Monday, February 4, 2013

Batista, Obama, Fidel, and the "Fourth Estate or Power"

Batista, Obama, Fidel and the “Fourth Estate or Power”
The press has been often classified as the Fourth Estate (I like the term Power)  of a government, especially a democracy. In a Democracy the Media’s function is to inform and provide balance to events, without hiding or underscoring their importance.  Opinions and newspaper editorials should be very separate from the rest of a newspaper and well identified.
Free Media has the duty to enlighten the people, to fairly inform them.  They are supposed to use true facts without using tactics which downplay, ignore, or emphasize events. The news should be given in a way that fits as Walter Cronkite used to say, “… and that is the way it is”.
Any critique by a person or a discussion group should be preceded by political orientation of the critique.  Knowing the political alignment of a writer makes clear his intention, and makes it easier to check past opinions and accusations.  This is particularly important, now, when almost all news shows on television are really talk shows.  Knowing, and understanding an editorial bent is a preemptory knowledge in a democracy.  Our educational curriculum, starting in pre-school, should introduce and provide constant practice in discovering the different propaganda devices that constantly are used by interested parties in speeches, talk shows and ads. Also, children need to be taught, starting at a young age, how to differentiate facts from opinions.  And, above all, learn how to research for facts to make possible this distinction. Unlike totalitarian governments, democracy   needs  illuminated people who can separate what is important from what is trivial; what is good from what is bad; what is a lie from what is  truth; and, what is real pain from what is drama to impress.
In autocratic or dictatorial governments of any persuasion, media resources are forced to work for the government.  It is and was a reality during the governments of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, as well as currently in China, and North Korea.  All are all created and directed to enhance the government and in many cases make diatribes against opposition leaders and ideas.  In those cases, the convincing force of the “Fourth Power” exists to indoctrinate people, and make them believe that the best way is the way of a determined totalitarian or despotic, government.
 However, many times the press becomes a dictatorial press by its own will.  Probably that happens under the influence of the political, social, economic, etc. preference of those involved in the direction, editing or preparation of the news shows or editorials. In these cases, the Media itself imposes that dictatorship That kind of press or a  self-imposed dictatorship adopts the same goals as would a government controlled Media.   And, they will make use all of these propaganda devices, and even lies, to develop fanatic attitudes in those receiving its influential messages.

