Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Damaged Cuban

The Damaged Cuban

All during my life, and more so these days, I have encountered Cubans during the course of my day. Inevitably, after we exchange pleasantries and talk about my great grandfather and my other family members, the conversation turns to, what happened to them and their family and friends at the hands of the Castro regime. It is this terrible thing that has happened to them which they cannot even discuss openly. For those of you who do not understand, this is because even after 47 years their loved ones are still held hostage by Castro and his criminal organized gang. Cubans know if they say something truthful about the Cuban regime that embarrasses them the goon squad will soon be knocking on the door of their family and friends on the island. So these sweet people tell me their horror stories instead. I think it makes them feel better just to tell someone safe what has happened to them. All of these stories are difficult to hear and they cause me to choke back tears only by feeling a rage towards these evil doers. The perpetrators need to feel shame for what they have done and what they continue to do to these nice people. And I want to hear every Cuban’s sad story of abuse before I die because it makes them feel better. I want to give them all an enormous hug, slap them on the back and say everything is going to be alright in the future. It is just so sad that the future for Cubans just keeps getting push out of reach by both tyrants and western ignorance.

Why? Because Americans, Canadians and Europeans keep vacationing in Cuba’s tourist apartheid regime or supported Fidel Castro. At the very least, people, be embarrassed by your naivety. You should have put two and two together and realized what was happening to the Cuban people just ninety miles from our shore even thought the regime is expert at hiding their murderous ways. If a Cuban dies of torture is Castro’s secret dungeons but the rest of the world doesn’t realize it, does that mean it hasn’t occurred at all? Has a Cuban not felt pain and/or died? Let me give you the benefit of the doubt. Because Cubans have not been able to relate to you the thousands of individual nightmares which they have endured at the hands of Castro, for fear of hurting their families on the island, you can claim blissful ignorance. But now I have put you westerners on notice. If you support this regime in any way you too are evil and must be shamed! Read the following true story but imagine that it is you and your family. How would you feel? This nice lady went out of her way to tell me that she was one of the lucky ones as many were far worse off than she. Hopefully once you read this story (names not given to protect the hostages) if you have ever knowingly or not supported this regime you must repent now! You must condemn this tyrannical regime. Every dollar that you ever spent in Cuba you must donate ten times that amount to a Cuban Charity or even better- start your own relief effort or even lobby Congress on behalf of the Cuban people. Remember, there are thousands of stories just like these:

Tribute to Cubans

There was a time I didn’t feel very Cuban, I was lost in between cultures. I didn’t want to identify as a Cuban. The painful years were in the past and that’s where they would stay. English would be my language and USA would be my country, my motherland. However, the truth is, they can take a Cuban out of Cuba, but Cuba always stays in the Cuban. There is a pride in the Cuban history. There is a magnificent soul inside a Cuban, bias aside. The humor, the dancing and the music could be the very best when done by a Cuban. With all the challenges my people had to endure they manage to continue driving those old Chevy’s from the 50’s - God bless them. What great minds! Imagine what the Cuban people could do under the right circumstances, having the technology we have here in the states, they might have invented the time traveling machine to travel back to the 50’s and kill that son of a bitch of Castro before it was too late.

We have a lot of people that try to come to this country for a better life, because no matter what you think of this country, everybody wants to come here and they usually do better here than in their own country. Crossing a border is pretty hard to do; Mexicans do it by the thousands every week, and if they carry enough water and they are in good health, it's like a walk in the park. However, crossing the 90 miles of shark-infested ocean waters in a raft is another thing. I hear there are approximately 3 million Cubans in exile. Some didn’t make it all the way. Unfortunately a lot of them disappeared half way into their journey. The moment you decide, you’d rather die than live with shackles, when life is no longer a priority but freedom is, when the mind no longer wonders with aspirations, when the hope is all gone, when your children belong to the Government, when the spirit gets broken, when it seems that God no longer listens, when there’s nobody to rescue you, then it’s time to take a raft and hope the wind is blowing to the North. Many Cubans perished in the ocean, for this we can thank El Commandant Fidel Castro, beloved by many uninformed people. They are brainwashed. They say that Castro is a good man because his people get free education. I don’t respect anybody that gives me free education and then tells me what I can or can’t read. Communism, the biggest rip off in history.

