Elian (part 1)

Five years ago this morning, Elian Gonzalez was kidnapped by Clinton/Reno goons to prepare him for his trip back to the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of fidel castro. I am still very angry about it, and I do not think I will ever get over it. (No, I can’t “move on.”) This was written on June 28, 2000 as Elian’s plane took off. I feel exactly the same today as I did that day…

“…but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

The Elian saga is over.

At 5:00 P.M. EDT, he is on his way back to the tropical worker’s paradise. For those of us who love and cherish freedom and who truly know what this country stands for, it is the final nail in the coffin made board by board since April 22, 2000, at 5:15AM. It is a sad day indeed.

For some, it will be a relief not to hear another word about the little kid. Still others are very happy at the result. Bill Clinton, Janet Reno and their stormtroopers are happy?sig heil, Bill and Janet! Keep those safeties on! Ruby Ridge, Waco, Miami: one more victory for the omnipotent state!

?The communists and their fellow travelers, hiding behind Oprahized touchy-feely, liberal hypocrisy, are happy.

?The Useful Idiots?the misguided and moronic left?are happy. Lenin was right.

?The infamous Christian (?) ?reverend? Joan Brown Campbell is happy. Joan, Jesus is so proud! He’s got a special place reserved just for you…

?Greg Craig is happy?and a little richer thanks to the aforementioned ?reverend.?

?Kendall Coffey is happy?the albatross is finally off his back. That pepper spray you smell is the aroma of your failure.

?Fidel Castro is very happy (one more victory for La Revoluci?n?socialismo o muerte, venceremos! It is a superior system, damn it!) And he continues to rule Cuba, continues to imprison, continues to murder and continues to silence dissent 41 years and counting…

?Juan Miguel is really, really happy?he won’t be losing his neck in a sugarcane field or in a prison thanks to what he’s done to his little boy.

But in all this happiness and elation, is Elian going to be happy?

Does he even know that he won’t be able to watch Batman on TV anymore? Or play with all the toys he’s been given? They’ll surely be taken away as they are ?dangerous capitalist symbols? after all. Will he be happy in the transition from the ironic Amerikan leftist-sponsored luxury of Georgetown to his temporary, little re-education house in Cardenas, Cuba? Will he ever be able to say goodbye to Marisleysis, who cared for him as a mother for five months while his father didn’t even bother to visit? To Uncle Lazaro, who sacrificed his privacy and a lot more to fight for him?

Does Elian know he doesn’t have a future anymore? No. I don’t think he’s even been told he’s going back to Cuba.

Elian is the innocent lamb for the sacrifice. The sacrifice on the vile and egomaniacal alter of Bill Clinton’s ?legacy? and whatever deal he’s made with Fidel Castro. Proof positive that freedom, liberty and justice are only relative concepts in Clinton’s Amerika. Where the freedom of a six-year old boy is an inconvenience to a president making a deal with a butcher! Where ?Elian? becomes a rallying cry for every leftist that’s ever defended Castro.

Amerika the unjust, Amerika the cruel. Tom, James, Ben, Sam, George?you may roll over in your graves now!

Good luck Elian, and may God protect you. And may God help us all.

(Editors note: Gracias, Ice Scribe, for your support and for not forgetting.)

Elian (part 2)

I am posting a response to the execrable Leonard Pitts and his racist and insulting column written about Cuban Americans, as well as a piece I wrote (above) when Elian was flown from Miami.

Mr. Pitts:

Usually I read your column with the bemused detachment of one who is reading the “party line” he has read over and over again, ad nauseum. Today, however, your column in The Miami Herald (“Elian saga on a course for collision,” March 30, 2000) so angered me that I had to respond directly to you.

How dare you compare the Cuban-Americans in Miami protesting the Federal government over Elian to Gov. Orval Faubus, that intolerant racist in Arkansas over 40 years ago, simply because he defied the Federal government as well? Are you such an advocate of “the state above all” that you cannot abide our protests and civil disobedience over the freedom of a six-year old? Are you such an elitist that you believe that the people should not dare express their dissent against injustice, regardless of the source?

You, and the rest of the so-called “free” press, insist on focusing a bright light on what happens in Miami and not on what happens in Havana. I have never read your “criticisms” of Castro’s communist regime expressed as ferociously as your criticisms of us for protesting the Federal government and Fidel Castro. And, as an added bonus, you have the gall to compare us to Jim Crow racists!

