Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack Obama: The End of Hope for Cuba

I have received many e-mails from readers, both known and unknown to me, asking me to re-consider my decision to close this blog on January 20th. At the same time, my own determination to do so was strengthened daily by the events leading up to Inauguration Day. Bush may not have listened to Cubans, but Obama listens to the wrong Cubans. As soon as it is possible for him to do so, and sooner even than most of us expect, the juggernaut of normalization will roll over every Cuban on the island, leaving them parallel with their surroundings. There is nothing that can be done to stop him and much that we must do to prepare ourselves, as best as we can, for the greatest defeat we have ever sustained in our struggle against tyranny in our country.

In 1959, the United States installed Castro in power and it has been the guarantor of Communism in Cuba since 1962. What it has not done, however, is to underwrite the enterprise. That was a task left to America's enemies. This is going to change now. Cuba will remain the only Communist state under U.S. military protection but now it will also enjoy all the benefits of commerce with this nation, or leastwise its oppressors will. After defaulting on every foreign creditor and exhausting every line of credit while amassing the largest per capita indebtedness in the world, the Castro regime expects and has probably already received assurances that Obama will rescue it, ignoring the floating corpses of all previous "saviors" who have ever extended a lifeline to it.

Since there can be no resumption of diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba until it settles U.S. claims against it, Obama will float the regime a loan so that it can pay pennies on the dollar for the properties it confiscated and nationalized before Obama was born, receiving in return clear title to them, which will enable it to sell those same properties at market value to a new generation of greedy and ignorant American investors, who will pour billions into the island with the assurance that the U.S. government will bail them out when the regime decides again that seizing American assets is more beneficial than trading with the enemy.

The biggest losers in this arrangement will be the Cuban people, who will not regain their liberty, but become subject to the exploitation of even more foreigners. Their masters will multiply but the quality of their lives will not improve. A prosperous tyranny is always to be more feared than one on the verge of economic collapse. The means of repression will expand and be fortified with the profits that the regime will reap from trade with the U.S. There will be no sharing of the wealth, however, because economic rights always anticipate political rights, and a regime that has always regarded both as anathema will not open the door to one knowing that it leads to the other.

The result of "normalization" (what a quaint word as if any relationship with a regime like Castro's could ever be anything but abnormal!) will prove detrimental to all parties except Castro and his henchmen. Those who espouse rapprochement do so because they hope to profit from the suffering of the Cuban people. Obama, besides acting on his ideological affinities with Castro, hopes to score a cheap coup de theatre by renewing relations with Communist Cuba, which the media are sure to represent as the greatest diplomatic feat in history, surpassing the opening of Japan by Perry or of China by either Marco Polo or Nixon. American businessmen, industrialists and agronomists, who have spent 8 years drooling about the prospects of trade with Cuba as Bush dangled that putrid carrot before them, will trample one another like elephants even before they reach the cliff.

To do business with Cuba will become more important than to do justice to Cubans. Human rights there will become as irrelevant as human rights in China without the Cuban people ever being compensated with an extra bowl of porridge for surrendering to the stomach what rightly belongs to the spirit.

This is what the election of Barack Obama means to Cubans and why tomorrow will always be a day of mourning for our country.

For my part, I prefer to mourn in private, which is the reason that I have decided to close the Review of Cuban-Americans Blogs tomorrow.

Related post:

The Bell Does Not Toll for RCAB Alone

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Val's Birthday Present

RCAB will not be here to congratulate Val Prieto on his birthday this Thursday. So with some anticipation we wish him a Happy Birthday and many returns of the day (he will need them if he's ever to outgrow his puerilities). I'm giving him the best present he ever got and the one he most wanted. His ordeal is over. It lasted 22 months, exactly as long as Castro's stay at the Model Prison, though Val's experience was not as pleasant. Batista amnestied Castro to celebrate his re-election in 1955, and Obama's election in November has secured Val's release. Now he has at least one reason to be grateful for Obama's victory. For my part, I am fairly certain that my act of benevolence will not have the same outcome as Batista's.

Sometimes when you step on a man's toe the whole universe crashes around you. I hope Val remembers that lesson whenever he is tempted to test another man's patience and forbearance. If so he may yet be able to turn this experience to good account. But whether he profits or not from it is up to him.

In any case, effective January 20th, Val is no longer the star exhibit in my menagerie. Jumbo has been cashiered. I don't need to annotate his inanities anymore and I am glad of it. I have exhausted the subject of Val Prieto beyond my sufferance, and, I suspect, everybody else's. Hundreds of posts devoted to someone who should be tied to one. I am almost ashamed of myself for having focused my talents on such a subject, but true patriotism demands that we sacrifice even our pride for our country's good.

For a time Val was clear and present danger to Cuba's future: when a cabinet secretary quoted him as the "voice of Cubans on the island" who supposedly "didn't need money because there is nothing to buy there;" when The Wall Street Journal quoted his doubts about Yoani; or when the president invited him to the White House so that an aide could feed him a quote about Bush being "the first Cuban-American president."

Val's stint in the footlights was short-lived and not especially rewarding, though he tried everything in his power to make it as calamitous as possible for our long-suffering people and as embarrassing as could be for his fellow Cuban-Americans. Given an inch of rope, he stretched it as much as possible. If anybody had actually confided in him or entrusted him with any real responsibility, I shudder to think what harm he might have done. But the greater danger that Obama poses has preempted the slight danger posed by Val.

I did not want to take on this uneven contest but was forced to because nobody else would. Now, at last, I can lay down the cudgel because Val is again as irrelevant as his "Human Pressure Cooker" is obsolete. He is no longer in a position to harm our country and our people. Others better situated than him will take his place and complete his work, with results even more ominous. I am far from certain that he won't eventually endorse those results. But Val himself is a spent force. No resistance to him is necessary anymore. So I give him back his peace of mind. No longer need he fear this blog; no longer shall it set the tenor of his day. My pen will not scratch the fibrous tendrils of his spongy brain again. He can be a carefree fool once more. This is what I believe he was destined to be anyway.

