The Choice

This year marks the 50th anniversary of my family’s arrival into the United States of America as exiles from Cuba. When the collapse of the Batista regime and the imminent castro victory became a certainty, they began making arrangements to come to the United States. My entire family, save two, chose exile in a foreign land rather than living under communist rule. Most of us arrived in 1960 and the couple of years that followed. At one time there were four generations of my extended family here. We were, and have been, very lucky.

That choice, gut-wrenching as it was for the older generation in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, all of them facing the prospect of losing everything they had worked for their entire lives, was arrived at with relative ease. We were going to the most prosperous country on Earth, a country founded on a set of timeless principles that empower the individual with the liberty to use his or her God-given rights to succeed at anything. The United States had been part of the fabric of Cuban history from before the birth of the Republic in 1902, sometimes for good and others for bad. It was the ideal country of exile for a group of people seeking freedom and the way to provide for their families. There was no question in the minds of my family that America was the best hope, where we would flee to escape the hard tyranny that would turn Cuba into the symphony of ruin it is today.

Our lives here over the last five decades have been productive and generally happy. Thanks to the genius of its founders and our Constitution, we’ve been allowed to thrive and to live our lives, free men and women, as we see fit. The generation of my parents, still wounded from their exile so many decades ago, have adapted and assimilated; my generation, too young to remember Cuba, and those born and educated here, are Americans, through and through. We love this country, not just for the liberty it’s given us, but also for what it truly represents.

Since becoming an American citizen in 1983 I’ve exercised my precious right to vote in just about every election. Yes, I’ve made the occasional error in judgment about candidates I’ve voted for, as we all have. But the one thing I know with absolute certitude is this: I will not sacrifice my conservative principles, the principles of the founders, at the altar of compromise, convenience or expedience again. Ever.

When the last presidential election cycle was in full swing, this blog, and hundreds of others, as well as the real conservative alternative media, rang the warning bells about who Barack Obama was, and what he and the Democrats would do once in power. My then seventy-six year old mother, and others of her generation who came in the first and second Cuban Diasporas, also knew what would happen if the Democrats took control; you see, they'd heard this leftist baloney 48 years before. Even with the overwhelming amount of evidence about Obama, his associations, and his agenda for America that was exposed and written about during the course of the campaign, the “moderates” and the faux conservatives competed with each other to drool and fawn over this “post-partisan,” “post-racial” candidate -- the “great unifier” of our troubled nation and the first Black President, to boot! How hip and cool was that? They called us, the li’l ole conservative base, every name in the book for opposing him, his agenda, his philosophy, and his party. We're all “racists,” don’t ya know.

But it was never about race; it was always about policy.

All the alarm bells at full volume weren’t enough to warn the electorate of the socialist tsunami that would overtake us on November 4, 2008. Obama's small margin of victory was gleefully ensured by Goebbels-inspired media manipulation and mendacity. The marketing of his "brand," complete with a logo, combined with sickeningly sycophantic "news" stories in the mainstream media, were just too slick and polished for the easily manipulated, the gullible, the ignorant, and the stupid, to ignore. The voters happily drank the Kool-Aid in big, sloppy gulps, elected Obama by a relatively small margin, and gave the Democrats large majorities in both Houses of Congress.

Mark Levin, in his book Liberty and Tyranny, published in March of 2009, but written before the 2008 campaign, sounded the clearest clarion call about how the statists, collectivists, socialists, progressives, and liberals, would accelerate what he termed a “soft” tyranny, by use of executive orders, directives, legislation, regulation, economic policy, tax policy, etc. This is the war the “progressives” have been waging since the second decade of the Twentieth Century: they are hell-bent on destroying this country, its values, and its founding principles. What all of us predicted would happen, and then some, has come true. The Democrats, and their socialist and marxist allies, have demonstrated they are exactly what we said they were.

It’s been a very long two years.

Unlike the occasional chaos of parliamentary democracies, our republican form of government, devised by a small group of genius revolutionaries over two centuries ago, allows us the attempt to fix things every two years. I can say without any hyperbole that since I voted for the first time many years ago, there has never been a mid-term election as defining and as crucial as the one tomorrow. There have been important choices in the past, to be certain; but tomorrow we will be voting for the very survival of our Republic. WE THE PEOPLE, the tens of millions of us who have had enough, will not be silent any longer.

