“Jovenes hispanos sin palanca” will pay very high ObamaCare premiums!

There are two problems with Obama Care.

The first one is that the law is full of waivers and exceptions.  Worse than that, these changes to the law were done by executive order rather than Congress.     This is a law that does not apply equally to all, unless you got “palanca” and received one of those waivers and exceptions.

It’s all about “palanca” with the Obama administration.   Can you say Solyndra?

The second problem is that Obama Care is based on young people paying higher premiums.    This is going to be a huge burden for Hispanics, a younger segment of the population.

My friend Israel Ortega, editor of Libertad.org and distinguished member of The Heritage Foundation, crunched a few numbers in his recent post:

“Here’s something you won’t hear from the Hispanic media, the mainstream media, or the White House: Among the many terrible side effects of Obamacare is its adverse effects on Hispanics.

This stems from the fact that the Hispanic population is one of the youngest, in addition to Obamacare’s impact on the wholesale and retail industry, which employs many Hispanic Americans.

Wholesale and retail will be hit especially hard by Obamacare, because, as one consultant noted, “employers not currently offering coverage to all employees working at least 30 hours a week may be more inclined to change their workforce strategy so that fewer employees meet that threshold.”

But don’t expect a press release on this hard truth, considering that the national unemployment rate for Hispanics is higher than the national average at almost 10 percent. Ignore the man behind the curtain who reminds you that retailers and hospitals are laying off workers and dropping coverage for part-time employees. Pay no attention to exemptions for labor unions and Members of Congress or the fact that a Senator from the President’s own party described Obamacare as a “train wreck.”

What’s more, considering that 65 percent of Hispanics are millennials, they can expect to pay more to cover costs for wealthier Americans. Rates will likely increase by an average of 169 percent for the young, while older people will pay about 22 percent less, according to Generation Opportunity, a national organization committed to promoting liberty to young Americans.”

There you have it!    Younger Hispanics will carry the burden of ObamaCare.  They will be required to sign up, pay the higher premiums and scream “si se puede” at the next “5 de Mayo” rally.

Wonder if they are going to scream “si se puede” when they hear about the premiums?

Some young Hispanos “tienen suerte” or they work for an employer who got a waiver   They will watch as the rest of their neighbors  come under ObamaCare.

Their neighbors will ask:  “Why doesn’t ObamaCare apply to you”?

The answer is:  “Mi patron tiene palanca”.

The young hispanics “que no tienen palanca” will call 1-800-318-2596.    I just hope that the “glitches” are not “glitching” anymore and that they don’t check what those phone digits translate to!

P.S. Check my chat with Horace Cooper of Project 21 about the impact of ObamaCare on minorities.

 

Maduro “esta muy podrido” in Venezuela!

President Maduro of Venezuela may want to shoot that little “Hugo bird” who speaks to him from time to time.   Can you blame Maduro if he grabs the little bird by the neck and strangles him?

According to The NY Times, the people of Venezuela are not really into Maduro.  On the contrary, they miss Hugo, or at least “the Hugo of their dreams”:

“Prices are soaring, the country is plagued by electrical blackouts, some neighborhoods go days without water, and protests tangle the already stifling traffic. To top it all off, the cheap beer that helps people let off steam at many a weekend party has suddenly become scarce, too.

Nearly seven months after the death of Hugo Chávez, the country’s longtime leftist president and father figure, there is a growing sense that things are falling apart.”

To be fair, Venezuela’s problems were “Made by Hugo” all the way.  It was Chavez’ policies, from reckless spending to a horrible case of cronyism and corruption, that brought the country to this situation.

In other words, it did not start with Maduro but life is not fair specially when you hitch your wagon to a corrupt man like Hugo Chavez.

The problems in the country are rather severe and I am not talking about a shortage of toilet paper:

“Inflation in the first eight months of this year was more than triple the rate in the same period last year. When measured over the 12 months that ended in August, it exceeded 45 percent.

