Cardinal Mindszenty, anti-communist hero

Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty was born on this day in 1892 and died in 1975.  Along with Pope John Paul II, the late Cardinal is one of my Catholic and anti-communist heroes.

Both men stood up to Hitler and the Soviet Union, the two great evils of the 20th century.

Back in 1949, communist Hungary convicted him of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.  He was released in 1956 by the reformist government and granted asylum at the US Embassy in Budapest.   He lived in the embassy grounds until 1971 when he was released for poor health. He died in the Vatican in 1975.

Cardinal Mindszenty’s life was just amazing.  The Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation continues to be a great source of information about defending the unborn and many family issues.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Coincidence? The first Earth Day in 1970 on Vladimir Lenin’s 100th birthday?

Before Babalu, American Thinker and websites, I used to write “letters to the editor” in our local newspapers.  It was our only option.

In 1990, I wrote a letter addressing the coincidence that Earth Day 1970 was created on the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birthday.

Coincidence?

It was published in The Dallas Times Herald, a newspaper no longer around.   In other words, I can not link to the letter but can share the content here.

My letter addressed a couple of points:

First, the environmental movement had become a refuge for the left, specially in 1990 following the collapse of the Soviet empire; and,

Two, it was ironically the cities of communist states in Eastern Europe, Cuba and the old USSR with the worst pollution problems in the world.

In fact, The New York Times wrote this in 1990:

While efforts to restore clean air to the United States have met with partial success, there is a far greater ecological disaster brewing in Eastern Europe, a report on worldwide air pollution said today.

The report, issued by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based environmental group, warned that gains in the West are quickly being negated by the unrestricted burning of high-sulfur brown coal and diesel fuel that is blackening cities across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

My letter argued that the communist world was polluted because of a lack of property rights as well as the absence of freedom or the rule of law.

It’s no coincidence that democratic states, like the US or Western Europe, are more sensitive to pollution or dirty rivers.  In general, elected representatives are more sensitive to the air that their constituents breathe or the water that they drink.

So is it a coincidence that Earth Day and Lenin’s birthday are on the same day?   I doubt the coincidence given the anti-capitalism tone coming from the movement.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

D-Day 1944: Another day to remember my late great uncle’s history lessons

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve told you about my great Uncle Joaquin.    He would always turn our visits to his home outside of Havana into history lessons, from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to war stories.     “Tio Joaquin”, as we called him, was a judge, a teacher, an attorney and someone who was determined to pass on the great lessons of history.

D-Day and war stories were among his favorites.

As my Tio Joaquin would say, the World War II generation earned place in our hearts.   They were the young men who went to war against Hitler and liberated Europe. Over 400,000 died.

On D-Day 1944, thousands of US soldiers were killed landing at Normandy.

On that day, Pres. Roosevelt went on radio and spoke these words to the world:

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a countenance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.” (FDR’s D-Day Prayer)

Sadly, we are losing World War II veterans daily.    16 million served.    Most are in their 90’s today and at a rate of 372 a day.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk), (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.

Hemingway’s Cuba … Things of Fiction Now

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For your consideration…

Finn-Olaf Jones @ The Wall Street Journal tells the story of a romantic and exotic Cuba that writer Hemingway chose for his creative and personal refuge … the Cuba of “The Old Man and the Sea” … that seems all but fiction over 50 years later as generations of post-Castro Cubans struggle daily for more than a bragging-rights fish, but for food and freedom itself. Hemmingway’s old Cuban dwelling outside Havana also has not escaped the decay of communism’s lack of incentive and general maintenance

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Of all the places Hemingway lived, none had such a hold on the author as his home outside Havana—now being restored through an unlikely alliance. Here, a guided tour of the Cuban haunts that shaped a literary legend.

[…]

FIVE MINUTES’ STROLL down the shore from La Terraza is a narrow beach cluttered with driftwood, plastic bottles and other flotsam brought in by the tide, and where the fictional Santiago dragged the sad remains of his once-majestic shark-chewed marlin. Cojimar’s fishermen dock their creaky wooden boats in an inlet just beyond the beach. Three men just back from the sea, stripped to the waist and smoking cigars, are merrily fixing their ancient engine beneath the open deck when I come across them. “Any swordfish?” I ask the skipper. “Lots,” he responds, with the confident laugh sports fishermen always seem to have but which I don’t often notice among professional ones. “We caught six in 24 hours. The Gulf Stream is always easy,” he adds, puffing on his stogie.

