Friday, December 28, 2007

Preserving an Image Through Policy

When Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in Miami this past August, and proposed a different US policy towards Cuba, Miami hard-liners reacted in ways that were very revealing. I also wrote then that Obama "had hit on something really big." The hard-line reaction and defense of current US policy revealed to me the fact that the hard-line Cuban exile identity was politically and psychologically dependent on the embargo.

After the Miami Herald printed Barack Obama's new policy towards Cuba, Al Cardenas, current political advisor to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, appeared on Radio Mambi and articulated how it was an insult to the Cuban exile community for Barack Obama to express his views publicly here in Miami. He and radio host Ninoska Pérez-Castellón agreed it was "truly insolent." According to Cardenas, "now this man (Obama) has the audacity to reserve the same space, the same platform of Ronald Reagan, to give a speech on integration here in the heart of OUR community."

Armando Pérez-Roura, program director at Radio Mambi, was also deeply offended by Obama's comments, especially on the Cuban travel restrictions. But, Pérez-Roura found solace (yet again) in the writings of the "apostle" Jose Martí. In his daily radio address (Tome Nota- Aug. 22), Perez-Roura addressed "the scoundrels who settle for an arrangement with the criminal who has committed many crimes against our homeland," and responded to them with comments made by Jose Martí in 1887:

"War brought us here. And here our hatred towards tyranny keeps us, so deeply rooted within us, so essential to our nature, that we cannot tear it from ourselves without living flesh!"

"For what have we to go back there, when it is not possible to live with decorum, neither yet it seems the hour to return and be buried. Go to Cuba for what? To hear the lashes on the backs of men?"

"To see the repugnant association between the children of the heroes, of the heroes themselves, belittled in sloth, and the vices they flaunt in the face of those who should live with their back towards them, their disgusting prosperity?"

"To see the enlightened in shame, the honorable in despair, [...] the women with impure company, the farmer without the fruits of his labor?"

"To see an entire country, our country [...] dishonor itself with cowardice or an excuse? A stab is not enough to say how much that hurts. Return, to such shame?! Others can, we cannot!"

Luis Conte Agüero, on his TeleMiami television program, also gave a response to Obama and his new policy on Cuban travel restrictions. Conte Agüero, a former student of philosophy, revealed that some in the Cuban community may be torn about the travel restrictions, but nevertheless argued that this sense for humanity doesn't necessarily affect the position of the "intransigent." To Conte Agüero, the "intransigent" is forever loyal to the old Independence heroes like Martí and Maceo.

There's actually a thread that connects these reactions. They speak of an imagined Cuban exile as politically homogeneous, sharing one single history (of militancy), whose dignity is inextricably tied to the existence of one policy: the US embargo. Thus, if someone speaks out against that policy, then they disrespect the entire Cuban exile community.

This may explain the fierce reaction that some receive from hard-liners when one speaks out against US policy towards Cuba. The hard-liner may not only be defensive of the policy as a justified punitive measure, but also may be protecting an integral part of the imagined Cuban exile under attack. The image itself is also integral to the wider belief that the Cuban government is the official enemy, and the original and sole cause of exile.

The Cuban Adjustment Act is another policy that the imagined Cuban exile depends on. This past July, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart was on Radio Mambi with Armando Perez-Roura (Jul. 5) and spoke of the "responsibility to act like a political exile." That day, a caller to the show complained of those Cuban exiles who travel to Cuba shortly after receiving their residence through the act. Rep. Diaz-Balart agreed, saying that these people are abusing the Cuban Adjustment Act:

"Those who abuse [the Adjustment act] endanger the rights of all... All Cubans are treated in effect, by the Adjustment act, as POLITICAL asylees. And thus those who abuse that great privilege in going back to Cuba, traveling to Cuba, after receiving their residence by the act, endanger the act."

"By receiving that exceptional and extraordinary treatment that no other country in the world has, it bears [on exiles] the responsibility to act like a political exile." [MP3]

Just as the US embargo helps to reaffirm the Cuban exile identity (as victim of communism and the Cuban government), so does the Cuban Adjustment act operate in the same fashion. Any perceived attacks or doubts about the policies, also casts doubts on the Cuban exile image, and especially the hard-line image. And, that in itself is no different than a personal attack.