A government indicator that measures the scarcity of basic goods is close to its highest level in more than five years.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not defending President Maduro, a man who was “questionably” elected earlier this year after Chavez was officially pronounced dead.

All of these difficulties in the nation raise a legitimate question:  Will Maduro survive?

My opinion is that he won’t, no matter how many times he expels US diplomats or tells us that he had visions of Hugo.

Maduro probably wishes that they had kept Hugo connected to that life machine a bit longer.

Frankly, the end of Maduro is coming and it won’t be pretty.  I just hope that someone at the Obama White House is on top of events in Latin America.   Venezuela could come apart soon and Washington needs to be alert.

P.S. You can hear our chat about Colombia, Venezuela and other US-Latin America stories here.

A few thoughts about Che

Our friend Humberto Fontova posted a great story about Che.

I loved that he referred to Che as a “….cowardly, murdering swine….”

Thumbs up to Humberto for one of the very best descriptions that I’ve ever heard of that swine named Che!

I sent my sons, nieces and other young friends a copy of the post.

I told them to read it and challenge the next person who comes into their college circles wearing a Che shirt.   Within seconds, one of my very pretty nieces wrote back:

“Luckily I haven’t seen any Che hipsters.  They know better than to wear those shirts around me….”

Thank God for a niece like that!

Humberto’s post also reminded me of my uncle’s encounter with Che in 1959.  My uncle passed away in 2008 and was a great source of information and stories about those early days of what was called “la revolucion”.  He was an architect in Cuba and attended The University of Havana in the turbulent 1950’s.  He was there and recalls the lively debates about the future of Cuba in the classrooms of the university.

My uncle said that he felt very pessimistic about Cuba when he met Che in the early days.

His words were like this:

“I knew that we were in deep trouble when I saw Che waving a pistol and bragging about himself.”

Tio Pepe’s words stayed with me and I think of them whenever Che comes into the conversation.

Let me paraphrase Humberto:  Che met justice that day in Bolivia.

Yes he did!

We are grateful to those Bolivian peasants who turned him in.  They saw the same charlatan in Che that my uncle did in the early days of “la revolucion”.

My message is blunt:  Anyone who wears a Che shirt is stupid, ignorant or a swine like Che!

ObamaCare: Another union leader screams “que paso?”

There are two big lines forming in Washington DC these days:

1) “I need a waiver” line, approximately 1,500 the last time they counted; and

2) “I am a union leader and I don’t like this law anymore”.

The latest union head to scream “what?” is from Chicago:

“Members of the Chicago-based Service Employees International Union Local 1 have gone on strike over recent job cuts by a janitorial company called Professional Maintenance.
The reason for the cuts? The employer says it is because of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. This is ironic since SEIU is a major supporter of the law.
Tyler French, Local 1’s organizing director, told Mediatrackers Ohio the company claimed it had to cut its employees’ hours due to Obamacare mandates.”

According to news reports, union leaders have suddenly realized that ObamaCare means that they will lose their plans. After all, isn’t “health benefits” one of the big reasons to join a union?

I have a couple of questions for Mr French and all of the other union leaders who’ve suddenly discovered that ObamaCare stinks:

1) Where were you in 2009 when this law was rushed through Congress?

2) How can you look at your members and defend your support for President Obama, or the man who gave you this law?

I don’t expect union leaders to answer my questions. However, I am hoping that union members do a little “regime change” and get some leaders who read the laws that they support.

Where did the money come from for the unions to reelect President Obama and his ObamaCare? It came from “the dues” that union members pay every month.

Who was looking out for the union members? It wasn’t the leaders who supported ObamaCare!

P.S. Check CANTO TALK here.

 

 

Cuba and the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates

We celebrate another anniversary of the Kennedy-Nixon debates.  The first of the debates was on this day in 1960.  It was the first time that two presidential candidates had debated on TV, the new medium.

