New Librarian of Congress and Cuban-Americans

Carla Hayden, shown in 2015, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress. Hayden is the longtime leader of Baltimore's library system

On July 13, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Dr. Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress.

Dr. Carla Hayden, president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003-2004, refused to support an amendment to the section of the final report on the proceedings of the ALA’s mid-winter meeting to help free ten librarians that Fidel Castro had imprisoned for making available such documents as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and George Orwell’s 1984.

It is noticeable that Dr. Hayden was a vocal opponent to the Patriot Act during her tenure as ALA president, leading a battle for the protections of library users’ privacy. She objected to the special permissions contained in Section 215 of that law, which granted the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI the power to access library user records. Dr. Hayden often disagreed publicly with then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft over the language of the law.

It is ironic that Dr. Hayden would not side with the ten Cuban librarians who were locked up by Fidel for circulating access to information to the Cuban people.


A political prisoner in Cuba could use a little attention from Obama

(My new American Thinker post)

We saw an article this morning that President Obama is planning a global tour to say goodbye to the world.

It’s sort of like his version of the Derek Jeter farewell tour of 2014. Of course, it’s not a stretch to say that Jeter had a few more successes on his record than President Obama. In other words, fans were sad to see Derek go because he was one of the greatest players of our time. On the other hand, a lot of world leaders want to see Obama go because he’s been so weak at a time when the world needs a strong U.S. more than ever.

Cuba is on the list, although nothing has been confirmed according to news reports.

Let me make a suggestion if President Obama plans to visit Cuba. How about paying attention to the plight of a Cuban namedVladimir Morera Bacallao (via our friends at Babalu):

Back in December of last year, President Obama and the media seemed very interested in labor activist and dissidentVladimir Morera Bacallao when he was part of the list of 53 political prisoners “released” by the apartheid Castro dictatorship pursuant to their deal with Obama to “normalize” relations.

Back then, Vladimir fit perfectly into Obama’s narrative that appeasement of the Castro regime yields positive results and the media was all too happy to push that line. However, when Vladimir was arrested and imprisoned again only four months later, he ceased to be of any use to the White House.

He no longer provided the positive spin the president so desperately needed to defend his disastrous Cuba policy and literally became a non-person as far as Obama and the media were concerned.

Today, after nearly three months of a hunger strike in prison, Vladimir Morera Bacallao is slipping closer to death.

But since he is no longer useful to Obama’s pro-Castro and pro-apartheid agenda, you will not hear the president, or his State Department, or his minions in the media, utter a single word about him.

It is not that they do not know what is going on in Cuba, but that they simply do not care.

Let’s hope that someone cares. Vladimir is dying in Cuba and President Obama is planning to shake hands with the dictator who put him there.

President Reagan once called the USSR the evil empire. Maybe it’s time for President Obama to get out of the box and stand up for a man who just wants to be free to write columns and offer opinions. Isn’t that what hope and change is really about?

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

RFK Jr. Throws Dead Kennedys Under the Obama-Cuba Bus


The title of the piece is “We have so much to learn from Cuba”.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. opens his latest op-ed, this one regarding the Obama administration’s diplomacy-warming of a U.S.-Cuba relationship by embargo change, by putting blame on two of his own relatives…

In early December, President Barack Obama announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than five decades of a misguided policy which my uncle, John F. Kennedy, and my father, Robert F. Kennedy, had been responsible for enforcing after the U.S. embargo against the country was first implemented in October 1960 by the Eisenhower administration.

RFK Jr., I guess, thinks shaking his head and finger at his father and uncle, AND pointing out his privileged visit to the island, solidifies his views that the embargo is broken and must be scrapped, or something. He manages to basically scold the Castro regime for being bad communists.

However, his belief is the U.S. embargo was behind the Cuban government’s reasoning and justification for treating Cuba’s people like starving prisoners and keeping the country’s economy down. Yeah, we made them do it.

It is almost beyond irony that the very same politicians who argued that we should punish Castro for curtailing human rights and mistreating prisoners in Cuban jails elsewhere contend that the United States is justified in mistreating our own prisoners in Cuban jails.