This interpretation also leads to other characteristics of the imagined Cuban exile who shares a unified politico-historical identity. If what Martí said in 1887 is an accepted belief of the "intransigent," or the hard-line Cuban exile, then it might infer that the Cuban exile is also hurting from shame. Or, as Marti put it: "a stab." And, this pain must be avoided at all costs. Armando Pérez Roura said it best after reciting Martí:

"For what have we to go to Cuba? To watch impassively the destruction, the crime, the insult, everything that has been done to the Cuban family? Everything that has been done to Cuba? No. Esteemed listeners, we must raise our voice to remind those who wish to relieve themselves of the responsibility, of what it means to experience the "Cuban drama" only 90 miles away, to shut their mouths. If they don't want to help us, then don't come with dishonest proposals. We won't accept them, no matter the price we pay." [MP3]

This dimension of victimization and shame may shed light on past violent episodes in Miami.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some Lessons I Learned

"Deceit and violence - these are the two forms of deliberate assault on human beings. Both can coerce people into acting against their will. Most harm that can befall victims through violence can come to them also through deceit. But deceit controls more subtly, for it works on belief as well as action."*

Looking back over the year (and even some years before), I noticed that there were many reasons why Mambi Watch was created.

In doing research for this post, I found an old journal of mine that brought back some memories. It revealed that around the end of 2003 the monotony at work had allowed me to pay more attention to local news and politics, and soon on national politics. The start of the Iraq War without question had an influence, as it surely had upon the rest of the nation. I was soon drawn further into important questions on politics (which I never paid attention to before), followed by philosophy, and soon psychology.

Following the notes in my journal, the amount of literature I began reading (mainly related to the social sciences) had soon grown significantly and somehow my interest turned to US-Cuba relations. The topic must've seemed very attractive at the time: politics, power, a fascinating history, moral dilemmas, and it was all happening in my backyard. I soon began to focus more of my research on the topic.

Mambi Watch, when it began one year ago, caught me still researching the topic of US-Cuba relations, and provided two wishes: to make public certain facts that I felt were being neglected in the discussion of US-Cuba relations (especially by the local media), and to challenge what I felt was the distorted view of US-Cuba relations in the local media.

Looking back, I realize now I went head-first into unknown waters and with few swimming lessons.

But, Mambi Watch became part of the learning experience that was already underway. By investigating and challenging the local media's accepted image of Cuba, I would not only be able to challenge my personal assumptions on the matter, but ensure that I had informed myself well on the differing views about the island, especially from the hard-line.

And honestly, I never expected the hard-line rhetoric to be so crude and aggressive when it came to Cuba. It further troubled me that public violence and intimidation marked some instances in the expression of contentious views related to Cuba, especially in Miami during the 70's. As a result, I find it very disturbing that (30 years later) there are still influential individuals in our community that condone or ignore acts of violence and intimidation when it comes to Cuba-related issues. But, I learned there's a reason for that.

If there was one important lesson learned after one year of Mambi Watch it would only reaffirm the idea that information is power, and that Miami is perhaps THE battleground when it comes to US-Cuba relations. And, in my opinion, the public interest is losing.

Information sources like Babalu Blog (one among many similar websites) and Radio Mambi (one among many other Spanish-language media outlets) only help to distort the image of Cuba and decieve the general public in order to accept only ONE policy towards the island: unilateral sanctions. This punitive measure encourages and is an extension of similar aggressive US policies on other nations, exercised contrary to the opinions of the general public.

With political power placed within the hands of hard-line policy supporters in Washington and Miami (and with the predictable acquiesence of their loyal followers), Miami over the years has internalized these general hard-line principles, which itself depends on accepting a homogeneous image of the Cuban exile community. And, in a circular logic, that image also depends on political power and power over information about Cuba.

Provided that the political climate between the US and Cuba has changed very little (due to intransigent forces on both sides), I see no reason to believe that the structures of US/Cuba politics and power will soon change radically.

Of course, there are alternatives in changing this political stalemate. But, it is not likely that South Florida residents will be exposed to them. The local media (especially Spanish-language) has no incentive to challenge the prevailing view supporting US policy towards Cuba, and neither the courage to question the power and image of hard-line Cuban exile politics, and its psychological dependence on US unilateral sanctions.