Happy Birthday, Val.

Notable & Tardy: Henry's "Nightly Prayer"

"I pray that Fidel Castro should die of a painful heart attack. My prayer morphs into a meditation as if I could cause this event to happen. I concentrate on it. I envision him alone in a plain bed. He’s wearing boxer shorts and a sleeveless camiseta. A ceiling fan spins on the ceiling. I envision his heart and the blood vessels that provide blood to it. I imagine myself clamping those vessels shut with my fingers. Sometimes I just envision crushing his heart with my bare hands." — Henry Louis Gómez, "A Nightly Prayer," Babalú, January 18, 2009

A "painful heart attack?"

Really, there are worse ways to go.

Since nothing is impossible for God, why not ask that Fidel be struck by lightning or that the earth open up and swallow him? Hackneyed, granted, but still quite lyrical and no more than he deserves.

Or perhaps implore God to turn Fidel's anus inward so he can drown in his own excrement? Well, that prayer has been answered anyway, for whomever it was that made it. Still, the successful supplicant did not take into account Castro's almost inexhaustible ability to assimilate shit, so the world still waits for him to reach his limit.

Perhaps Henry is right — a quick heart attack might have been best. As for his fantasy about carrying out God's sentence on Fidel, though the sentiment does Henry credit, his technique is far too complicated for the task at hand. We are talking about an 82-year old man who may weigh at most 140 lbs. A pillow over his face should do the trick, or, if Henry insists on laying hands on him, it shouldn't be too difficult to snap his neck or twist it like a chicken's.

The problem is not killing Castro; it never has been. He is as mortal as any man and surely more people want him dead than not. The problem is getting close enough to Castro to do it. The only man outside Castro's immediate circle to have had that opportunity was Ted Turner when he went quail hunting with Castro 20 years ago. Fidel actually used to load his rifle for him. Too bad that Ted is not the shot that Vice President Cheney is.

I should advise Henry to forget about the small details in his mind's eye (e.g. the boxer shorts and sleeveless camiseta) and the "ceiling fan spinning in the ceiling" (where else?) and concentrate instead on how he's going to get pass Castro's security detail. There's the rub since even his own sons don't have unrestricted access to Fidel. So, definitely, Henry's fantasy needs a prequel which explains how he evaded Castro's praetorian guard to carry out this mission of mercy (for all Cubans, except Fidel). Perhaps there is a clue in Nostradamus Dorshner's Prophecies; he should consider plumbing these some more.

To make Henry's "meditation" more historically accurate, I should let him know that Fidel wears pajamas, the old-fashioned kind with a belt (yes, swimming suits had belts once, too). There's a famous picture of him arrayed in that attire and maybe I can find it for him.

I only regret that Henry did not make the ajusticiamiento of Fidel Castro his first BUCL Campaign.

Highlights of RCAB: The Rescue of "Elenita"

The proudest chapter in the history of the Review of Cuban-American Blogs was its struggle to save the life of "Elenita," the much-abused 4-year old refugee girl whose absent-for-life father wanted to return her to Cuba so that Castro might have a matched set of juvenile captives stolen from freedom and returned to Cuba to be raised in slavery.

Babalú and its satellites refused to say even one word on her behalf because they feared a repeat of the Elián affaire, as if the triumph of injustice by foul means eight years earlier should constrain us from seeking justice now and forever.

Elenita was not returned to Cuba, no thanks to Judge Jeri Beth Cohen who had opined in her courtroom that all Cubans refugees should be. I don't believe that RCAB has ever received more google hits than those generated by searches for information on "Jeri Beth Cohen." The rest of the Cuban blogosphere may not have given a damn about "Elenita's" fate but, apparently, a great many people did.

The return of Eric Holder and Greg Craig, the point-men in Elián's kidnapping, as Attorney General and White House Counsel, respectively, in the Obama administration, will not bode well for "Elenita" or the other Cuban children currently in her predicament or who shall find themselves there in the next 4 years.

We warned that Craig and Holder were both slated for preferment in an Obama administration while Val & Company continued gathering evidence that McCain was a "RINO" and urging their readers to vote for Obama so that there could be a resurgence of "real conservatism" in 2012 as a reaction to McCain's failed candidacy and Obama's failed presidency. Yes, over "Elenita's" shattered life and the lives of all Cuban children who will be sacrificed in the next four years as propitiatory offerings to Castro.

But, of course, the lives of Cuba's children or adults couldn't matter less to the Babalunians. The people of Cuba are an encumbrance to their plans and "freedom," as they see it, must find a way around them now that the "Human Pressure Cooker" has reverted to Castro's sole use. And while they anxiously count down the days to 2012, Obama and his cohorts will have come to the rescue of the Cuban Revolution and turned Cuba into an American protectorate economically as it has been politically since 1962, when Kennedy agreed to make the U.S. the guarantor of Communism in Cuba. Obama will provide the regime with internal protection as JFK bestowed on it external protection, insuring thereby that no living Cuban will ever know freedom or democracy in his own country.

