Friday, January 2, 2009

Updated: The Regime at 50

Since it is snowing all over the net, as in the mass of media outlets has taken their script for covering the anniversary of the 50 years of dictatorship from Anita Snow, I think it is only fair to highlight some more coverage of the same, coverage that is at once more accurate and a bit different.

On Babalu Dr. Carlos Eire writes:

The ultimate legacy of the Revolution may very well be its utter contempt for Cubans. For half a century now, Cuba’s leaders have strangled all political discourse, poisoning whatever common future all of us Cubans could have hoped for. The Castro regime has not only expelled twenty percent of the population and ripped apart millions of families, but also fanned hatred and intolerance. In the process, the Revolution turned us all into beggars of one sort or another, either in our own homeland or in exile, and bequeathed to us a destitute island prison, part brothel, part work camp, part freak show, where the only way to escape despair –short of suicide-- is to flee, or to become an agent of repression.

Over at Cubanology Jose Reyes makes an interesting point as to what "Cuba" means:

Cuba only stands for Fidel and “his” revolucion, the Cuban people do not really exist, how could they? The average Cuban in Cuba has no opinion at all, that right is not in the vocabulary. Neither are they allowed to leave the country, no visa. They cannot demonstrate against the Castro regime, long prison terms. So it goes without saying, the Castro regime has done nothing for the Cuban people in the last 50 years that would justify and be considered as positive progress.

From Gusano over at La Contra Revolucion, we get a poignant glimpse into the sense of loss that permeates the exile experience.

So I imagined that New Year’s Eve in 1958 and all the hard partying, dancing Cubans sipping Cidra and chomping on grapes totally unaware that the island they were floating on was about to be swallowed up in a whirlpool of change.And little did those that knew what was about to happen imagine that 50 years later the island would still be sinking into that swirling, bottomless abyss.

And in the only media coverage to get it right, this from the Washington Times.

Fifty years ago, on Jan. 1, 1959, Fidel Castro and his guerrilla band took over Cuba, a day after its dictator president, Fulgencio Batista, fled the country when the United States withdrew its support. At the time, Mr. Castro, then 32, painted himself as a sort of Jeffersonian democrat, and he was given a ticker-tape parade in New York and spoke at Harvard. It was not until June 6, 1961, when the liberals' darling acknowledged that he had been a Communist since he was 17 years old.

Update: asks the question:

Are the Cubans in this country just a bunch of dumbassess that didn’t realize how good they had it? Andy Garcia must really be an idiot for these statements, I mean hell, he lived it but GMA saw it on TV:

More to come....

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

As the closing minutes of 2008 tick down, I'd hazard to guess that decades from now, no one will be singing, "It was 2008. It was a very good year." At least, I know I won't. And yet, there is so much for which to be grateful, or "greatful." Interesting thought, that.

In that spirit, I'd like to wish you all a very happy New Year, ever "grateful" that you have stopped by. So tonight, after you throw out the water and eat your 12 grapes, try this for a fitting coda. I use coda, because if we are all very lucky, we will all be here next year. L'Chaim!

(Please note the politically correct multiculturalism here. Ain't that America?)

Bon Mot of the Day

The story is told that when Emperor Nero became infatuated with a young man, he had the young man castrated so he could later celebrate a "wedding" with the youth, now a eunuch. One of the invitees to the event commented that Rome would have been better served if [Nero's father] had attended his own nuptials in like fashion. Looking around me, I have to think similarly about a certain Spaniard who came to this land...

(Oswaldo Yañez in Havana from this post. In Spanish)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Spaghetti: Of Time and Place

Livin' on the edge. Finally, I don't have to claim boomership. I am officially a cusper like our illustrious soon-to-be president and the potential next senator from Massachusetts. Talk about your trashtalking. Here's a boomer indictment for ya'll. I'm a boomer trasher from way back, myself.

Not quite ready for primetime. Here are not one but two positive Palin stories. First is an interview in which she sounds not stupid but actually well-versed. Second is a pretty incisive piece by Ruben Navarette. He makes the distinction that her appeal was not so much about small town America, as it was about small town American values. Don't know if I'd trust her with the codes quite yet, but she's real people.

Pair of docs. Problem: here's a mixed bag from the Wall Street Journal about the "myths" of Cuba. On the one hand, they acknowledge much of what is wrong, but their solution is not quite what the doctor ordered, methinks. Closer to the crux of the problem is this essay from former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda, not necessarily one of my favorite people.

Slice of life. Meet the new rules: the same as the old rules. Girls, never ever say "I love you" to a man first. At least that's what this how to on CNN informs us. And Townhall heralds the return of Snowzilla to his Anchorage home. The giant snowman apparently causes much havoc in the neighborhood and the municipal Scrooges have banned him.

My prescient self. Remember the animal Ebola in the Phillipines? Well, the dread disease has broken out in the human population in the Congo once again. Death toll was 11 on the 28th. Its spread is limited by its virulence, as in it liquefies its victims so quickly that outbreaks tend to be more localized. Truly scary. More here. Also in the ticking bomb department comes this report that there have been earthquakes in Yellowstone. As any watcher of disaster movies knows, that is potentially not good. Map here.