With your indiscriminate brush you painted the Cuban-American community as comparable to the vilest racists: your race-baiting is reprehensible. You owe us an apology for this slander. You also restated an “opinion” that we are “intolerant of dissent” and that we “use violence and coercion as means of cowing disagreement.” This is a pretty broad and inaccurate generalization you added to make your point. The organizers of the Elian protests have always called for non-violent protests and civil disobedience, if necessary. It is the right of every American to disagree with laws that are unjust and to protest those laws, if necessary — short of violence.

Castro’s Cuba is hardly the place where the very values you allegedly cherish would be taught to Elian. We do not want Elian to be sent back to Communism; we do not want to traumatize him any further. We want him to grow up free and loved and fed and cared for; we want him to learn how great freedom is. We want to him to know that the death of his mother was not in vain; we want to him to honor his mother?s memory by enjoying his new-found freedom; we want him to make the best of the opportunities he now has that she gave her life for. We want him to love the U.S. for what it truly is and not for what it has become. We want what is best for this child.

Simply stated, this is a fight for what is right.

Mr. Pitts, we have the rights we have today because many, many people did the very thing you criticize us for doing. You should turn that bright light you have shined on us with such maliciousness and mendacity and shine it on yourself and your hypocrisy.

Sincerely,

George L. Moneo
Miami, Florida

(This letter may be be published in its entirety without editorial changes and with attribution.)

The letter was never published. His original column can be found here: Leonard Pitts, “Elian saga on a course for collision,” The Miami Herald, March 30, 2000, Page 1E.

Rather, Craig, Elian, fidel, and a partridge in a pear tree

Provided for your commentary. From (Human Events Online).

Rather Interview Staged

Posted Mar 22, 2005

Could Dan Rather be in trouble again? A new book on Castro tells of a staged Dan Rather interview that was master-minded by a Clinton lawyer.

In Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant, author Humberto Fontova reveals for the first time how Dan Rather’s “60 Minutes” interview with Juan Miguel (Elian Gonzalez’s father) was stage-managed by former Clinton lawyer and friend, Gregory Craig.

According to a Cuban-American translator from the U.S. Treasury Department: “The questions for Juan Miguel were actually fed to Dan Rather by Gregory Craig. After a taping session, Craig would call Dan over, give him some more instructions and exchange papers with him. Then Dan would come back on the set and ask those.”

The book reports that during the interview Craig acted like the movie director and even got a bona fide dramatic actor to translate and mouth the responses of Miguel.

Once again, Rather’s “reporting” is nothing but elaborate deception.

Nice, eh? The unbiased and fair press. I don’t want to dredge up the Elian mess again, but this is just one more teaspoon of salt in that painful wound. And what kills me is that Rather still has a job at CBS, and his producers were canned!

…And now for something completely different! (Updated)

This was sent to me by a colleague. I do not know who Enrique Fernandez is. However, reading this, it will obvious that he is a poet of Cuban gastronomie. (My apologies to Monty Python for absconding one of their signature lines.)

Croquetas and cafecitos 101

By Enrique Fernandez

I have asked both professional and amateur gastronomes how the croqueta became the Cuban-American signature food, and no one has given me a satisfactory answer.

The croqueta was a party staple in Cuba, but somehow it has become our national food in exile — though ”food” is a stretch for a tiny torpedo of deep-fried, ham-chicken-or-fish-flavored mush. (The lower the protein-to-carb ratio, the more profitable for the purveyor — and the more authentic.)

Croquetas are available at the coffee windows of all Cuban cafes. God knows why, for croquetas and Cuban coffee are a terrible combination. (Frankly, I don’t know what you chase a croqueta with. A tropical fruit batido? A beer?)

My older sons, who grew up mostly in the heartland with their heartland mom, got hooked on croquetas the first time they visited Miami. They would eat 10 at a time each, then pack more for the road.

They asked me for a recipe. I sent them two. One came from a classic Cuban cookbook, which I carefully translated. The other, for a French croquette made with a proper b?chamel, came from Julia Child. They tried them.

”Dad, they don’t taste like the croquetas we get in Miami.”

”Maybe it’s because they haven’t been sitting under a hot light for hours,” I replied.

I, too, have been hooked on croquetas since childhood, when they were my snack-bar lunch every noon one summer after swimming lessons at a Havana pool. One afternoon, my parents sprang a surprise: I was joining them for lunch at a rather nice restaurant. I did not dare admit I had already eaten my fill of croquetas.

I don’t recall the food I forced myself to eat, but I do remember a glass of sweet vermouth my parents allowed me to sip. Predictably, things did not go well after lunch. And though for years the scent of Cinzano made me ill, I kept loving my fried torpedoes.