Judge Jeri Beth Cohen Is Up for Reelection: "Remember Elenita!"
"What Can You Do for Me, Baby?"
In Elenita's Case, Freedom Wins
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Stopped Dead in Her Tracks By Appellate Court
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Seeks the Spotlight Again
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Awaits Her Report Card
Judge Cohen: The Little Girl Is Lying
Now Judge Cohen Officially Banishes the Truth from Her Courtroom
A Letter to Florida Governor Crist Appealing for Elenita's Life
More Fabricated Evidence Exposed and the "C Word" Banned from Judge Cohen's Courtroom
Elenita's Fairy Tale: Grimm Was Never This Grimm
What Judge Jeri B. Cohen Should Take to Bed Every Night
Judge Jeri B. Cohen's Decision: We Should All Want "Marginal" Fathers
Ana Menéndez Psychoanalyzes Cuban Exiles
The Real Parents — Joe and María Cubas
Joe Cubas: Castro's Worst Nightmare (and Henry's)
Ana Menéndez & Robert Molleda: The Hag and the Gelding; Or, Love in the Stable
Notable and Hateful: No Mercy for Children Who Straggle From Castro's Knee
What Creature Do I Despise the Most in the World?
The "Elenitas" Keep Multiplying
Is Oscar Corral In Cabaiguán, Cuba?
The Saga of Babalú's Henry Gómez & Alex of SotP
Judge Jeri B. Cohen Just "Hates It; Hates It; Hates It"
Judge Jeri Beth Cohen Gets Her Man (Off)
The Guajiro Hamlet: Rafael Izquiedo
Elián's Father was "Adopted" Too
El Bitongo
The Last Redoubt of Magical Realism: Judge Jeri Beth Cohen's Courtroom
By Their Scars You Will Know Them: The Ordeal of Elenita and Her Brother
Castro's Lawyers Kurzban & Davis Face Disbarment in Cubas-Izquierdo Custody Battle
Cui Bono: The Unasked Question in Judge Cohen's Courtroom
Elena Pérez: Her Life As a Mother and a Mistress (Or Chasing Cod in Cabaiguan)
Letter to Elena Pérez: Birth Mother of the Cuban Refugee Girl
Judge Jeri B. Cohen: Love Child of Janet Reno and Doris Meissner
The Poor Little Cuban Girl that They Call "Eliana"
Notable & Variable: Well, Well, Henry
What "American-Cuban" Bloggers Really Think About "Eliana"
¡Viva Ziva! The Moral Conscience of Babalu Blog

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Next U.S. Ambassador to Cuba

I have said it before and will repeat it now.

When Barack Obama re-establishes full diplomatic relations with the Castro regime (in about 6 months), he will choose a Republican Cuban-American to be the first U.S. ambassador since 1961.

And his name will be:

Mel Martínez.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Celebration Without a Victory

I'm trying my best to get in a festive mood but I can't seem to manage it. I suppose because there's nothing to celebrate. The death of Fidel Castro will not be the end of Castroism in Cuba much less the re-birth of freedom there. Even his death per se is far from satisfactory. Death is a biological certainty. It comes to all men regardless of the good or evil that they do in life. There is nothing retributive in it. Castro's death is no exception. It is ridiculous to regard it as our "victory." If anything it is his victory: Fidel was never brought to justice for his crimes and his death guarantees that he never will be. The biggest mass murderer in the history of the Western Hemisphere will die in his own bed. Can any of us say with certainty that he shall do the same? Millions have expired in the last 50 years who asked for nothing more than to die in their own country yet their prayers went unanswered just so that he might become the first dictator in Cuban history to die in his own bed.

A death like Che Guevara's was worth celebrating because it signified the triumph of justice.

Castro's death confirms only the injustice of life.

The bottles of champagne that were purchased 50 years ago to toast the re-birth of freedom in our country have all now turned to vinegar. It is only these bottles that should be opened on the occasion of Castro's death.

Gall is the only drink that befits such an occasion.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On the Day that Fidel Castro Dies

I do not know if Fidel Castro is dead or not. I have accepted, however, the fact that there will be no final reckoning extracted from him, nothing as poetic as Mussolini's corpse dangling upside down in a gutter or Ceausescu's riddled with bullets in a pool of his festering blood. We shall have no such national catharsis. Even Hitler's fate, execution by his own hand as the Doomsday clock ticked, he has avoided. The architect of our country's ruin will die in his own bed, as no other Cuban dictator has done before. The chaos of 50 years, in whose maelstrom he lived and thrived, shall survive him; but he shall no longer be at the center of it. It is not known what if anything he will take with him, but one thing is certain: if our country is ever to move beyond him, Fidel Castro's physical existence — animal, vegetable or mineral — must finally lapse and resolve itself into innate matter. He will be less dangerous that way, though his maggots will continue to feed on our country for years to come, continuing his work of destruction after him.

Fidel's death by installments, which is a measure of justice for him and injustice for us, served the ends of his successor by allowing him to consolidate his power in his brother's shadow. It also showed the Cuban people how truly irrelevant Fidel had become except as the bogeyman of all their nightmares. In two years the Cuban people have become comfortable with the idea of a moribund-to-dead Castro. Those who regarded him as a god must have been surprised at how easy it is to let a god die. The impact of his death, if not thus diluted, might have caused more of a national convulsion. Now it is but another sham spectacle that they must endorse with their presence. At least the professional criers that followed 19th century funerals were compensated for their tears. That work now is obligatory and unavoidable. There will be tears enough to shed on that day, not for him, of course, but for everything that he blighted and obliterated in his passage through the earth.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The "First African-American President" and the "First Cuban-American President"

Val Prieto offers one advantage that Polly the Parrot doesn't. You can feed him lines without having to feed him crackers. That's what Daniel W. Fisk, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, did during his "nearly two-hour meeting" with Val Prieto. Things must have been pretty slow at the White House during Christmas for Mr. Fisk to be able to entertain, or, rather, be entertained by Val for two hours. Although, of course, Mr. Fisk was never very busy since his work chiefly consisted of looking the other way as Communism established beachhead after beachhead in South America and overseeing a smooth transition in the Castro dynasty.

It was Mr. Fisk who casually confided to Val that "many people in his administration refer to President Bush as the first Cuban-American President." Of course it clicked with Val. It was what he always thought but never could quite articulate. Now he could articulate it, and doubtless the first one he articulated it too was Bush himself during their meeeting at Blogger's Summit. Here I thought he had simply rushed him while crying "My Hero!" Bush was probably quite emotional when he heard from Val's lips that he was "the first Cuban-American president." Also, I am sure that Val's were the first lips to utter it since the "genial idea" had first insinuated itself into Mr. Fisk's carefree mind.

