If you arent pissed at me already…

…then you soon will be.

Im in a bad mood today. Dont know why, really, as I had a great weekend. But today I just woke up on the wrong side of bed and, well, let’s just say that I’m more than a bit “cranky.” So, ignoring prudence, Im going to take this opportunity to blow some steam. If you dont like rants, I suggest the “Back” button on your browser.

Robert posted the letter from Miriam Leiva on Saturday and it has garnered quite an interesting back and forth as well as a few arguments. Now, I appreciate Leiva’s work and have always supported or tried to support all dissidents working for change in Cuba. I respect the work Mrs. Leiva and her husband and fellow dissidents do in Cuba. They are the very few with enough balls to do what they believe is right. I admire their strength and their determination to stay true to their convictions, despite what could be dreadful consequences for themsleves and their families.

That said, Im going to paraphrase what I think her letter basically states:

“Dear US government and citizens, whether of Cuban descent or not,

Shut up and bring money.

Miriam Leiva.”

You might be thinking Ive gone off the deep end. But read the letter again. Go ahead, ill wait.

Back? Good.

You all can rake me over the coals over this, as Im sure I will be, but with all due respect to Mrs. Leiva, is there any other country on the face of the Earth that despite the public condemnation and political ramifications, actually does something to help free the Cuban people? Please name one.

Also, what happened to all those Euros and Canadian dollars that have been brought to Cuba by tourists? And what about all the contact between they and the Cuban people? Canadians hold elections, dont they? As do Spanish, Italian, German, British and other Europeans that have been visiting Cuba for decades. So what gives? Why no changes in Cuba with their tourism and money? Why is the “American tourist” the cure and not their European counterparts?

I’m sorry, but I must respectfully call bullshit on this. If, as Mrs. Leiva states, the CAFC II, is yet another move by the US that the castro regime will point to as obvious justification for its “efforts to justify the systematic violation of human rights, bad management, misery suffered by the people and imprisonment of the ”mercenaries’, then it is just that: OBVIOUS. It is only those with an agenda against the freedom of the Cuban people who would and do point to the CAFC II as an act of aggression or the culprit of Cuba’s woes.

The title of Mrs. Leiva’s letter is “We Cubans must decide.” I couldnt agree more. Someone please let me know when there’s enough Cubans with balls on the island to do just that.

32 thoughts on “If you arent pissed at me already…”

  1. Val, of course you are right to be upset but at the same time she has accurately predicted what the leftist spin doctors were going to say. That this a way of the US imposing its will. Unfortunately years of living under a dictator accustom one to playing by their rules even if they are not fair. The fact is that aiding the dissidents in Cuba is the right thing to do, and anyone who says otherwise (claiming that it violates Cuban sovereignty) is full of shit. What about the sovereignty of other Latin American states that Cuba and Venezula are actively violating?

    Andres Oppenheimer was discussing this very topic (sovereignty vs. protection of democracy) last night on his show.

    As Ms. Leiva points out there are people out there that are always going to paint the US as an agressor and use any small example, no matter how benign, to prove their point. Where she is wrong is that policy can not be determined by world opinion. If it were, we’d be living in either a Nazi or Soviet communist dominated society today.

  2. I think that last paragraph might have been a bit harsh.

    Just like every revolution in history it is not the dirt poor that start it. It is usuall the middle classes that have their basic needs satisfied (food, clothing, etc..) that initiate revolution. The dirt poor are too busy looking for ways to put food on the table to worry about revolution.

    Since castro has created an island of dirt poor, the vast majority of Cubans are too busy either waiting in line or trying work out some sort of deal to get food to worry too much about organizing a revolt.

    So the “balls” comment might be a bit off. I can only imagine what I would be doing if my family hadn’t decide to leave. I’d be too busy try to figure out how I could get some sugar or some eggs to worry about joining up with dissidents.

    I also find it a little to easy to be questioning people’s courage from the comfort of the U.S. I spend a lot of time fretting about Cuba, but every once in a while I take a weekend trip to Vegas and I get to take a vacation of sorts from worrying about when Castro will die. It is a luxury given to me by the sweat and toil of my parents.

    Unfortunately, Cubans can never take that sort of vacation. They have live with the sh*t everyday, 24/7. That by itself is enough to earn my respect.