The choice my family made in those dreadful years of 1958 and 1959 were different than the ones we have before us tomorrow. But don’t be deceived: November 2, 2010 is just as important for the future of this country. Tomorrow’s election may go down in history as one of the greatest expressions of power in a representative republic in the history of the world. WE THE PEOPLE have a choice tomorrow, as Rush Limbaugh said back in late September. That choice is either Obama and the Democrats, or America.

This nation is still the last, best hope of the world, but there’s no exile from here. This is it. Tomorrow morning I will choose America.

Beer, Ice cream and Beaten Bloggers

Thanks to Val from Babalublog I learned yesterday that Yoani Sanchez and other Cuban bloggers were temporarily detained and beaten on her way to a peace protest against violence. I've been since following Claudia Cadelo on twitter, and today I checked Generacion Y to see Yoani's point of view. It can only be said that the Cuba Governement is afraid, and that these heirs to Cuba's future are extremely brave. For more details on this Babalublog pretty much has it covered with updates.

After reading the various blogs, I perused the news websites to see what they had to say. The only thing CNN is covering on Cuba is how Miller Beer and Haagen Dazs ice cream may be sold in Cuba --for a premium nonetheless. As Cuban citizens are sequestered and beaten for their exercising of free speech, Chicago food (and other companies) are negotiating how beer and ice cream are to be sold on the island. Given that it is a premium, the target audience is not the everyday Cuban citizen. Given that it is ice cream and beer, the target audience is not the hungry poor of the nation. Given that the Cuba government is still communist, any premium commodity that will come from America, goes through the tourist, and ends up in Castro's pocket. The Cuban people have once again been ignored.

"We're in this for the long haul as well," said Paul Johnson of Chicago Foods. "Like I said before, we're thinking about today as well as tomorrow."

A tomorrow that would have U.S. tourists sipping American beer on Cuban beaches. --CNN

The truth is that any attempt to lift the embargo will only satiate the appetite of the visitor, the tourist, while filling the pockets of an oppressive government regime through inflated taxes. With no embargo, the everyday Cuban citizen will be left as hungry and oppressed as they were with the embargo. Since 2000, the US is the number one provider of food to Cuba and yet the hunger persists. If the Cuban government cannot use the resources it is given to aid its own people on a small scale (restricted donations), then it is clear that it will not do so on a large scale (the lifting of the embargo.) Period.

For those who claim that a new era has dawned on Cuba should take a close look at the incident that happened with a peaceful group of Cuban bloggers. Nothing has changed. Oppression remains in the cities while luxury and freedom exudes in the resorts.

I don't know about you, but I'm no longer eating Hagen Dazs ice cream nor drinking Miller beer.

UPDATE: CNN FINALLY writes an article about this.

Hey Juanes

Hey Juanes, I have a few questions.

Here are two Cuban musicans in Cuba that I'm sure would love the chance to play at your peace concert. Why not invite them?

Why import musicians who don't even deal with the day to day suffering of Cuba? Flying them in on planes is a waste of money that can go to feeding the Cuban people. A full belly is a closer step to peace than noisy propaganda.

Why bother bringing Cuban expats to play with you (like Orishas), when you can have your fill with local rock and rap artists?

Jose Marti said: "Everything that divides men, everything that specified, separates or pens them, is a sin against humanity." Having some musicians play and not inviting others because their views are contrary to the government is divisive, sinful and separates one from the other. This is contrary to the meaning of peace, which always seeks equilibrium.

Jose Marti also said: "Peace demands of Nature the recognition of human rights." Not recognizing the rights of the local Cuban musicians to play at the concert simply because the Cuban government sees these musicians as deviant is a slap at their human right to free speech. In other words, not extending the invitation to these musicians who sing for a better homeland is a slap to the very nature of peace itself.

How can you sing for peace when your actions don't reflect your song?

When will the irony end?

"I think anyone who buys a t-shirt of Che has gotta be cool. If I see someone with a Che t-shirt, I think, 'He's got good taste'."
— Benicio Del Toro

As we know the Che shirt is a delicious irony. A man against capitalism and commodities becomes a commodity sold for capital. As for Del Toro’s quote, taste is an aesthetic that has little to do with fact, and the fact is Che was a murderer. Taste is also irrelevant when it comes to wearing the image of an assassin. Wearing a Che shirt is either a bonafide proof of ignorance, or a possible declaration of hatred for human life.

