Why all of the turkey posters? My first Thanksgiving in the U.S.


Back in 1941, President Roosevelt made it official:

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga.

In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution.

However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration.

For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

In my case, I did not know a thing about Thanksgiving when our family settled in Wisconsin in the fall of 1964.  I began to detect that something was coming when the kids in school started putting “turkey posters” about the upcoming holiday.

Finally, Miss Jones, that wonderful 6th-grade teacher I was blessed with, sat me down and explained the story, from the ship crossing the ocean, to the landing at Plymouth Rock, to the terrible first winter and eventually a day to say thanks for everything.

It did not take long for me to get into the Thanksgiving mood.

Today, it’s my favorite American holiday for two reasons:

1) It demonstrates the role of faith in the early days of what would become the United States.

2) It confirms that this land was settled by self-reliant people who faced adversity and grew stronger.

As I told a friend years ago, you cannot understand American exceptionalism unless you get familiar with the Thanksgiving story.

P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Cubano not Hispano?

(My new American Thinker post)

How crazy is the left getting?  Chris Matthews of MSNBC recently wondered if Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz are Hispanic. It’s nothing new since most liberals think that minorities are only genuine when they vote Democrat. Ask Justice Thomas or Dr Carson.

Here are a couple of tips for Mr Matthews:

First, the U.S. government defines Hispanic like this:

So, are Cruz and Rubio Hispanic? That’s easy. It’s a blood thing. Look at the definition from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

Second, Hispanics come in many colors.

There are white Hispanics, or the descendants of Spanish and Europeans. My father’s ancestors moved to Cuba in the 1840s from Spain. My mother’s family moved to Cuba from Asturias (the northern province of Spain) in the 1920s. Let me add that Fidel Castro’s father was a Spaniard who stayed in Cuba after the Spanish American War of 1898.

There are black Hispanics who are primarily from Caribbean countries, such as the Dominican Republic and down to Panama. These are the offspring of the slaves who came to the region in the 18th century.

There are Asian Hispanics too. Chinese immigrants built the railroads in Mexico. The Chinese left their impact. I would suggest looking for a Cuban-Chinese restaurant in Miami or New York.

Of course, there are many native Americans in such countries as Mexico,  Peru, and Central America. They are the descendants of the great civilization that the Spanish explorers found, such as the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas.

There is also great diversity when it comes to religion. It’s true that most Hispanics have Catholic roots but there are hundreds of Jewish high schools in Latin America. It’s estimated that 500,000 Jews live in Latin America.

Hispanics in the U.S. are a combination of all of those groups. It’s amazing that “diversity mad” liberals do not understand that.

Unfortunately, the word “Hispanic” has now been given a political meaning. It was only supposed to be a definition of your background, not the way you vote.

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

A great night for “los cubanos”

The GOP debate will be remembered for two things:

the arrogant moderators, specially John Harwood who should have told the audience that he is in the tank for the Democrats; and,

the amazing performance of Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz.

Before I go, let me add that Governor Christie also had a good night.  Frankly, all of the candidates did well but the two Cuban Americans brought their A-game to the stage.

Senator Rubio once again demonstrated that he is very good on his feet and prepares himself for the “gotcha” questions.  Rubio knew that the moderators would bring up the Sun Sentinel editorial and had a response ready.

Senator Cruz set the tone with an attack on the moderators.  His remarks united the candidates and showed the GOP that you don’t have to take crap from people who are Democrats dressed up as journalists.  It was “….an ‘Encyclopedic Example of Liberal Media Bias“!

Great night for the GOP and specially a couple of “cubanos” who made us proud.

The 4 “cubanos” on the 1965 AL Champ Minnesota Twins

1965 Twins

We remember the 1965 Minnesota Twins and the 4 “cubanos” who were a big part of their championship.

The Twins were the Washington Senators until 1960 when they moved to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St Paul.   The Senators had a lot of Cubans in their farm system and many were still around when the Twins won the AL pennant.

