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Saturday, July 14, 2007
I found out about the Bay of Pigs years after it took place. My father had an employee who wore fatigues and carried a machete in the factory. Although he was a nice enough guy, I overheard the adults saying that he had been at the Bay of Pigs and had never been the same since getting out of Castro's prison. Afterward, I asked my mother what that meant.
She told me that a group of Cubans had gotten together to liberate their country with the backing of the United States. They landed on the beaches, facing the might of Castro's army which was waiting for them. But the promised air support never came. Imagine D-Day without bombing. At the very last minute, after the invasion had been launched, according to the exile grapevine, Robert Kennedy had convinced his brother the President to pull the air support. That's why, she said, he ransomed the survivors.
As I grew up, I learned to question the exile view. Face it, they were a little crazy on the subject. In a college political science class, I decided to do my paper on the Bay of Pigs. I did my research on the Barnard and Columbia campuses. Reputable history book after history book said basically that the air support never came because in essence the two parts of the operation hadn't synchronized their watches.
You can imagine my shock then when years later, I was watching a PBS special on the CIA and found out that Kennedy had in fact pulled the air support. One old CIA operative described his last communication with the leader of the expedition, who hip deep in water, cursed the treachery of the Americans. I don't know if RFK played any part, but I do know that the truth is not always in history books.
Anyway, this all came up because I was reading Babalublog.com and came across a link to Humberto Fontova's IBD interview. From there I began reading some of his articles and came across one on the Bay of Pigs. It's a must read. It moved me to tears.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tio almost managed to escape the island without incident. Actually, it
was Tio, Tia, and the two kids. The rest of them did, in fact, leave on the
regularly scheduled Cubana de Aviacion flight. Tio did not. You know what they
say about things that are almost. Well, the entire family was sitting in their
So it is that I picture the family sitting there- nervous, excited- unsure of what awaited them in this new life, where at least my parents had carved a path before them. They were sitting there when the announcement came. Alicia Alonso and her dance troupe had an engagement in the States and needed seats. Apparently not enough people offered theirs, because the next thing they knew, Tio had been bumped off the flight and was scheduled for the following day.
Well, that evening Senor Castro must have had quite a nightmare, being chased by badgers in red, white, and blue pajamas, for example, or maybe an extreme digestive upset caused by hamburgers and fries. The next morning, he announced that effective immediately, there would be no regularly scheduled flights to the United States. Now Tio was in Cuba with no means of leaving, and Tia, who had hitherto never worked a day in her life, found herself a single mother of two with no means of support, except my father that it is…
Years passed with my uncle stuck in Cuba, his family here. Then one day, a strange woman called my aunt. I imagine the conversation.
“I was with your husband on Cayo Anguila before the Milicianos took him
“Not my husband,” insists the mystified wife. Unspoken is the thought
that he is too meek and mild-mannered to have taken the risk to escape from
“Is he tall and thin? A very religious man? He was carrying a Bible. I have it here. Let me read the inscription.”
At the reading of the inscription she knows is in her husband’s Bible, my aunt feels immobilized, unable to move, turned into a pillar of salt.
This conversation took place in August of 1963, the August I was six. I looked up the date. My first inkling of the tragedia that had hit my family came that night when friends brought me home to an apartment crowded with family and friends, as well as people I didn’t know. They milled about aimlessly, all trying to make themselves heard over the din. Making my way through the crowd, I found my mother in the kitchen. Tears ran down her cheeks, but I couldn’t reach her because she was encircled by bodies in a macabre tarantella. Someone was waving a copy of The Daily News. I could see something that looked like a boat on the back page. It was obvious something was terribly wrong. I was afraid
Somehow I ascertained that Tio had been captured on Anguilla Cay by the Cuban government he was trying to escape. I didn’t know him, as I didn’t know my grandparents, my other uncles, all those left behind. One grandmother used to write. The other grandfather, who farmed a small plot of land before it was taken away, used to send me pictures of my pig, my goat, etc…
That night, I learned that having reached British soil and made contact with the Americans, he and all those with him waited for the American rescue. The next day, they spied a ship. A helicopter made its way to the shore. The castaways lined up on the beach, jumping up and down for joy. The Americans! The Americans! Imagine the moment, as the helicopter nears and they spy not the American flag, but the Cuban, as well as the Milicianos pointing machine guns at them. It is a rocky shore. There is nowhere to hide. They are whisked away. The only ones to escape are the women who had left the group to attend to their grooming. It is one of these who had calls my Aunt.
The British Government protests the invasion of their sovereign territory. The Cuban Government ignores. And Tio, he spends the next years being tortured in prison for the crime of wanting to rejoin the family he had lost when Alicia Alonso bumped him off that flight.
So many stories. There are over a million.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
All musing aside, however, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved with the BUCL campaign. Whatever the outcome, they are reasoned campaigns that make it that much more difficult for the msm and the public to ignore us. The Invisible Ones campaign struck just the right note, not too strident, informative, and inclusive. "See, don't you think this is terrible," it says.
