Author Gabriel Garcia-Marquez loved Castro more than the Cuban people

(My new American Thinker post)

By any measurement, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez was a literary giant.  He wrote some wonderful books and was hailed as one of the all time greats of Spanish literature.

We definitely agree with many of the compliments and obituaries, such as this one from CBC:

“Garcia Marquez, who died Thursday at age 87, was eulogized in a brief ceremony Monday evening in the dramatic art deco lobby by the presidents of both Mexico and Colombia, two countries linked by the writer through his birth, life, heritage and career.
Though he was born in Colombia, Garcia Marquez lived in Mexico for decades and wrote some of his best-known works here, including One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

My biggest problem is that Garcia-Marquez was just a bit too fond of Fidel Castro, the longest running dictatorship in the Americas.  He never called for elections in Cuba and was just a bit too quick to repeat the dictatorship’s talking points, such as blaming the US embargo for the economic problems.

Didn’t Mr Garcia-Marquez know that Colombia, his native country, and Mexico, his adopted nation, do business with Cuba? Again, the problem is not the US embargo but the failed socialist and communist policies that turned Cuba into an impoverished island, the same one that had to reschedule its debts over and over!

Sadly, Mr Garcia-Marquez is part of a Latin American left that has always loved Castro a lot more than the Cuban people.  They love having “rum and cola” with Castro and overlook the plight of the political prisons or the lack of freedoms.

Didn’t Mr Garcia-Marquez know that Castro puts people in jails for writing against his regime?  Was he that misinformed about Cuba?

Over the years, I’ve gotten into many debates with Latin American leftists over Cuba.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many of these leftists hate the US so much that they are willing to support any one as long as he is “anti-Yankee”!

RIP Mr Gabriel Garcia-Marquez.   Shame on you for embracing of Fidel Castro.

P. S. You can hear my discussion about Garcia-Marquez with Cuban-American author Victor Triay plus young Colombia conservative Michael Prada & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Dear President Obama: Why won’t you say something about Dr Gross in Cuba?

My new American Thinker post about Dr Gross in Cuba is here:

“We’ve been following the incredible story of a US citizen sitting in a Cuban jail for no reason at all.

We are not suggesting that the US invade Cuba and rescue Dr Gross but a little anger from President Obama may persuade the Castro regime that we don’t like what they are doing.

We certainly should not be talking at all with the Cuban regime or shaking Raul Castro’s hand at a funeral.

This week, we learned that Dr Gross has opted for a “hunger strike” to get some attention from that fellow in  the Oval Office who keeps going from one fundraiser to another…..”

Please check it out:

“Dr Gross is being held on bogus grounds.  The Cuban government is hoping that the Obama administration will crack and “swap” Cuban spies for a decent man who is not a spy.  And let’s not forget that Dr Gross is 63 and in frail health!

It would be nice if President Obama would say something loudly about this case, such as we are canceling remittances and flights to Cuba until Dr Gross is released.  It would be even better if President Obama or VP Biden would go to the OAS and speak bluntly about this atrocity.

Again, no one is calling for US Marines to liberate Dr Gross but a little anger would show that President Obama has something else in his mind but fundraisers and peddling untruths about “equal pay for women.””


“Cuba’s American Hostage”, a new post from Fausta Wertz!

Let me say “muy bien” to Fausta Wertz, the editor of Fausta’s Blog, for her coverage of Dr Gross in Cuba.

This is her latest op-ed and it is good:

In June, 2001, Cuban spies Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González (known as the Cuban Five or the Miami Five) were convicted of 26 federal charges, including conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and acting as agents of a foreign government. The Communist regime acknowledges that the men are intelligence agents, but were spying on the Cuban exile community and not the U.S. government. Over the years, they have filed appeals and have become fixtures of the Cuban propaganda machine. René González was released on October 7, 2011, and Fernando González was released on February 27, 2014.

Hernández, Guerrero and Labañino are still serving their life sentences, and the Cuban government continues to push for their release. Some 130 celebrities have asked for their release.

In December 2009, Alan P. Gross was arrested while in Cuba working as a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community. He was held in jail, and, in March, 2011 was convicted for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”.

What does “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state” means? It means that, in Cuba, attempting to provide access to the internet is a crime.