Cuban Media became a self-imposed dictatorial media, the kind of press described above, during the Ramon Grau  San Martin, and Carlos Prior Socares constitutional governments.   These presidents were not as liberal as the press wanted. The press proceeded by downplaying the many good works that Grau and Prior did, and instead  fiercely concentrated on their sins, (such as embezzlement of public funds). In reality this was the sin of other preceding Cuban presidents. My opinion is quoting that of  Miguel Angel Quevedo , owner and editor of the weekly magazine “Bohemia.“   His opinion is very clearly indicated in his post mortem testamentary  letter “Mea Culpa” (*), a letter that should be read by all people in democratic as well as totalitarian nations (3).  He also declared that Cuban Media prepared the way for the Cubans disillusion toward these two constitutional governments,  at the end of the government of Prio.   And, he also indicates that it  was one of the factors in why Cubans were indifferent to  Prio’s constitutional government close to the time that  the next Constitutional election was scheduled to take place. 
 The many good facets of these government and the many good measures they took for the development of Cuba, were erased by their sins.   Imagine if the same negative press propaganda had occurred against Bill Clinton. Probably his wonderful flexibility in accepting Republican suggestions and in so doing helping create the years of prosperity our country had for many years, would not be recognized now.   Cuba was a young government at that time, only 50 years free from Spain.  Its constitutional way needed to be protected and preserved.   However, as Quevedo indicated, the majority of the Cuban people only read and heard a negative approach that made it easy for them to only condemn the pre-Castro governments.
Quevedo also indicated that the press during Batista’s time redoubled their efforts.. By reading the letter, one can understand the terrible horrors the newspaper published about Batista regime.  Horrors that were often not true, yet parroted by others, including the lie that Batista killed 20,000 Cubans.  Other lies were spread showing depravity in Cuban life, such as that Cuban prostitutes at that time were everywhere, as they apparently are now in Cuba (they are now known as “jineteras”).   Cuban prostitutes, like prostitutes everywhere, were in brothels.   Or the lie that drugs were being used everywhere in Havana.  Or that the mafia ran Cuba.  It is true that there were mafioss in Cuba, such as George Ralf.  It is also true that many Cuban actors and artists admired American artistic culture and actors, such as Ginger Rogers.   Cuba had successful cabaret’s which copied what American’s were doing.  A good example of this was the shows at the Tropicana, which I saw several times, and was a takeoff on the style of the Ziegfield follies.   This is no different than what we see in places like Las Vegas, Nevada.  Why do those writing about Cuba  do not give similar comparisons to Las Vegas?  We do not see them comparing Americans going to Las Vegas’ diversion and gambling places a as drug addicts and or Las Vegas as a den of prostitutions?  The Cuban press used all possible derogatory words to show all the bad were associated with Batista.    No wonder many American had a completely wrong idea of what was the real Cuba, and what a typical Cuban was like. I remember when I began to work in a junior high school, here in the United States that some men (among them teachers) began to talk to me as if I were a rumba dancer or a prostitute. Of course, very soon they realized who I was and even later some of them and some female teachers used to make fun of me and said, “ Could you imagine I confused you with a loose woman, when you are really a prude?”   At that time I went to the dictionary to find the meaning of this word.  After so many years of living in United States I am proud that Cuban women (half of the more than one million Cubans  who arrived here in  the United States) had shown that they are decent “Cuban women”
I think Batista behavior was deplorable.  He adopted an arrogant attitude and a semi-god posture.  I think Machado developed the same posture, and had few constitutionally elected mandates.   However, it was a terrible thing to stop the constitutional process (no matter how shakey the ground it stood on) of a new nation who was beginning to take its first unbalanced steps.   However, I also think that the majority of the Cuban press should not have only been talking about Batista doing evil things and killing people.  The press should not be injecting venom, aggrandizing events, inventing lies in an already dying democratic environment.   The press should give real truths; or clearly state that is giving interested invective.  The press knew very well that Fidel was a Communist, even though he had not allied himself to Cuba’s Communist Party.  They knew that Fidel was member of one of the Univesity of Havana’s ganster groups.  They knew Fidel’s role  in the “Bogotazo”.   They knew about the  accusations made against Fidel for various assassinations even if  in reality these accusations  were not judicially proven.  They also knew about the lie that  Batista assassinated 20,000 Cubans. They also knew that the close relationship between Cuba and the United States would force Batista to allow elections.
The  indifferent attitude that the Cuban press took toward the 1958 Presidential elections was venal.  The press did not want to admit that these elections could be the door to allow Cuba to escape from it’s unconstitutional state .   The press, as Quevedo said, and my personal witness corroborates, almost did not mention the elections.   It  did not make any effort  to help  the success of the election .  As more people would believe in an election, the less chance Batista would have to  corrupt it.  Instead of fostering these elections, the press isolated herself from these events.   The men slated as presidential candidates, were important men, and highly thought of; men such as:  Carlos Márquez Sterling of the Party of the Free People, Former President Ramón Grau San Martín of the Cuban Revolutionary Party-Authentic, and Andrés Rivero Agüero of the government coalition. (7)
During this election process, all three of the candidates were threatened by Castro, and several assassination attempts were made on both Ramón Grau San Martín and Carlos Márquez Sterling.  Castro threatened the candidates in the elections because if any non-government candidates won, they would block the Revolution's triumph and his ascent to power, since it would have meant that the elections were free and fair.   In the end, he did not have to worry about fairness.   On Election Day, estimates on the turnout range from 30–50% in the areas where voting took place; this did not include parts of Las Villas and Oriente, which were controlled by Castro.  The initial results showed a Márquez Sterling victory, but the military ordered the counting to stop as they changed the actual ballots for fraudulent ones, and Batista declared Rivero Agüero the winner.  Once Castro came to power, he ordered all records from the elections destroyed, so that Carlos Márquez Sterling could not claim that he should rightfully have been President. 
I see similar things happening here in the US.  Already, many Americans are noting   the self imposed liberal bias of our media. Even Liberals accept this tendency. But, probably, they do not know that the American press is acting like the pre-Castro Cuban press. President Obama and any of the preceding presidents have not taken away the freedom of press of the united States, but the Media has taken this freedom as a way to lean events in the way they want, or to present information in a downplayed manner (like in the tv show  “The View”) and as do many of the MSNBC anchors. It is a partisan press that imposes it’s belief, and takes on  the duty of protecting and advancing  those  persons, causes, political parties, events, etc, that it favors and creates an adverse public opinion against those with whom they differ.
And this attitude of agreeing with  any kind of behavior when it comes from a Liberal (usually Democratic) President, and fiercely attacking  similar or lesser  behaviors  Conservative or semi-conservatives such as Bush, is a slow  destruction of our constitutional Republic.
“Democrat strategist and political consultant Patrick Caddell is fed up with the mainstream media bias  and how it overwhelmingly favored the re-election of President Barack Obama. Virtually the entire news media was on the Obama bandwagon, which is not what the First Amendment contemplated, Caddell insists.
Caddell, who is a fixture on cable news, was a pollster to and political advisor for Democrats such as Jimmy Carter in his narrow 1976 win against President Gerald Ford and in his landslide loss to Ronald Regan in 1980.  Reagan defeated Carter in 1980 by forging a coalition of Republican voters and so-called Reagan Democrats.
Caddell didn’t mince words in his recent speech .He claims that the media has now become the enemy of the American people and a fundamental threat to democracy. “The overwhelming [media] bias has become very real and very dangerous,” Caddell said in speech for the Accuracy in Media organization.”
Recently examples of the Liberal media’s self-imposed dictatorial stance, was the interjection of Candy Crowley into the second presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama , probably costing  Government Mitt Romney the Presidency.  Crowley interrupted Romney and came to the defense of Obama during the subject of the attack on the US embassy in Libya
Romney: “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”
Obama said: “Get the transcript”
Candy Crowley  interfered and with all the seriousness of  an expert affirmed that Obama has classified the “Attack to the Benghazi embassy as an act of terror, when it is not. It was a Candy Crowley pure lie and President Obama pure lie. In both case defending the popularity of Obama since that the Presidential election were to be effected some days after.
And where was the outrage of the leftist press?   Nobody noted it.
Ex Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also  played  main role in sustaining the Obama cover up when she  declare after the attack on the  U.S. Benghazi embassy, that the attack was not a terrorist act, even though it was later proved to be one . And this declaration has to be considered a cover up when later in Obama’s debate with Romney he denied that he had classified the attack as spontaneous, and need the assistance of Candy Crowley to sustain that lie.
Hillary Clinton had responsibility for not paying attention to the 12 terrorist attacks prior to Benghazi for not paying attention to the letters by  the US. Embassador indicating that the embassy’s safety was suspect.   She was clearly inefficient as a guardian of American’s overseas interests and people. But what really hurts is her collaboration in the Obama’s cover as to the real nature of the Attack on Benghazi.   Her histrionic performance was tinted with her tearful and emotional voice, followed by parts tinted with angers.  She indicated what the government is going to ensure the safety of American embassies.   I think was good news. But, she did not answer the main question that still should be in the minds of Americans: Why cover up of the nature of the attacks on Benghazi?  
During her recent visit to Congress, the Senators and Representatives asked weak questions that did not lead to a good cross examination and instead to scrambled or garbled questions.  Nothing was clear after all those hours.  However, still there were many leftist tv shows that considered Hillary’s performance as “super”.  I would think that everyone regardless their political affiliations should be anxious to hear Hillary Clinton’s explanation about the government’s initial cover up of the Benghazi events, and worse, the negation by President Obama, that he had not said it was a terrorist act.  And the “say nothing, but act strongly”, appearance before the Senate Committee.
But while the conservative show “The Five” on Fox  made fun of the Hillary’s evasive and dramatic declarations, a leftist show “The View” after showing a little excerpt of the hearing, applauded  the evasive-say nothing Hillary Clinton performance.
 The lack of fulfillment to the duty of the press in finding real truths and facts, culminated in an interview of Steve Kraft by Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan asked about the reason for the soft ball questions by Steve during his interview with   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama during “60 minutes”.   Steven Kraft’s answer tells us why President Obama has accepted many interviews by Steve.   Answering   Piers Morgan’s question, Steve declare:
 “But I think it's a question of fairness. I, we have not, I think he knows that we're not going to play gotcha with him, that we're not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid, and we'll let him answer the questions”
Is the above answer one from a member of the free press or a a member of a self dictatorial Media?
Noel Sheppart ,Associate Editor of News Buster Blog , comment about the above answer:” How proud the folks at “60” minutes has to be to know that they have created an environment where the President of the United States feels comfortable seating on their network without being challenged and therefore avoid looking  bad or stupid”
What about the press in Fidel’s Cuba?   What press? The free press, ,  a really self-controlled press,  died in Cuba immediately after the Revolution.  The government controlled the entire Media and later the entire internet in Cuba. There is only one newspaper: The Granma, whose articles are only a cult to Fidel and whatever he or his subordinates wish.   All the radio programs are controlled by the government, as well as all the television shows.  Internet is prepared only for research and what is previously examined and approved by the government.   AND THE OPPOSITION? What opposition?    In defenseless Cubans without any army nor guns are incapable of any opposition.  The smallest criticism of the government renders the person under arrest in prison by a jailor in Fidel’s uniform.   
AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PATRIOTIC UNIVERSTITY FEDERATION OFSTUDENTS?   Twenty-first century Cubans are likely unaware that once upon a time there was a very influential and powerful university student’s federation.  As soon as Fidel took power in Cuba, he ended this same group which he once belonged to, and had previously been autonomous. . Now students have to ask official permission for any meeting they want to organize, and allow government officials to approve anything they want to say.

