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

Happy # 240 to the USA

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…..’

We remember today these words made famous in 1776.    They are specially significant for those of us who were not born here, the many “cubanitos” like me who were brought here in the 1960s.

It is the most incredible message of individual freedom and self-government ever written.     Our thanks to those men for their courage and vision.

Happy # 240 to the USA.

July 2, 1964 and the day we left in Cuba

 

My brother Joaquin, little sister Lidia and that’s me to the right.  It was our last picture in Cuba.  My brother and I were holding baseball gloves and our sister was playing with little puppies.

Our father died last December. He always had something wise to say about the day that we left Cuba.   It will be different without him this year.

July 2, 1964 was a long time ago but it is incredible how much I remember of that day.

Years later, I wrote about it in “Cubanos in Wisconsin“.

We stayed at a hotel the night before because our home had been closed by the authorities after the “inventario” or inventory.

In other words, they checked each and everyone of our household belongings to make sure that we had not moved anything between “el telegrama” or our authorization to leave and the actual departure date.

This is what what totalitarian regimes do!   They have no respect for people, specially those who disagree with them.

As I recall, it was a nice July morning in Cuba.

We took a taxi to the airport and ended up in Mexico that night.

Between eating breakfast in Havana and going to sleep in Mexico City, our plane’s landing gear did not open until the pilot made one last attempt to land, a Mexican reporter spoke to my dad about the situation in Cuba and we got a taste of tacos in Mexico.

It was one of the longest days of my life!

I will never forget this day. I can still see the look in my parents’ face when the plane left Cuba.

Most of all, I will miss my father today because he always had something to add to my memories of that fateful day that changed my life.

“Nuestros padres” were a big reason for the success of the Cuban American story

About a million of us came here between 1959 and 1980.

Some of us came early,  others traveled through Mexico and Jamaica like our case, others came in the Freedom Flights and others during the Mariel boatlift.

In most cases, we came with our parents.    Many of us watched the sacrifice that our fathers made, from holding two jobs to teaching all of those important lessons of life.

So let me salute “los padres cubanos”.   They were always there for all of us.

Jose Marti would say NO to shaking hands with the Castro regime

marti_jose_3

We remember that Jose Marti died on May 19, 1895.   It’s an important date for most Cubans.

How should we remember Jose Marti or live up to his ideals?

We can do two things.

First,  support Cuban bloggers, dissidents & “Las Damas”.   They are persecuted by the Castro dictatorship for posting their thoughts online or expressing them in public.   

Second, don’t legitimize the Castro brothers by treating them like elected leaders or representatives of the Cuban people.  They don’t deserve it.   The Cuban people have never selected this regime.   In fact, thousands have fled the regime over the years.

Sitting down with dictators like Fidel and Raul Castro?   Jose Marti would say no!   

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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

What would Beny More say about two Cubans running for president of the US?

It is a matter of incredible pride.   Two sons of Cuban immigrants are now very serious candidates for president of the US.   In fact, one of them won the Iowa caucus and the other leads in general election polls.

Politics aside, it reminds me of that Beny More song that we played on my parents’ turntable:   “No hay tierra como la mia”

Angel Ruiz, Cuban American success story

 We always enjoy reading about Cuban American success stories. Let me tell you about my friend Angel Ruiz:

“In 1968, 12-year-old Angel Ruiz heard those words from his father, who had awakened him and his 8-year-old brother, Carlos, in the middle of the night as they slept on the floor of Cuba’s Havana Airport. The father told the boys that he and their mother were being taken away for searches they had to undergo as part of a program to get the family out of the country that Fidel Castro controlled. He added that he did not know exactly why they were being taken—or whether the boys would ever see them again.

Nearly five decades later, that 12-year-old boy now runs a large portion of the U.S. and Canada operations of Sweden-based Ericsson, one of the two biggest suppliers of hardware and software used in telecommunications networks of companies like Verizon and Dallas-based AT&T. (The other dominant player is Nokia.) Of Ericsson’s roughly 16,000 North American employees, 9,500 report to Ruiz, including most of the 3,600-plus people at the company’s North American headquarters in Plano. The 59-year-old leader, whose title is head of Ericsson Region North America, saw annual revenue for his piece of the company hit $8 billion in 2014—compared with $500 million when he took the helm in 2001. “

You can read the whole story here! It’s worth sharing with your friends.  Angel has met many challenges with courage and a wonderful personality.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve known Angel for many years. My brother, Angel and I spent a lot of hours listening to Alvarez-Guedes LPs and eating our mothers’ Cuban dishes.

P. S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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