A review of events of the past year would further clarify some of these points.

*[Bok, Sissela. (1978). Lying: moral choice in public and private life. New York: Pantheon Books.]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What I Missed

Boy, have I missed out. Here's some Cuba-related news I missed from the last two weeks.


The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released several special reports concerned about the growing incarceration and murder of journalist around the world. One CPJ report shows a dramatic and continuing increase in death of journalists since 2002, making this year "the deadliest year for the press in more than a decade." According to CPJ, "[f]or the fifth straight year, Iraq was the deadliest country in the world for the press." The second-deadliest place for journalists was Somalia, followed by countries such as Nepal, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Haiti, Honduras, Russia and Mexico. No mention of Cuba. (Aside from Iraq, the US currently conducts military operations in Somalia, which is a growing conflict considered "the worst on the [African] continent." Also check Human Rights Watch report: "Shell-Shocked".)

But, Cuba was included in the recent CPJ report on journalists around the world jailed without charge. According to CPJ, "[n]early 17 percent of journalists jailed worldwide in 2007 were held without any publicly disclosed charge, many for months or years at a time and some in secret locations." The world's leading jailer remains China (for the past NINE years), followed by Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, and Azerbaijan. "Twenty-four Cuban journalists are imprisoned, CPJ found, most of them swept up in a March 2003 crackdown on the independent press."

Of the top five jailers mentioned above, the US has diplomatic relations with three of them: China, Eritrea and Azerbaijan. Both China and Azerbaijan, despite their human rights record (China and Azerbaijan), have strong diplomatic and economic relations (both with MFN status) with the US. On the other hand, US-Eritrean relations have been getting worse, especially with Eritrean involvement in the Ethiopian/Somali conflict, and an abandoned border dispute between Ethiopia, a US ally.


Last week (December 10th) marked Human Rights Day around the world, but was followed in Cuba by two paradoxical news reports: repeated assault and intimidation against Cuban dissidents and the announcement that the Cuban government is prepared to sign two important Human Rights agreements (check the Cuban Triangle blog).

The new repression of dissidents in Cuba was captured on video (unedited video at US-funded Marti Noticias website) and highlighted in Miami by local Spanish programming (such as "A Mano Limpia" hosted by Oscar Haza). Yet, despite the news from Cuba, thoughts on Human Rights Day was focused on other grave issues.

Irene Khan, Secretary General from Amnesty International (AI), sent a public message from the website explaining that "we have cause for both celebration and challenge." Khan mentions that "[f]rom Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, human rights are being violated, neglected and eroded with audacity and impunity by governments, big business and armed groups." In her message, Khan specifically focuses on seven regions for "renewed commitment": Darfur, Zimbabwe, the Middle East, China, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan and "the world’s most powerful government" (the United States).

A few days before December 10th, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a new 140-page report on the massive political crackdown in Burma from September. "[HRW] research determined that that the security forces shot into crowds using live ammunition and rubber bullets, beat marchers and monks before dragging them onto trucks, and arbitrarily detained thousands of people in official and unofficial places of detention. In addition to monks, many students and other civilians were killed, although without full and independent access to the country it is impossible to determine exact casualty figures." The US has trade sanctions on the Burmese government, but the American-owned Chevron Corp. still operates there, and has received increased pressure from human rights groups and Congress to either pull out or push for human rights.

A few days after December 10th, a coalition of human rights groups from Zimbabwe reported that since January "there have been 549 cases of torture, 3,086 of unlawful arrest and detention and 2,719 violations of the right to freedom of expression, association and movement." The high numbers include the violent March crackdown earlier this year against the growing pro-democratic movement in Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, President Mugabe , who believed the March crackdown was "deserved", will most likely run for re-election next year, especially with the continued backing of the ruling party and the increased rhetoric against western "sabotage" by the US and the EU. Both the EU and the US have sanctions policies against Zimbabwe that do not seem to be working at all.


Last year's report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found waste and fraud on aid going to Cuba (with reports dismissed by Babalu blog as "pointless" and "hardly news") now has a sequel that again focuses on US policy towards Cuba.