Kennedy won the 1960 election by 114,000 votes out of more than 70 million.  It was close, very close!

According to news reports, Nixon won the audio and Kennedy won the video:

“According to the Museum of Broadcast History, radio listeners considered Nixon’s answers to questions to be more substantive and gave Nixon the advantage over Kennedy after the first debate. By contrast, television viewers gave Kennedy the edge, as their impressions were based on how the candidate looked as much as what he said.”

We did not have another debate until 1976, when Governor Carter challenged President Ford.

In the second debate (October 7, 1960), Cuba became a very hot topic:

“The reporters are: Paul Niven of CBS, Edward P. Morgan of ABC, Alvin Spivak of United Press International, and Harold R. Levy of Newsday. Now the first question is from Mr. Niven and is for Vice President Nixon.

MR. NIVEN: Mr. Vice President, Senator Kennedy said last night that the Administration must take responsibility for the loss of Cuba. Would you compare the validity of that statement with the validity of your own statements in previous campaigns that the Truman Administration was responsible for the loss of China to the Communists?

MR. NIXON: Well first of all, I don’t agree with Senator Kennedy that Cuba is lost and certainly China was lost when this Administration came into power in 1953. As I look at Cuba today, I believe that we are following the right course, a course which is difficult but a course which under the circumstance is the only proper one which will see that the Cuban people get a chance to realize their aspirations of progress through freedom and that they get that with our cooperation with the other organi- of the states in the Organization of American States. Now Senator Kennedy has made some very strong criticisms of my part – or alleged part – in what has happened in Cuba. He points to the fact that I visited Cuba while Mr. Batista was in power there. I can only point out that if we are going to judge the Administrations in terms of our attitude toward dictators, we’re glad to have a comparison with the previous administration. There were eleven dictators in South America and in Central America when we came in, in 1953. Today there are only three left including the one in Cuba. We think that’s pretty good progress. Senator Kennedy also indicated with regard to Cuba that he thought that I had made a mistake when I was in Cuba in not calling for free elections in that country. Now I’m very surprised that Senator Kennedy, who is on the Foreign Relations Committee, would have made such a statement as this kind. As a matter of fact in his book, The Strategy for Peace, he took the right position. And that position is that the United States has a treaty – a treaty with all of the Organization of American States – which prohibits us from interfering in the internal affairs of any other state and prohibits them as well. For me to have made such a statement would been in direct uh – opposition to that treaty. Now with regard to Cuba, let me make one thing clear. There isn’t any question but that we will defend our rights there. There isn’t any question but that we will defend Guantanamo if it’s attacked. There also isn’t any question but that the free people of Cuba – the people who want to be free – are going to be supported and that they will attain their freedom. No, Cuba is not lost, and I don’t think this kind of defeatist talk by Senator Kennedy helps the situation one bit.

MR. McGEE: Senator Kennedy, would you care to comment?

MR. KENNEDY: In the first place I’ve never suggested that Cuba was lost except for the present. In my speech last night I indicated that I thought that Cuba one day again would be free. Where I’ve been critical of the Administration’s policy, and where I criticized Mr. Nixon, was because in his press conference in Havana in 1955, he praised the competence and stability of the bicta- bict- Batista dictatorship – that dictatorship had killed over twenty thousand Cubans in seven years. Secondly, I did not criticize him for not calling for free elections. What I criticized was the failure of the Administration to use its great influence to persuade the Cuban government to hold free elections, particularly in 1957 and 1958. Thirdly, Arthur Gardner, a Republican Ambassador, Earl Smith, a Republican Ambassador, in succession – both have indicated in the past six weeks that they reported to Washington that Castro was a Marxist, that Raul Castro was a Communist, and that they got no effective results. Instead our aid continued to Batista, which was ineffective; we never were on the side of freedom; we never used our influence when we could have used it most effectively – and today Cuba is lost for freedom. I hope some day it will rise; but I don’t think it will rise if we continue the same policies toward Cuba that we did in recent years, and in fact towards all of Latin America – when we’ve almost ignored the needs of Latin America; we’ve beamed not a single Voice of America program in Spanish to all of Latin America in the last eight years, except for the three months of the Hungarian uh – revolution.”

