Carlos and George

carlos-gutierrez

“He’s up in years.” Donald Rumsfeld, asked on MSNBC about George H.W. Bush voting for Clinton.

“They’ve done a head transplant on him, or he wants to become U.S. Ambassador to Communist Cuba, or he thinks he can reap big profit margins by trading with the Castro regime.” Jorge E. Ponce reacts to former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under Bush 43 saying that he will vote for Clinton.

Spanish Translation of “Basket of Deplorables”

guarincandilla

My good friend Silvio Canto, who has a radio show in Dallas, Texas, asked me tonight what would be the Spanish translation for “basket of deplorables.” It did not take but one second to come up with a reply. It would be “un montón de guaricandillas.” This is why I founded, when I lived in the DC area, the Guarincandilla Social Club — and we just founded a Sarasota chapter recently.

The Life of a Refugee

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Analyzing the mindset and hardships experienced by Cuban-American refugees, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are nuances based on different generational groupings. Most belonging to our parents’ generation have never adapted to life under the Anglo-Saxon culture. They either continue living with the hope of returning to a Cuba Libre, or they have given up all hope of a better tomorrow and are just counting their days for a peaceful transition to a better afterlife. I’ve written about this generation at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140521143849-11570625-nostalgia-for-cuba-s-past-a-difference-of-generations?trk=mp-reader-card.

Then, there is my generation – the one who left Cuba as a youngster. I left when I was 11. We have assimilated to the American culture – but, up to a point. We have never forgotten where we came from, and we continue fighting – each, in his/her way based on his/her talent base – for a return of freedom and democracy to our homeland. We do this as a debt owed to the sacrifices that our parents went through to ensure that we grew up in the land of free and the home of the brave.

And, finally, there are those of Cuban-American parents who are born in the United States. Some care deeply about their parents’ homeland, while others develop amnesia as an act of rebellion. Cuban-Americans who have never forgotten where their families come from, like U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, find out that regardless of the fact that they were born in the U.S., others still look at them as foreigners, as not American enough. And, once they find out about this anomaly, they embrace a hybrid identity of “no soy de aquí, ni soy de alla.” They become citizens of the world, where doing the right thing becomes more important than where you or your parents come from.

Following is wonderful ode to refugees by Angelina Muñiz-Huberman – born in France to parents who fled the Spanish Civil War. After living in Cuba, the Muñiz family moved to Mexico City. She holds a Ph.D. in literature.

“MARIA ZAMBRANO. Castillo de Razones y Sueño de la Inocencia” \ Dr. Angelina Muñiz-Huberman

“El exilio es un fenómeno consustancial con el ser humano. Desde el primer exilio, que lo fue de carácter divino – la expulsion del Edén – hasta todos los que le siguieron, de carácter histórico, han sido la piedra de toque de pueblos y personas. Se ha considerado un castigo más refinadamente cruel que la prisión o la de negarle un espacio propio. Adán y Eva adquieren la muerte al perder el Paraiso. Quien sale al exilio, sale en busca de una muerte sin tierra. La condena es el eterno vagabundeo y la conciencia precisa del paso del tiempo. A la vez, adquiere un esperanza inviolable; el anhelo del retorno. De lo que se trata entonces, es de llenar el tiempo, un tiempo que no vale, en un espacio ajeno, para recuperar el verdadero tiempo y el verdadero espacio. Y he aquí que la manera perfecta de llenar ese tiempo y ese espacio es por la preservación de la memoria. Es uno de los sentires del exilado la idea de recrear la vida, del ciclo que se vuelve a empezar, de la rueda de la fortuna incesante. Debe probar ante sí y ante los demás que lo desconocen su propio valor, su proprio signo vital. Cada dia que pasa rehace su identidad. Es un solitario señalado, un Caín inocente. El estado de exilio es un estado privilegiado que pone a prueba lo mejor de cada mente; exacerba la reflexión y la imaginación. El exilado se sabe sobreviviente y como tal debe cumplir con ciertas obligaciones: una de ellas es recoger y transmitir su tradición, su historia, y otra es dejar huellas en su paso. Se convierte en un ejemplo de lo que Maria Zambrano llama el vencido que vence. Y vence con la mejor arma: la inteligencia, la lucidez, y la lejanía.