There are some to whom these campaigns seem too small, not large enough in scope or participation. It is a beginning, a constructive one at that. There's a children's nursery rhyme that goes
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
All for want of a horseshoe nail.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Don't forget the candlelight vigil for the invisible ones on Monday Night in front of the Versailles at 8:30. Wish I were in Miami for that one. I've actually contemplated driving down there, but I don't know if I'm up to driving up the 75 in the dark. Maybe.
Che T-shirt alert! So I'm watching The Shooter last night, the one where one of the Wahlberg's is framed for an assasination, and then I see it. The doofy FBI guy is wearing a Che T-shirt. It's a conspiracy, I tell you!
Just in time for my propaganda post, there's another missive from the blogger in chief. Castro accuses the US of hypocrisy. Can't wait to see the rest of it. Tried to read it in Spanish, but its length rivals that of his speeches. The entire first section seems to be a retelling of US History, which I don't need Mr. Castro for, and my Spanish requires a truly concerted effort.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Over the years, I've realized one of the most successful techniques is to present a bold-faced lie, one that all know is a lie, and continue to adhere to it. Act as if it is a truth. A marvelous thing then happens: people actually begin to believe what they know to be untrue. Over time, the truth disappears, and the lie is perceived as truth. Fidel learned this well at the hands of his Russian masters. Watching any American anchor's interview with Fidel is guaranteed to send any Cuban American into apoplexy as he rolls off lie after lie. These are easily refutable lies, yet they are given credence by the dupe of a journalist. An offshoot of this technique is that you can then pretend to have the high moral ground on any given moment. Pretend your virtue, and all will believe it.
When he was President, I began to notice Clinton availing himself of this technique. He did not engage in sex with that woman. He didn't lie under oath. It was "the vast right-wing conspiracy." With the Scooter Libby pardon, he and Hillary have outdone themselves. "Cronyism," they cry, the duo that pardoned Susan McDougal and Roger Clinton.
What was it? Let's see. Clinton handed out 140 pardons in his last days in office. The two instances that stand out in my mind are the Marc Rich and those in Horizon Village in upstate New York.
Marc Rich is pardoned: the Clinton's get money for their causes, an interesting coincidence. The people who bilked the government in a student loan scam get pardoned: the entire village votes for Hillary for the NY Senate. Interesting, isn't it. I don't know if there was a direct relationship between the aforesaid, but it smells mighty pungent.
So now, do they cringe in shame, restrain themselves from making any but the blandest of comments? No, they act as if there were no dirt on their lily white hands and condemn the disgraceful Libby pardon, the one that is actually a commutation of prison time. And the MSM, they go along for the ride. And the American public? You tell me.
Oh, yeah, you have to be shameless to be successful.
I still can't understand. They are supposedly playing Havana. I saw that personally on their tour website a while back. It's a concert for their Cuban fans, they said. And while I understand that could be a good thing. Remember the Beatles in the USSR? I have to question it when I see the "Fidel" caps for sale on that same website. I remember Trudy Styler and her nightspot "Socialista." And I ask my self, "Why are Cubans less?" Sting could condemn apartheid in South Africa, publicize the plight of the desaparecidos in Chile with his "They Dance Alone," but somehow what has happened to the Cuban people is okay. It is also okay to ignore or mock the sensibilities of Cubans who have had to flee the country in pursuit of freedom.
It comes to me that perhaps Castro achieved his only triumph in his propaganda, which coupled with the inherent bias of people in the US and Western Europe, has held off world condemnation. As I read the comments section under articles about Cuba and the embargo, I am overwhelmed by the ignorance and stupidity of the posters. For it is stupidity to make sweeping pronouncements about Cuba when you haven't a clue.
Because they cannot conceive that a hispanic country south of Key West could possibly be developed and prosperous, they swallow the Communist line about how terrible things were before Castro, and what progress the regime has made in literacy and healthcare. So what if they get meager rations to eat? At least they're eating. One genius said, "They're still better off than in Haiti." Hello, dope, they were light years ahead of Haiti in 1958. While preCastro Cuba had its problems, it was a developing country. It had one of the hightest literacy rates in Latin America. Oh, and there was food to be had. The present Cuban ration is less than that which was given to slaves in Cuba in the 17th century.
Then there is the embargo which should be lifted according to these luminaries. They seem to forget, or they don't know that Castro seized over 850 million dollars in American- not Cuban American- American assets. I guess we should tell the individuals and companies involved to just forget it, like Spielberg told Cuban Americans to do about their losses. I still want to appropriate his assets and see how he feels about it fifty years later. All those farmers and grain belt politicians clamoring to trade with Cuba should know that the American government is actually protecting them by requiring cash transactions. Cuba doesn't pay its bills, stupid! Just ask Mexico or India. Yeah, by the way, isn't it arrogant to presume that the Cuban economy is in the pits because we don't trade with them? Isn't there enough of a market in the rest of the world to compensate? Gimme a break!
And political prisoners, the ones the Castro regime says they don't have, they are truly the invisible ones. Oh, that's right, they're arrested for things like "pre-criminal dangerousness." Gee, is that like the Tom Cruise movie? Stopping a "crime" before it's committed? Nary a single post mentions them.
Sad thoughts for 2am.