Monday, January 28, 2013


The mentally disturbed,   20 years old mentally Adams Lanza, killed his mother, and later 20 children and three school officers, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Soon after, he killed himself. The incident was the second deadliest school shooting in United States history, while the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre ranks as the first one. The deadliest mass murder incident at an American school was the 1927 Bayh School Bombings, in Michigan.
The hair-raising event shocked all Americans while creating a cloud of fear, anger, and impotence. President Obama speech shared his empathy with the American People’s feelings.  He shared their feelings and concerns.  In his speech, President Obama,  used not only his finest speech abilities, but a great number of Propagandistic devices , which had been  used on many other Presidents’ speeches.  It was an emotional speech, by which he let very well established:

1. The Congress has been very slow and had not taken action in reinstate the Federal Assault Weapon Band ended in 2,004 that Clinton Governed passed: 

2. He will take care of the problem in a very speedy and efficient way.

3. He let well define his three prerogatives:

A.  Reestablishing a ban on military style assault weapons

B.  More thoroughly check on gun buyer backgrounds

C.  Restrictive high capacity ammunition clip

The sentence “ It will take commitment and compromise,and most of all it will take care and courage” was a very explicit one.  The words courage and commitment are key works of this sentence.  They served to announce that he will dedicate all efforts and works, and at the same time he will fight against all the opposition he encounters in enforcing his dictum. The word “compromise” was a word that was not used in his latter actions.
Immediately, President Obama appointed Vice-President Biden to head a Task Force to hear interested organization’s and people’s advice and opinions. In truth, Vice-President  Biden, did an excellent job in fulfilling his Boss’ orders, and he went beyond any expectations. He interviewed more than 200 people and made innumerable phone calls. On a call with one parent of a victim he spent a full 45 min. One of those participating in the meeting said that the meetings resembled more a session of the two  Chambers of the Congress, than  a simple meeting to put together a group of recommendations. Another government official, demanding anonymity, declared that Vice-president Biden was carefully collecting all data, but in reality was more interested in the  organizations and people wishing to affect  gun control than the information he was collecting.
Obama’s three goals were present each of the meetings. In true, Vice-President Biden did an excellent job in fulfilling his Boss orders, and he went beyond any expectations. He made more than two hundred interviews and innumerable phone calls. On one call with the parents of one of the victim he spent 45 min. One of the participating of the meeting said that the meetings resembling more any sessions of the two Chambers of the Congress, than a simple meeting putting together a group of recommendations. Other government official, demanding anonymity, declared that Vice-president Biden was carefully collecting all data, but he was more interested in the organizations and people very in favor or opposite to gun control than in the information he was collected. President Obama’s three goals were present during each of these meetings.
After Vice-president Biden enthusiastically fulfilled his assignment he gave his recommendations to President Obama. Now, the President had the material on which he would base his recommendations and send them with the diligence he had stated.  What was left, was to hurry up the actions of the Congress.