My father, like many other Cubans,  followed this debate with incredible interest.   It was clear by the fall of 1960 that Castro was not going to hold elections or follow up all of those promises about “pluralism”:

http://youtu.be/UcjC4Zi6TzU

“Doctor” Castro?  Did he say “Adam and Eve”?

Cubans in the island, and those preparing outside for the liberation of Cuba, must have been very impressed by the comments that they heard in this debate.  It’s obvious that both candidates in 1960 communicated their concern for the communist dictatorship forming in the island.

Sadly, it all fell apart 6 months later at The Bay of Pigs!

P.S. For a little history, click here for the Bay of Pigs’ 50th anniversary show with our dear friend Humberto Fontova.

 

“Obama que malo baila Usted”

Beny More would agree with me.  He’d be joining me today singing  “Obama que malo baila Usted”.  What a pathetic performance by President Obama at the UN.

President Obama headed to the UN this week desperately hoping to make history.  He was determined to make something happen by shaking the hand of the new Iranian “moderate”, or the new kid in town who recently posted an Op-Ed over at The Washington Post.  He left town without a handshake and his speech was “all mush“, specially the line about the world being more stable than it was 5 years ago.

The humiliation was total and complete.  It  ended when “the Iranian moderate” refused to shake President Obama’s hand.  Here is an account of the week’s events:

“For days before the U.N. conclave, White House aides had broadcast the President’s desire to shake Mr. Rouhani’s hand. By Monday, the press was overflowing with leaked accounts of where and how it would happen. Having thus turned down the lights and turned up the mood music, it made the snub that followed especially potent. What the Administration is trying to spin as a function of complex Iranian politics was, in blunt fact, an expression of lordly contempt for what Iranian leaders consider to be an overeager suitor from an unworthy nation.” (WSJ)

Another bad day for the “si se puede” gang who bought into the idea that Obama would change the world with a speech and a smile.

We learned again that Iran does not like us.  They don’t our like our leaders, whether our president is a Texas Cowboy or “a self proclaimed enlightened liberal” who promised to meet unconditionally with our enemies when he was a candidate.

Again, they don’t like us and have no serious plan to change their nuclear plans.  They are just buying time, as the leader of Israel warned us.

Another waste of time at the UN and don’t forget that we pay 22% of the dues.

We repeat:  They are not going to shake our hand because we want to shake theirs!   My guess is that they are laughing in Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.

What’s next?  When will Raul Castro proclaim himself  “a moderate”, write an Op-Ed and get the story going about shaking hands with President Obama?

You can hear CANTO TALK here.

Dilma hits Obama with her “cinto brasileiro” at the UN today!

Back in 2006, the late Hugo Chavez went to the UN and blasted President Bush, i.e. the famous “the devil was here yesterday” speech;

“”The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. “And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Chavez accused Bush of having spoken “as if he owned the world” and said a psychiatrist could be called to analyze the statement. “

Well, the only thing smelling “sulfur” these days is Chavez’ hole in hell!   Chavez is the one burning in hell and “tweeting” Maduro about toilet paper shortages in Caracas.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil unleashed on President Obama today.  It was rather entertaining to say the least:

“Rousseff had expressed her displeasure last week by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for October over reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had been spying on Brazil.

In unusually strong language, Rousseff launched a blistering attack on U.S. surveillance, calling it an affront to Brazilian sovereignty and “totally unacceptable.”

“Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” Rousseff told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

She also proposed an international framework for governing the internet and said Brazil would adopt legislation and technology to protect it from illegal interception of communications.

“Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between states. Time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage, and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries,” Rousseff said.

U.S. President Barack Obama was en route to the United Nations while Rousseff spoke. Speaking immediately after Rousseff, he avoided direct reference to her criticism.’

