Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutiérrez has just announced that the Bush administration will not relax for a 90-day period restrictions on travel and remittances to the island in the wake of the recent hurricanes. He fears that a sudden influx of exiles might destabilize the Castro regime (or "cause chaos," as he put it). Nor will be allow any expansion in remittances because "Cubans in Cuba" have supposedly told the secretary that "they don't need money because there's nothing to buy there."
It was not "Cubans in Cuba" who said this but a Cuban from Hialeah who was quoted in those exact words in The New York Times (see below). We can only suppose that a Cuban from Hialeah who came here more than 40 years ago is as close to any Cuban on the island as Secretary Gutiérrez has ever gotten. The other explanation -- that he actually gets his news on Cuba from The New York Times -- is simply too horrible to contemplate.
When Val Prieto declared this falsehood to The Times, which it was more than happy to quote as proof of the beastliness of Cubans exiles, we warned that it would have calamitous consequences for our countrymen on the island and so it has.
Val Prieto has succeeded in his efforts to immerse our country in famine and disease. He is now personally responsible for increasing the suffering of the Cuban people. He has made a name for himself that will long be hateful to all Cubans. His malice and monumental stupidity have resonated in the kindred soul of Secretary Gutiérrez, who is obviously also a proponent of the "Pressure Cooker Theory." The deaths of thousands of Cubans for naught now lie on the heads of these sons of Cubans.
Charlie Bravo broke this story on Black Sheep of Exile and has an excellent take on it:
Thursday, September 11, 2008"What are they [Cubans] going to do with money when there is nothing to buy?" -- Val Prieto, quoted in The New York Times, Sept. 10, 2008
Whenever Val Prieto feels the urge to dump on the Cuban people, the establishment media is more than happy to let him. Last year, when The Wall Street Journal needed an exile blogger to cast doubts on Yoani's motives in an otherwise sympathetic profile, Val was invited to share his unfounded suspicions. And yesterday, when The New York Times required a Cuban-American to assert, in the midst of the greatest natural catastrophe in Cuban history, that the last thing that Cubans needed now was money, Val again was there to make us all look like the monsters which the MSM is fond of portraying us as. Can you imagine any transplanted New Orlenean telling The Times (New York or -Picayune) that the last thing that the victims of Hurricane Katrina needed was money! Did even David Duke oppose the $4000 debit cards that were distributed by the government to the homeless and displaced of New Orleans?
The answer to Val's question is obvious. "What are the Cuban people going to do with the money?" Everything that they can't do without it. They will be able to obtain water, food, medicine, shelter, clothing -- everything which they require to survive this crisis. Val knows very well that far from there being "nothing to buy in Cuba," everything is for sale there if you have the dollars to buy it. Of course you will have to buy it from the "Castro Depot," as Val likes to call it. The "Castro Depot" is the only store in the country. Cuba is, after all, a Communist state run like an antebellum plantation where provisions are available only from the master's larder and the master is by no means generous. If you hope to survive then you must find a way to supplement his scanty fare, whether that means stealing, begging or accepting charity. Whatever you do, of course, will rebound to the slaveholder's benefit. If he is only relieved of the burden of feeding you, then he is that much wealthier. But you, more importantly, are that much stronger because you are less dependent on him. Slavery consists of degrees of dependence and the less that you count on your master the more distance that will be placed between you.
Of course, self-reliance, as understood in a free society, is not an option open to you since your master claims your body and your labor. His authority is absolute because he has the guns and you have the shackles; he has the force of the lynch law on his side and you have only your feet. There is nothing that you alone can do to effect your own freedom that won't almost certainly lead to the grave. Your friends, under such circumstances, are those who would deliver you from your bondage, not those that would bound you over to it forever. Not those who ignore your cries for help, but those who heed them.
A man who sees your despair and is aware that you have no one else to turn to, yet is so denatured as not only to deny you his assistance but to counsel others against helping you, claiming that even money, which supplies his wants well enough and all mankind's besides, will be of no use to you in particular, is no friend to any man but himself and especially no friend to you.
Not even in the days of slavery was it considered a concession to evil to buy a slave's freedom. More slaves obtained their freedom that way than through any other means. Sometimes there is no other way than to bribe evil men to act against their interests and instincts. In the case of the Castro regime, there is in fact no other way to secure the survival of our people. We cannot even speak of freedom because this slave master may consent to let his slaves live but will never consent to their manumission. Freedom will come, nonetheless, but it must not be the freedom of the cemetery, which will be their fate unless we can save them.