President Obama also acted with a high level of efficiency and enthusiasm to solve a problem he thought was of national urgency. He probably felt very satisfied; finally he was able to peel some skin off of  the second amendment of the Constitution. He could also re-enact  Clinton’s Restricted ban.
President Obama has been a notorious and vocal pro gun control advocate since entering public life as community organizer, civil rights attorney, representative, 3th District Illinois Senator, and lecturer of constitutional laws at the Chicago University in Chicago. During his first presidential mandate he kept his opinions at bay. Now, the Sandy School massacre crisis was an unique opportunity to initiate the first step to move on his gun control agenda.
Everybody thought the gun control controversy was now in the hands the Congress, but it was not so. Obama fulfilled his promised and he acted quickly, frontally and with “courage”. He would not wait and so immediately issued 23 executive orders. Previous president from both parties have issued executive orders; but this was out of the ordinary.  23 executive orders invades the power of the legislature.  Two executive orders were considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. One of them was the  Supreme Court rule in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha.  It was considerated unconstitutional because President Reagan vetoed a bill   without "bicameral passage followed by presentation of a bill  to the President”.
President Obama has also now demonstrated that his executive orders are not constitutional.  Recently, he  already had trouble with the executive order he issued  on Jan. 4, 2012.  It involved the filling of three appointments of  members to the National Labor Relations Board. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C ruled (Jan 25/2013) that Obama executive order was unconstitutional, because   the President edict the executive order during other time than the  official recess of the Congress, as the Constitution command.
President’s executive orders really inverts the order in which a Bill is transformed into a Law. The Article I of the Constitution rules that after a bill is proposed, it has to be introduced  in either the House of Representative or the Senate.  Then, it has to be amply discussed by the members of both Congressional Chambers.   In this way, the voice of all the 50 States is heard. Then, it comes a reconciliation meeting and the result is the final Bill.  During these discussions compromises occur between the majority and minority parties in Congress.   That Bill is sent to the President.  If he approves the bill it becomes  Law. If the bill is vetoed, it goes back to the Congress where it can be only approved only with a veto over-ride of votes.
What President Obama should have done, was  to present recommendations to Congress about the presented bills, and not usurp the power of the legislature.
Kesavan and Sidak explains the purpose of the Recommendation clause:"The Recommendation Clause also imposes an executive duty on the President. His recommendations respect the equal dignity of Congress and thus embody the anti-royalty sentiment that ignited the American Revolution and subsequently stripped the trappings of monarchy away from the new chief executive. Through his recommendations to Congress, the President speaks collectively for the People as they petition Government for a redress of grievances, and thus his recommendations embody popular sovereignty. The President tailors his recommendations so that their natural implication is the enactment of new legislation, rather than some other action that Congress might undertake. Finally, the President shall have executive discretion to recommend measures of his choosing.
Gun control is a great controversy, and divides the American people.  This uncovered plan to deal with the second amendment interferes with the Legislative Branch of our government.

The issue is an important one.  The ten Bill of Rights was thoughtfully written, and passed with great effort.  The right to bear arms not only involves the problem of gun possession for individual protection, it also involves the protection the American people against a reaching government, even when elected by the majority of the United States populace.  A far reaching President, who can control or usurp legislative powers, control a majority in the Supreme Court, and add to his sanctioned executive powers can change into a despotic government over night. I was very young, but I watched these changes during the Presidency of Gerardo Machado, one of the best and most popular leaders of Cuba, during his first term.  He was elected to a second term, however the Great Depression compromised the Cuban economy, and he believed that he needed omnipotent powers to solve the problem.  He changed the constitution to  make his second term last 6 years, and not 4.  He began reprisals against his critics.  But he changed into a political dictator who would not allow the smallest criticism.  He went from being one of Cuba’s most beloved Presidents to one of his most hated by the end of his second term. In Cuban history, he and Fulgencio Batista were the two political dictators in Cuba’s history. Fidel later became not only a political dictator but also a social, economic and somewhat religious one.  Fidel changed Cuba from one of the richest and civilized nations in Latin America to one of the poorest.  It has remained under his control, or recently under his appointed successor’s Raul’s, control, for 50 plus years.
So why did President Obama not push Congress to act quickly through the force of his speeches and of his bullet pulpit?  Why instead did he want to solve this quickly, by himself execution orders?  Why did not present his recommendations instead of issuing executive orders? I have arrived to my own conclusions after reading many articles about Mr.  Obama as  a community organizer, later as a representative  and Senator from Chicago, and finally as Obama as the President of the United States?

1.   Obama is probably an incipient autocrat, that may or  not may develop into an autocratic-despot. Some hints:  Obama House of Representative passed the Obamacare behind closed doors; not asking the opinion of the Republican minority. And, the Obamacare is in reality a socialist measure that allows the government to punch the United States constitution.  Also his 23 executive orders reflect what he already wanted the task force to pass. Gun control is not only hallmark of autocratic governments, but it is one of the first thing many of these governments do. Machado and Batista did not impose gun control.  Castro’s governmemt did.  During one of his speeches Castro said,  “Armas, para que? (Guns for what?).  Interestingly this was when his “peace dove” landed on his shoulder. His government collected all the guns in citizen’s hands in Cuba. Removing citizens guns was one of the factors which turned Cuban’s into in defenseless sheep in a secured island pen.
2.   Obama took advantages of the Crisis the Sandy School Massacre offered him.  Rahm Emmanuel was the President Obama Chief of Staff until the Election of 2010. He was the author of the memorable quote, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before”. President Obama follows this thoughtful advice. He thought  the problem of gun control would  result in loss of his political capital, so, during his first term he concentrated on  Obamacare, the stimulus and other agendas during his first term.  The Sandy School massacre, was the crisis he was waiting for, it was his  time to advance  gun control  wih almost no  loss of his political cost.  As a president, President Obama wants to advance his wishes and ideal and those of the majority of people that voted for him, but needed to be cognizant that you catch more flies with honey, and that as President he could not say, “My way, or the highway.”

