Thursday, June 7, 2007

Menendez Aftermath (Part 4)

On the same day that the Miami Herald published Ana Menedez's reply, Armando Perez-Roura made an error on his Radio Mambi show that had many "intransigents" complaining too.

Perez-Roura has a Sunday show called La Peña Mambisa (The Mambi Circle/Group) where he plays music (classical, Cuban and others), reads poetry, and engages in many forms of Cuban nostalgia. Well, on Sunday May 27th, it seems that Perez-Roura played a Barbara Streisand song, and that infuriated some listeners who complained the following Tuesday (Monday being Memorial Day). It seems that Streisand is no friend of Radio Mambi listeners because of her "Leftist" stance. Streisand (along with Michael Moore) was mentioned as being on the invite list of election observers for the 2004 Venezuelan referendum to recall Hugo Chavez. Most recently, Streisand's picture appeared on NewsMax's "Deck of Weasels," along with Michael Moore, George Clooney and other celebrities.

Very early on Tuesday, the first complaint suggested Perez-Roura had made an error in playing a Streisand song. Perez-Roura defended his selection because he thought that Streisand, while politically unacceptable, has talent and it should be considered apart from her political views.

This reply did not stop a second caller from making a rebuttal. This caller shot back at Perez-Roura with a Jose Marti quote: "Todo al fuego, hasta el arte" (Everything to the fire, even art). The entire Marti quote goes: "Cuando no se disfruta de la libertad, la única excusa del arte, y su único derecho para existir, es ponerse al servicio de ella. ¡Todo al fuego, hasta el arte, para alimentar la hoguera!"[quote #40 here]. In English, Marti was saying that when freedom is in peril, art has a duty to defend and serve freedom, without any excuse. Marti exclaims that all efforts should be wasted into the bonfire of (battle for) freedom.

Armando Perez-Roura basically lives by the words of Jose Marti, and began noticing that he had made an error. The second caller remembered how Perez-Roura was against other artists in the past like Los Van Van, and thought that he was being hypocritical. The caller in the end told Perez-Roura "you reap what you sow." Perez-Roura agreed and had no excuse this time.

But, the third caller to complain was the most eloquent. She said that she was very disappointed with the show on Sunday playing a Streisand song, and that Perez-Roura's initial excuse separating art and politics was absurd because it's the same excuse "all communists" use when they come to the US. Perez-Roura for a moment tried to deflect from the issue, but finally uttered that "I am the one who is responsible." The third caller then suggested that he should give an apology, and Perez-Roura replied "I'm giving it." But, he never does. Armando Perez-Roura never says "I'm sorry" or "I was wrong" or "I apologize." Instead, he goes on talking about how hard it is to be the programming director of Radio Mambi, and deflects from the discussion with the support of his co-hosts.

We all know that it's very difficult to apologize, especially when someone else points out how you violated your own principles. That's why it takes real courage to face yourself. To examine your own actions or beliefs, and see if they were truly right.

But, you must examine yourself honestly. How can one condemn defamation and engage in it too? How can one detest insults, but still justify their use? Are our actions in these cases justifiable and universal?

Only then will one decide if they honestly made a mistake and seek to rectify their errors. But, if this process is abandoned, there seems little hope for making any positive steps on any issue. Especially towards a free Cuba.

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

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