I may not be able to explain our collective croqueta passion, but I can tell you exactly how to eat one: Take the cellophane wrapping off a packet of saltines, keeping the crackers intact. Put the croqueta between the crackers. Press to mash the croqueta more or less flat. Eat. Starch on starch. Perversely delicious.

And though I advise against mixing croquetas with Cuban coffee, you get them at the same walk-up windows, so here is more advice, on how to drink the coffee.

First, drive to Versailles (please, no French pronunciation; in Cuban street style it’s bare-SIGH-yes) on Calle Ocho. Why? Mainly because they make the best Cuban coffee in town, but also for the same reason that once upon a time you only ate cheesecake at Wolfie’s: because it’s the place.

Park out front if you have a car worth showing — a Hummer or Ferrari would not be considered wretched excess. Otherwise, use the parking lot. Don’t enter the restaurant unless you’re in for a meal. Coffee is outside.

Walk up to the window and ask for a cafecito if you want an espresso or a cortadito if you want an espresso ”cut” (cortar in Spanish) with steamed milk foam. And that’s another reason to go to Versailles. Unlike other Cuban coffee joints, they know a cortadito is not a junior caf? con leche (which, by the way, is only for breakfast), what in English we call by the Italian latte. A cortadito is what Starbucks calls machiatto.

Now, here’s the bonus. At Versailles you can get a cortadito cut with the foam of steamed evaporated milk — just ask for it. It’s heavenly. Or, as with croquetas, maybe it’s just Cuban.*

They’ll ask if you if you want your coffee in a vaso, but by that they mean a Styrofoam cup, not, in old-time Cuban style, a true glass. Just say no to vaso and yes to tacita (little cup).

Finally, the body language. Hold the cup in front of your face. Arch your body forward so if any drops are spilled they will fall on the ground, not on your white linen suit or dress or guayabera. If you are a fully dressed man, use your free hand to hold your tie close to your chest so it won’t get stained either.

Sip.

*The steamed evaporated milk and Cuban coffee (un cortadito con leche evaporada) is truly heavenly. I can personally attest to the excellence of this God-inspired libation at Versailles Restaurant. As a matter of fact, there is one lady in particular that my wife requests to make her cortadito. Better than hers, she says, and hers are pretty damn good!

Man, now I’m hungry again!

Update: The following was sent to me by good friend and reader Nancy D:

For all the Cubans out there, or those who are lucky enough to be married to Cubans, or even to be friends of Cubans. . .

An elderly Cuban man lay dying in his bed, while suffering the agonies of impending death, suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite Croqueta wafting up the stairs. Gathering his remaining strength, he lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort, gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs. With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen.

Where if not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for there, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite croquetas.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted Italian wife of sixty years, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself towards the table, landing on his knees in a crumpled posture.

His parched lips parted, the wondrous taste of the croquettes was already in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to life.

The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to a croquette at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife…..

“Back off!” she said, “They’re for the funeral.”

The usual suspects…

Perhaps Mr. Glover, Ms. Walker, Ms. Menchu, Mr. Zinn, et al are unacquainted with the plight of Dr. Biscet? No. They know. They are glad that dangerous counter-revolutionary is in prison.

These folks are as guilty of propping up this bloody regime as those who run it. And, of course, they use the favorite idiotarian tool of the left: moral equivalence.

The word “vile” is not strong enough to describe these barbarians.

From NewsMax.com (Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:20 p.m. EST)

Danny Glover, Alice Walker Back Castro on Human Rights

HAVANA ? About 200 intellectuals, activists and artists from Latin America and elsewhere issued a letter Monday urging the top United Nations human rights watchdog to side with Cuba in an expected battle over the communist country’s rights record.

A U.S.-backed resolution to condemn the island’s record is usually presented at every spring meeting in Geneva of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which this year was to open Monday and run through April 22.

No resolution targeting the island has emerged this year, but Cuba expects such a proposal will be presented and considered in mid-April. Last year’s resolution passed narrowly, adopted by 22 votes to 21, with 10 abstentions.

“We urge the governments of the commission’s member countries to not permit [the resolution] to be used to legitimize the anti-Cuban aggression of the administration of [President] Bush,” the letter said.

Washington maintains a four-decades-old trade embargo against the island, and trade and travel restrictions have been steadily tightened in recent years.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates including Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina and Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala signed the letter, as did South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer and Portugal’s Jose Saramago, both recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Among American signatories were actor Danny Glover, author Alice Walker and historian and activist Howard Zinn. Other international figures included filmmaker Walter Salles of Brazil, the music group Manu Chau and France’s former first lady, Danielle Mitterrand.