3.   Obama counts on his popularity and on the support of majority our national media outlets:   tv channels, newspapers, even the common smarmy swipe of a sit com.   And finally, a political machine so effective and so large that it is considered. the most potent in the political history of this country . Above all, he counts 0n  the powerful force of his speeches, and the advantage of being President of the United States.

4.   President Obama is a savvy politician.  Through his efforts he was able to save his political majority during the past election.  He  was able to pass Obama care, stimulus package, and to spend uncontrolled deficits. These three things allowed him to advance his progressive political agenda, although he lost he eventually lost control of the House or Representatives. He also chanced upon a very savvy new tactic.  He helps insure that Democratic senators and representatives do not vote against bills that are unpopular in their red states. Republicans present bills in Congress, but his henchman, Harry Reid does not bring them to the floor in the Senate.  Then Obama acts as if he were Senator Reid, and he and not Reid, speaks to Speaker Boehner.  In effect he bypasses reconciliation, and bypasses the legislature compromising.  His encounters with the less savvy Boehner end in him making the Speaker out as the non-compromising guilty one, when Obama makes not compromise on his end. He also amazingly enough, gets the press to agree with him that somehow, ex-President Bush is still the culpable party.   Newt Gingrich, recently declared that when he was Speaker of the house, because of the respect the constitution demands toward the President, that it subsequently made him look like one subordinated to his President’s ideas.  He also indicated that is what was happening during the President’s meetings with Boehner.

As a result, President Obama issued the executive orders as a very savvy politician.  Republicans also need to  become savvy and create their own plan of actions as a counter measure and stick together; or else these changes could easily lead to the President becoming an incipient autocrat.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Witnessed Fidel's Triumphant entry into Havana

I wrote this as my kids had asked me to write  my personal memories of  Cuba. I lived this.