Che: a man against capitalism and commodities becomes a commodity sold for capital. For a while I thought the Che shirt was the epitome of this irony, but then a greater irony developed –the Che movie. The American Che movie phenomena of the new millennium are unprecedented. In the past 7 years we have seen 8 different versions of Che in the US alone. The attention is nauseating and some of his portrayals are indeed myopic. Nevertheless, the irony is all the more exquisite; after all, nothing says capitalism like Hollywood.

Up until today I thought that Hollywood would be the apex of the Che irony, and I was proven wrong. To my surprise, this latest bit of irony has been going on long before the Che shirt and the Che movie. This bit of irony surpasses any shirt, movie, or clueless comment.

In Vallegrande, Bolivia Che is known as San Ernesto de La Higuera

Every October 9th there is a tribute to Che with flowers, candles, and invocations. That’s right, there are people who actually pray to Che Guevara. Now, I know for some of you this may be old news, but this is mind blowing for me. They actually pray to Che for a miracle. Che was a self-proclaimed atheist and he has become a deity for these peasants! I am not one to judge any person’s religious experience, but contradiction is contradiction, and I have to ask what history do these peasants know? It’s not like these peasants are learning about foco theory or arming themselves against the bourgeois. They’re praying to him for help in their day-to-day farm life: a murderer has become the patron saint of farming. Here we find a religious icon without historic grounding. Saint Che is hagiography at it’s worst. Anytime we read about a local’s encounter with Che, it’s never the philosophy that attracted them, but his appearance that wins favor. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if Che had the looks of Ghandi, Che would’ve been long forgotten.

The substance of Che is that of a human butcher who did not believe in God, who fought against capitalism, and who found hatred as the key element for his revolution. Today his image makes money on T-Shirts and in movies, his contradictory quote on love is found on bumper stickers, and somewhere in the little town of Vallegrande peasants pray to the atheist for rain and good harvest.

When will the irony end?

For more information about San Ernesto de La Higuera you can check here: | San Ernesto de la higuera y el hombre nuevo

If you google San Ernesto de la Higuera then you’ll get plenty more links. (A strong stomach may be required.)

Come one and come all and come quickly before it’s gone!

That’s right, you too should visit the world’s finest circus that is Cuba before Fidel is dead and Obama drops the embargo! Hurry. Yes, hurry! Come to the paradise of car collectors. The haven of Anti-American sentiment. The center of cigar aficionados. The tropical hub of human meat marketing, where flesh thirsty tourists can have their fill of sultry, sexy, and lets not forget savage, Cuban prostitutes.

And what about the artistically inclined?

Fear not! There is still room for you as the decrepit and poorly cared for remnants of the colonial old world stands on rotting wood and broken concrete. After all, isn’t any art best with age? Isn’t the finest of wines the oldest of wines? Does it really matter that these two analogies don’t fit, because in the end you're really visiting the most original work in the tropics: Castro communism in all its damning glory.

If that is not appeasing enough, you can visit the Cuban music halls sipping Son like some deep overproof rum. Perhaps Trova is more your thing? Maybe you like the raw and raunchy Rumba of la calle! Whatever your preference, whatever you desire, know that all art in Cuba is too created by the original artist that is Castro who inseminates the expression of the Cuban people into one collective communistic catastrophe.

And speaking of communism let’s not forget la revolucion!

On every corner. Down every street. On every entry door and living room there is the static reminder of a time long past. A reminder of a nation so thoroughly duped by grandiose lies and merciless assassinations. That’s right, these are the images of Fidel and the images of Che--the architects of what Cuba is today. These are the two men who were brave enough to seek a helping hand from the USA to stand up against the mob-encrusted Batista, only to then become the greatest cowards in history hiding behind senseless acts of violence, collective mental abuse, and giving blame to the one country that helped these bearded ones into power--America.

Come one and come all and come quickly before it’s gone. Cuba is a paradise for anyone who desires to sip exotic Anti-American and Anti-Democratic vintage at its finest.

And what of the colorful, always smiling, people on this esoteric oasis?

What does it matter to you! Take their pictures and wave your holas. Their struggle, political desensitization, and cultural asphyxiation will have no affect with your walks on the white sandy beaches and flirty sips of mojitos. Cuba was made for you! You are Cuba's true citizen. Cuban’s love tourists and you will be accommodated accordingly.

Come one and come all and come quickly before it's gone! Though Cuban oppression isn’t going to change anytime soon, your trip may lose all its far away flavor as the political environment turns with Obama now on the scene and Fidel soon to walk off.