The letter said the U.S. government has no moral authority to criticize Cuba’s human rights record after its own scandals over treatment of terror suspects at prisons in Iraq and the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

Some who signed the letter had criticized Cuba when the government sentenced 75 political opponents to long prison terms in 2003.

? 2005 The Associated Press

And, by the way, Alice Walker’s prose is dull and confused.

Cubans vs. Al Qaeda

Following the Cuban-Exile-Banana-Republicans-control-the-world meme from last week, we humbly submit the following joke:

Osama bin Laden was sitting in his cave plotting terrorist strategies when his cellular telephone rang.

“Haaallo, Mr. Laden”, a heavy Cuban accented voice said. “This is Pepe down at the new Cuban American Club in Miami, Florida. I am calling to inform you that we Cubans in exile are officially declaring war on you! Matter of fact, we WILL kick your ass! And, let me warn you, Cubans NEVER exaggerate!!!?

“Well, Pepe,” Osama replied, “This is indeed important news! How big is your army?”

“Right now,” said Pepe, after a moment’s calculation, “there is myself, my cousin Jorge el Gordo, my next door neighbor Juan el Tuerto, my wife’s brother Jose el Calvo, Chucho from Hialeah, and the entire Calle 8 domino playing club. That makes eight!”

Osama paused. “Pepe, I must tell you that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command.”

Co?o“, said Pepe. “I’ll have to call you back!”

Sure enough, the next day, Pepe called again. “Mr. Laden, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!”

“And what equipment would that be, Pepe?” Osama asked.

“Well, we have an almost new 1999 SUV, a machine gun, and supplies from Tamiami Gun Shop!”

Osama sighed. “I must tell you, Pepe, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I’ve increased my army to 1 1/2 million since we last spoke.”

?Que jodienda!“, said Pepe. “I’ll have to get back to you.”

Sure enough, Pepe rang again the next day. “Mr. Laden, the war is still on! We have managed to get left-over equipment from the Bay of Pigs invasion on loan from La Brigada 2506.”

Osama was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. “Pepe, I must tell you that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I’ve increased my army to TWO MILLION!”

?Carajo, no me digas eso, chico!” said Pepe, “I’ll have to call you back.”

Sure enough, Pepe called again the next day. “Mornin’, Mr. Laden! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Osama. “Why the sudden change of heart, amigo?”

“Well,” said Pepe, “we’ve all had a long chat over a few cervezas and pan con lechon and have decided there’s no way in hell we can feed two million prisoners!”

…and the hits keep on coming!

Here is a new article from FrontPage Magazine titled “Witless for Peace”. I will regale you with a wee highlight:

The WFP curricula focus most heavily on Cuba, where the student group plans no fewer than seven trips this year alone. WFP portrays Castro?s communist gulag as a poverty-stricken victim of U.S. imperialism that that supplies universal health care, housing and nutrition for all, unlike the big, bad USA. College students learn of the economic joys of Cuban tyranny before they turn to the ?beauties? of the nation’s strictly censored culture and arts. Next, they attend sessions to ?uncover the realities behind historic U.S. propaganda against Cuba.?

Read the whole thing, but have your barf bag handy…

The Political Testament of Miguel Angel Quevedo (Updated)

The text below was taken from several sources on the Internet and is attributed to Mr. Quevedo by many websites. I have confirmed with many exiles of that generation that the text rings true.

When I first read it over a year ago I was deeply affected by letter. So, I present it here, as idiomatically translated as I could make it, so it would not lose its power in English. It is a message that still rings true today, thirty-six years later.

(Update: For those of you who want to read the letter and opening commentary in the original Spanish, click here or here.)

Bohemia Magazine was the most popular news-weekly in Cuba and Latin America. Millions of readers followed its political journalism and editorial writings week after week. Intellectuals and politicians from all over the Latin world would send their writings to Miguel Angel Quevedo, Bohemia‘s publisher and editor, in the hope of seeing their words published in this prestigious journal.

From Madrid, Spain to Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bohemia became the principal voice of opposition to the administration of Carlos Prio Socarras and in support of the insurrection and revolution against the regime of Fulgencio Batista. For decades, Bohemia was enthusiastically scooped up every week from corner news-sellers and news boxes. On July 26, 1958 the magazine published the infamous Sierra Maestra Manifesto — a document that purported to “unify” the opposition groups fighting Batista’s regime. On January 11, 1959, one million copies of a special edition of the magazine were printed. That edition sold out in just a few hours.