    In terms of the travel issue, I see both sides. I can see where if you open Cuba to more travel from Cuban-Americans and Americans in general that it could help, ala perestrioka. But then I understand where Castro will figure out a way to make it benefit him instead of the Cuban people.

    Somehow I think it has to be one or the other. Open it up completely for all to travel and spend money there or completely shut it down and not let anyone travel or send money. This dance in the middle for 47 years hasn’t really done much.

    Thanks for venue Val. I appreciate your daily dedication to what all of us hope is coming very soon. A FREE CUBA.

  3. Agreed. What she wrote, however, doesn’t really upset me. Cuban’s are human in nature, just as people are in any country, and what that means is that you will always have a lot of unqualified people giving their unqualified opinions. In Cuba, this is magnified a thousand times. What Cuban economist is going to come out and say lifting the embargo would help Fidel? What Cuban foreign relations guy is going to be open about pointing out the logic in the argument that Canadians and Europeans have had no influence, so there’s not reason to believe the US will?

    So the only anti-Castro opinions you end up getting are those of the poorest of the poor, the most disconnected society in our hemisphere, about foreign policy.

    I highly doubt that she or any other Damas de Blanco were coerced into writing this kind of thing. If she has had the fortitude all this time to do her Lady in White thing, it isn’t likely that anyone made her say this. She probably really thinks that “shut up and give us money” is the solution.

    But she is misguided. And as dangerous as that is with her membership in such a respected group, I think it is forgivable.

  4. I am just glad that we can have this debate so that all Cubans — both on and off the island — can contribute to a vision of a pluralistic, democratic country.

  5. I’ve been pretty much pondering the same thing all weekend. It’s awfully hard to turn your back on people in need, especially loved ones, on the otherhand if you open Cuba up completely then your giving communism a stamp of approval. God, the left has been working for decades for that victory, because if’s it’s ok for Cubans why not us. Why not the fucking free healthcare for Ameicans? So there’s the catch, and the reason why we’ve been at this standstill for 47 years. If you lean on a wall long enough, it will start to bend. The problem is we’re the only ones leaning, but that doesn’t mean we’re not right. I for one cannot go along with any action that supports the regime, and that includes Ms. Leivas eloquent request for donations.

  6. As I mentioned, I have the utmost respect for Leiva and her fellow dissidents. However, I find it duplicitous and to be honest a little shameful that a dissident such as Leiva feels the need to discredit the US publicly in such a fashion, because the US has published a document that we all know is ideological in nature and far from perfect. I certianly see no other country going out of its way to help Leiva and her peers.


    Leiva herself is pointing the finger in this letter, nest pas?


    I think you made my point without knowing it. I thought long and hard about that last sentence. Mulled it over for quite a while. But it stands as posted.

    Because here’s my point:

    It does take balls to be a dissident, because it’s alot easier to have your family fly in from Miami with pockets full of cash. “Shut up and bring money.”

  7. My deepest respect for Mrs Leiva and ALL the Ladies in White. But on this one I have to disagree with her. All the cash in the world is NOT going to help anyone in Cuba but castro, the PIMP emperor of Cuba.

  8. again..there is a hidden agenda behind leiva’s article…maybe she is trying to get a better treatment for her husband in jail,or she already got blackmailed by castro’s gestapo,or she got “recruited” by the castro’s gestapo,or all of the above..anything goes in that island..and almost all things like that are “checked” by the “inteligencia”…so,there you have it..

  9. tony,

    I dont want to denigrate Leiva or make suppositions about her or her situation. Her credentials are impeccable as far as dissidency is concerned. However, if I think she’s wrong I will opine as such.


    One more thing. You state:

    As Ms. Leiva points out there are people out there that are always going to paint the US as an agressor and use any small example, no matter how benign, to prove their point.

    So the thinking is that because the castro regime will point to the US as aggressors that the US should cower before hand? Not look out for its best interests and walk on egg shells because someone might get mad and call them names?

  10. Hey hey hey!
    It’s a race!It’s a race!(saying over and over mr bean on RatRace)

    Why Chavez could intervene with his petro-red-dollars and we not?

    Who do you think is more welcomed in Cuba, USA with more than 1,5 millions of cuban americans relatives doing sacrifices of any kind or the ugly ChavEvo red-ganga? Another gang, after the mafia and then the castromafia?? Yes Cubans must decide, but first liberate-them, then let decide to elect Perro Roque as president…

    Nooo, please, they do not are better than us.