In all fairness, Dilma is doing a little “samba” for her Brazilian audience.  There is a lot of discontent down in Brazil about the spending related to the World Cup and Olympics.

Nevertheless, this is another indication that “hope and change” is a faded memory, a reminder of those days of yesteryear when fools chanted “yes we can”at the sight of Obama.

How do you say “it’s over” in Portuguese?  I don’t know for sure but Dilma gave us an example of it at the UN.

 

“El socialismo no sirve” but some keep trying and trying!

How many times does socialism have to fail before people come to their senses?

Some have figured it out.  Chile, for example, has a sound economy and no one lines up at the US Embassy looking for a “work visa”.   On the contrary, Chileans travel to the US to invest, buy our goods and services or do a little sightseeing.  They also have a sound currency and a thriving middle class.

Some are still in the dark, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.   By the way, I mean literally in the dark, as we’ve heard of the lights going out in Venezuela recently.

It looks like socialism has a new disciple, i.e. the Democrat candidate for New York City mayor in the upcoming election.

Where is Rudy-G when we really need him?

Michael Goodwin explains that the Democrat in New York is running a campaign based on income inequality:

““Fighting inequality and fighting economic injustice,” as he put it, is what he’s all about.

Good luck with that, but before New Yorkers jump onto the Democrat’s bound-for-utopia bandwagon, some history is required. We could start with Karl Marx, but we’d just get lost trying to decode the incomprehensible differences among Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyites.

Instead, let’s look at Cuba, which, strictly by the numbers, reflects the paradise de Blasio describes. Fidel and Raul Castro had their way for 54 years and pulled off the socialist dream: The island nation had the least income inequality in the world, a survey found. North Korea also was off the charts.

Of course, there are some peculiar facts about Cuban exceptionalism.

Everybody is equally poor, with average monthly wages of $19, while children’s shoes can cost nearly as much.

And that much-ballyhooed health-care system? It’s a joke. Bring your own sheets, bedpans and food to the hospital, and pray you don’t die of infections or neglect. True, it is free, so your family won’t get stuck with a capitalist-size bill to bury you. What a relief that must be.

On my visit to Cuba, I was struck by the total breakdown of everything except the police state. Havana’s once-glorious architecture is crumbling, and there are chickens and pigs, but no running water, in large parts of the central city.

Half the cars are owned by the government, and the other half belong in antique shops. Smaller cities look as though they are stuck in the 19th century, with public transportation consisting of a man guiding a horse-drawn wagon. TV and Internet are scarce and tightly controlled. Complaining about any of this can land you behind bars.”

We Cubans know a thing or two about speeches calling for “income inequality”.     As my mom will tell you:  “Yo vi esa pelicula” or “I saw that movie”.

Of course, they will call us “right wing reactionaries”  for calling Mr De Blasio a socialist.  They will say that we see socialism in our soup and just can’t see straight.

What do you call it when the letters in your soup spell socialism?

What do you call a system that takes from those who produce and gives it to those who expect a handout?

We call it socialism. Worse than that, we call it a “‘fracaso” or failure.

Socialism has failed everywhere but there are still people looking for the right formula.   Mr De Blasio is the latest!

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here.

 

CANTO TALK goes Babalu this weekend

We had a great time this weekend talking to some of our Babalu friends.

On Friday, it was Fernando Hernandez, (“The Cubans“) Regina Anavy (“Out of Cuba“) and Jorge Ponce.  We discussed their books and Jorge’s article about Hispanic Heritage month and the Obama administration;

On Saturday, Jorge Ponce came back and we discussed his post today about the term “hispanic”:

Enjoy them over the weekend!

Even “El Pais” thinks that Branson was over the top!

We saw Alberto De La Cruz’s post earlier today about Richard Branson dressing up as Che to promote his new business ventures.