George W. Bush was the first Cuban-American president in the same sense as Bill Clinton was the first African-American president, which is to say — not. No greater insult was ever preferred to black Americans by one of their own, or so readily embraced and popularized by the media. Everyone was too polite to spell out what was meant by that comparison yet no one failed to grasp it. It was no coincidence that it was made at the height of the fallout over Bill's sexual indiscretions at the White House. The subtext was that Clinton viewed sex as an animal instinct, primal and irrepressible, and could exert absolutely no self-control when in a state of arousal, which was most of the time.

It was that animal instinct, supposedly, which he had in common with men of color. The worst sexual stereotype ever attributed to African-American men was used to justify satyric behavior that was never the exclusive domain of any race. Clinton himself never repudiated the comparison for fear of offending those who should have been offended by it but who would have been even more offended if he had disclaimed the supposed compliment which others (and perhaps even Clinton himself) saw in this equation.

Like no other president before him, Clinton knew how to use and abuse the confidence of African-Americans. He was solicitous of blacks because he needed their support to fulfill his personal ambitions but had no qualms about betraying them in order to advance his own interests.

Bill Clinton was personally responsible for plunging more blacks into poverty than any other president before him when he cut off the rations at the government plantation into which the Democrats had corralled many of them in the previous 60 years, not because he believed that welfare reform would work but despite the fact that he did not. He was more than willing to increase their misery (and did) in order to purchase 4 more years in the White House from those who regarded Welfare as the "Black Problem" and Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" as the Final Solution to it, or as final as they could make it in a post-Civil-Rights-Bill world. Of course, it was never welfare for the poor that was the problem, but welfare for corporations. That is now abundantly clear since President Bush requested and Congress voted more money for bankrupt U.S. corporations than has ever been doled out to poor Americans in the entire history of this country.

George Bush, for the reasons stated in a previous post, betrayed the trust of Cuban-Americans more completely than did any other U.S. president with the inevitable exception of John F. Kennedy. But JFK never owed Cuban-Americans what George W. Bush did. That is, Cubans didn't make JFK president. George Bush has acknowledged on several occasions that Cuban-Americans were his kingmakers, and though that is open to question, it has become one of those standard political verities that no one challenges. Besides, it is enough that Bush believes it. No benefits, however, accrued to the Cuban people from that obligation, nor, with the exception of a few political sinecures and several million dollars for a permanent panel on democratic transition in Cuba which Bush did everything in his power to thwart because, apparently, only the continued rule of the Castros would guarantee "stability" on the island, Cuban-Americans as a group did not benefit either from Bush's patronage.

That Bush suckered Cuban-Americans as Clinton did African-Americans; that he promised them more than he could deliver and ultimately delivered nothing; and that, in the end, he got away with it — there can be no question. Moreover, it is unlikely that Cuban-Americans will ever see through Bush as blacks eventually saw through Clinton when he challenged Obama for their votes. Conning Val Prieto was not difficult: "[s]ay what you will about the man [i.e. that Bush was a lousy president], ... his convictions vis-a-vis Cuba have always been crystal clear." A lot clearer, apparently, than his actions.

What is a conviction which is not acted upon?

A broken promise.

Babaloo's Waterloos: Punishing the Cuban People for Castro

"The majority of the people in Cuba have taken the easy way out and gotten used to living off the remittances from their relatives outside the country and many prostituting themselves in the streets. It pains me to say this but they have what they deserve as they should have stood up to the tyranny a long time ago instead of becoming leaches to their relatives in exile and loosing their moral values. They rather be eaten by sharks in the FL straits that stand up public[ly] against the regime. A country having people with that kind of moral fiber does not give you much to hope for. I sincerely hope to be wrong but so far the evidence to support my claim is overwhelming." — FreedomForCuba [Enrique Valle], "Fret Not, Folks. Hillary Is On It," Babalú, January 14, 2009

Babalú doesn't have many commenters left, but the few that do remain out-Val Val when it comes to their contempt for Cubans and their desire that they would all perish by confronting with bare fists the well-armed gang of homicidal thugs which has held our country hostage for 50 years, and which they themselves did not or could not confront, nor the "Good Old U.S.A." when it had the chance in 1961 before it became the guarantor of Communism on the island.

The only solution that the Babalunians offer for ending our country's crucible is to starve the Cuban people into rebellion and prevent exiles from visiting "the island of sick and ailing grandmothers," as Val puts it. I have always found it hard to understand how someone who so publicly cherishes his own family can have such overarching disdain for others less fortunate whose parents and grandparents are trapped in Cuba and require their assistance far more than Val's own parents do or anybody's parents stateside. Does the fact that they are on the island place them in a lower order of humanity and release their relatives from the moral obligation of coming to their rescue in their greatest need? Can patriotism, which is paternalism on a national scale, ever require us to be patricides? To defeat Castro must we pattern ourselves in his image and show the same disdain for our countrymen and their needs which he does? Must we destroy the Cuban family, the only bulwark against Castroism which Castro himself has not been able to topple, in order to win a Pyrrhic victory over him? Do Val & Co. want a nation of free men in Cuba or another Pompeii?

Hillary's announcement that the Obama administration would scrap the restrictions on travel and remittances imposed by Bush in 2004, effectively shutting off Val's "Human Pressure Cooker," has him disconsolate at the thought of the "millions in ransom monies" that will be paid to Castro "without something in return." What does Val expect from Castro? That he will renounce his monopoly on power in exchange for his 20 percent cut on remittances or the opportunity to overcharge visitors to the island for everything? Castro would first outlaw remittances and family visits than relinquish even one iota of power to his enemies. The suffering of the Cuban people is as meaningless to him as it is to Val, and the Cuban people themselves as expendable.