    Ademas, LOS CUBANOS NO SABEN UN PEO de lo que pasa al esterior, ellos NI SABEN QUE SU JEFE ES MUERTO, yo lo se porque entro y salgo de la isla regularmente, sendo europea, they live in a UNEXISTENT XX century world, someone must have the balls to take decisions, to ASSIST WITH HONESTY and do not exploit AGAIN.

    I see the cubans americans as an integral part of Cuba, as our italians emigrants NOW COUNTS at the point that they HAD DECIDED THE LAST ELECTIONS IN FAVOUR OF THE LEFT GOVERN; why do not cubans-americans?

    The others (Chavo y su gang) no tienes nuestros escrupulos, no se preguntan si los quieren y si no reconquistamos nosotros la isla, se la ganan ellos, DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS AT STAKE? DESPIERTA!

    Val, you wake up in a bad mood, but not enough, you seems a little bit too shy, to my taste. Bay of pigs was wrong THEN, but can be right TODAY, because OTHERS ARE TAKING THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, no shame, no regrets, no psicological submission to castro propaganda!.

    Es tiempo de asaltar los castristas y darle una paliza y sacarlos a conazos, o quieres esperar otro medio siglo y morirte de nostalgia lejo de La Habana como hacen nuestros padres ??? No se si tu la conoces, es la ciudad mas linda de latinoamerica, y todo el mundo debe ser libre de conocerla.

    Hay que DOBLAR, TRIPLICAR, DECUPLICAR el empuje, el gubierno americano lead the way Y SON LOS UNICOS, AHORA ES EL MOMENTO, NO LO ENTIENDES?

    Para cargarte, escucha otra vez Hasta Cuando (http://www.chavilarism.com/rey/), despues Labana de Alejandro Sanz y canta con el:
    Cuenta uno, cuenta dos, cuenta tres,
    cuanta cuatro QUE SE VA FIDEL!

    (Sorry for my spanglishtaliano, it’s horrible, i know i know…, but do you got the idea?)
    (I can’t imagine reactions to this…)

  11. OK..conductor.. she can be some how brainwashed like millions in cuba,and her “chip” against USA is on full mood,that’s another possibility,i accept it,but about credentials..we already have a lot of cubans agents and they got a lot of “credentials”,so,believe in someone just for “credentials” is not in me..although i can give the benefit of the doubt in this case,still,i keep believing in what i wrote before..

  12. and about traveling to cuba,well..i have my mom ovethere,i havent seen her in .hmm…11 years,’cause i cant go back there,,but if i can travel to cuba,i go,and yes..i dont like spend my money in castro’s shops,etc.etc..but my mom is above castro,above the money that im going to spend,and above everything else,is hard but is the true,so,yes,if someone has family in cuba,well..go there and visit them,family is above all the shits and problems that we have,and yes,i know castro is playing that card,but..again..castro is gonna die one day,,my family is gonna be my family after he dies..

  13. tony,

    It was I who posted that comment.

    For all I know, you may be 100% correct, however, given that there is no proof or data to back-up the accusation, and given that levia is a founder of The Ladies in White, which i support fully, Id like to give her the benfit of the doubt.

    As for your traveling to Cuba, Ive stated many a time here that I am no one to tell a Cuban that he shouldnt or cant travel to see his family. Its a moral choice you make. And I certainly wont criticize you or anyone else for making the choice they deem right and visiting Cuba.

    But I will say that I consider it counterproductive.

  14. Asha,

    It’s foolish to cointemplate any US administration commiting political suicide by invading Cuba. It just wont happen. Unless, of course, Hugo starts moving in some armies, then perhaps the two birds, one stone theory will take precedence.

  15. well..i dont have “pruebas” about leiva..but is the same tactic that castro used time and time again..so im suspicious about her comments,and yes,traveling to cuba is counterproductive,but when you are between a rock and a hard place,YOU GOT TO HANDLE IT..swalow it..and keep going..and think positive..and by the way..congratulations for your blog,i read it almost every day..

  16. Absolutely not talking to invade, it’s an idiot idea, i agree, it’s matter of PUSH PUSH AND PUSH, in any possible way, Chavez is on hunt, why not us?