After a few months, however, Quevedo, among others, saw that the fruit of their work — the big lies mixed with unquestionable truths — infected Cuban society and had destroyed it. Bohemia contributed to its own destruction and to the destruction of the free press and basic human rights that had existed until that time in Cuba.

Miguel Angel Quevedo was able to leave Cuba. But his exile and freedom only increased his feelings of guilt over the suffering of the Cuban people. His guilt overwhelmed him and in August of 1969 he committed suicide. Prior to killing himself he mailed a letter to one of his most distinguished collaborators, the journalist Ernesto Montaner that, in effect, became his political last will and testament.


Mr. Ernesto Montaner
Miami, Florida

August 12, 1969

Dear Ernesto:

By the time you read this letter you will have already heard the news of my death on the radio. I will have committed suicide — at last! — without intervention from you or Agustin Alles who prevented my previous attempt on January 21, 1965.

Do you remember? You entered my office that day to deliver one of your articles. We spoke for a while.

You noticed, though, that I was not in the dialog. You noticed that I was worried, sad — very sad — and profoundly exhausted. And you told me so. I thought of my sister, Rosita, whom I adore and my eyes filled with tears [. . .] I confessed to you that at the moment you arrived in my office I was thinking of blowing my brains out. And I even mentioned that my only worry was Rosita seeing me lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

I did not want to leave her that last image, having decided — and I even told you I had considered shooting myself lying down so that upon seeing me she would think I was sleeping.

I remember the look of shock and pity in your face. You stood up, went to my desk, and removed the bullets from my revolver. And there, sitting in my chair, you said, “you’re crazy, Miguel, crazy.” You spoke to me of God, of the eternal damnation of my soul, of the brevity of life, of how much Rosita needed me and how I would be leaving her alone in this world. You spoke to me of many things. And, seeing that I did not give a crap about any of them, you threatened to call Rosita and the Bohemia employees and tell them. I begged you not to do this. I comprehended the level of responsibility I had thrust upon you with my confession. I swore to you that, on Rosita’s life, I would not do it.

Convinced — for the moment, at least — that you had deterred my suicide, you left my office. You encountered Agustin Alles as you left and told him of our conversation. You and Agustin went to see Dr. Valdes Castillo. You both called me from Dr. Castillo?s house and had me speak with him. He is a doctor of exceptional talent. He wanted to see me urgently, but I never saw him. We did, however, speak often on the telephone. When he did not call me, I called him. We spoke every day. I never again spoke again to you, however. Forgive me, but I thought you had betrayed my trust divulging something I had told you as a friend in a moment of weakness. And you and I never had any communication, until today, where not you, Agustin Alles, Valdes Castillo, nor anybody could deter me from the road I was determined to travel. You are reading a letter from an old friend, a dead friend. Valdes Castillo was right when he affirmed that the idea of suicide passes through the mind of the patient in the form of smaller and smaller circles, each circle getting smaller until it becomes a point. I have reached that point.

I know that my grave will be littered with a mountain of reproach. They will want to characterize me as the ?sole guilty party? in the tragedy of Cuba. I do not deny my errors or my guilt in any way. What I do emphatically deny is that I am the ?sole guilty party.? We were all guilty to a lesser or greater degree of responsibility.

We were all guilty. The journalists who covered my desk with damning articles and expos?s about the politicians. These very journalists who were nothing more than seekers of fame and adulation and gladly satisfied the masses? insatiable and brutal desire for revenge. They wore that badge with honor. It didn?t matter who the president was; nor did it matter that these very leaders had implemented good laws and reforms in Cuba. They had to be attacked and, if necessary, destroyed. The same masses that elected them now asked for their heads in the public square.

The people were guilty. The people who wanted Guiteras, and Chibas, and who lauded Pardo Llada. The very people who bought Bohemia, ?the voice of the people.? The people who followed Fidel from Oriente province all the way to the Columbia Camp.

Fidel is nothing more than the result of the clash between demagoguery and stupidity. All of us contributed to his creation. And all of us, because we were resentful, demagogues, stupid, or evil, were guilty of helping place him in power. The journalists, who knew Fidel’s play book, who knew of his participation in the Communist-inspired Bogotazo, who knew of the assassination of Manolo Castro, who knew of his “gangster” activities at the University of Havana, demanded an amnesty for him and his accomplices for the assault on the Moncada Barracks when he was in prison.