Many will recall Val's candid confession that he would not pay a cent to ransom his wife if she were held hostage by kidnappers threatening to kill her. Wives, of course, are replaceable; and so, in Val's mind, is the population of Cuba. Replenishing one's depleted bank account is a trickier business. This attitude of deutchsmarks über alles explains a great deal about him, but it is not and has never been the majority opinion in the Cuban community. To starve those that you love in order to remodel your kitchen, and then raise greed to the pinnacle of human virtues to disguise your own venality, bespeaks a decrepitude of the soul that even the greatest adversity has yet to inflict on the Cuban people. The greatest irony of the last 50 years is that Cubans have survived because they have cultivated the spirit of solidarity that the regime has continually preached, except that it has been solidarity with one another against the regime rather than with the regime against their countrymen. This is the great lesson that Val has never learned and will never learn. He will continue to endorse the modalities of the regime against the Cuban people rather than make common cause with them against the regime. Val is too young to have been a fidelista sin Fidel; but he is certainly a Cuban who would prefer a Cuba sin cubanos.


To accuse Cubans of "cowardly behavior" and do so anonymously does not speak well of the accuser. We have, therefore, identified him by name so that his statement will at least seem less hypocritical, and, dare I say, cowardly. He continues spewing his hatred at Babalú:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Notable & Risible: Bush as the "First Cuban-American President"

"Many people in his administration refer to President Bush as the first Cuban-American President, as his dedication to the cause of the Cuban people's freedom has always been strong, steadfast and unwavering.

"Say what you will about the man, but his convictions vis-a-vis Cuba have always been crystal clear. No other US president in the history of this country has done as much to help Cuba's prisoners of conscience and political prisoners than President George W. Bush.

"Gracias, Mr. President. To me, you truly are the first Cuban-American President." — Val Prieto, "Message to the Cuban People by President Bush," Babalú, January 13, 2009

No president has been more loquacious about the Cuban people's right to be free, nor less disposed to do anything to promote their freedom, than George W. Bush.

No president has secured the release of or given asylum to fewer Cuban political prisoners than George W. Bush, nor has any president before him failed to secure the condemnation of the Castro regime for human rights abuses at the U.N. and other international forums.

No president has enforced the legal travesty known as the"Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy longer than George W. Bush, though he could have abolished it 8 years ago with a stroke of his pen and restored the original meaning and intent of the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966).

No president is responsible for denying asylum to more freedom-seeking Cubans, or for deporting more men, women and children to Castro's island prison, than George W. Bush.

No president is to blame for the deaths of more Cuban refugees on the high seas, including those murdered in cold blood by the U.S. Coast Guard while executing his orders, than George W. Bush.

No president has been more accommodating in the gutting of the trade embargo than George W. Bush.

No president has done more to separate the Cuban family, or to increase the misery of the Cuban people while exempting the regime from any punitive actions, than George W. Bush.

No president has done more to facilitate or been more indifferent to the expansion of Communism in Latin America than George W. Bush.

No president before him ever used Cuban soil (which is what Guantánamo Naval Base is) for the purposes to which George W. Bush has in violation of all bilateral treaties and of Cuban sovereignty itself.

No president was ever more committed to maintaining the status quo in Cuba, or so often chose stability over freedom there, avoiding the crises that even Carter and Clinton couldn't avoid, than George W. Bush.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Weblog Awards

Don't let Val Prieto sink Yoani.

The results are in: Generation Y loses to Dólar Paralelo.

Castro and Obama: Practicing Genocide As Statecraft

The sole distinction of Barack Obama's political career (besides its brevity and inconsequence) consists of being the country's most radical defender of abortion on demand, which he takes farther than any other troll of Planned Parenthood to encompass even infanticide. The man who will be inaugurated as president on January 20th is the only U.S. legislator to have voted three times for the putative "right" of a woman to have her baby murdered on the delivery table in case of a "botched" abortions ("botched" because the baby was born alive despite the abortionist's best efforts to kill it in the womb).

Senator Obama supported partial birth abortion because he claimed what no sane physician or sensible human being would ever believe — that, in some cases, murdering the baby after it had exited the birth canal was in the mother's best interest, presumably to promote her mental health since once the connection between them was severed the baby could in nowise affect her physical health. By "mental health" Obama meant that a woman would be happier if the baby that she wanted to abort did not leave the operating room alive even if this required hacking it to death before her eyes, crushing its head with a mallet or pulling its limbs apart as it struggled to live outside its mother's body. In other words, an abortion in process can never be stopped until it achieves its objective, whether it's to destroy potential or actual life.

No thanks to Barack Obama, Congress abolished and the Supreme Court upheld the unconstitutionality of partial birth abortion. It wasn't a hard call since nothing is more demonstrably homicide. Yet Obama, who opposes capital punishment, wanted it inflicted on innocent babies without the benefit of judge and jury so as to allow no chink to be opened in the wall separating what is right from what is politically expedient. For Barack Obama and other liberals, a woman exudes a baby as she does a turd and can dispose of both as she pleases. (Well, actually, he would be in favor of conserving the turd as a source of alternative energy and harvesting the baby for its stem cells).

In Communist Cuba, the authorities have the same respect for human life as does Barack Obama, except that in the U.S. the woman's right to abort her baby is paramount to any interest which society might have in stopping her, whereas in Cuba the opposite is the case: a woman has no right to bear her baby to term if the state determines that it should be aborted for the "greater good." In Cuba, fetuses that are deemed to be "non-viable" are aborted routinely without the mother's knowledge or consent. "Non-viable" can mean anything that the regime wants it to mean. If, for example, it is determined, not necessarily on the basis of tests but simply on family history, that a baby might be born prematurely or with a congenital disease, it is aborted preemptively so as not to risk a spike in the country's infant mortality rate, which is kept artificially low precisely through the practice of eugenics and infanticide. When the doctors fail to diagnose an abnormality which becomes apparent after parturition, and could, potentially, take the baby's life within its first year, the living baby is "aborted" on the delivery table and listed as stillborn. Such a practice is unknown in any other country (even North Korea encourages births). Yet Barack Obama wanted to follow Castro's lead by refusing to outlaw partial birth abortion in the U.S.

