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.

Open Letter to President Obama by Alain Castillo

Alain Castillo is a young man in Texas…….he was born in Florida and now lives in Texas….he wrote this letter to show his disapproval of Presiddent Obama’s approach toward Cuba.

Open Letter to President Obama regarding the opening of embassies, bilateral relations

By Alain Castillo

Mr. President, I write to you as a Millennial, who like others, didn’t get hired in their college dream job after graduation and who has loan debt to payoff. I also write to you as a former supporter who believed (and voted) for you in 2008. Lastly, I also write to you as a non-elitist, humble man of Cuban heritage. In other words, I fit the criteria to have your attention.

This week, I write to you to show disdain, disagreement, dissent and disapproval for your “new” Cuban policy, especially the opening of the US and Cuban embassies in each country this week.

Before I begin, I would like to share some history about my background. Mr. President, my mother and father’s lives were of humble background in Cuba. Both of them grew up poor in Cuba, –my mother growing up in a farm and my father in a poor town. My father had dreamed of becoming a General for the Constitutional Republic of Cuba; a loyal soldier just like my grandfather.

Yet, in 1959, all of their lives would change as a secret communist revolution took over Cuba socially, economically and politically. I can write on-and-on over this, but one simple truth has remained since that time: NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR THE BETTERMENT OF CUBANS.

Neither my mother nor father benefitted from the “Hope and Change” forced upon them by the Castro regime so they packed their bags with only a suitcase full of clothes and they looked forward to real “hope and change” that awaited them in the land of the free, over 30 years ago.

After your Dec. 17, 2014 announcement stating that your State Department team would spearhead the effort to normalize relations with Cuba, there have been many opinions where the pros and cons have been expressed by members of the Cuban exile community, Congress, academia, media outlets, human rights groups, dissidents and pro-Cuban government lobbyist groups, such as the Cuban Study Group.

So far, as of July 2015, just as in 1959, NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR THE BETTERMENT OF CUBANS.

There have been so many arrests since the December 2014 announcement that the Cuban government is labeling prisoners as “common criminals.”

Mr. President, I have spent a lot of time considering the best things to say in response to this action by your administration in an effort to not be redundant because so far everything, but the kitchen sink, has been discussed. I do not want to argue against your character nor where your heart is since it will not be futile or necessary.

What I will argue is for common sense.

To be honest, the “re-opening of the US and Cuban embassies” really is an upgrade of government facilities of both countries. This is more symbolic than anything, but it has been described by your critics, such as author Humberto Fontova, to be questioned on its legal basis. This view has even given more fuel to the fire of others’ opinions overall that “you choose the laws that will be enforced.”

In his article, “Is Diplomatic Recognition of Cuba Even Legal?”, Fontova shared that the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act of 1996, Section 201 (13) declares that any easing of a diplomatic relationship with Cuba relies on the fact that “there exists a democratically elected government in Cuba.”

Next, Section. 201 (13) states that “The satisfactory resolution of property claims by a Cuban Government recognized by the United States remains an essential condition for the full resumption of economic and diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.”

US law clearly shows that this move is not only pre-mature, but un-American. I ask this question: What precedent will this new move take for future US administrations? How will we treat Cuba after the Obama era? What if a new President declares this move illegal?

Overall, this move only further legitimizes the Cuban revolutionary government and does not honor the Cuban people at all. Not only that, it will cause more problems.

For example, will Cubans be able to ask for asylum upon entering US sovereign soil or will they be pushed away? What were the agreements made between the two parties that gave a go ahead for this move? Will Cuban government officials be given a chance to freely travel to the US to continue harassing members of the Cuban American exile community?

What comes next as dangerous is the actual normalization of relations with Cuba. Mr. President, as a forbearer of “Hope and Change” you have negotiated with a government that has US blood on their hands where their families of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots never received any justice.

The only thing this move has caused is many headaches, beatings and blood spilled in Cuban streets. Mr. President, as a matter of respect, I implore you to stand with the grassroots Cuban dissident movement to force real “Hope and Change” on the island. Do not back down from these egotistical maniacs, but stand up for the Cuban people.

It’s good to hear from young Cuban Americans like Alain…….