The four Cubans were:

  1. Tony Oliva, the batting champ in 1964 and 1965.   Tony would go on to win another batting title but his career was cut short by a knee injury;
  2. Camilo Pascual, the great righthanded pitcher who won 20 games twice.  He won 176 games, a remarkable feat considering that he pitched with a lot of bad teams in the early days of his career.  Pascual started game 3 of the 1965 World Series against the LA Dodgers;
  3. Zoilo Versalles, the eventual AL MVP of 1965; and,
  4. Hilario Valdespino, an extra outfielder who did not  have a long career.  He was known as Sandy in the major leagues.

Our family arrived in Wisconsin in September 1964.  We got on the Twins bandwagon in 1965 and followed the games on radio.  It was quite a treat to follow a team with 4 Cubans!

The 1965 Twins are one of the great memories of growing up Cuban in the US.

Pachanga in the White House

President Obama’s 2015 National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation addresses the contributions that “America’s Hispanic community” has made to our country. Therefore, one must ask why the President has opted to host Communist Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club at a White House function tonight. One can draw only one conclusion, the President prefers to embrace Cubans from a Communist country rather that freedom-loving Cuban-Americans from the United States.

But the President can’t help himself. In the 2015 proclamation, he brags as one of his accomplishments the fact that “we are expanding the cultural, economic, and familial ties that so many Hispanic Americans share with Latin America by entering a new chapter of engagement and cooperation with Cuba.” Once again, the President shows no respect for freedom-loving Cuban-Americans.
And now you have an inkling as to why I dislike President Obama so much!

To read the 2015 White House proclamation, click on https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/15/presidential-proclamation-national-hispanic-heritage-month-2015

Thoughts of a “refugiado cubano” about the refugees of Europe

A friend asked me yesterday:  Why would a Cuban immigrant, or political refugee like you, want to keep out others fleeing a civil war?   He was referring to my American Thinker post making sure that ISIS does not exploit this crisis to put terrorists in Europe.
It is a fair question and I said this:
First, Cubans generally came in an orderly wave.  Our family spent 2 months in Jamaica waiting to be processed to the U.S.
The Cubans who came in The Freedom Flights were processed in Miami and generally had families vouching for them.   Furthermore, they arrived in 2 flights a day, about 200 in total, and were quickly absorbed into the Miami economy.     These Cubans, and all of the others, have been successful additions to the US.
On the other hand, the Mariel boat lift of 1980 was chaotic and did bring many criminal elements to the U.S.   We repeat that 99% of the people of Mariel were decent but there is always a small number in a large crowd with bad intentions.
Again, let’s do the humanitarian thing but remember who is waiting to take advantage of the situation.   Yes, ISIS is sitting back and looking for a little crack here and there to send the kinds of people who blow up building and commit horrific crimes.
My heart is open to any refugee or anyone fleeing a repressive regime.   Again, let’s keep an eye on ISIS!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Baseball cubano update: Campaneris played all 9 positions 50 years ago today!


It’s easy to overlook just how good Bert “Dagoberto (Blanco)” Campaneris really was.  He batted first and was a critical component of the Oakland A’s who won 3 straight World Series titles, 1972-1973-1974.    

During his great career, he had 2,249 hits and 646 stolen bases.   His batting average of .259 was quite respectable for a shortstop of that era, or a time when most of them were known for their glove and legs rather than bat.    He played in the post-season 7 times.   He was always in the middle of everything as any Oakland A’s fan will tell you.

On this in 1965, Bert played all 9 positions.   He pitched one inning and gave up a run.   Overall, a very rare performance for a major leaguer.

Happy # 78 to Diego Segui


Let’s remember Diego Segui from Holguin.   He was another one of those Cubans who pitched in the US major leagues:   Segui won 92 games, saved 71 with a 3.81 ERA.  

He broke in with the Kansas City A’s (now Oakland A’s) in 1962 but left his mark in the city of Seattle.    

Segui is the answer to a great baseball trivia question:   Who pitched on opening day for the old Seattle Pilots in 1969 and the current Seattle Mariners who started playing in 1977?