On January 1, 1959 people in Havana woke up in the morning to long awaited news.  The cry: “Batista se fue! Batista se fue!” rapidly spread all over the island - but especially in Havana.
Cubans were ecstatic.  They were finally free from a dictatorship they not only disdained, but actively hated.  This cry resonated in most  Cuban’s hearts.  Finally, the hope of a future of freedom and self-determination appeared to be a reality.
The next day, a louder cry was heard, “Fidel viene! Fidel viene!”  The happiness Cubans felt was unsurpassed and overwhelming - it had the power and noise of a thousand thunder storms.  Batista was forgotten under the shadow of a powerful and compassionate hero; a veritable messiah.  Many thought he would finally bring freedom, justice, forgiveness, equality, and fraternity for us all.  He was the second Martí - nay, he was Martí reincarnated!  He would place the ideals Martí had espoused, but were never brought to fruition due to the succession of inept or corrupt politicians of  every stripe who plagued the nation following the War of Independence (Teddy Roosevelt’s Spanish-American War).
Fidel’s arrival to Havana was greeted with high expectations and infinite love.  It was a sensation of well-being and a positive, confident belief brighter than any display of color humans have created.  Never have I seen such a multitude of people from every walk of life, color, ethnicity, and creed show such spontaneous and sincere feelings as those shown to our new “Maximum Leader of the Revolution.”  Old people became young through their unlimited enthusiasm; and young people felt awed as they recognized that they were a part of something momentous; greatness they would never experience again.
The masses eagerly awaited the great Hero’s first words.  As he prepared to talk, a white dove flew around him, and finally chose Fidel’s shoulders as the best place to listen to him speak.  The crowd loved this and cried:  “La paloma de la Paz!  La paloma de la Paz”.  The peace dove!  The peace dove!  This brought tears and laughter to many who were there - many saw this as a sign that even God saw him as Martí’s heir, to finish Martí’s work and follow the path Martí had set, but had been denied by venal events.
Soon the great Leader began to talk.  The words flew out of his mouth.  And with them flew my hope.  I saw his words envelope my fellow countrymen and my heart squeeze with panic.  As the minutes passed, my sadness and disappointment increased.  My pulse raced.  Could I possibly be hearing correctly?  Was he really saying, “Paredon”, or death, for the counter-revolutionary?  I continued paying very close attention to what he was saying.  Yes, he was saying “death for counter-revolutionaries,”  with increasing intensity.  His phrases were wrapped in rage and hatred towards those who did not believe as he did.
These words were the preface of the fundamental misfortune coming to Cuba.  These words would transfer a peaceful and friendly multitude, anxious for real cooperation and freedom, into a fanatic horde of vengeful soldiers catering to Fidel’s every wish and belief.  For me the spirit of unification and nurturing of liberty that I originally saw was coming to a quick end.
As I heard his words, I repeated to myself many times, “I am not listening well. The electricity in the air is making me confuse the words.  Fidel is joking.  These people repeating his words are not from this land.  It must be a Hollywood movie; it can’t be real”.  The speech lasted 12 hours!  Towards the end I awoke from my fugue state and realized that what was happening was true.  A single man after 12 hours of spouting hatred and vengeance could turn brother against brother.  He brought out the beast in the souls of millions of Cubans.  A country which previously had never shot people wantonly now became one anxious to exterminate not only criminals or abusers of power, but anyone who did not praise the revolution or mindlessly subordinate to its rulings.  However, I still can’t believe that the majority of the Cubans understood the future consequences of his words.
When I say brother acted against brother, it is not as a figure of speech, but sadly a reality.  More frequently neighbor or friend acted against neighbor or friend.  Thousands of Cubans were jailed, and many were set to a firing squad without  trial or hearing.
 Fidel’s first act was to remove firearms from ordinary Cuban citizens so any chance of resistance was nipped in the bud.
 There is an old saying, “divide and conquer”.  Fidel put this into action.  His first reform was “La Reforma Agraria” (The Agrarian Reform).  Fidel proclaimed landowners as latifundistas and exploiters of farm workers.  He gathered a million people in the Civic Plaza of Havana, and gave a 12 hour speech about the diabolical landowners.  The multitude echoed, “Down with the landlord.  Down with the latifundistas”.  The multitude repeated Castro’s cries, “ Land need to be redistributed.  Land need to be redistributed.  Workers are the real owners.”  Castro told us, “Workers are the real owners.  All Cubans should own an equal share of our country’s riches.  All Cubans should be able to vacation to Europe.  Every single Cuban should have a car.  To achieve this we must first pass the Agrarian Reform act; the government will then be in charge of all the changes.”  This was partly true; all the lands, big or small, became government, which is to say Fidel’s property;  of course the reciprocal part of the deal never materialized;  no European  vacation, no car.  However, a modus operandi was established.
Many in the city, including rich people, and large shop owners, agreed with Fidel’s changes in the countryside, the Agrarian Reforms.  They felt that landowners were just undeserving fat cats; and that change was deserved in the countryside but none in the city.  A perfect example of this was my niece’s Boyfriend.   He was a young, idealistic Cuban patriot. His father was a Spaniard who owned one of the largest stores in Havana.  He believed that the many of the landowners did not treat the farmworkers well, and that some portion of their lands should be redistributed, and he assumed this would happen through fair laws and with wise planning.  He thought Fidel would do that.  My husband, and my niece’s father told him that Fidel planned to “First affect the landowners, and after that, the business owners and their businesses like your father’s.”  Her boyfriend  would not believe it, and told my husband and brother-in-law that they were mistaken.  Business such as his father’s of course would be left alone; his father made the business himself,  from the ground up!  Future events would prove him devastatingly wrong, as the government took all private business both in the city as well as in the countryside; now Fidel owned them as well. Next all the television stations were confiscated as were radio stations, newspapers, banks, sugar mills…all of Cuba became Fidel’s.
Fidel continued his march on Cuban’s psyche and his instigation of change.  He soon disbanded the army, then quickly made a new one in the image he desired, Fidel’s’ Army, not the National Army that existed before.  Fidel took fierce control of the country. 
As Fidel was taking charge in Cuba, the majority of Cubans had no idea, no hint that he was a communist.  Prior to Fidel’s communist revolution, Cuba had undergone other coupe d’états.  Up until that time, even after such episodes as the Student Revolution against Machado, there was no divisive hatred amongst Cubans.  Cubans up until that time were not lined up against a wall and shot by a firing squad as would happen during Castro’s revolution.  Everyone thought this would be like other coupe d’états, including rich people like Miguel Angel  Quevada*,  the owner of Bohemia magazine (one of Castro’s revolution’s strongest defenders).
Many Cubans, myself included, believed that there should be laws improving the lives of Cuban “guajiros”.  Laws to provide them better salaries and bonuses when appropriate,  from the landowners and latifundista’s.  But taking the land away from the landowners was not something the average Cuban thought was right nor appropriate.  On a mere practical level, it made no sense.  The landowners were the people who had the experience in managing the land, and the knowledge to improve production and cultivation.  To remove them from the picture would create chaos and ruin.  Taking American owned sugar mills from American ownership was also ill advised.  The American sugar mills took better care of their Cuban workers, than the Cuban owned mills; the workers there were paid better, and when the mills were not functioning, they were allowed to continue living in the batey, which was not often the case with the Cuban ingenious (sugar mills).
During the 50 years following Cuba’s independence at the turn of the century, many positive changes occurred in our island.  We developed a free primary and secondary educational system, and our university’s charged a fee of only 50 Cuban pesos per year.  Besides the proliferation of newspapers, we also enjoyed modern television coverage; and it was all a free press.  Our sugar crops commanded not only a good price, but were sold to US companies prior to being harvested, allowing us to have more of a sense of financial security; there were a multitude of Cuban and American stores and mills where Cuban workers could earn a reasonable living.  Our schools produced more teachers and doctors then we could assimilate.  Finally, a number of “progressive” laws were passed which were unheard of in the US, for example the maternity laws protecting women who were expecting babies.  The labor union movement was quite strong in Cuba pre-Castro.  In fact, one of Castro’s henchmen, (Che Guevara) first act of destruction was to kill the Cuban labor movement leaders and to outlaw organized labor.
A Cuban’s life was improving greatly during the first half of the 20th century.  Of course, there was still plenty of room for improvement.  My husband and I both thought that further effective improvements would come about through democratic laws.  Perhaps if Fidel had followed the road to democracy, and considering he had the backing of 90% of the Cuban people, he could have been a miracle man that truly improved the Cuban people.
Soon after the revolution I stopped my job as an assistant superintendent in Havana city schools, and went back to being a school teacher in Havana.  This happened not because I quit, nor because the district thought I had done a poor job.  Instead, it was an action that affected many people.  The new edict was that any promotion which occurred during Castro’s time in the Sierra Maestra was considered null and void.  I found the new curriculum and what was expected of us to teach miserable.  The new history books now taught that the United States was evil and that the US brought misery and colonialism to Cuba; no mention was made of the progress and development that American generated dollars had helped enact in Cuba.  Instead, the books praised the Soviets, and all the good works the Soviets had done for Cuba.  This was news for me and the other teachers as Russia was never a part of Cuban life.  A new world of indoctrination began in the school system, and we teachers were to implement it.
Once the indoctrination of my students began, I realized that Castro was Cuba’s future and he would never lose his control.  I knew that I could not lie to my students, however, if I adopted an attitude of protest against the government I would not be a teacher for long.  My children would be amongst the newly indoctrinated.  Already my oldest daughter was coming home from school speaking ill of “Yankees”, and reciting lessons where the belief in God was being questioned**.  I knew that for my children’s sake and for my own sense of self,  I had to leave Cuba.
Soon I found myself in line in front of the American Embassy applying for a visa to leave Cuba.  It was a fearful action for me as I knew that if school officials, or acquaintances saw me, they could denounce me as anti-revolutionary and take away my job; I hunched over and hid while in line.  Finally, when I received the visa for my children and I, we left without telling anyone but my immediate family.  No one, including the school I worked at knew that I left.  After one week of being absent from my job, my school principal and a superintendent came to my house to investigate my absence.   When my principal asked my mother where I was, my mother told her that I left Cuba.  When she could, and away from the superintendent, she told my mother, “Thank God; I would do the same if I could!”  Later, my mother would recount this story to me, and I was quite surprised.  Up until the day I left my interactions with my principal had led me to believe that she was a fervent, active revolutionary.  Clearly, even in the early days of Fidel’s power, many people were faking what they believed out of fear of what might happen if they didn’t.  And many still are.

