Paquito D’Rivera answers the CRAG letter

The Cuba Research and Analysis Group (CRAG) recently initiated a letter to President Obama  requesting an end to the “Cultural Embargo” against Cuba. The esteemed Paquito D’ Rivera, exiled Cuban musician and author responds; published with the authors permission:

Music can Wait
by Paquito D’Rivera (English / Español)

It’s been more than 5 decades since Fidel Castro jumped to power, and upon his arrival, a real army of “defenders of Cuba”, carrying on with an uncontrollable compassioned spirit, started to come out of nowhere and everywhere. Direct descendents of those legendary admirers of so out of fashion figures like Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, after Che Guevarra’s death in the Bolivian jungle in 1967, the image of the argentine bandit fit them like a glove, in substituting those discredited idols of the past. The problem is that this exclusive “Cuban compassion” package seems to apply only to those that sympathize with the longest–lasting dictatorship on the planet, while ignoring the hundreds of thousand of exiled, separated families, people marginalized for their political and/or religious believes, prisoners of conscience, executed, and those who have died at sea trying to escape Castro’s paradise, actual playground of these tourists of foreign revolutions that so often spent their ideological vacations there (paid in dollars) with or without permission of the America authorities. The psychological embargo, we could call it.

Recently, a group of artists, educators, academics, professionals and American impresarios, have written a letter to President Obama, complaining how adversely they have been affected by the embargo imposed by the US government against the Castro dictatorshi p. They demand their right to freely go to the Island, and to welcome any Artist that the Cuban cultural authorities send to the US without any pre–conditions. Not a single word towards the millions of Cubans who wish to exercise their rights to leave and enter their country freely. What an egotistic and uncompassionate position! To speak of the free flow of art, culture, information, ideas and debate, when it is denied to millions of Cubans the access to the internet and other most basic sources of information, and while dozens of independent journalists live threatened or already are serving long jail terms, just to inform and try to be informed.

This really sounds like a bad joke to me. What Cuban citizen or group on the island could possibly send a similar document to Raul Castro, without ending up in jail, after receiving a Marxist and sovereign whipping? If not, ask the poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela, whom they made her swallow the paper on which she had written her denouncement to Fidel Castro.

That this out-of-place petition be signed by the likes of Harry Belanfonte and Carlos Santana, does not surprise me. But the adherence of some of my compatriots and music colleagues, knowing so well what a “respectful dialogue with the government of Cuba” really means, it seems at most, ridiculous. Much more appropriate would be to send a similar petition to the Castro government, demanding the right of ALL Cubans to express themselves without20coaxing, to travel freely in and out of our country, to democratically elect our leaders, and then, ask for the signature of these artists, educators, academics, professional and American impresarios, that are so interested in the free flow of ideas between our peoples. In the meantime, the music can wait. Don’t you think so?

Sincerely:
Paquito D’Rivera
Cuban exiled musician and author.
July 29-2009

In Spanish below:

Read more

Why is President Barack Obama in such a hurry?

Great Ben Stein article at The American Spectator; he thinks Americans have figured out Obama.

Why is President Barack Obama in such a hurry to get his socialized medicine bill passed?

Because he and his cunning circle realize some basic truths:

The American people in their unimaginable kindness and trust voted for a pig in a poke in 2008. They wanted so much to believe Barack Obama was somehow better and different from other ultra-leftists that they simply took him on faith.

They ignored his anti-white writings in his books. They ignored his quiet acceptance of hysterical anti-American diatribes by his minister, Jeremiah Wright.

They ignored his refusal to explain years at a time of his life as a student. They ignored his ultra-left record as a “community organizer,” Illinois state legislator, and Senator.

The American people ignored his total zero of an academic record as a student and teacher, his complete lack of scholarship when he was being touted as a scholar.

Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.

The American people have already awakened to the truth that the stimulus bill — a great idea in theory — was really an immense bribe to Democrat interest groups, and in no way an effort to help all Americans.

Now, Americans are waking up to the truth that ObamaCare basically means that every time you are sick or injured, you will have a clerk from the Department of Motor Vehicles telling your doctor what he can and cannot do.

The American people already know that Mr. Obama’s plan to lower health costs while expanding coverage and bureaucracy is a myth, a promise of something that never was and never will be — a bureaucracy lowering costs in a free society. Either the costs go up or the free society goes away.

These are perilous times. Mrs. Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, has given Iran the go-ahead to have nuclear weapons, an unqualified betrayal of the nation. Now, we face a devastating loss of freedom at home in health care. It will be joined by controls on our lives to “protect us” from global warming, itself largely a fraud if believed to be caused by man.

Mr. Obama knows Americans are getting wise and will stop him if he delays at all in taking away our freedoms.

There is his urgency and our opportunity. Once freedom is lost, America is lost. Wake up, beloved America.

H/T: Augustin

How’s that foreign policy change working for you?

Can it get any more embarrassing than this juvenile tit for tat between Hil and North Korea?

Hillary’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

And Hillary Clinton thought she was having a bad day when she broke her elbow …

Today, a meeting of Asian leaders in Thailand turned into the set of “Mean Girls”: North Korea called the Secretary of State a “funny lady” who “looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.” Ouch. To be fair, Clinton stirred it up earlier this week when she compared North Korea to “unruly teenagers.”