Here’s a list of questions explaining his descent into hell.

Jimmy Carter met with Gross in 2011, Jesse Jackson was denied access in 2013.

Last year Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal spelled out Gross’ situation: Cuba Admits Gross Is a Pawn

In other words, Mr. Gross is a negotiating chip. Ms. Vidal would not say what Cuba wants in exchange for letting him go, but the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S. is likely on the list.

The U.S. government has clearly stated that it will not swap the 3 spies for Gross. The USAID office apparently has made no effort towards Gross’ release.

Gross, 63, has lost over 100lbs and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure are considered “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.”

His situation is desperate: yesterday USA Today reported that Gross has started a hunger strike.


What’s wrong with undermining a tyranny?

Earlier today, I added my thoughts to The Washington Post editorial that Alberto de la Cruz commented on.

These are some of the points that I made:

“There is nothing wrong with the US trying “undermine tyranny,” such as the one in Cuba.

Have people forgotten that Cuba is still a communist dictatorship?

Or that the Castro regime is an enemy of the US?

Or that they are holding a US citizen on some bogus charges of espionage?”

Cheers for the person who started this plan to undermine the Castro regime.   Glad to see that someone in the Obama administration has a clue about the reality of the world!

The full article can be read here.

P.S.  We learned today that Dr. Gross, the US citizen in a Cuban jail, will go on a hunger strike to protest his unjust incarceration.    I guess that just confirms that there is a real tyranny down in Cuba!


Cuba today with Joao Cerqueira (author) & Orestes Matacena (filmmaker)

Joao Cerqueira is from Portugal and the author of “The Tragedy of Fidel Castro”, a satire about the Cuban dictator.  Joao took an interest in Cuba years ago and now recognizes that it is a corrupt dictatorship.  This is a view that you don’t often get in the US media.

Orestes Matachena is a Cuban-American filmmaker and a good friend of Babalu.

Please listen and hear Joao talk about Cuba.


“Los jovenes” are the face of the anti-Maduro movement

My new American Thinker post about young people and Venezuela:

“Over the last month, I’ve seen pictures and videos about the demonstrations in Venezuela.  I am really impressed by the young people, from students to professionals to parents with small children.

Just saw the story of Juan Requesens, a student who is the middle of the uprising in Caracas.

Juan is 24 and the focus of a recent story by The Washington Post:

“After nearly a month of anti-government protests and street clashes, the one figure who may be capable of guiding Venezuela out of its crisis is a bearded, disheveled 24-year-old who lives with his parents.

Juan Requesens, a student leader, has leapt in recent weeks from campus politics to the swirling center of Venezuela’s worst unrest in a decade. A talent for public speaking has driven his rise, but perhaps just as appealing is that he is not one of the well-established opposition politicians Venezuelans already know.

In the past week, President Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly invited him to “peace” talks, but Requesens refuses, insisting that Maduro free jailed protesters and meet other preconditions first. Venezuela’s interior minister is publicly pressuring Requesens to go to the western state of Tachira, where the protests first erupted and barricades are blocking deliveries of food, to get students there to stand down.

Even opposition politicians have begun deferring to Requesens, saying they, too, will not meet with Maduro until the students go first.”

What drives young people like Juan?  After all, Juan was born in the early days of Chavizmo.  He does not remember the pre-Chavez days.  He has spent his entire life living in the Venezuela that Chavez’ policies created.

Why the disconnect with Chavez or Maduro?  Why are the children of the revolution turning against the revolution?

The answer is freedom and the economic shortages now a daily grind all over the nation.

Check out the faces of demonstrators in Caracas.  You will see lots of young people like Juan!  It makes me optimistic that the young are not buying the class warfare and crony capitalism that Chavez left Venezuela with.”


Maduro cracking heads and Obama “en otro planeta”

My new American Thinker post today discussed the growing government crackdown in Venezuela… is a portion of it:

“Mr Maduro is banking on two things:

1)  The shameful indifference of so many other Latin American countries. The latest player in this shameful game of indifference is the president of Chile who said in a press conference that Chile will not support “….any movement that violently wants to topple a democratically elected government.”

Are you kidding me President Bachelet? With all due respect, are you insane?

How can any democratically elected leader refer to President Maduro as the product of an election?

Please don’t insult our intellegence!

