.S. government policy towards Cuba. Yet, in the span of one week, Babalú's "Founding Editor" was not only quoted in The New York Times but his words were used verbatim by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez to justify the Bush administration's refusal to relax restrictions on remittances to Cuba.
One would think that Val's sudden rise to national prominence would at least merit a mention on Babalú. Not by Val, of course, he is far too humble, but by one of his fawning minions. With a little tweaking and just the right amount of padding this story could be reported on Babalú as: "Val Prieto is asked to join President Bush's kitchen cabinet as adviser on the needs and wants of Cubans on the island."
Penúltimos Días, based in Spain, has taken note of Val's seminal contribution to this debate and accorded him the recognition that he richly deserves for perpetuating the suffering of the Cuban people in their darkest hour:
"La tesis de que no hace falta enviar dinero, pues en la isla no hay nada que comprar, que lanzó Val Prieto en una entrevista para The New York Times, y que recogió oportunamente el Secretario de Comercio, Carlos Gutiérrez en una declaración pública."
["The thesis that it is not necessary to send money to Cuba because there is nothing to buy there was first put forward by Val Prieto in an interview with The New York Times and later cited at an opportune moment by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez in a public statement"].
Val answers his critics at Penúltimos Días:
"caballeros, hasta cuando vamos a estar en esto? Cuantos de ustedes pueden afirmar que el gobierno cubano no va a usurpar las donaciones humatarias para ponerla a la venta y que el dinero que nosotros mandemos no terminara de compra para las misma donacines humantitarias que se robo el gobierno?
Si todos estos partidos nombrados aqui hubiesen usado toda la energia, todo el tiempo y puesto todo el esfuerzo en forzar a el gobierno cubano a tener que aceptar toda la ayuda humanitaria, sea la que sea, venga de quien venga, sea de quien sea, hoy - ahora mismo ya - los cubanos en la isla ya posiblemente hubuieran cruzado el niagra y sin bicileta."
This does not require translation since it is written in English using (more or less) Spanish words.