  17. Levia is not like the Cubans who left the island in 1960 – those Cubans were the most educated, and most pro American Latin Americans. 47 years of Castroism has even brain washed the critics of the dictatorship. They are even anti American without knowing it. Levia and others on the island see us here in the US the same way a greedy poor relative sees a rich uncle or cousin. Why work, why bother, when Tio Pepe or Tia Maria can give us money?

    Cubans on the island have become hardened – like envious Latin Americans have become. They are hustlers because they need to “resolver” or “make do” anyway possible to survive. Castro has given the Cuban people the essense of the Jinetero or Jinetera.

    Someone in Miami once said that in Cuba today being a dissident or critic of the regime (one who is not jailed of course – the jailed one are different and deserve our help)can be a profitable business.

  18. ashanair..i agree with you 100%..that’s reality,is not easy to avoid being brainwashed for 47 years..

  19. Mandingo,

    Someone in Miami once said that in Cuba today being a dissident or critic of the regime (one who is not jailed of course – the jailed one are different and deserve our help)can be a profitable business.

    Again, i do not want to discredit anyone working for change in Cuba based on something like “someone in Miami said this or that.” That’s counterproductive and it wrong to base an accusation on some rumor or a statement that someone made but no one will own up to and prove.

    That someone in Miami might very well be an infiltrator specifically to discredit the dissidency in Cuba.

  20. Well at least there is passion showing here. None of us are going to agree on anything. But we should consider something when we refer to the cojones of those on the island. We need to look at our own. There are approx. 2 million Cubans in exile, enough able bodied men within that figure (if they had the cojones) to go make a change. Where are our cojones (mine included)? We often expect more from others than we do ourselves. I used to have the attitude that those in Cuba who made their bed should have to lie in it. But when I stopped to consider that we all can be wrong I sort of am for helping the repentive brother. I do not consider just relatives to be family. That is something unique among Cubans we are all family.
    Cuba’s problem is anyone’s who truly loves Cuba. If the US should not get involved in helping to free Cuba then they should not get involved in freeing other countries a/k/a Iraq, Greneda, etc.
    They should also not get involved in a transition plan nor attempt to benefit economically before or after the transition. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. The truth is that the US has the most to benefit from a free Cuba and they won’t get involved. I can accept and actually respect that, but then don’t hinder others who would! That is where the bulk of my frustration is. I truly do appreciate everyones point of view as well as the many blogs especially this one that are expressing their passion for Cuba. But let us be slow to judge the passion of others who are in a living hell without food, money, firearms, internet, freedom of speech, etc. Those who have loved ones being tortured for freedom.
    Lets all remember who the real enemy is and it isn’t one another. We are all on the same side we just have different opinions.

  21. When closed regimes like this start going through a succession, it inevitably ends up in factions jockeying for power. They start sending out messages directly or indirectly. Why all the sudden letters like this one or that other one in the Washington Post – that had all that talk about respecting property – which seemed to talk about some accomodation on seized properties? Think they might be sending a signal of some sort.

  22. Pototo,

    There are approx. 2 million Cubans in exile, enough able bodied men within that figure (if they had the cojones) to go make a change. Where are our cojones (mine included)?

    Mine as well. I think we all have that “pick up a machete and fight like the Mambises” thing deep in the back of our minds. I know I have dreamt of it many a time. but, the truth of the matter is that we would get anhililated. No one would have our backs. not the US – who prevent Cuban exiles from organizing a militia to overthrow fidel castro – not Europe, not a single Latin American country. Nadie.

    And now, in retrospect and having cooled off somewhat from my mood, I guess that’s all Im saying: we are all alone. No one is going to help us, save for the US. I know we complain that what they do is not enough and some lay the blame for Cuba’s ills on the US, but let’s face it, no one else is willing to do a damned thing about Cuba. No one else wants to do a damned thing about Cuba.

    And thats why Leiva’s letter bothered me so. Quite a few American men and women have died attemting to help Cuba and I found the tone of the letter somewhat disturbing.

    We all know that US policy towards Cuba isnt perfect and we all have our own particular problems with it, but Im not ready to give up on them. They’re our only ally.