2) The even more shameful silence from the Obama administration.

It’s hard to believe that the man who once said that “we are the change we’ve been waiting for” is quietly watching a government crack protesters’ heads without a loud protest.

Where is the United States? I guess that we are playing golf or telling young people to cancel their cell phones and buy Obama Care.

So Mr Maduro continues to crack heads and call for a further dialogue.

How can you speak with people who are dead, injured or bleeding from your violent treatment?

They will continue cracking heads in Venezuela until the world screams “Enough”.

The first government to scream should be the US!

We need to lead but maybe leadership is not in style these days!”


“Oye compay, que semana”: We talk Cuba with Jorge Ponce!

Jorge Ponce and I looked back at this big “semana” of Cuba news.

It started with the handshake, talk of Dr Gross, calls for lifting the embargo, to more of Alberto’s posts about human rights violations in the island.

Even Elian made the news this week.  Wonder if someone told Elian that his mother died to bring him to the US?

It was quite a week!  We spoke with Jorge Ponce about it.

Listen here:


(Lo que uno aprende en The NY Times): “Glimmers of Tolerance for Voices of Dissent”!

According to The NY Times, change is happening in Cuba:  “Within Cuba’s Revolution, Glimmers of Tolerance for Voices of Dissent”

“Glasnost it is not, say Cuban intellectuals and analysts. But glimpses of candor in the official news media and audacious criticism from people who, publicly at least, support the revolution suggest widening tolerance of a more frank, if circumscribed, discussion of the country’s problems.

“There is more space for debate,” said Armando Chaguaceda, a Cuban political scientist and blogger who lives in Mexico. “People are more outspoken.””

Dios mio!  How did I miss that one?

I am sure that these new “glimmers of tolerance” will come as a shock to “Las Damas en Blanco” and other dissidents in the island.

Perhaps they need to get a complimentary subscription to The NY Times to read about all of these “glimmers of tolerance”.

Of course, the “glimmers” do come with a few limitations, as you read further in the article:

“There are still limits. While the government preaches frankness, it continues to crush opposition, and those who step over the fickle line between loyal criticism and dissent risk ostracism, loss of employment, harassment or jail.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent group that tracks treatment of activists, said there were 761 short-term arrests of dissidents in November, one of the highest figures in the past two years.

And in October, five independent journalists were detained for several days, according to Reporters Without Borders.

“It’s ambiguous,” said Mr. Chaguaceda, the political scientist. “It depends who you are, how you say things, where you say them.””

Maybe it depends on what the definition of  “glimmer” is!    It always does in Castro’s Cuba!

In the meantime, “Las Damas” will march on Sunday and see no “glimmer” that the harassment and name calling have disappeared.

No “glimmering” for “Las Damas” this Sunday!   It’s another repressive Sunday in Cuba for them!


“La injusticia del Sr Gross”: Another wife wants her husband released from Cuba’s prisons!

As I wrote recently on American Thinker, who is protecting US citizens abroad these days?    North Korea, Iran and Cuba are the 3 countries holding US citizens for bogus reasons.

The case of Allan Gross is simply appalling.      What is this man guilty of?   Nothing!!!!!

He has been “left behind” as The Washington Post reminded us:

“The fourth Thanksgiving. The fourth Hanukkah. This is a hard season for Judy Gross, even harder for her husband, Alan, who on Tuesday began his fifth year of captivity in a Cuban prison.

Eleven more years stretch ahead on the sentence for Gross, who spends 23 hours a day in his cell. Gross, now 64, was convicted of “acts against the .?.?. territorial integrity of the state” — bringing cellphones, personal computers and networking devices to help connect Cuba’s tiny Jewish population to the Internet.”

There is something wrong with a US government that allows rogue states like Cuba to hold US citizens without cause.

The word for the Castro dictatorship is “barbaric”.

The word for the Obama administration is weak!

P.S. Follow me on Twitter!


Marc Masferrer and Cuba getting a seat in the UN Human Rights Council

As you may know, Cuba will now have a seat in the UN Human Rights Council:

“China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria won seats Tuesday on the U.N. Human Rights Council, riling independent human rights groups who said their election undermined the rights watchdog’s credibility.