I found this from “El Pais” in Spain to be rather interesting:

“Si el Che Guevara levantara la cabeza, probablemente volvería a morirse al ver que uno de los hombres más ricos del mundo, defensor del capitalismo a ultranza que lo ha llevado a la cima de las listas de los más millonarios, ha utilizado su mítica boina, su uniforme y sus gestos más característicos para promocionar la marca que más dinero le ha hecho ganar: Virgin.”

It translates to something like this:  If Che raised his head, he’d be shocked to see a big time capitalist dressed up like him.

We can make fun of the picture but there is a serious side to all of this.

Thank God that Mr Branson was not the owner of an airliner in Cuba when the Castro brothers and Che came into power.

He would have been treated to a very bad case of repression and his business would have expropriated in the name of a corrupt revolution.

Branson is really stupid and lucky.

He is stupid for dressing like a communist to promote capitalism.

He is lucky that he never had to live under the leader that he is glorifying with this stupid rebel outfit.

What’s next?  Is he “going Mao or Stalin” to promote Virgin’s flights to Moscow or Peking?

P.S. listen to CANTO TALK here!

What jobs in the jobs report?

We got more news that “the stimulus” is  not stimulating, “hope is hopeless”, :”change is misery” & “si se puede’ is really “no se puede”.

This is the most recent tragic tale from the Obama recovery:

“The downside is that the gains have been largely in lower-paying industries such as waitresses, in-home health care, food preparation and housekeeping.

About 60 percent of the increase in employment for women from 2009 to 2012 was in jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour, compared with 20 percent for men, according to a study by the National Women’s Law Center using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

And these are the people who say that conservatives have a ‘war on women”?

Wonder if  “Life of Julia” had a episode about “low paying jobs”?

A great recovery, specially if you are looking for low paying jobs!

 

Chile: Happy Independence Day to a real success story in Latin America

Our friends down in Chile will enjoy another anniversary of their independence in 1810:

“Today, September 18 is celebrated in Chile as their Independence Day. It is remembered with the fiestas patrias or “national parties.” The celebrations kick off in early September and can last for weeks. All over Chile, people celebrate with food, parades, reenactments, and dancing and music. The national rodeo finals are held in Rancagua, thousands of kites fill the air in Antofagasta, in Maule they play traditional games, and many other places have traditional celebrations. If you’re going to Chile, the middle of September is a great time to visit to catch the festivities!”

Yes, it’s a great day to eat some good food and dance a little ‘cueca”.  By the way, watching Chileans dance “cueca” is really a treat:

Chile has another reason to celebrate today. It’s economy is the jewel of Latin America, as reported by IBD recently:

“In 30 years, Chile has gone from being a Third World country to a developed one, raising per capita income to $17,000, achieving 6% to 7% GDP growth most years, and attracting billions in foreign investment.

It didn’t happen in a vacuum.

The country was the first nation to try free-market reforms as articulated by the great economist Milton Friedman, whose ideas were still new in 1974.

When Gen. Augusto Pinochet was asked by Chile’s legislature to take over in September 1973, he created a MacArthur-style caretakership and turned the job of cleaning up a ravaged economy over to a group of University of Chicago-trained economists.

Known as “Chicago Boys,” they found a nation that was a mess after the short Marxist dictatorship of Salvador Allende and four decades of bad policy, including state-owned industries, heavy protectionism and massive bureaucracy. Special interests — unions and corporate monopolies — controlled major parts of the economy. Property rights were battered.

The Chicago Boys rescued their country with three critical economic reforms: fiscal control, privatization of social security and free trade. It not only worked, it quietly freed the nation from even the military regime and created the vibrant democracy Chile is now.

First, Finance Minister Sergio De Castro made the central bank independent. He ended subsidies and cut government spending. He slashed bureaucrats from 700,000 to 550,000. It was a painful austerity in the absence of a big private sector.

In the first four years of the new government, Chile’s economy surged 32%.