Imagine a U.S. president faced, as Castro was, with over 400 assassination attempts, thousands of episodes of foreign-sponsored sabotage directed at our nation’s people, factories and bridges, a foreign-sponsored invasion and fifty years of economic warfare that has effectively deprived our citizens of basic necessities and strangled our economy.

No, what’s ironic, Bobby Jr., is the conspiracy theory of Castro’s alleged involvement in your POTUS Uncle JFK’s assassination. But, eh…

The Cuban leadership has pointed to the embargo with abundant justification as the reason for economic deprivation in Cuba.

The embargo allows the regime to portray the United States as a bully and itself as the personification of courage, standing up to threats, intimidation and economic warfare by history’s greatest military superpower.

It perpetually reminds the proud Cuban people that our powerful nation, which has staged invasions of their island and plotted for decades to assassinate their leaders and sabotaged their industry, continues an aggressive campaign to ruin their economy.

Yeah, he said that. The same-old same-old claptrap that has been heard for years. Sort of flies in the face(s) of half a century of countless Cubans climbing into dangerous, leaky rafts to sail deadly shark-infested waters to get here to the great Satan … Doesn’t it?

Oh, and I found this one priceless…

Unlike other Caribbean islands where poverty means starvation, all Cubans receive a monthly food ration book that provides for their basic necessities.

But you read and judge.

A week ago A.J. Delgado wrote, “Arguing with idiots about #Cuba”, where she counters many of the anti-embargo talking points liberals, such as RFK Jr., are constantly regurgitating. The fact is Barack Obama’s new age plan for changing diplomacy with Cuba is yet another one of his foreign policy decisions granting trust where trust is not deserved … and is already evident.

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

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

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

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

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

Listen here:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The word for the Castro dictatorship is “barbaric”.

The word for the Obama administration is weak!

P.S. Follow me on Twitter!


The day that Fidel Castro said: “Yo soy un Marxista Leninista”!

We will celebrate tomorrow that day in 1961 that Fidel Castro made it official:

“”I am a Marxist-Leninist and shall be one until the end of my life.”

He went on to state that, “Marxism or scientific socialism has become the revolutionary movement of the working class.”

He also noted that communism would be the dominant force in Cuban politics:

“There cannot be three or four movements.””

And that was it!

It happened about 7 months after The Bay of Pigs and confirmed that Castro would rule Cuba as a dictator.  It ended any hopes of a multiparty election or restoration of the freedoms that the regime had eliminated by executive decree.

I should add that people were thrown in jail or executed in 1959-61 for calling Castro “un comunista”.

None of those people were ever released after Castro confirmed that he was “un communista”.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the link:


Lack Of Civil Liberties For Afro-Cubans In Cuba Today

Fall 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To listen to the radio interview, click on

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:

A few thoughts about Che

Our friend Humberto Fontova posted a great story about Che.

I loved that he referred to Che as a “….cowardly, murdering swine….”

Thumbs up to Humberto for one of the very best descriptions that I’ve ever heard of that swine named Che!

I sent my sons, nieces and other young friends a copy of the post.

I told them to read it and challenge the next person who comes into their college circles wearing a Che shirt.   Within seconds, one of my very pretty nieces wrote back:

“Luckily I haven’t seen any Che hipsters.  They know better than to wear those shirts around me….”

Thank God for a niece like that!

Humberto’s post also reminded me of my uncle’s encounter with Che in 1959.  My uncle passed away in 2008 and was a great source of information and stories about those early days of what was called “la revolucion”.  He was an architect in Cuba and attended The University of Havana in the turbulent 1950’s.  He was there and recalls the lively debates about the future of Cuba in the classrooms of the university.

My uncle said that he felt very pessimistic about Cuba when he met Che in the early days.

His words were like this:

“I knew that we were in deep trouble when I saw Che waving a pistol and bragging about himself.”

Tio Pepe’s words stayed with me and I think of them whenever Che comes into the conversation.

Let me paraphrase Humberto:  Che met justice that day in Bolivia.

Yes he did!

We are grateful to those Bolivian peasants who turned him in.  They saw the same charlatan in Che that my uncle did in the early days of “la revolucion”.

My message is blunt:  Anyone who wears a Che shirt is stupid, ignorant or a swine like Che!