The General Assembly elected 14 new members to the 47-seat Geneva-based council, which can shine a spotlight on rights abuses by adopting resolutions — when it chooses to do so.

It also has dozens of special monitors watching problem countries and major issues ranging from executions to drone strikes.”

This is a travesty but what else do you expect from the UN?  I can’t wait for Cuba to pass judgement on a member country that puts dissidents in jail or harasses citizens marching for freedom.    Let’s see how Cuba votes when that issue comes before the council.

Again, this is a travesty and an insult to our intelligence.

Marc Masferrer has been at the forefront of this battle.   Please check out interview with Marc.

Here is the link:


Venezuela: The land of “shortstops” & Miss Universe winners

As we’ve posted often in blog, Venezuela is an important neighbor in disarray. In other words, “the cubanization of Venezuela” is a sad thing to watch. It’s really horrible for those of us who know where “cubanization” leads to!

Our friends in Venezuela take a break from their crazy politics and shortages of everything by talking about their incredible line of major league shortstops and young women who win beauty pageants.

They can’t stop talking about Hall of Famer Luis Aparacio, “should be in the Hall of Fame” David Concepcion, the unbelievable Omar Vizquel, and now “the new kid up the middle” Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers. Who did I forget?

The men will talk to you about shortstops and the women treat the Miss Universe pageant like game 7 of the world Series. In other words,don’t ask a young Venezuela woman for a date when The Miss Universe pageant is on.  She’d rather stay home and watch it.

This weekend, a young woman from Venezuela won The Miss Universe content:

“For the seventh time in Miss Universe history, Venezuela took the crown as 25-year-old Gabriela Isler was given the title of most beautiful woman in the universe in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on Saturday night.

As the evening came to a close, the United States’ Olivia Culpo relinquished the Miss Universe crown and placed it upon Miss Venezuela.

Isler, who was born in Maracay, is an accomplished flamenco dancer who also works on Venezuelan television.”

Beautiful and dances flamenco?   “Que maravilla!”

Congratulations to Gabriela!

Frankly, it’s nice to see Venezuelans smile and having a little fun. it’s been “hell” down there for a long time!

Lack Of Civil Liberties For Afro-Cubans In Cuba Today

Fall 2013

My good friend Silvio Canto asked me yesterday to do a radio show on the hunger strike of Cuban dissident “El Critico del Arte,” and on the letter published in the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson in support of the Afro-Cuban dissidents in Cuba.

My first reaction to Silvio’s request was total surprise. In the past, Silvio has asked me to be on his radio show when I have written an op-ed that gets published in babalublog. This time around, I had not written one. So, I concocted a thousand excuses as to why I should not accept his invitation – I only had less than 24 hours to prepare, I had all kinds of chores and errands to take care of on Saturday, I had to rake the leaves, perhaps I would still be in bed by 10:00 AM, and on and on.

But this got me thinking about how often we would like to go back in time and imagine how things would have turned out if we could change certain variables. For example, I’ve wondered at how my life would have turned out if I had grown up in Cuba, rather than in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. And, I engaged in all kinds of permutations about the “what if’s”, and, yes, my life would have turned out completely different in each of these scenarios.

The problem is that even if I could turn back the clock, no situation would be exactly the same. Each moment in time is linear; not cyclical. The Cuba that I kept going back to in my imagination was the Cuba BC (Before Castro) – and, this Cuba would never be again. As the late Cuban-American comedian Alvarez Guedes said during an interview, the Cuba that he knew doesn’t exist anymore.

We are so worried about achieving perfection in our lives, that we fail miserably to embrace the deep message embedded in Julio Iglesias’ song “La vida se hace siempre de momentos / de cosas que no sueles valorar / y luego cuando pierdes / cuando al fin te has dado cuenta / el tiempo no te deja regresar.” In essence, life is all about enjoying those special moments.

Rather than worrying about the “what may have been,” we should appreciate the “what is”. Live life to the fullest, as every moment is what it is supposed to be. Only when we realize this, will we be able to achieve fullness in our lives – with no regrets.