The Congress was guilty in approving that very amnesty law. The radio and television commentators who regaled the congressmen with praise for passing the law and the trash applauding that same Congress from the bleachers were guilty.

Bohemia was the echo of the street — the street that applauded Bohemia when it invented the lie of “the twenty thousand dead.” A diabolical lie, invented by the alcoholic Enriquito de la Osa who knew that although Bohemia was the echo of the street, the street also echoed what was published in Bohemia.

Guilty were the millionaire businessmen who gave Fidel more and more money to topple the regime. The thousands of traitors who sold out to this bearded criminal and who cared more for profits from contraband and theft than about Fidel?s actions in the Sierra Maestra. Guilty were the priests in red robes who sent young people to serve Castro and his guerrillas in the Sierra, and the Church itself, officially backing the Communist revolution with fiery sermons, exhorting the Government to hand in the reins of power.

The United States of America, embargoing arms, destined for the Batista regime and intended for use in its war against the guerrillas, was guilty.

The U.S. State Department, supporting the international cabal, directed by Communists, which took possession of the island of Cuba, was guilty.

The Batista government, and its opposition, were guilty. Because of false pride and not wanting to give in, they failed to reach a proper, peaceful and patriotic agreement. Guilty, too, were those that Fidel secretly sent to sabotage the negotiations and ensure their failure.

The abstentionist politicians, who closed all doors to all electoral solutions, and the press, like Bohemia, who played their game and refused to publish anything related to those elections, were guilty.

All of us were guilty. All of us. By sins of omission and sins of commission. The old and young, the rich and poor, black and white, the honest and the dishonest, sinners and saints. Of course we had to learn the bitter lesson that the poor were the most ?honest? and most ?virtuous? of us all.

I die disgusted and alone. Condemned, without a country, and abandoned by friends to whom I generously gave financial and moral support during the most difficult days. Friends like Romulo Betancourt, Figueres, Mu?oz Marin. Those titans of the “democratic left” that we discovered had very little of the “democratic” and so much of the “left.”

All of them, cold and dehumanized, abandoned me in my fall. When they became convinced I was truly anti-Communist, they demonstrated they were truly anti-Quevedo. These men are the presumed founders of The Third World: the world of Mao Tse Tung. I hope my death has some meaning and that it inspires soul-searching for those who can learn the lessons. So that the press and journalists can never again be the tools of the uneducated and uncontrolled mob. So that the press ceases to be “the voice of the street” and becomes a guiding light along that street. So that the millionaires no longer give their money to those who will, in the end, take it all. So that advertisers refuse to place ads in publications that are tendentious, that plant the seeds of hate and infamy, that are capable of destroying the moral and physical integrity of a nation (or of an exile community). So that the people wake up and repudiate those sellers of hate, whose fruits, we have seen, could not have been more bitter.

We were a people blinded by hate. And we are all now victims of that blindness.

Our sins and vices were greater than our virtues. We forgot the words of Nuñez de Arce: “When a people forsake their virtues, tyranny will rise from their vices.”

Goodbye. This is my final goodbye. Tell all of my compatriots that, with arms crossed over my heart, I forgive them so that they can forgive all I have done.

Miguel Angel Quevedo
Caracas, Venezuela

(English translation Copyright 2003 George L. Moneo | All Rights Reserved)

The Cuban Solzhenitsyn

This is a lecture Armando Valladares gave at the Heritage Foundation in 1992. As usual, he is, along with Dr. Biscet, the light of conscience when it comes to matters relating to the Cuban Resistance. Many thanks to Powerline Blog for referencing this lecture.

Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag
by Armando Valladares
Heritage Lecture #737

March 15, 2002

Good afternoon to all of you. I would like to thank the Heritage Foundation and my friend Charlotte Ponticelli for having invited me to participate in this conference.

The Heritage Foundation has always been a great defender of the human rights of the Cuban people. Fifteen years ago I was here for the first time speaking about the violation of human rights in Cuba, this on the occasion of the first edition of my book. When my memoirs were published in 1986, during my first appearance at Heritage, things were very different. At that time, the government of Castro and his allies designed a campaign of disinformation to try to say that what I described in my book was not true. Thanks to the work of many advocates and defenders of human rights in Cuba – some of them are in the audience here today – all the horrors that I relate in my memoirs were documented by the working group of the UN Commission on Human Rights which visited the island at the end of the 1980’s. Today no one doubts that Castro is one of the worst dictators of the 20th century and, unfortunately, the 21st century as well. The UN has condemned Castro repeatedly, as have non-governmental organizations throughout the world.