Fishing provided the only occasion for Hemingway to meet Fidel Castro. In 1960, Cuba’s new leader entered a fishing contest sponsored by the author. Off a harbor west of Havana, where sailboats from all over the world (including a few illicitly from Florida) now dock at the renamed Marina Hemingway, Castro caught a 54-pound marlin, winning the competition. Afterward, Hemingway himself presented Castro with his trophy. Castro claimed to have kept a copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls in his backpack while engaged in guerilla fighting in the Sierra Maestra mountains. But the conversation didn’t go far.

“I’ve always regretted the fact that I didn’t… talk to him about everything under the sun,” Castro said later. “We only talked about the fish.” As relations between Cuba and the U.S. became increasingly strained, Hemingway was encouraged by American officials to leave lest he be seen as a Castro supporter. “He was very sympathetic to the revolution in Cuba until things got too difficult,” recounts Patrick. “I don’t think he had much respect for Castro. When he left, he knew he would never be returning. And that depressed him greatly.”

… In late 1960, battling writer’s block, alcoholism, deteriorating physical health and his inner demons, he checked himself into Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, where he got electroshock treatment. During a layover in Casper, Wyoming, he tried to step into a moving propeller. He finally managed to end his suffering less than a year after leaving Cuba by shooting himself in the entry foyer to his strikingly banal ranch-style home in Ketchum, Idaho, a setting unimaginably far from the Finca…

And so Hemingway’s Cuban heritage rolls on, sometimes literally, waiting to be rediscovered by compatriots who are so close, but still an embargo away.

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Well, Hemingway didn’t stick around long enough to see what an apartheid mess his pal Fidel would change and transform his beloved Cuba and her victimized people into … the reality and source of which socialist/communist-romanticizing Western elitists simply ignore, or deflect blame from and onto an embargo, but NEVER the failed ideology and corruption of their communist hero.

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!

Watching a documentary about Hungary ’56 reminded me of our Cuban experience

We Cubans have a special place in our hearts for anyone who stood up to communism.

A few days ago, I had a chance to see a documentary about Hungary 1956.  It was the the story of Soviet tanks crushing the democratic aspirations of the people of Hungary.

It made me think of Cuba:  the refugees, unaccompanied children sent to freedom, people being processed at camps and the freedom that we found in the US or other lands.

I wrote a post at American Thinker today remembering November 1956:

“It was a long time ago but the bravery of the Hungarian people is worth remembering.

I am a strong believer in reminding the younger generation that freedom is not cheap. In fact, many have paid the ultimate price to fight for it.

Many Hungarians did this month in 1956!

Before Prague 1968 or Poland 1980, there was Hungary, one of the great chapters of human valor of the 20th century.”

We salute the brave people of Hungary and how they fought for freedom 57 years ago:

“Las monjas se van a enojar con Obama” for spying on Pope Francis

I hope that they didn’t tell President Obama about this one:

“The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.”

My guess is that the White House will distance President Obama from this.

It’s one thing to get the Germans or the Europeans angry.  It’s quite another thing to spy on the Pope before he became Pope.

This is not going to go down well with Catholic nuns!  Watch for the nuns to lineup outside the White House ready to slap President Obama’s hands.

Let me tell you something from personal experience.  There is nothing more scary in the planet than an angry nun with a ruler!

P.S. By the way, I miss Alvarez-Guedes on days like this one!  Can you imagine what he would say about the President of the US spying on a bishop waiting to become Pope?

 

Cuban American Orestes Matacena working on a new movie project

It’s always a pleasure to tell you about Orestes Matacena, a fellow “Cubano” who has been making and acting in movies for decades.

His resume is very impressive:

“Orestes first ventured into films at the age of six when he worked as an actor in “The Life of Billy the Kid,” with a cast comprised only of children. The movie was shot at the Mercedes Sugar Mill in Matanzas, Cuba, where he lived with his parents.

Orestes has worked as an actor with high profile directors on films, television and commercials.

As a film actor Orestes has played the antagonist in many Hollywood Studio films such as “The Mask” starring Jim Carrey and “Diggstown” with James Woods and Lou Gossett Jr. just to name a couple.

In the advertising world, Orestes has worked in 37 commercials so far, nine of them directed by Marcus Nispel. The New York Museum of Modern Art has made Mr. Nispel’s body of work part of its Permanent Collection. Thanks to Mr. Nispel’s artistic endeavor, Orestes is part of that wonderful collection.

Orestes is well known for NOT taking “no” for an answer. He raised the capital to produce and direct a feature movie from a screenplay he wrote called “Tainted.” However, he decided that, rather than consuming his time finding investors to bankroll his movies, he would finance them himself and use that time to sharpen his creative vision.