So, after finishing my musings, I e-mailed Silvio last night to tell him that I would be happy to be on his radio show this morning.
I realized how lucky I was to live in a free country where I could speak my mind about the abuses that go on daily in Communist Cuba. I felt fortunate to give a helping hand to my friend Silvio, and to “El Critico del Arte” with the hope that he would be released from prison soon. I was happy that after I had complained in a previous op-ed about the presence of a double standard from some members of the Congressional Black Caucus with respect to the lack of civil liberties in Communist Cuba, at last we could see the light at the end of the tunnel by having U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson (D-Fla., 24th district) speak out against the lack of freedoms of Afro-Cubans. And, at last, we had President Barack Obama meet in Miami yesterday with Cuban dissidents Dr. Guillermo Fariñas and Berta Soler to discuss the steps that need to be taken to have a Free Cuba again.

There is no better time to make a difference than right now!

To read my previous op-ed about measuring the moral compass of the Congressional Black Caucus, click on


To listen to the radio interview, click on

Too Close To Home

With its balmy, tropical climate, warm sandy beaches and swaying palms, South Florida has become the next best thing to Cuba for Cuban exiles. It’s the closest place to home here in the continental United States.

But, sometimes it can get a bit too close to home for my taste.

Up in Palm Beach County, they have a Sheriff. His name is Ric Bradshaw and he came up with a million dollar idea. His Orwellian brainstorm is to set up a program that would encourage the good citizens of Palm Beach County to report to the PBSO any “suspicious” activity or conversations that their neighbors may be partaking in. Such neighborly intervention could make “sure law enforcement knows about potential powder kegs before tragedies occur.”

His money quote- one that recently got him a featured link on the “Drudge Report”:

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him. What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ “

And…get this…the Sunshine Stasi State is giving Sherriff Bradshaw a million of our tax dollars so he can set up his creepy snitch network. The good Sherriff is going to use money to set up

“prevention intervention” units featuring specially trained deputies, mental health professionals and caseworkers. The teams will respond to citizen phone calls to a 24-hour hotline with a knock on the door and a referral to services, if needed.

Sherriff Bradshaw boasts that his program is “the first of its kind in the nation”. Thank goodness because we are…were(?) a free country.

The program, however, is not the first of its kind in the world. It is not new under the Sun. And that is why this hits a bit too close to home. In Cuba, they a have a similar “program” it’s the CDR, Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. The CDR’s mission, in essence, isn’t that much more different than Sheriff Bradshaw’s plan. It involves citizens spying on each other and reporting to the authorities. It’s the main tool used by the Cuban regime to oppress its citizens. It spreads dread, fear and terror.

So, in The People’s Republic of Palm Beach County, if your nosy yellow dog Democrat neighbor hears you cursing out President Obama because you think he’s a lying sack of Marxist excrement because he lied to the Nation about Benghazi as you and your best friend put your AR-15’s into the trunk of your car to go target practice at the gun range, for example, your neighbor can call Sheriff Bradshaw’s “prevention intervention unit’s” 24/7 hotline so they can come knock on your door the next day…and ask you :  “Hey, is everything OK?” Then they can take you in to evaluate your hatred of government and confiscate your AR-15 for your own good, just to be sure…

Maybe next year Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who helped push through the funding will push through another million or two so Bradshaw can set up “prevention intervention” homes on every block that will be tasked with coordinating and compiling intelligence on the neighbors so if they ever do anything unusual…knock, knock… Or hell, set up “clubs” in schools where children are reminded it’s their civic and patriotic duty to inform officials if their parents or other family members are potential threats…again knock, knock…

I remember a few of those “friendly” knocks on the door from [c]astro’s “prevention intervention units” growing up.

Sherriff Bradshaw’s program doesn’t technically criminalize dissent, but it can be abused as an effective method to control, put the fear of the authorities and intimidate ordinary citizens into docility and submission just like the Cuban CDR’s. It creates a first in the nation precedent where citizens who have a healthy distaste of tyranny and love of personal liberty can be singled out and ostracized as “not normal” or anti social or anti-American worse yet, mentally unstable. (that means they take your guns away)

This too, is not new under the Sun and it’s being ingrained into our children to create the next generation of conforming, unquestioning, docile sheeple. And those that do question authority are ridiculed and out casted.

Here’s an excerpt from President Obama’s commencement speech the graduating class of Ohio State University:

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

There’s nothing to see here…move along…don’t ask questions…and do anything suspicious…Oh sorry, I’ll have to finish this post another time…someone’s knocking on my door….