Forget about youth, charisma, forensic skills or any other comparisons between Fidel and Obama: it is their contempt for human life — the most fragile and vulnerable of human life — that they share in common.

The Castro regime treats Cuba's infant mortality rate as an ideological weapon (I was going to write "biological weapon," but I don't want to confuse terms since Cuba has those weapons, too). Its artificially low death rate is often held up as proof of the Revolution's much-vaunted "achievements" in the field of medicine. In fact, Dr. Nicholas Everstadt, of the Harvard Center for Population Studies, demonstrated 20 years ago using Cuba's own raw data that the regime falsified its infant mortality rate, in effect keeping two sets of books, one for internal use and another for foreign consumption. Still, even if one accepts Castro's figures, Cuba's infant mortality rate today does not rank among the 25 most advanced countries of the world, whereas before the Revolution Cuba ranked 13th, ahead of most of Europe and all of Latin America.

The totalitarian mindset (as exemplified by Castro) kills human beings in order to make it seem that it is concerned with the conservation of human life. The liberal mindset (as exemplified by Obama) sanctions the killing of human beings so that it can claim respect for the rights of human beings. The result, however, is the same: the wanton genocide of innocent children who are deemed "unfit" for life because they do not fulfill the needs of the State.

Abortion Is in Retreat All Over the Land
RCAB Blog News: The Partial Abortion Post
No More Babies to be Drawn and Quartered in U.S.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Save Yoani From Val's Trap

Our readers will recall the hatchet job Val Prieto did on Yoani Sánchez in The Wall Street Journal in Nov. 2007. Now Babalú's "Founding Editor" has set up Yoani again, but this time he donned a velvet glove to do it. Val's praise, though, is as caustic as his calumnies, and whether he praises or disparages her, his goal is always the same — to bury her. With "friends" like Val, Yoani hardly needs the DGI.

What is Val's latest offense to Yoani?

He nominated Generation Y for a 2008 Weblog Award, not as best blog but for some regional award being disputed by several blogs of dubious distinction in the Hispanic blogosphere. Nominating Yoani for the "Best Latino, Caribbean or South American Blog" is like proposing a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for the Westinghouse High School Science Competition. Babalú won the 2006 Weblog award in that category and perhaps Val wishes to elevate its status by having Yoani as a "laureate" too. He could have done the same thing himself simply by declining the award.

But that's not the worst of it: Generation Y is actually trailing in the voting and may lose to some blog called Dólar Paralelo! Among the other nominees: Inca Kola News; popnografía; and Musique Automatique. Yoani, to her credit, has not mentioned her nomination for a Weblog Award on her blog; otherwise, she would surely have 5 million votes instead of 713. Still, more humiliating than winning the Weblog Award with such competition would be losing it.

So we must urge you to vote for Generation Y in order to spare her the humiliation of losing and Val the satisfaction of having her lose.

Voting for the Weblog Awards closes on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM (EST). The Weblog Awards allows you to vote every 24 hours for your candidate, so vote now and vote often, as if you belonged to ACORN or lived in Chicago:


The Venezuelan financial blog Dólar Paralelo still leads Generación Y by some 400 votes. If this trend cannot be reversed Val will have dealt Yoani the first defeat that the intrepid Cuban blogger has ever suffered. Ironic certainly that it should come courtesy of Val Prieto, not Fidel Castro.


Currently in third place, Inca Kola News is surging and may overtake Generation Y for second place. This is a disgrace and a disaster. I am not blaming Dólar Paralelo or Inca Kola News. Obviously, this is their category and it is Generation Y that is out of place. The blame for this lies squarely with Val Prieto who thought that Generation Y should be classed with and compete against Inca Cola News and Dólar Paralelo. Still, keep voting.


The ominous trend continues.

Commenter Marabu makes an interesting observation. With popularity contests such as the Weblog Awards, which can be as easily manipulated as, say, the competition for "American Idol," whoever can command the most telephones or computers, is the kingmaker. The DGI, which has at its disposal more computers than does the entire Cuban population, can "anoint" any contestant in any poll, or, as in this case, prevent an enemy of the regime from winning by stacking the votes in favor of his opponents. To place Yoani in such a compromised position amounts to delivering her to the tender mercies of the DGI. I am not saying that Val Prieto has done this intentionally, but, to all practical effects, it makes no difference if he did since the outcome is the same.


Perhaps it is only a coincidence, but as coincidences go it appears to be rather more convenient than fortuitous.

The only blog besides Yoani's with sufficient readership and clout to induce a sizable number to vote for Generation Y and thwart Val's machinations has been put out of commission. Penúltimos Días is not a Google-driven blog like Babalú, which receives most of its hits from high school kids writing reports (hence the paucity of its comments). Penúltimos Días has a core Cuban following which is large enough and knowledgeable enough to realize what is at stake here and invested enough in the future of Cuba to come to Yoani's rescue.

If it was indeed the DGI's plan to humiliate Yoani by contriving to deny her this ridiculous award by hook or crook, then it was necessary to silence the only powerful ally that could have redressed the balance in her favor. Hopefully, Penúltimos Días will be able to get back online before the voting for the Weblog Awards concludes on Tuesday.

If you have not already voted do so now; and even if you have voted, remember that you can vote again every 24-hours.


The lead has now widened to 500 votes and nobody seems to care. Perhaps that is the price of Yoani's success, which is being paid to her in the only currency that Cubans (or many Cubans anyway) dispense to those who overshadow them. Call it the homage of envy. No doubt many other bloggers beside Val would regard her defeat as a welcome realignment of the universe even if it brings them no closer to the sun. Our history and our curse, forever recycled.