For the Secretary of State, this latest scrap must feel like the cherry on top of a big fat banana peel of a month.

This is Clinton’s first trip abroad since she fell and broke her elbow in the White House basement last month. (Does the White House offer workman’s comp?) Clinton’s duties, naturally, were curtailed somewhat during her recuperation, but political pundits quickly jumped on the fact that while she was laid up, President Obama was gallivanting around the globe sans his Secretary of State.

Fox News asked whether it was a broken elbow or “sinister forces at work” to sideline the Secretary of State. Tina Brown at The Daily Beast blogged that it was “time for Barack Obama to let Hillary Clinton take off her burqa,” while the New York Daily News dubbed her plight “The curious case of the steadily shrinking Hillary Clinton.” Foreign Policy website noted that Obama has been to several countries without her.

So while Clinton was recuperating from surgery on her broken elbow and handling her job as best as she could from home, she has also had to defend her boss and reassure everyone that, yes, she is, in fact, happy with her job.

Clinton responded to the rumors, speculation and analysis with a quippy “I broke my elbow, not my larynx.”

Yeoww!

Show us the Jobs, President Obama

Gotta love Newt Gingrich!

Via email:

A recent report by the Federal Reserve predicts that we will reach 10% unemployment by the end of the year, and that it will likely take five years before we’re creating net new jobs.

And yet the President and leaders in Congress are trying to hold a vote before the August recess on a $1 trillion health care bill that will dramatically increase costs for small business and kill jobs. And this follows the House vote last month for a $1 trillion, job-killing National Energy Tax.

America needs more jobs, not higher taxes.

America cannot work if Americans are not working. So, we’re launching a nationwide “Jobs Here, Jobs Now, Jobs First” campaign to convince Congress that its number one priority is to create jobs and to oppose job-killing taxes.

I can’t say that I’ve been a huge Gingrich supporter, but with the exception of Marco Rubio, what other politician is giving it to us straight?

For more on Newt’s American Solutions, click here.

The Enemy of Freedom

Astute words from Michelle Malkin via Capitol Hill Cubans:

The Enemy of Freedom

From Michelle Malkin in Hot Air:

The true enemy of freedom is fear.

It’s fear that makes people abandon the last, faded pretense of democracy, at the insistence of thugs and secret police. The lonely souls that yearn for freedom in a dictatorship do so in silence, because they fear that if they speak up, there will be more enforcers bearing down on them, than friends standing beside them. This is the terrible silence that America’s voice was meant to shatter.

We know that we cannot liberate the rest of the world with military force. Our greatest weapon against tyranny is our courage. We know that freedom is not a special privilege reserved for people fortunate enough to have been born in the United States. We know it’s not a peculiar quirk of Western culture, impractical or meaningless to the people of other nations. We know from the writings of Russian dissidents that the strong support of the American president helped them endure prison cells and exile camps.

We should never hesitate to roar our defiance, and contempt, in the faces of dictators. They have no more right to rule the people of Iran, Honduras, Cuba, or Venezuela than they did to rule Germany, Russia, or France. The language of freedom cannot be properly spoken by appeasers, manipulators, or international socialists. It is the speech of eagles and lions.

The president of the United States, traditionally the leader of the free world and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces charged with defending said freedom is obligated, in words and action, to defend this heritage. Our current leader’s siding with dictators who oppose these principles has in my opinion, shown that he is unfit for the office he holds. Unfortunately our congress, unlike the brave Hondurans, are led by those who also side with the enemies of freedom.

Lifestyle police are coming to your neighborhood

Obama wants all of us to eat right and get enough exercise, and he knows how to make it happen. Get ready for the lifestyle police folks:
Barack Obama says shape up now:

Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas.
The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie.

Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul.

There must be change in Cuba

Obama has said no talk just for the sake of talking, but that’s exactly what any dialogue with Cuba will be until Cuba is free of the communist dictatorship that has ruled the island for 50 years.

A few years ago Babalu published a letter stating what we believe are the minimum requirements that must be met in Cuba before there is any change in US policy toward Cuba.

To wit:

We believe that it is the United States’ best interests to continue to view Cuba as a dangerous adversary, rather than a potential partner as long as a communist regime is in power there.

1. That all Cuban political prisoners and prisoners of conscience be released immediately and granted an unconditional amnesty.

2. That all Cubans be allowed to move freely within the country.

3. That the existing system of apartheid-like segregation be eradicated immediately, specifically that all Cubans be treated as equals to their foreign counterparts, such as “prominent scholars and artists” from abroad.

4. That all Cubans be granted access to all sources of uncensored information, whether in broadcast, print, or Internet immediately.

5. That all Cubans be granted the freedom to express their opinions freely without fear of repercussions.

6. That all Cubans be allowed to travel abroad freely.

7. That all Cubans be allowed to live, work, and seek a better life for themselves as they see fit.

8. That all Cubans be allowed to elect their leaders through verifiable, transparent democratic elections as allowed for in Cuba’s last legitimate constitution, the Constitution of 1940