Poco a poco se despoja de la passion y adquiere la serenidad y la objetividad que solo un trance extremo procuran. Prdríamos decir que el exiliado es un aprendiz de Job que se ampara bajo su sombra. Por algo Maria Zambrano lo escoge como el símbolo de lo que habrá de perdurar cuando llegue el momento, al igual que las simientes del extraño pájaro abandonado en la arena que luego habrán de crecer y elevar su vuelo sobre los demás seres. CUM TEMPUS FUERIT. La apuesta del exiliado es con el tiempo. Para Maria Zambrano el exiliado pertenece al grupo de los BIENAVENTURADOS, como es el título de otra de sus obras. En ella, las palabras adquieren la cadencia de la mística y eligen la vida de la depuración. El exiliado ya no es exiliado en esta tierra. Es el exiliado que adquiere la categoría de la transcendencia. Que ha sido visitado por un rayo iluminador y que ha aprendido a vivir el abandono. Para escalar la cima de la sabiduría y conocer cual es el sentido de su vida, desplazado y despojado, continua desprendiéndose de cada una de las capas de la incongruencia y de la insensatez.

El exilio es el punto final con el pasado: el congelamiento de una forma de la conjugación verbal; es la adquisición de la mortalidad. Pero nunca será la pérdida de la memoria; el pasado es una negación, no un olvido. Y la condena es, precisamente, conservar la memoria. El paliativo, desarrolar el principio de la esperanza y proyectarse hacia otra forma verbal inexistente; la del futuro, donde cabe cualquier sueño de la inocencia. Es decir todo exilio repite la pérdida de la conciencia de un presente desconocido. Sobre todo, expone una herida incicatrizable; la identidad ha sido perdida; en el término mismo – exiliado – está borrado el concepto de nacionalidad, de patria. Ha perdido su identidad y no had adquirido una nueva, llegue a donde llegue ha quedado fuera de lugar. Su ser es un ser expuesto a la vista de los demás.

En palabras de Maria Zambrano: “El exiliado es el que mas se asemeja a lo desconocido, el que llega, a fuerza de apurar su condición, a ser ese desconocido que hay en todo hombre y al que el poeta y el artista no logran sino muy raramente llegar a descubrir.” Carece de geografía, de sociedad, de política y hasta de ontología. O mas bien acomoda en el interior de su ser todo lo perdido como una posesíon inolvidable, la única permitida. En el mejor de los casos, lo transmuta por medio del lenguaje simbólico. Para Luis Cernuda muere la vida en ajeno rincón. Pero también podría decirse que quien nada tiene, lo tiene todo.”

How To Tell The Difference Between The Donald and Crooked Hillary

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I’m sure that you are overwhelmed lately with messages from friends regarding their inability of picking a candidate to vote for in the 2016 presidential election. Even the past suggestion of picking the lesser of the two evils does not seem to work in 2016.

Well, no more! It is not enough to wait until the Sept. 26th debate to make up one’s mind. The best way to tell the two candidates apart is by clicking on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQuDyuQFKE

Stolen Legacy and Celia Cruz

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You got to be kidding?!!! Celia Cruz will be part of the new African-American Museum in Washington, DC. During her lifetime, Celia was proud of her Cuban heritage, of her Hispanic culture, of her Latin fans. She was a proud Latina, and her memories belong in a Latino museum!

See: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2016/09/15/dress-worn-by-celia-cruz-to-go-on-display-at-new-african-american-museum/

Guillermo Fariñas & The Papa Che

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Cuban Human Rights Dissident Guillermo Fariñas is near his death after conducting a hunger strike with the intent of forcing the Cuban Government to stop harassing dissidents. Considering that the Papa Che played such a crucial role in President Obama’s Cuba opening, my question is why has he not interceded to save the life of this honorable Cuban?!!!

But when I look around the atrocities that radical Islamic terrorists have carried out against Catholics and Christians, I ask myself about the moral leadership and advocacy that the Pope Che has exercised?!!! Nowhere to be found!!!

Cuban-American Offers Thanks to Tampa Mayor Buckhorn

Buckhorn

So often, people judge others based on their party affiliation. Republicans talk to you only if you are a party loyalist. Democrats are also guilty of the same sin. And, yet, there are people who judge others based on their principled stance on key issues ranging from the second amendment to U.S./Cuba relations.

And this explains why when I come across U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), I thank him when he criticizes President Obama’s Cuba policy. And, I find it despicable when U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) joins President Obama on the historic visit to Cuba.

Actions and values do matter.

The Tampa Bay Times ran an article this week putting down Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (Democrat) for being out of the step with many around Tampa Bay who are lobbying Cuban officials to set up the first Cuban Consulate in their cities. (See: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/on-cuba-buckhorns-out-of-step-with-many-around-tampa-bay-and-hes-ok-with/2287842).

Mayor Buckhorn could cares less about the incoming criticism, as he will not betray the core principles that he stands for. He stands with the cause to restore freedom and democracy to Communist Cuba. He honors a CIA agent who played a key role in the capture of aChesino Guevara, and he’s flown missions with Brothers to the Rescue.

Senator Menendez and Tampa Mayor Buckhorn remind me of a famous quote by German poet Bertolt Brecht: “There are men who struggle for a day and they are good. There are men who struggle for a year and they are better. There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still. But there are those who struggle all their lives: These are the indispensable ones.”