Next, economist Jose Pinera, Chile’s Labor and Social Security Minister, privatized social security. The plan helped the government balance its books and let workers choose between personal retirement accounts or the bankrupt state-run pension system. Workers could keep their own money, invest it, decide when to retire, and, best of all, owned their pensions as property they could leave to heirs. Some 97% of Chileans switched.

Pinera’s privatized accounts not only outperformed the state system by a factor of 10, but the savings they created provided capital to rebuild the country.

The last step came as Chile slashed tariffs and opened itself to the world. It signed more free-trade pacts than any nation, 58 at last count, which gave it access to 2 billion customers, an outsize market to swim in for a relatively small nation.

That enabled the country to specialize in what it did best — seafood, fruit, wine and its traditional mining exports. Its citizens got rich.

All three pillars upon which Chile’s stunning transformation rests can be duplicated in any country, which is why so many imitate these reforms.”

It is also a stable democracy and that is very important too.

There is a country with prosperity and political stability in Latin America called Chile.  In fact, it also has a few things to teach us, specially its private retirement accounts and commitment to free market economics.

Thumbs up to our Chilean friends and do the “cueca”!  You’ve earned this day of celebration.

P.S. You can hear our look at Chile with Fausta Wertz & Michael Prada here.

Something about Syria that has nothing to do with bombs!

What a week for Syria.  We’ve gone from “ready to bomb” to a “congressional pause” to a “plan ruso” that no one understands.

It has also been a good two weeks to remember Barbarito Diez, the legendary Cuban singer who recorded so many of those “danzones” that our parents loved.

I bet that your parents fell in love dancing “danzon”.  I can say that mine did!

They spent a lot of Saturday nights dancing “danzon” at Parque Marti in Ciego de Avila.  (I mean “Ciego” when it was a town rather than a province)

In fact, it is very likely that my creation was inspired by one of those danzones in Ciego de Avila, Sagua la Grande or somewhere in between.  Very good chance of that!

Yes, I’ve been spending a little time listening to “La Mora”, the song about that “mora” in Syria who stole one guy’s heart.

Want to think of Syria without thinking about bombs, cruise missiles or President Obama?

Put Barbarito on the turntable or your CD player and enjoy “La mora”:

“Allá en la Siria hay una mora que tiene los ojos más lindos

que un lucero encantador¡

Ay Mora! Acábame de querer
no me martirices másque mi corazón está que se devora

por quererte tanto mora por quererte tanto mora

¿Cuándo volverá? la noche buena
¿cuándo volverá? el lechoncito
¿cuándo volverá? bien asadito
¿cuándo volverá? los rabanitos
¿cuándo volverá? las lechuguitas
¿cuándo volverá? ay los traguitos……”

 

http://youtu.be/ljG3JbMruBA

Syria? How about regime change in Venezuela?

 We are all focused on Syria and the Middle East. I just hope that someone in this White House is watching the events in Venezuela.

We just saw two stories from Venezuela that home the reality that the country is falling apart and freedoms are disappearing. The “Cubanization” of Venezuela is off and running. As they used to say in Cuba: “Para atras ni pa’ coger impulso”!

President Maduro has just announced that the government launched a news network to tell the public the truth about the situation in the country:

“Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Tuesday at a public event that the Government would launch a “Truth News Broadcast” via mandatory radio and television broadcasts to air his Administration performance. The newscast will be broadcasted at noon and in prime time.

Venezuelan opposition denounces that mandatory radio and television broadcasts constitute misuse of power by the Government, in addition to using state-run media for propaganda.

For its part, the Venezuelan Government argues that mandatory radio and television broadcasts are a necessary tool to broadcast its messages, in order to counteract the alleged “censorship” the private media apply against government events and achievements.”

A government news channel to tell the truth? is that like Granma in Cuba or Pravda in the old USSR?

Mandatory listening? Is that like everyone going down to hear “el comandante” at la Plaza de la Revolucion?