*See previous blog post regarding Quevada’s curiously narssistictic,  guilt laden suicide note.

**Cadres came to Elementary school and presented children with the conundrum: “Who  will take care of you, Fidel or God?  Here is a test:  ask Fidel for ice-cream or ask God.”  Those who “asked Fidel” got ice-cream and those who did not, received nothing – unless they changed their minds and asked Fidel. “See Fidel is real and takes care of you; God is nothing.”  Thus ended  lessons for the day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We, the People of the Blue States…

We, the People of the Blue States…

Usually, during Presidential inaugurations, Presidents use a language that unifies the nation, as well as quotes from our founding fathers.  They usually mention our classical traditions and values. They are bipartisan and conciliatory speeches which appeals to the vast majority of our citizens, regardless of which state they come from.  They do not attack members of the other party and even less so the other party’s defeated presidential candidate. Inaugural Addresses are inclusive not exclusive . They have a conciliatory purpose, and example being Lincoln’s second inaugural event which centered on “renewal”. Why is this important?

President Obama used the term “We the People” in his recent inaugural address, as his selective bipartisan, unifying phrase. However the context  of his speech invalidated the preplanned effect of this phrase; that is to say, the effect it has when it forms part of the U.S. Constitution.  In addition, the effect of the phrase was invalidated by his indirect criticism  of Romney and the  GOP.   He uses this constant attack almost daily  while using his presidential bully pulpit in his never ending campaign.  This is very reminiscent of  Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

President Obama’s inaugural speech also  attempts  association with Martin Luther King and President Lincoln, two of the most admired and respected heroes of our American society.  But in Lincoln’s second inaugural speech his two most important themes were: Renewal and Reconciliation.  This is in sharp contrast to President Obama’s attitude towards his opponents.  Martin Luther King’s exceptional ability to gather the backing and sympathy toward his patriotic demands, also contrasts with President Obama.   Obama focuses on gathering the predetermined groups in society with whom he has a shared interest,  and disregarding others.  Contrast Reverend King who drew followers from all facets of life: white and black people; women and men; heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexual;  and poor as well as  rich.   Similar to President Reagan he gathered in his tent all those who wished to enter.

A large group of the People were completely ignored in Obama’s speech.  Namely, those in  the 24 out of the 50 states of the U.S. that did not vote for him.  The speech adorned with the words, “We, the People” .. only addressed the four very progressive agendas that his very progressive constituency want during  his second presidential period.   It is, as if the people of those 24 Conservatives States (Red States) who did not support him did not exist.  He thus he ignored 48% of the "people" in the United States.  

This does not fulfill what the Constitution demands from him.  He is the head  of the Executive Branch of our government.   His speech can be considered  instead as the speech of an autocratic government who is telling his minions what he wishes to enforce.   He has shown himself  to not be the President of all the United States people but instead the president of the 26 Blue States that gave him the presidential victory.   Really, his inaugural phrase should had been, “We the people of the Blue  States …”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bohemia Accuses the Killers of Cuban Democracy

Miguel Angel Quevedo was the owner, publisher and editor of the Cuban political weekly magazine “BOHEMIA”, the most popular of the Island’s magazines. Many “democratic” Latin-American governments considered themselves friends of the Magazine. BOHEMIA’s journalists and editor acclaimed those governments good deeds while minimizing or omitting their dictatorial actions, or criminal wrongs.