Early Years

It was summer and I was a kid. We packed our bags to spend the summer at the country house. I didn’t like summers at the country. The beach was more fun. The country house was like out of a John Wayne movie. The first room was a great big dining room with a huge sign high up on the wall made out of jute rope that spelled the word “WELCOME.” The long rustic table had two long benches on each side and could have easily accommodated ten to twelve people. To the left was the primitive kitchen with a window that opened to the outside as well as a door facing the barn. On the right was the living room with prim and refined white wicker furniture, and a book shelf in the corner without books on it. One wall had windows and double doors that opened out to the porch and beyond was the tropical fruit orchard with mangoes, bananas, oranges, papayas, mameys, guavas and so many varieties of exquisite fruit. I used to climb those trees and eat mangoes and bananas until my tummy ached.

Sometimes it is great to think and transport myself to the farm remembering those days, where the palm trees went straight to the heavens. Not a care in my mind. It was fun to see my mother grab the neck of a chicken and with a good twist I would see my dinner do the Macarena. Everything tasted better in Cuba. The milk was thick and sweet, and when the espresso coffee was ready, the intoxicating aroma would wake everybody up.

Summer was great, but when December came the whole family got together at my maternal grandparents house and feasted on a delicious typical Christmas dinner that consisted of a delicious suckling pig cooked on a pit, rice, black beans, yucca con mojo, plantains and buñuelos and torrejas for dessert. The Christmas lights decorated the town and everybody wished Merry Christmas to all. Midnight mass service was available at every church and the spirit of Jesus was everywhere. It was a holiday to celebrate and we all did. There was no fear or persecution. Cuba was a great place to live.

Bay of Pigs

After the attack of the Bay of Pigs, many innocent Cuban citizens were arrested and this happened to us as I remember. I have recorded events and dates that took place during my years in Cuba. I have three children and I would want them to know why their mother doesn't live in her country of birth.

There were rumors that there was an attack at the Bay of Pigs. Some Cubans came from the North to free the country with weapons provided by President Kennedy with an agreement that the Americans would follow and help us. That was great. We would finally get rid of Castro and we were sure Cuba was going to be free. However, Kennedy went back on his promise, leaving the inexperience warriors to meet their death or a worse fate, being tortured by Castro’s thugs and spending life in underground prisons.

On this night, we were having dinner. It was a night like any other and my mother had the steamed rice, black beans, some meat and fried plantains on the table. As usual we were getting ready to have our supper. There was a knock at the door, followed by thumping noises. My father finally opened the front door and many soldiers came in. It was like an army and two soldiers pushed my father to the floor, held him down, and about 10 other soldiers went thru the house searching for weapons or something they could take back to their commandant. Of course they found nothing, but they still took my father prisoner - no charges, no warrant, no explanations, no lawyer, no Miranda Rights. In Cuba justice doesn’t exist and nobody has any rights.

My mother was frantic, I was horrified. What were they going to do with my father? My mother received some news from friends that the soldiers were arresting some citizens that may have been affiliated to those counter-revolutionaries in the attack at the Bay of Pigs. My father and Uncle Jose were held at an undisclosed location for two weeks where they were tortured, questioned, held totally incommunicado and finally released alive. They had been found innocent of any wrongdoing after nearly killing them! My father decided that he had to leave his country.

He planned the trip and found the boat. He invited members of the family to go on a ride. They all knew what kind of a ride, of course. The soldiers stopped us in the middle of our journey, arrested all the men and women then all four of us children were taken to a building until the next of kin came to pick us up. The men received a year in prison. The women only got a month, but my father received two years in San Severino’s prison as a political prisoner for trying to escape the country illegally and for planning the escape. San Severino was a castle constructed by the Spaniards during their colonization of Cuba between the 1400’s and the 1500’s. It had stone walls, and a subterranean courtyard with underground cells. It’s a beautiful historical castle turned into a prison complements of Fidel Castro.