The second story is a statement by Mario Vargas-Llosa:

“Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa is “very concerned” over the direction Venezuela has taken over the last years, and remarked that the country “is a total disaster, a real chaos; where demagogy, corruption, and violence abound.”

“(Venezuela) is a country that, instead of moving forward, is going backwards; it features the highest inflation rate in Latin America,” Vargas Llosa remarked in an interview with news agency Efe apropos the publication of his new novel “El héroe discreto (The discreet hero)” in Spain, Latin America, and the United States. As usual, the writer seized the opportunity to give his opinion about current issues.

He asserted that, unlike his country, Peru, and other Latin American countries, whose economic situation have improved; Venezuela is “a negative exception” to that outlook.

“Venezuela’s case is rather tragic,” the writer asserted. He is also worried about Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro maintaining “the messianic ideas” of his predecessor (late President Hugo Chávez) to turn Venezuela “into a headlight, an example” for other countries.

“However, I’m afraid that Venezuela is rather the exception to the rule. Nowadays, there are more countries in Latin America where democracy is developing, featuring modern economic policies which are leading to progress and development,” Vargas Llosa remarked.”

Venezuela is on unsustainable path and there are some very bad days ahead.

Regime change in Syria? How about Venezuela?

The US needs to consider sanctions against Venezuela, specially given the real evidence that the country is eliminating freedoms and its economy is falling apart.

P.S. Listen here to our with Comandante Cazorla in Venezuela, a member of the opposition.

Remember Chile’s 9-11

From My View:

As we remember the brave men and women who died in the terrorist attack 12 years ago, we also look south to something very consequential that happened in Chile 40 years ago:

“Chile’s armed forces stage a coup d’état against the government of President Salvador Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist leader in Latin America. Allende retreated with his supporters to La Moneda, the fortress-like presidential palace in Santiago, which was surrounded by tanks and infantry and bombed by air force jets. Allende survived the aerial attack but then apparently shot himself to death as troops stormed the burning palace, reportedly using an automatic rifle given to him as a gift by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.”

Allende was elected in a 3-way race in 1970.  His presidency divided the country and created economic chaos, i.e. food shortages, labor strikes, and rampant violence.

The nation was in turmoil and President Allende had lost control of the situation.

Please don’t get fooled with the international left’s romantic and nostalgic recollections of the Allende years.  They were bad for Chile.

Of course, Allende was elected and nobody likes to see a military “coup” replacing what voters selected.

At the same time, Allende was trying to transform the Chilean economy way beyond what anyone had voted for:

“He embarked on what he called “the Chilean path to socialism,” nationalizing the copper industry that had been dominated by U.S. companies and using the money to fund land redistribution while improving health care, education and literacy.

The embrace of socialism, which included a three-week visit by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was a Cold War nightmare for U.S. President Richard Nixon, who approved a covert campaign to aggravate the country’s economic chaos and helped provoke the military takeover.

The Sept. 11 coup initially was supported by many Chileans fed up with inflation that topped 500 percent, chronic shortages and factory takeovers. But it destroyed what they had proudly described as South America’s strongest democracy.”  (AP)

Pinochet’s term was not easy either.  There were serious human rights violations.   We can not overlook those excesses when we praise the work of “The Chicago Boys” in the economy.

Where is Chile today?  Chile is the jewel of Latin American economies.  It is no longer a 3rd world country and enjoys a very stable economic and political environment.

Is Chile better off today?  I say yes but I respect those Chileans who lost loved ones during a very difficult period.

Like in Egypt recently, there are times when elected leaders push the country into chaos and the army has to step in and clean things up.

Finally, Pinochet left power after losing big in a plebiscite in 1988.   Chile began its return to democracy the next year and here we are.

At the end of the day, Pinochet’s legacy is a prosperous and non-communist Chile, as Paul Weyrich wrote when Pinochet died in 2006.

P.S. You can hear my discussion with Fausta Wertz and Michael Prada about this.