BOHEMIA followed this same pattern against the democratic government of did not have communist inclinations. This continued and in fact was multiplied during the political dictatorial-democratic government of Batista. Batista’s government, although dictatorial, allowed some important democratic facets, such as freedom of the press, freedom to bear arms, freedom to lawfully trade, etc. Bohemia, its journalists and the majority of the Cuban media, repeated the lie of the“20, 000 deaths that Batista assassinated”, and always exaggerated negative events. The worst of BOHEMIA’s abuses, was not supporting the General Election invoked by Batista in 1958 (it was subsequently delayed by Castro when he called for a general strike and was known to set bombs; the three candidates were Carlos Márquez Sterling, Ramón Grau San Martín, and Andre Rivera Agüero). Batista was not even slated to be a candidate. BOHEMIA ignored this electoral process, and continued to center its attention on information about the revolutionaries, as if the electoral process was not existing. BOHEMIA and other leftists knew that Batista’s government had to oversee a fair and constitutional election, or it could lose the needed economic backing of the United States. But BOHEMIA, and the majority of the Cuban free press had one political end: not the termination of rule by Batista, but the success of Fidel’s revolution.

Quevedo knew that very well.

This is exerpt of a rarely published letter by Quevedo exposes, and is perhaps the last beacon that can openly inform readers, of the repeated international plan to end democracy in Cuba. This plan in the Americas, was initiated by Fidel in Cuba , and has since been repeated by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, amongst others. There are signs that this action is being repeated again, even in the most powerful democratic bastion, the United States of America.

This is my translation of the last letter written by Miguel Angel Quevedo, who was the owner, director, and one of the editors of the most influential weekly magazine in Cuba, "Bohemia". He was very effective in bringing Castro to power. In this letter he demonstrates that there was a conspiracy against the many pre-Castro governments, denounces those involved, and apologies for his assistance and participation in this conspiracy. The letter speaks for itself:

Mr. Ernesto Montana,

When you receive this letter, you will likely have heard via a radio announcement that I have died. I finally (!!) committed suicide, after avoiding yours and Agustin Alles attempts to stop me.

I recognize that after my death my grave will be covered by a mountain of accusations. I know that the world wants to recognize me as the only guilty party to bring Castro to power. But, all of us were guilty to a greater or lesser extent.

Guilty were all of the reporters who littered my desk with destructive articles all directed towards the all the governments. They were trying to achieve fame through morbid destruction. To feel important, and flattered by the approbation of the populace. This was a masquerade which they never removed. It didn't matter who the president was, no good works could ever be praised. Instead, it was a need to attack and destroy. Then, after being influenced by this press, the populace reversed their previous desires and wished to hang those they had previously elected. The people were also guilty. The people who loved Guitera, the people who loved Chibas, the people who applauded Pardo Llada*. The people who bought Bohemia, because Bohemia was the voice people wanted to hear. The people who accompanied Fidel from Oriente to Columbia**.

Fidel was a product of demogougerie and insensitivity. We all contributed in creating him. And all of us are guilty of his arrival to power because of either resentment, stupidity, or evilness. The reporters knew of Fidel's past: his participation in the communist Bogotazo, his assassination of Manolo Castro***, and his gangsterish conduct at the University of Havana. And even when he was later jailed, we asked for amnesty for him and his accomplices.

The congress was guilty because they approved the amnesty. The radio commentators who filled the air with praises for Fidel. The population who gathered for his speeches and blindingly approved all of his communist dictums.

Bohemia was an echo of what was said in the streets. An echo that was influenced and resonated by Bohemia. Bohemia was applauded by the populace when it printed the diabolical lie by Enriquito de la Osa, inventing that Batista had killed 20,000 youths.

The millionaires who gave Fidel millions of dollars to takedown the old regimen

The millions who sold-out to the bearded criminal. And those who cared more for contraband and fraud than taking action against those in Sierra Maestra. Guilty were the priests clothed in red robes who sent youths to the Sierra Maestra to serve Castro and his guerillas. And the clergy, who officially supported the communist revolution with those incendiary sermons. Pushing the government to release its power to the revolutionaries.

The U.S. Government was guilty in stopping further arms to the government to fight the revolutionaries. And guilty was the U.S. State department in not exposing and so backing the international communist community in owning Cuba.

Guilty were the politicians who closed the door on any electoral changes****. And the newspapers, like Bohemia, who played these politicians, and would not cover nor mention these elections.

We were all guilty. All of us. By action, or omission. Young or old. Rich or poor. White or black. Honest man and thief. Virtuous and liar. Of course, we didn't understand the incredible and bitter lesson that the most virtuous and honest was the poor man.

I die with revulsion. Alone. Proscripted. Exiled. Abandoned and betrayed by friends whom I had generously supported both morally and economically during difficult times. Like Romulo Betancourt, Figueres, Muñoz Marin. The Titans of the democratic left; who had little of the "democratic" but so much of the "leftist".

All, coldly, and without humanity abandoned me in my fall. When they were convinced that I was anti-communist, they demonstrated that they were anti-Quevedistas. They were the founders of the "Third World". The world of Mao Tse Tung.

I hope my death will be fruitful. And commands people to meditate. For those who can learn. And for newspapers and journalists to never say only what vulgar populace and mobs want them to say. That the press no longer be an echo of what is said in the streets, but a beacon to orient the voices in the street properly. That the millionaires no longer give their money to those who will later take away all of their belongings. That there no longer be announcements and publications filled bias and hatred capable of destroying the physical and morality integrity of a nation or of a diaspora.

So that the people rethink and repudiate those hate filled voices that bear only bitter fruit.

We were a people blinded by hate. And we were all victims of this blindness.

Our sins weighed more than our virtues. We forgot about Nuñes de Arces, when he said, "when a nation forgets it's virtues, it carries in it's own vices it's future tyrant".

Good bye. This is my last good bye. Tell my compatriots that I pardon them with crossed arms, and for them also to pardon me for the wrongs I committed.

Miguel Angel Quevedo

August 12, 1969