Don't forget to vote today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Parsing The New York Times (Part 2)

Part 2

The "HM Virus" tends to assert itself in the most unexpected places. It cannot be tracked by analyzing the usual circuits, though these, of course, cannot be ignored either. Its system-wide pervasiveness makes it necessary to read all sections, and, literally, to leave no page unturned. I thought that I was good at spotting it — certainly my HM Radar is as good as anybody's — but I was actually surprised last Friday to find it lurking in the obituary of Claiborne Pell [Jan. 2, 2008, p. A-21], the former Rhode Island senator best known for the college grants that bear his name. Right smack in the middle of the half-page obit, appears this little bit of editorializing:

"But he also stood out for talking unconventional positions and staying with them. In contrast to almost all his Senate colleagues and to several administrations, he advocated an end to the isolation of Communist Cuba by the United States. He called for a policy of small steps towards normalizing relations with Cuba, an approach that later earned broader support."
I am sure that all of Pell's former Senate colleagues read his obituary and its call for "unconventionality" regarding their positions on Communist Cuba, and did not fail to catch its implied warning that if you want a half-page obituary in The Times, chuck-full of funny anecdotes and intriguing bits of genealogy — supposing that's something you want publicized — it wouldn't hurt to oppose "the isolation of Communist Cuba by the United States." Take especial note of the redundant "by the United States." More seasoned writers might have been content merely to say "Communist Cuba's isolation" and take it for granted that blame for it would be assigned automatically to the United States though the only constant in U.S.-Cuban relations over the last 50 years has been Castro himself, who has rebuffed every American overture for rapprochement (and there have been many) that came with those nasty preconditions such as respect for human rights and the sovereignty of other nations.

Senator Pell was the point-man for Gerald Ford's failed initiative to restore diplomatic relations with the Cuban regime, visiting Castro in 1974 in anticipation of the president's projected trip to Cuba ("Ford Meets Castro" as a revival of "Nixon Meets Mao"). The plan to lift the "Cane Curtain," however, was derailed at the last moment by Cuba's hessianic invasion of Angola.

Obama has a much better chance of succeeding where Ford, Carter and even Reagan failed: it seems unlikely that Castro will redeploy Cuba's Afrika Korps in support of his friend Mugabe (certainly not before Obama "normalizes" relations) and he already has Cuba's 220 officially-recognized political prisoners all wrapped up and ready for delivery to their new American homes. All Obama has to do is comply with his promise of unconditional surrender, following Pell's formula of taking "small steps" towards "normalizing" relations with Communist Cuba while expecting no small steps by Castro in the direction of a free and democratic society.

The Times also noted that Pell "was an avid jogger, but he often wore a tweed suit when running, and he pushed for Congressional investigations into ESP and U.F.O.'s" Not surprisingly, Senator Biden called Pell a "mentor" and praised him as "one of our nation's most important voices in foreign policy over 30 years." Yes, Pell supported establishing contacts with extraterrestrials and Cuban Communists. Consistent he certainly was.

It was the Pell obituary, an admittedly blatant example of its kind, which gave me the idea of deconstructing an entire issue of The New York Times in order to chart the course and transmutations of the "HM Virus." On stories about Cuba, the virus is more conspicuous by what it omits than by what it reports. These omissions are usually intended to blot out anything positive that could be said about Cuba before Castro. It is not enough to misrepresent Cuba's present-day reality: its history must also be revised to culminate in Castro's Revolution. Since nothing in Cuba's pre-revolutionary past presaged the last 50 years, the Revolution being an unnatural and poisonous growth that was grafted on our body politic by The Times itself and its water carriers in the U.S. State Department, the effort to create the myth of an indigenous revolution to empower the masses, requires historical revisionism on a scale that has not been attempted since Goebbels and Beria. Yet the "HM Virus," which has more than a few residual traces of its creator's original fascist tendencies, is programmed to filter all of Cuban history through Castro's own skewered view of it, justifying the ends by falsifying both causation and catalyst (not to mention the means).

The task confronting us in Part 3 is twofold: to repoint Cuba's past and re-orient its present in reference to it. That will be a lot easier to do with one edition of The New York Times than with our country itself. Yet that task also awaits us one day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Babaloo's Waterloos: A Pardon For Felipe Sixto

To err is human. To steal is also human and to murder. Being human does not excuse activity that degrades the human condition because not to err, not to steal and not to murder are also human. Man ultimately bears responsibility for choosing what kind of human he will be. If he opts to be a scoundrel he should be judged as a scoundrel. His humanity is not exculpatory. On the contrary, it is what indicts him; for we are far removed from the days when animals shared stocks and scaffolds with humans. It would make more sense for a public sinner to plead that he is closer to the beasts than to man. That, at least, might be an extenuating circumstance, since he could be missing a chromosome or some brain-sustaining chemical which makes it impossible for him to know between right and wrong, good and evil. What makes no sense, however, is to claim that having a conscience predisposes one to unconscionable acts.

Nor are all errors equal. Not every error is mercenary. There are honest errors that benefit no one and unintentional errors that cost us dearly but hurt no one but us.

Felipe Sixto did not err in that way.

He stole $600,000 intended to promote the Cuban people's freedom and ameliorate their wretchedness. He took from one of the most destitute people on earth, his own people, in a manner reminiscent of the sub rosa dealings of Castro & Co. By denying them access to that aid, Sixto not only increased their material suffering but helped to tighten the regime's hold on them. He also discredited better men than himself who have devoted their lives to helping them. By any definition, he is a traitor to the cause of Cuban freedom, a dishonest public servant and false friend.

He "was (is)" also, according to Henry Gómez, "a friend of [Babalú] blog" ["To Err is Human..." January 7]. But, of course, he would be. Sixto's efforts, although not intended as such, helped to build up the steam in Val Prieto's "Human Pressure Cooker." For that he is deserving of a pardon and Henry grants his old Belén classmate one for whatever it's worth (not much). He is especially impressed by the fact that Sixto made restitution to the U.S. government for the stolen funds once the theft was discovered. This, too, counts in his favor because in the end the Cuban people were denied the aid that had been assigned to them because of his malfeasance and, as Sixto himself admits, will likely receive much less in the future because of it.