To me, Senator Menendez and Tampa Mayor Buckhorn belong to the “indispensable” category to bring back a Cuba Libre.

I’ve honored Mayor Buckhorn by penning a letter-to-the-editor to remind readers that he belongs to the “one of kind” politician. See: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/letters/wednesdays-letters-bay-area-leads-in-job-growth/2287841.

New Librarian of Congress and Cuban-Americans

Carla Hayden, shown in 2015, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress. Hayden is the longtime leader of Baltimore's library system

On July 13, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Dr. Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress.

Dr. Carla Hayden, president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003-2004, refused to support an amendment to the section of the final report on the proceedings of the ALA’s mid-winter meeting to help free ten librarians that Fidel Castro had imprisoned for making available such documents as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and George Orwell’s 1984.

It is noticeable that Dr. Hayden was a vocal opponent to the Patriot Act during her tenure as ALA president, leading a battle for the protections of library users’ privacy. She objected to the special permissions contained in Section 215 of that law, which granted the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI the power to access library user records. Dr. Hayden often disagreed publicly with then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft over the language of the law.

It is ironic that Dr. Hayden would not side with the ten Cuban librarians who were locked up by Fidel for circulating access to information to the Cuban people.

See:  http://www.villagevoice.com/news/the-abandoned-librarians-6408599

Candidate Marco Rubio Is The One

March 15, 2016 is a big day for Floridians. They will have a chance to vote for the GOP nominee. They will have an opportunity to vote for a native son with Cuban-American roots. Floridians will be able to vote for a candidate who cherishes democracy and capitalism for his country and other countries throughout the world. That candidate is U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. For Cuban-Americans in particular, Marco Rubio is “lo mejor de lo nuestro” (the best that we have to offer).

Marco Rubio is the one who can unite the Republican Party to defeat Candidate Hillary Clinton.  Rubio is the one who wears his Cuban-American heritage on his sleeve everywhere that he campaigns — not just when he is in Cuban Mecca Miami.  Rubio is the one who took the fight to “The Donald” to show him that his disparaging remarks have negative consequences.

I’ve penned two op-eds recently where I make the case for why Candidate Marco Rubio is what our country needs to retain its exceptionalism and to open the doors of opportunity to those who have been left behind.

See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cuban-american-enamored-freedom-democracy-jorge-ponce?trk=prof-post and, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/donald-trump-bernie-sanders-two-sides-same-drug-jorge-ponce?trk=prof-post

Cuban-Americans and Mexican-Americans? Two Wings of the Same Bird?

Hispanic Heritage Month

In interviews conducted by the Washington Post in wedding chapels and casinos … Mexicans who make up so much of the workforce said it would be far more meaningful to elect the first Mexican American president than the first Latino. Many said they would vote for a non-Latino over a Cuban American. In two days of interviews, not a single Mexican said he or she supported Rubio or Cruz.

Which brings me to the point of questioning the viability of the term “Hispanic/Latino” by the Federal Government. Specifically, if a Mexican-American gets a supervisory position in the federal sector, and he/she gets to choose between a Mexican-American and a Cuban-American applicant with the appropriate qualifications, will he/she choose a Mexican-American or a Cuban-American? Most of us understand that the idea of applicants having “equal qualifications” is impossible.

To read the Washington Post article, click on https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2016/01/10/32d20f8e-b4bc-11e5-a842-0feb51d1d124_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

Agreeing with Che Guevara? What Has This World Come To?!!!

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Demick-Shopping-in-Cuba-690x460-1452296926.jpg

It is not often that you’ll see me agree with a Che Guevara saying. After reading the article below, I agree with Che that “no se vive de esfuerzos, sino de resultados (one does not measure success by the efforts, but by the results). The Cuban Revolution under Fidel and Raul Castro has turned out to be “La Gran Estafa” (a big rip-off) for the Cuban people.

Read the New Yorker article HERE.

Yoani Sánchez — A Bridge Through Dialogue

Following is a magnificent interview conducted in Berlin, Germany in 2003, by Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. While I disagree with Yoani when it comes to the lifting of the U.S. embargo, I respect her daily fight against the repression in Communist Cuba. She cited a famous saying by Cuban Founding Father José Martí: “Subir montañas, hermana a los hombres.” [Fighting for a just cause triggers the brotherhood of mankind]. Her cause – fighting for the restoration of freedom and democracy to Cuba – is my cause as well. She describes herself as bridge through dialogue. While you may not agree with each other through dialogue, it opens a window of understanding to the other side. Many people have asked me why I write so much, and I’m glad that Yoani used the same logic to respond: writing is a catharsis for my being a citizen of the world.

To listen to the interview, click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbo03RidoD0