For me, the horror that I relate in my book is in the past, but not for hundreds and hundreds of political prisoners in Cuba who today still languish in the same torture cells where my friends and I were tortured.

Today I think of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez, president of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, a humanitarian organization which is considered illegal by the Cuban government. Dr. Biscet was arrested on November 3, 1999, for allegedly “insulting the symbols of the homeland”(article 203 of Cuba’s penal code) for having hung the Cuban flag on his balcony. This was only a pretext for which he was condemned to a year in prison. However, on February 25, 2000, he was again sentenced to three years in prison, having been accused this time of “public disorder” and “inciting criminal acts.” Dr. Biscet, who denied all of these charges against him, explained that he had hung the flag as a peaceful protest.

I also wish to express my admiration for another courageous Cuban, Marta Beatriz Roque, of the Internal Dissidence Working Group for the Analysis of the Cuban Socio-Economic Situation. She was arrested many times for “sedition.” On January 26 she was arrested again for refusing to allow government officials to come into her home and fumigate it with substances to which she was allergic. This is something so ridiculous that it might provoke laughter except for having occurred in Cuba where for some time now even laughter can be considered subversive! From Cuba, with great courage, Marta Beatriz Roque, proposes the only formula that will give Cubans the opportunity to enjoy freedom, and that is the exit of Castro and his dictatorship from the political scene.

The dissident Maritza Lugo Fernandez , was allowed to emigrate to the United States by the Cuban government on January 11 of this year. Even though she is only 40, she has documented many recent arrests in Cuba and she herself has been arrested more than 30 times. Her husband, Rafael Ibarra Roque, is serving his eighth year of a 20-year sentence. Jay Nordinger, of the National Review, recently interviewed Mrs. Lugo. His moving article describes the challenges that Cuban dissidents are facing.

Cuban dissidents, standing face to face with Castro’s forces, and even at the risk of retaliation, steadfastly maintain their opposition to the dictatorship. Amnesty International has documented all of the cases I have mentioned and hundreds of additional cases involving political prisoners in Cuba. To abandon these dissidents, to fail to remember them by their names, is like abandoning the Cuban people.

One school of thought some years ago was that a dialogue with Fidel Castro would somehow move the old dictator and give way to democracy. I believe that any solution that puts in Castro’s hands the illusion of a change toward freedom is just that, an illusion. It would be like putting in Hitler’s hands a solution that would be respectful and humanitarian for the Jewish people, or putting in the hands of racial extremists the life of African Americans, or in the hands of Pol Pot and Ian Sari the democratization of Cambodia.

Cuba continues to be under international scrutiny not only as a country that violates human rights, but also as one of the countries that protect, promote and practice terrorism. There is substantial evidence to back this up: the shooting down of the unarmed planes of the “Brothers to the Rescue” organization, the sinking of the tugboat which carried adults and children, the training of terrorists from all over the world, and the fact that Cuba has become a sanctuary for terrorists and criminals in this hemisphere. Only two weeks ago, the independent film producer Eduardo Palmer produced a documentary precisely on this subject. This is a 45-minute film. I have a copy of it with me for those who want access to statements, information and evidence that Castro supports and fosters terrorism.

Unfortunately, as long as Castro continues in power, there will be no change. Castro himself declared three weeks ago that for those who hope for change, “Let them sit down and keep hoping, because in Cuba there is no need to change a thing.”

I do not want to conclude without pointing out recent events that occurred in the Mexican embassy in Havana. These events were not unexpected. The policy of collaboration between the government of Mexico and the Cuban dictatorship is nothing new. The Mexican embassy in Cuba has a long history of handing over people who seek political asylum, people who are persecuted, to Castro’s police. I remember my prison companion Reynaldo Aquit. After he escaped from prison, he was denounced by the then-ambassador of Mexico, Gilberto Bosque.

In truth, to me, it is no surprise that Mexican authorities would ask Castro’s secret police to come into their diplomatic headquarters to take away the people seeking asylum there. >From the day President Fox declared that there was no dictatorship in Cuba, when he denied that Castro was a dictator, I knew such a thing could happen.

The Mexican embassy in Cuba continues to be a branch of Castro’s police and Mexico his most loyal accomplice. Only two weeks ago, with President Fox’s blessing, a conference of international terrorists was held in Mexico. The conference was convoked by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC. How can Mexico, a country that is supposedly an ally of the United States, and an ally of the people of Cuba, also be an ally of the Cuban dictatorship?