This cannot but gratify Val Prieto who is on record (in The New York Times, no less) as theorizing that the Cuban people "don't need money," which is curiously close to Castro's immemorial assertion that "nobody needs anything in Cuba." In fact, there appear to be more differences between Val and Sixto on this subject than between Val and Castro. Sixto apologizes for "the delay in freedom for the Cuban people" occasioned by his betrayal of trust. From Val's perspective, however, Sixto is not a traitor but a hero because his actions will hasten, not delay, their liberation by raising the temperature in the "Human Pressure Cooker."

Come to think of it, maybe Val should ask Felipe Sixto to join Babalú's magnificent cadres.

Parsing The New York Times

Part 1

It is the world's oldest systems virus. It began more than 50 years ago in the deadwood edition of The New York Times and became so welded to its host that it was grandfathered into the digital age without its dirty volume even being detected. No attempt has ever been made to remove the virus because those in a position to do so are unaware of its existence, indifferent to it, or, more likely, invested in it as a vital marker of its institutional identity as well as its oldest extant reportorial tradition.

The virus is still unnamed. It ought to be called the "Herbert Matthews Virus" after its creator, although that wouldn't help to identify it since the only ones who've heard about his fictional writings on The Times' front page are old Timesmen and Cubans. The Times' exaltation of Fidel Castro and concomitant degradation of the Cuban people — for one can hardly idolize Castro without showing at the same time the greatest contempt for his victims — has outlasted by decades its erstwhile infatuation with Stalin, whose crimes it concealed until Khrushchev finally acknowledged them (in part) after Stalin's death, which is to say, it was the Soviets who broke the pact of silence to which The Times had faithfully subscribed since the days of Walter Duranty; otherwise, we should still be reading its glowing reports on the success of yet another Five-Year Plan (but not about the 10 million lives it cost).

In the case of Hitler, too, The Times downplayed his targeting of Jews and did not report on the concentration camps until the day they were liberated though it knew about their existence long before. Better that Europe's Jews should perish than The Times' Jewish owners be ostracized as Zionist propagandists by this country's own (non-lethal) anti-Semites. The irony, of course, is that Germany's assimilated Jews fared no better than their Orthodox co-religionists at the hands of the Nazis. Still, for the Ochs-Sulzbergers, 100% Americanism meant emulating the callous unconcern of the bigots and feeding the sense of invulnerability of their enemies.

Nevertheless, The Times did not thrust Stalin on Russia, or Hitler on Germany. Fidel Castro, however, is entirely its creation. The Eisenhower State Department took its cues on Castro from The Times and enthroned the "Jeffersonian democrat" of Matthews' imagination. If Billy the Kid had entertained wider ambitions and lived a little longer, The Times might have catapulted him into the White House. The only difference is that Billy wasn't an ideologue and consequently killed much fewer people.

When will The New York Times admit its complicity in Cuba's ruin or even just Cuba's ruin? The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution presented them with just such an occasion. So did the 1st, the 5th, the 10th, the 20th, the 25th ... well, any year in the last fifty. Will it wait till the Cuban Khrushchev denounces the Cuban Stalin? Or must we wait for the excavation of Cuba's Killing Fields before The Times awakens to the truth? Perhaps not even then. Walter Duranty's portrait still hangs in its offices with those of its other Pulitzer Prize winners. Herbert Matthews never won a Pulitzer Prize which is the reason his portrait isn't in the gallery.


[In Part 2, I will review an entire issue of The New York Times for biased, inaccurate or tendentious reporting on Cuba, tracing the entire course of the "HM Virus" through its system].

Thursday, January 1, 2009

50 Years and Counting

I've reproduced below two of the articles which I've written to mark the lustrums of the Cuban Revolution. As I re-typed them after 20 years from the yellowed clippings, I was finishing the sentences from memory although I had not read the articles in as many years. It is not because I have a prodigious memory, because I don't anymore; but because the facts and my responses to them have not changed in decades.

Nothing is more constant and immutable than barbarism if left unopposed. Castroism, of course, has not just been let alone: it has been encouraged, nurtured and flattered since before 1959. The ignoble savages have been transformed into noble savages; the police state into a welfare state; and the victims of Communism into the villains. But even if it had been otherwise and the world had condemned what it still praises, nothing would have changed in Cuba either. To expect the Castro regime to evolve into anything better than itself is like expecting Genghis Khan to turn into Marcus Aurelius.

Fifty years might as well be eternity, and in the life of a man it practically is. Hope springs eternal, too, they say; but, in our case, to no effect, since every year it defrauds us. No prospect, however pernicious to the regime's stability, ever rebounds to our country's favor. Not the fall of the Soviet Union; not Castro's zombie state; not natural or man-made disasters; not the financial collapse of Cuba's Western creditors and enablers. In fact, if we looked at every reason for hope as a reason for despair, we might be more miserable but shall be closer to the truth in every case.

Some believe that Castro made a pact with the devil to secure power. It's as good an explanation as any for something so unnatural and perverse as the Castro regime. Yet such a compact hardly seems necessary since God has made his sympathies amply known over the last 50 years by allowing every human wrong to be inflicted on our people without mercy or surcease. I have remarked before that I believe Cubans to be God's new "Chosen People," chosen for the same reason that the Jews were — to prove how faith can transcend reality, and the suffering of yesterday and today be transformed into the hope of tomorrow. Perhaps, like the Jews, we may also have to wait 2000 years for our national redemption. I am certainly more sure that it will come in 2000 years than in 10, 20 or 30 more, but even if it came that "soon," it will find most of us in the grave.

Once a year, at least, we should stare at the truth even if it blinds us for the rest of the year.

Is everything lost?

Everything was lost a long time ago.

The fact that confronts us today is that it may never be recovered.