  23. Val,
    we are on the identical same page. I am only trying to awaken a sleeping giant. Que Dios te bendiga.

  24. Val,

    You misconstrued my statement…

    “As Ms. Leiva points out there are people out there that are always going to paint the US as an agressor and use any small example, no matter how benign, to prove their point.”

    The key phrase was in the next sentence when I say that it shouln’t keep us from doing the right thing…

    “Where she is wrong is that policy can not be determined by world opinion. If it were, we’d be living in either a Nazi or Soviet communist dominated society today.”

    In other words we can’t listen to what the French or the Spanish say because they are wrong on this like they have been wrong in the past. I don’t care what world opinion is about the US’s Cuba policy. Of course I would love it if they agreed with us, but I don’t think we should bend to the will of the very people that are doing business deals with castro.

  25. Primero, we’re operating from the assumption that Leiva isn’t an agent of Seguridad del Estado.

    Segundo, Leiva, Paya and a number of others are victims of Kastro’s propaganda and “world opinion”. All you hear from Cuban state media is that dissidents are actually paid agents of the CIA, mercenaries of the US government. Esta claro that this is false, but subconsciously a lot of the dissidents believe they won’t be persecuted if they aren’t associated with the US. Hence Leiva’s letter, and comments by Paya, Roca, and a number of others.

    Cuarto, I see nothing but naivite and fear in this letter. And sorry Val, but it didn’t warrant esa metida de palo that you gave this poor woman.

    Tercero, I have nothing but respect for dissidents who truly want a Free Cuba. Whether they’re social democrats, Christian democrats, or liberals (the capitalist type).

    Quinto, I’m not so sure a Bay of Pigs II would fail like you say Val. For sure, we would need MEN with cojones, foreign training bases, and a vastly different strategy than Giron. But for starters, we wouldn’t invade near marshlands (Giron is right next to la Cienaga de Zapata), more like as close as possible to Escambray or Sierra Maestra. But this would warrant a whole other post that I’m not about to write, por si las moscas.

    And finally, I don’t presume to tell you what to post. Claro esta, tu escribes lo que te salga de los cohonez, pero coño, cójela con take it easy con los disidentes.

  26. Yoan,
    Oye chico estoy en acuerdo segun Bay of Pigs II. Esto es algo que muchos piensan pero nadie habla. Si Dios permite quizas pasará. La verdad es que Bay of Pigs II tiene mas posibilidades que Bay of Pigs I porque los que siguieron fidel no sabian lo que venia. Por lo menos ya saben la verdad. La verdad es que la esperanza mejor para la libertad de nuestra patria es una accíon militar. Pero donde comenzamos?

  27. well..at least all of us agree on disagree,that’s something…now,every body knows that there are a lot of disidents that really are doing their best in cuba’s conditions,but we all know that among them there are a bunch..and i mean a bunch of castro’s agents,also castro has created some of those “disidents groups” for him to divide,and destroy the movement,i dont know nothing about leiva,but,again,her letter pointing against USA is the same crap,deja vu’ all over again,and im tired of the same crap,and on top of that,we have to say..ohh..well..we dont have prove of that,etc..etc..but is too coincidental every once in a while one of those “famous disidents” give a declaration,or interview,or a letter,and ..here we go again with the crap against any help,or whatever that comes from USA,the same script,,different actor,and the same puppet master..el castrado de castro..i have to be suspicious..like it or not..time will tell..i hope..

  28. As much as I appreciate the work the dissidents are doing in Cuba, it is the opposition that has my respect. It is a well known fact that the dissidents don’t have a problem with certain aspects of the regime, and wouldn’t mind the status quo with only a few changes. In other words, they want to keep the dog, all they want is to change its collar. The opposition, on the other hand, want the dog dead.

    The opposition is very pleased with this new turn of events. The dissidents, on the other hand, are the only ones moaning and groaning!

  29. June 11, 2010. All of this is still enraging and the only difference is we now have in the White House a man who does not help freedom seeking people anywhere.
    There must have been a deal made by the Kennedy administration that every president so far is not able to break. Because even Bush looked the other way on this one.
    Reading all of this today (I didn’t know about babalu in July of 2006) I am sad, infuriated, sympathetic and frustrated just like those of these hablaron.
    In the main I have Val’s view, except for the end of his comments. Mandingo’s first commen here is closest to what I think, and Angel and Ziva.
    And I am suspicious of this letter about support of ending the embargo.

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