- Maria

This brave lady will have more of her story to come in the future. So while you westerners are all snug enjoying your holiday remember that thousands of Cubans missed many Christmas’ with loved ones thanks to Fidel Castro and westerners' support – some will never see loved ones again. So if you unknowingly aided the tyrant due to ignorance we forgive you. But you must repent now and make it right.

Merry Christmas

Tomás Estrada-Palma

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Human Wealth Output

Human Wealth Output

How much wealth does an average human create? Even in ancient times with primitive tools humans easily made more wealth than they consumed. Today with modern tools a human can easily produce ten times more than his ancestors or more. Let’s examine the Cuban exile example and ask this question. Has permitting 800,000 Cuban exiles to move here and work shrunk our economy or increased our economy? Have Cubans cost the government more or less in tax expenditures compared to tax receipts?

We don’t have to answer those questions because you already know these rhetorical questions have obvious answers. The fact of the matter is if I could dig a tunnel to Cuba from the Keys and sneak the Cuban people out in a biblical-like exodus, American wealth output would immediately explode and Cuban GDP would drop to zero. But these Cubans would take up all the jobs, right? That’s what xenophobes will cry believing that there are but so many jobs and once they are filled that’s it. That’s ridiculous! Even in a slave labor income taxed environment that reduces job creation, as well as urban land hoarding which reduces construction and renovation jobs, there is always enough work to hire able-bodies men and women. In fact it is just the above-mentioned job killers along with their profit reducing paperwork requirements and regulatory (strangulatory) laws that not only shrink the numbers of jobs but also reduce overall wages and benefits. That’s because when the government and private interests (the especially privileged) greedily enforce stupid economic policies they artificially keep the number of jobs lower than the workers willing to fill them. Too many people chasing too few jobs are a recipe for poor wages and benefits.

Why do they reduce jobs like this beyond greed if it causes so much poverty and so many social costs? It is because desperate people are easier to control and they are left with little time to think on a higher level about society and how they are being governed. They must somehow put food on the table and complete their low-paying job requirements while completely exhausted. This is simply the economics of 21st Century slavery. The masters have new addresses in places like Washington, DC and other national and state/provincial locations around the world. These government/multinational corporate plantation masters have figured how to use the revolution in communications to allow the tracking of all of us slaves so they can compile our labor output and decide how to spend it. The plantation has just been greatly expanded by using electronic cyber fences. Some might believe that having our masters decide how to spend half of our labor resources a wise thing. Why was the levee in New Orleans not upgraded while billions were spent blowing up Iraq?

So now, Cubans caught on the high seas are returned to Castro’s gulag but why if they would actually make our economy stronger? It is because it would expose the lies about the above slavery setup. They are sacrificial lambs to the belief that jobs are finite. If the ball and chains of our government/corporate masters were removed the fact is every new worker here would produce easily ten times more than consumed to maintain his basic needs. That nine out of every ten dollars he is producing will be buying other things for his comfort and needs which must be filled by other humans working at different jobs. Think about it people. This is not rocket science when you think about it. Think about it even though our masters have tried to leave you with as little time and energy as possible to do so. Think about it.

Tomás Estrada-Palma

Monday, December 18, 2006

BlogTalkRadio Meltdown

BlogTalkRadio Meltdown

I know…I know. You were there at 9 pm Sunday night and so was I. I did everything correctly on my end but the BlogTalk people said they were sorry but evidently they were doing a software upgrade and it obviously had some glitches. My contact said many programs had problems. From my perspective everything appeared normal during my show except that nobody was calling in. Fortunately Jose Reyes contacted me and let me know I was talking to myself. I restarted my show a number of times until finally at about 9:35 pm I got onto the air. The system is supposed to be fixed by today but just in case email me at next show if you don’t hear me and I’ll start again.

Actually, most of my show was captured and archived if you still want to hear it but the timing was all wrong as I had to restart a number of times. The difficult part was I had done some funny stuff for you but getting a laugh depends on timing. That was not happening last night. Adding to my misery last night was the fact that yesterday I was burning up with fever and sick to my stomach. I was not sure I could do the show but I sucked it up and tried.

My deepest apologies to the Cubans who were disappointed by last night’s follies. We let you down and that has happened too much to this nation of Cuban people. I will always put you first. Bear with us until we get this right.

Tomás Estrada-Palma