Don’t miss out!

November 22, 1963

By George L. Moneo

I was a second grader in Mrs. Mudre's class at St. Mary's Cathedral School, my parochial school here in Miami. The day started as all days back then did. I have no memory of it save that it was my birthday and I was expecting lots of presents when my class celebrated it later that afternoon. We had a Cowboys & Indians theme party and I received a great present -- a gun that fired plastic bullets -- that was a very cool plastic western Colt .44. It worked great and you could reload it just like the Cowboys in the movies. We sang songs, my classmates sang happy birthday, we ate cake and stuff, and all was right with the world. I was seven years old! When the dismissal bell rang, we formed our usual line to wait for our parents.

It was around between 2:30 PM, Miami time, on Friday, November 22, 1963.

The nuns who ran the school -- for the life of me I can only remember the name of one of them, the principal, Sister Mary Esther -- stopped us as we were leaving and said that we had to go to church to pray because something terrible had happened. I know that I showed the gun they had given me to my mom and she quickly told me to put it away. We went to church and prayed for, what seemed to my seven-year old mind, hours and hours and hours. I vaguely remember hearing that the President had been shot. What did I know? I sort of knew that the President was a Roman Catholic like I was. All I knew was that I had a great present and I couldn't wait to go home to play with it.

That day, and the three days that followed, would, of course be forever etched in my mind. The black and white TV was on in our house for what seemed all the time. Nothing was on the TV except that the President had been shot. My mother and father, grandfather and grandmother, all looking very, very serious. On Sunday, November 24, I saw Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald on TV. Live. Ruby yelled, "Oswald!" and pow! Oswald went down. What did I know? I was seven. I thought I was watching a movie that lasted all weekend long. And I saw the funeral on Monday. The haunting drums that kept the pace for the escorting of the caisson carrying the President's body still gives me goose bumps when I hear them.

In the intervening years, November 22, has held a special significance for me. Not because it's my birthday -- I haven't had a birthday since when I haven't remembered the assassination -- but because of what it did to us, all of us, as a nation.

We were hurt badly that day.

And I became obsessed with the assassination. The theories about it have become a cottage trade, like spy novels or B-movies. I've read huge chunks of the Warren Commission Report. Its purposeful lies were promulgated to assuage a nation and to cover up the ineptitude -- or complicity? -- of the Federal agencies that failed to protect the President. I most definitely do not believe the "single-bullet" theory. I remember hearing about it this "magic bullet" in 1964 -- a year after the assassination. I was amazed at what that bullet had done! In my young mind, I was still thinking it was like a movie or a TV show. Over the last thirty years I've read books about the assassination by Anthony Summers, Mark Lane, David Lifton, Jim Marrs, Fletcher Prouty, Edward Jay Epstein, Gus Russo, and Henry Hurt; magazine articles and websites. I've seen hours upon hours of documentaries, all of them outlining their theories about what happened. I don't believe David Lifton's theory that the President's body was altered on Air Force One to reflect an entry wound to the back of the head instead of a frontal shot, but I do believe the autopsy was badly bungled by someone who was not a trained forensic pathologist. I don't believe that Connolly was the target of the attempt and the assassins missed. I don't believe Oliver Stone's JFK and its leftist paranoia of a right-wing cabal, although it is a cinematic tour de force. I don't believe it was the CIA: did they suddenly go from inept, after the disasters they had been involved in, to brilliantly efficient, and execute a complex murder almost flawlessly? I don't think so. And I've seen the Zapruder film over and over again, its gory images etched in my mind forever.

I still remember.

I have my own theories about what happened that day, but I'll keep them to myself. What is certain is that none of us will ever know the whole truth about the forces that came together on that beautiful sunny day in Dallas to murder the President.

No matter what I think of JFK -- his fear of fidel and his betrayal of our brothers on Playa Giron; the sordid deal he made with Kruschev in 1962 that effectively sold out the Cuban exiles in the United States (myself included) by effectively preventing us from taking military action against fidel; the dishonest, some might say criminal, way in which he was elected in 1960 -- the manner of his death, so public, shot like a rabid dog on a street in Dallas, in full view of all of us, young and old alike, is a trauma that has not healed.

On November 22, 1963, on my seventh birthday, our innocence died and our unbounded optimism was derailed. America has yet to fully recover from the shots fired in Dealey Plaza forty-five years ago today.