Here is the story:

“The city of Seattle (Washington) has been home to two Major League franchises.

The Seattle Pilots, who were an American League team based in Seattle, Washington for one season, 1969, before being relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

And the modern day Seattle Mariners, an American League team also based in Seattle, Washington, 1977 through today.   

Diego Segui is the only player in baseball history to play for both the Seattle Pilots (66 games pitched in 1969) and the Seattle Mariners (40 games pitched in 1977).   

Even more unique than that, Diego Segui played in both franchises Opening Day game, appearing in relief on April 8, 1969, the first game in franchise history for the Seattle Pilots, and was handed the loss on April 6, 1977, the first game in franchise history for the Seattle Mariners.”

Our family lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I remember watching Segui in 1970-71 with the Oakland A’s.     He appeared in the 1971 ALCS with Oakland and in the 1975 World Series with Boston.

Diego retired in 1977 after pitching with a few other teams.   I don’t know where he is living now.

He will be always be remembered in Seattle.   He is the only man who wore the Pilots and Mariners uniforms on their respective opening day games!

Cuban-American Poet in Havana on August 14th

Marti Quote

The Obama administration asked Richard Blanco, the son of Cuban immigrants, to write a poem for the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in “La Obama,” Cuba, on August 14th, 2015. Blanco, who read his poem “One Today” at President Obama’s second inauguration, indicated that this second request “was the hardest and easiest poem I have had to write.”

It is shameful that Blanco has allowed himself to be manipulated by the Obama administration. Perhaps, Blanco is more interested in himself than in the plight of the Cuban people. Indeed, it is ironic that Secretary Kerry refused to invite Cuban dissidents to the official flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. embassy. It is the Cuban dissidents who deserve to read their poems at this official ceremony.

Blanco should be reminded of the words of Cuban Founding Father José Martí regarding visiting an enslaved Cuba:

“To set foot in the house of the oppressor is to justify the oppression. As long as a people have not conquered its rights, he/she who visits the house of those who trample on his/her rights to party and have a good time is an enemy of the people. “

If President Obama’s goal was to bring the Cuban and the Cuban-American closer together, he has failed miserably. Blanco’s actions have set them apart.

See: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2015/08/13/son-cuban-exiles-says-reciting-poem-at-embassy-opening-is-his-easiest-yet/

Some Pedro Paners’ Nonsensical Views on Communist Cuba

Between 1960 and 1962, Cuban parents sent approximately 14,000 children unaccompanied to the United States to rid them of the Communist indoctrination in Communist Cuba. Many were relocated to live with relatives, while others were placed in foster homes and orphanages. Some were reunited with their parents later, while some never saw their parents again. This is what I call making the ultimate sacrifice by these parents for their kids to live in a free society!

To me, it is inconceivable that some of these Pedro Pan kids nowadays have positive views of the Cuban dictators. It is inconceivable to me that some of them even have favorable views of the Obama/Castro opening. Like my friends in Santo Suarez would say, ¡Le zumba el mango!

While this is a right granted to all in a democracy, I place my trust and admiration in Pedro Paners like Willy Chirino who is still faithful to his parents’ ideals of returning only to a Cuba Libre.

This Cuban-American Is Not On My Team

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Tuesday said it will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will ‘bear arms on behalf of the United States’ or ‘perform noncombatant service’ in the Armed Forces as part of the naturalization process. Those lines are in the Oath of Allegiance that people recite as they become U.S. citizens. But USCIS said people ‘may’ be able to exclude those phrases for reasons related to religion or if they have a conscientious objection.”

I think that patriotic Americans should contact their congressmen(women) to insist that President Obama fire the agency’s director, Leon Rodriguez, over the apparent change. Rodriguez is a Cuban-American who does not have my vote.

Rodriguez was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Cuban immigrants. When he was four years old, Rodriguez moved with his parents to Miami, where they ran a business. He attended Brown University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1984. Rodriguez received his J.D. from Boston College in 1988.