I first discovered Babalú when Val Prieto emailed me out of the blue to ask me questions about the feast of San Lazaro. I can’t remember the day, month, or year, or any details about his questions, but Val’s email prompted me to go to the Babalú website and after opening that portal I was instantly hooked.
I had entered a dimension I didn’t know existed, a parallel universe where being Cuban and writing in English were two things that didn’t cancel each other out. More than that, caring deeply about Cuba and writing in English to others who cared deeply about Cuba were two things perfectly synchronized.
And the writing on the website blew me away. It was superb, both in terms of content and style. It was something amazing, at a very high level, better than anything else I had ever encountered or expected could exist.
I became a regular visitor to Babalú and before long I submitted an essay to Val, from Geneva, Switzerland, where a visit to a Cuban cigar store had left me thoroughly devastated. The year was 2009. Boxes of Cuban cigars costing thousands of Euros were being sold there, and Che’s image was embossed on the boxes, naturally.
The walls of this luxury cigar store were decorated with photos of Cuban tobacco farmers. It dawned on me that none of those men in the photos would ever earn a cent from the cigars being sold there. I had to write about this absolute obscenity, but for whom? Who would care? Who would understand?
Babalú. readers would. So, I jumped in, and have been hooked to writing for Babalú. ever since.
Writing for Babalú. is now such an essential part of my being that I can’t imagine life without it. I never know for sure who will be reading whatever I post, but I know they will care deeply about Cuba, and about justice, and freedom and sane rational thinking, and traditional values.
And the Babalú. family is now my family. A real family, dear to me, especially since all but one of my Cuban blood relatives are dead and gone.
In my professional academic world, so full of progressives, wokenoids, and leftist zealots who don’t even realize that their zealotry is a religion, as well as an intensely aggressive form of bigotry, my writing for Babalú. is considered a sin.
But, come to think of it, writing and speaking the truth is considered a sin by all the demons in Hell.
To Hell with them, then, those demons. Pa’l carajo.
The good Christian Brothers at La Salle de Miramar taught me to despise all demons, as well as evil men who give their souls over to them. Those brothers set me on the right path at the very spot where that photo above was taken.
That’s my first-grade classroom window on the top left of the photo. All those kids were my schoolmates, some were good friends. My brother Tony is at the far left of the second row from the bottom. I’m at the far right of the first row, wearing Indian headgear that would be considered very offensive by wokenoids nowadays. My best friend Rafael Aguilera is at the far left of the first row, directly beneath Tony, obscuring his chin with his Indian headgear. All of those boys ended up in exile. Some got drafted and fought in Viet Nam, such as Rafael’s brother, Manuel Aguilera (above my right shoulder, on the second row). Several of them are now dead, including Tony and Rafael.
Evil men took over our native land and that spot on earth you see in the photo is still in their hands. But we escaped them. And I now fight them with whatever weapons Divine Providence places in my path.
I’ve got a fever — a fightin’ fever — and the only prescription is more Babalú., the best and brightest weapon I’ve ever stumbled upon..
Thanks be to God and to the Babalú. family. Happy 20th anniversary!