Val Prieto recently dedicated a post to praising the ballsiness of Yoani Sánchez for calling a Castro henchman a "coward" to his face. His effusiveness at her defiance of unlawful authority suggests that his own response, under the same circumstances, would have been far more discreet, say "How high?" or "How low?" Yoani doesn't pretend to represent anybody but herself. But since her experience is a universal one she in fact represents everybody in Cuba. Val's experience of tyranny is far more limited, unless one counts the dead chickens and coconuts left on his front yard; but that doesn't stop him from "promis[ing] to do my very best to represent you, Cuba and her people." Well, we are not at all surprised that Val thinks that George Bush has the right to choose Cuba's leaders or that an invitation to a Bloggers' Conference at the White House is tantamount to election to the Cuban House of Representatives, at the very least.
No reader of Babalú could fail to note Val's obsequiousness to George Bush. There hasn't been anything like it since Reagan was president. Although Reagan, also, defrauded us, Grenada being the closest that he ever got to Cuba, at least his interest in defeating Communism was sincere. For Bush, fighting Communism is not the lodestar of his existence. It is at best a rhetorical flourish unearthed from his bag of tricks whenever speaking to an audience of Cuban-Americans. For Barack Obama, alas, not fighting Communism is as strong an instinct as fighting Communism was for Reagan. Of course, you can't jump from Reagan's position to Obama's without a Bush declaring, in words and conduct, that Communist Cuba is no longer a threat to the security of the United States or its neighbors, and that the real threat now is instability in Cuba: in other words, a Cuba without Castro.
If Val addresses even one word to the president at the-Bloggers' Summit, it will be "thanks" for inviting Hialeah's "welder's son" (his phrase) to the White House. We have no idea what his father's occupation -- really, an art -- has to do with anything. If Val himself were a rail-splitter like Lincoln, then a reference to his origins would be entirely appropriate since it would indicate a very uncommon progression in life which merit alone could account for. Val's road to the White House, already prefigured by an invitation to listen-in on a conference call about Cuba and to participate earlier this year at the May 20th fete there, is the kind of reward given to party hacks who qualify for neither political appointments or Medals of Freedom, but whose unconditional loyalty is at least worth a presidential photograph. (At this time, they have a great many of those lying around the White House).
I suppose that some may think that at this late date there is nothing that Bush could do to affect Cuba policy having squandered 8 years of opportunities, and, what's worse, strengthened Castro's hand at every chance while weakening the Cuban people's. This assumption is simply wrong. Bush is still POTUS and his powers are not in the least limited by his lame duck status. In fact, he is freer now to act than at any other time because it is too late for there to be any personal repercussions for his actions.
With a stroke of his pen, for example, Bush could end the disgraceful "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy, which this year resulted in the apprehension and repatriation to Cuba of 2000 refugees. Quite apart from the fact that this policy actually violates U.S. law (namely, the Cuban Adjustment Act  which grants all Cuban refugees asylum without distinction), is it really worth it for the U.S. to turn its back on 232 years of tradition and renounce its historic mission as a haven for the world's oppressed in order to act as Fidel Castro's piratical enforcer so that he won't unleash a massive exodus as he did in 1980? Couldn't the U.S. have simply told him that it would regard such a provocation as an act of war? Instead, the U.S. is content to place its Coast Guard at Castro's orders and have them act as his bloodhounds on the high seas.
It has not occurred to Val & Company, though they have published numerous posts for Human Rights Day, that the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy" is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which upholds the right of citizens of every nation to leave and freely return to their own country. Castro denies all Cubans that right and the U.S. is his accomplice, held hostage by him the same as his people are, with the distinction that it is a voluntary hostage.
But don't expect Val Prieto, a consistent apologist for the "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy, to raise any objection. He is there to ingratiate himself to the president not to embarrass him.