The decision to close the Review of Cuban-American Blogs on January 20 was not an arbitrary one, nor having once made it have I regretted it or sought some loophole that might enable me to circumvent it (though loopholes there are aplenty). Some have expressed to me the hope that I would not close it. Still others refuse to believe that I will close it, showing, yet again, how little they know me despite being convinced that they know me all too well. The Babalunians, however, have not been among the doubters, perhaps from a natural apprehension that questioning my decision might convince me to alter it; but that is just an unfounded fear, as would also be the conceit that their crossed fingers closed the deal.
Nothing that Babalú has done or is likely to do in the future played any part in my decision to close RCAB. Let me say for the record, if such a thing even needs to be said, that there has been no miraculous transformation at Babalú that would justify any claim on my part to success. It is essentially the same blog, at once anti-Fidel and anti-Cuban, that it was on the day that RCAB first challenged its presumption in claiming to speak for all Cuban exiles, much less Cubans on the island. I never seriously thought that Babalú could be reformed, not from within or without. Marc Másferrer's departure proved the futility of entertaining hopes about its self-regeneration; and, I suppose, the closing of RCAB confirms that the patient is beyond all human agency and must be given for lost. What has changed since last year is the perception which others have of Babalú's "Founding Editor" and principals . And I don't even take credit for that. This transformation they have accomplished themselves since I merely reported and analyzed the disrepute which they sowed and harvested, and pointed out, for the benefit of the connoisseur, what I considered the "elixir" of their vintage crops. As Martí said, "The wine of the plantain is bitter, but it is our wine." Well this is not our wine, however bitter.
From the onset, Babalú mortgaged Cuba's freedom to George Bush. Sadly, in this case, there's not going to be any bail out. One would have thought that after our collective experience with Castro (and a succession of U.S. presidents without a clue) the Babalunians would have been wary of entrusting Cuba's future to any one man. Bush, bold and reckless in everything he did, was uncommonly cautious in his approach to Cuba. His embrace of the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy, which he upheld twice as long as Clinton did, and his indifference to the systematic dismantling of the trade embargo at the instigation of Republican congressmen (like the ascendant Flake), demonstrated that what Bush prized most was stability in Cuba, and if stability had to purchased at the cost of Cuban freedom, it was a bargain that he was more than willing to strike. In fact, when Obama decrees, as he shortly will, that the Castro regime can now buy on credit everything which Bush allowed it to buy with cash, the embargo will in effect be null and void, despite the congressional laws that codify it.
I hope the Babalunians will recognize then the indispensable role that Bush played in "normalizing" relations with Communist Cuba right under their crapulous noses. No American president was ever more beholden to Cuban-Americans for his political success than George W. Bush. He himself acknowledged it on numerous occasions, which makes it hard for us to deny it now. But to him our support was an entitlement, not an obligation. Ditto for Reagan and every other U.S. president who ever trifled with our love of country or led us to believe that he was our "great amigo." The bad intentions of our enemies have always been seconded by the bad offices of our "friends." That is the root of our national tragedy and Barack Obama's election is its fruit.
This much I will say about the president-elect: he lied to everybody, but he didn't lie to us. From the beginning he was crystal clear about his intentions towards Communist Cuba: unconditional capitulation on Castro's terms, not ours. Obama wants to build democracy in Cuba by solidifying the position of the anti-democrats. The U.S. has tried in the past to bolster the position of dissidents on the island: it has done very little and that very badly. Obama's approach dumps the dissidents in favor of those who really call the shots in Cuba. Surely he cannot be so naive as to believe that this is the royal road to Cuban freedom. Either he considers Cuban freedom unimportant or unsalvageable and is content to substitute the sufferance of the U.S. for it, or he regards Communist Cuba as an example rather than as an admonition.
The future of Babalú was also decided on November 4th, though Val & Co. haven't realize it yet with perhaps one exception. Not just because Obama will institutionalize Castroism and assure that its brand of feudalism will survive to the last Cuban generation. But also because Babalú will partake in the general decay of all blogs once the government sets out to regulate the blogosphere by extending the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" to it and criminalizing all anonymous blogging or commenting.
The bell is tolling and it does not toll just for us (though we seem to be the only ones listening).
RCAB also learned today that our esteemed colleague Black Sheep of Exile will close due to the same reasons.