Prestigious journalists like Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal, Jay Nordlinger of National Review, Robert Novak and many others have told the story of Cuban dissidence. However, their accounts are outnumbered by the articles that have been published in reference to the alleged mistreatment of the Taliban prisoners now in Guantanamo. I do not believe that anyone should be mistreated or tortured. However, the same journalists who are worried about the lack of air conditioning in Guantanamo do not concern themselves with the hundreds of innocent people now in Cuba’s jails or the reasons why millions of Cubans are suffering from a lack of freedom, hunger, a thirst for a civil society – all that is necessary for their spiritual and material well-being.

Recently, Washington Post journalist William Raspberry wrote a column about his visit to Cuba in which he says that he felt free walking the streets of Cuba. [Amazing, isn’t it? -ed.] That is a very ironic statement and charged with cynicism. And I wonder, how is it possible that a person of such intellect can go to Cuba and know nothing of Cuba, go to Cuba to drink pina coladas without seeing the dictatorship and without thinking for a single moment about the victims, without visiting those prisons, without speaking with those dissidents?

Much is to be done yet in Cuba. I have no doubt that with our friends in Congress and my friends in the State Department, Assistant Secretary Otto Reich and Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky, U.S. policy toward Cuba will be of great support to the dissidents in Cuba. Thanks to organizations like The Heritage Foundation, the focus of the nation and of the policies of the United States will continue to be on the dictator Castro, and they will not be fooled by his maneuvers.

Many thanks.

A response to ‘El Cubano’, et al

First, I want to thank Val for the opportunity to post this on his site. I am truly honored to write on his blog.

This was originally posted as a comment to one ‘El Cubano’ and is reposted here slightly edited for clarity (and to correct my misspellings). He was responding to a lampoon I wrote to ‘J. Ferrer’ telling him that he should go live in Cuba if he admired the leader there so much. Here is ‘El Cubano’s’ comment:

Why don’t you George L. Moneo go live in cuba. Want to liberate cuba, stop taalking about it. I am tired of everyone talking about the liberation and what they are going to do. SInce I was a kid I have heard this, Do something about it instead of talking about it in gatherings and making a spectacle of things that have no importance. Like the the smoking situation in cuba. I bet you spoke and made something big out of it.
Posted by el cubano at February 9, 2005 02:15 AM

My response was this:

Well, well.

Let me respond to ‘el cubano’ and his wish that I “go live in cuba” [sic].

First, on this blog (forgive me, Val, you are the BlogMaster, after all) one of the rules is that fidel castro is not capitalized; Cuba is. It’s a respect thing.

Second, I was born in Cuba. My family left to escape castro’s stalinist oppression. My parent’s generation did try to liberate Cuba. Ever heard of a place called Playa Gir?n? Many good men died there, and many more in castro’s prisons in its aftermath. They were attempting to liberate Cuba and you spit on their memories by being so condescending. Some of us have friends and family who lost loved ones at Playa Gir?n. What do you say to them? “Let’s move on”?

Unfortunately, our ally at that time in 1961, the United States — who had committed many, many mistakes vis-a-vis Cuba since 1902 — was being governed by a young, inexperienced Senator from Massachusetts who mangled the plan the CIA had made to invade the island. After that catastrophic failure, the US ceased to help the Cuban exile cause because of the smarmy deal they had made with the USSR.

So what exactly are you accusing us of doing — or not doing? What were we to do after that heart-breaking disaster? We continued the struggle in the best way we had. Our protesting fidel in any way shape or form is not a form of inaction; it is the greatest possible form of action. Swords and guns are mighty things, but words are mightier still. All tyrants tremble at the written word: that is why your hero, fidel, bans books, free expression, and a free press. Yes, el maximo lider, is a scaredy-cat.

Third, what exactly are these “spectacle of things that have no importance” you write about? All I want is an end to the communist government in Cuba and a return to the Cuban Constitution of 1940. I do not ask for anything else, save that fidel and his gang are hanged — like the Nazis at Nuremberg — for crimes against humanity.

So, ‘el cubano’, let me ask you a question: Every nation is responsible for itself. What have the people on the island done to free themselves from the yoke of castro’s tyranny? The Romanians did it (and executed Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife, to boot!), the Poles did it, the Czechs and Slovaks did it, the Hungarians did it. Why haven’t they taken their destiny in their own hands?

What I am doing right now, writing my opinion, I could not do on that island. The more light we shine on fidel, the better it will be. Like a cockroach, fidel fears the light of discourse because it exposes him for what he is. And, it makes him very, very vulnerable.

And, your attacks on us exposes you for what you are as well.