Orestes is, as the French would say, a real film auteur. His body of work to date as a filmmaker includes “In Plain View,” “Sex Guns Money @ 20,” “Cuba Libre,” “Fatal Encounter,” “Tainted,” “James Gilbert Albright and the Haunted Studio,” “The Two Faces of Ruben Rabasa,” “Aguabella” and “Theater in the Parks.” He has written, directed, produced and edited almost all of his work.

In 1968, Orestes wrote his first play, “The Gym.” Since then, he expanded his versatility as a playwright and screenwriter with three plays and more than twenty five screenplays and various television concepts to his credit to date. His writing encompasses a variety of styles: thrillers, dramas, comedies, horror and action-adventures.

“Bitter Sugar,” a movie Orestes wrote for Hollywood director Leon Ichaso about a young couple living under the Cuban Communist Tyranny, opened to excellent reviews and was shown to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland and to the United States Congress. For Orestes this was a spiritual and rewarding experience.

Orestes was born in Cuba to Italian immigrants and grew up on a sugar mill plantation where the country and all kinds of animals, especially horses, were a large part of his life. He describes himself as a “third world country boy.”  But his business partner, Orna Rachovitsky, says he is a “hillbilly in an Armani suit.”

His new project is “Swastika”, a movie about Jewish resistance in World War II:

“We celebrate the “soldiers” of the Resistance for their courage, perseverance and consideration for future generations like ours. They fought for their own freedom, but they fought for our freedom too. And this is why we are making the movie “Swastika” in order to remember and offer the same consideration to future generations.”

You can hear my interview with Orestes here:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/2013/10/29/todays-message

You can learn more about the movie here:      http://www.swastikathemovie.com/index.htm

 

“El socialismo no sirve” but some keep trying and trying!

How many times does socialism have to fail before people come to their senses?

Some have figured it out.  Chile, for example, has a sound economy and no one lines up at the US Embassy looking for a “work visa”.   On the contrary, Chileans travel to the US to invest, buy our goods and services or do a little sightseeing.  They also have a sound currency and a thriving middle class.

Some are still in the dark, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.   By the way, I mean literally in the dark, as we’ve heard of the lights going out in Venezuela recently.

It looks like socialism has a new disciple, i.e. the Democrat candidate for New York City mayor in the upcoming election.

Where is Rudy-G when we really need him?

Michael Goodwin explains that the Democrat in New York is running a campaign based on income inequality:

““Fighting inequality and fighting economic injustice,” as he put it, is what he’s all about.

Good luck with that, but before New Yorkers jump onto the Democrat’s bound-for-utopia bandwagon, some history is required. We could start with Karl Marx, but we’d just get lost trying to decode the incomprehensible differences among Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyites.

Instead, let’s look at Cuba, which, strictly by the numbers, reflects the paradise de Blasio describes. Fidel and Raul Castro had their way for 54 years and pulled off the socialist dream: The island nation had the least income inequality in the world, a survey found. North Korea also was off the charts.

Of course, there are some peculiar facts about Cuban exceptionalism.

Everybody is equally poor, with average monthly wages of $19, while children’s shoes can cost nearly as much.

And that much-ballyhooed health-care system? It’s a joke. Bring your own sheets, bedpans and food to the hospital, and pray you don’t die of infections or neglect. True, it is free, so your family won’t get stuck with a capitalist-size bill to bury you. What a relief that must be.

On my visit to Cuba, I was struck by the total breakdown of everything except the police state. Havana’s once-glorious architecture is crumbling, and there are chickens and pigs, but no running water, in large parts of the central city.

Half the cars are owned by the government, and the other half belong in antique shops. Smaller cities look as though they are stuck in the 19th century, with public transportation consisting of a man guiding a horse-drawn wagon. TV and Internet are scarce and tightly controlled. Complaining about any of this can land you behind bars.”

We Cubans know a thing or two about speeches calling for “income inequality”.     As my mom will tell you:  “Yo vi esa pelicula” or “I saw that movie”.

Of course, they will call us “right wing reactionaries”  for calling Mr De Blasio a socialist.  They will say that we see socialism in our soup and just can’t see straight.

What do you call it when the letters in your soup spell socialism?

What do you call a system that takes from those who produce and gives it to those who expect a handout?

We call it socialism. Worse than that, we call it a “‘fracaso” or failure.

Socialism has failed everywhere but there are still people looking for the right formula.   Mr De Blasio is the latest!

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here.

 

CANTO TALK goes Babalu this weekend

We had a great time this weekend talking to some of our Babalu friends.

On Friday, it was Fernando Hernandez, (“The Cubans“) Regina Anavy (“Out of Cuba“) and Jorge Ponce.  We discussed their books and Jorge’s article about Hispanic Heritage month and the Obama administration;

On Saturday, Jorge Ponce came back and we discussed his post today about the term “hispanic”:

Enjoy them over the weekend!