According to the new GAO report (reported by Marc Lacey for the New York Times), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) "conducts secondary inspections on 20 percent of charter passengers arriving from Cuba at Miami International Airport, more than six times the inspection rate for other international arrivals, even from countries considered shipment points for narcotics." This concentration on Cuba, according to the GAO, has "strained CBP's capacity to carry out its primary mission of keeping terrorists, criminals and inadmissible aliens from entering the country at Miami International Airport."

The news has already allowed opponents of the US embargo to state that "[i]t’s vindictive. It’s stupid. It’s costly. And now we find out it’s a threat to our national security." Time will tell how this news will be received by the American public.


Also, I wanted to say good-bye and thank you to the bloggers formerly from Stuck on the Palmetto. I enjoyed that blog, as I'm sure many did, and will miss it. Best wishes to both bloggers.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What I Meant to Say (Part 2)

Been busy and distracted away from this blog. Also, the One-Year Anniversary of Mambi Watch is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I hope to complete all unfinished thoughts before the New Year, review the mission of Mambi Watch, and make revisions or alterations of what the ultimate goal of this blog was. Without question, I learned many things about US/Cuba relations over the year, and I hope to articulate those new lessons for interested readers.

Below is the other series that I meant to finish.


The general thrust of this story was to point out how ironic it is that some Cuban exile hard-liners (who also describe themselves as supporters of human rights) are also among the most intolerant and threatening agents against freedom of expression in Miami. I began this story with the reports of a recent lawsuit [PDF] started by Rafael Del Pino, former high-ranking general from the Cuban military who defected in 1987, accusing prominent members of the local Spanish media of intimidation and violent threats in response to a series of articles he wrote in the local paper calling for negotiations between the Cuban government and the US.

I saw this recent event as part of Miami's long history of intolerance by some in the Cuban exile community towards opponents of US policy and the embargo. While the acts of intolerance and intimidation in Miami go way back, the documented history by human rights groups goes back to 1992 when Americas Watch published a report titled "Dangerous Dialogue: Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Miami’s Cuban Exile Community, and soon followed by a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report in 1994 titled "Dangerous Dialogue Revisited" [PDF].

The 1994 report was the result of events that same year following the April visit of several Cuban exiles from Miami to Havana for a Cuban government-sponsored event about migration issues. The days following their return, the Miami Herald reported on several occurrences of violent threats and intimidation aimed at those exiles who attended the Havana conference, especially after the Cuban government released a video of the participants at the meeting with Fidel Castro. It is video that is still used by some to discredit those who attended more than 13 years ago.

The HRW report describes "death threats, bomb threats, verbal assault, acts of violence, and economic retaliation" against those in Miami who attended the Havana conference. The report also acknowledges the fact that "Magda Montiel Davis, a prominent Miami immigration lawyer... became a focal point for the post-conference backlash against participants." The reports by the Miami Herald after the conference (which were many) concur with the HRW report. Several articles described how the participants (and their families) of the Havana conference became the victims of widespread intimidation.

Initially describing some points at the Havana conference with Fidel Castro as "nauseating", former Herald columnist Liz Balmaseda in 1994 later wrote of the "backlash":

"A knot of protesters attacks [Magda] Montiel's car. Her staff quits... A burst of raw eggs hits the house of one exile's elderly mother. Schoolchildren taunt the 14-year-old daughter of another exile. Other participants report a wave of harassment. A bank executive has lost accounts. An office worker has lost her job. Another has lost friends. One woman claims she got beat up at a coin laundry.

"Much of what happened in Havana was lamentable. But here, the ambassadors of intimidation couldn't leave it at that. They couldn't let the already blatant contradictions of an exchange between 219 exiles and four Castro officials stand as their own indictments. They couldn't leave the mob thing to Havana... No, these of a narrow and narrow-minded faction had to go out and be cartoons. Only they forgot their maracas and fruit-laden hat baskets. They had to throw Miami back to the days when people were afraid to speak their minds... and those days had faded."*

But, the most ironic of all the ironies of Miami, was an act that occurred on June 24, 1994, about two months after the Havana conference. According to the HRW report (and reported by the Herald):

"On June 24, 1994, conference participant Emilia González went to have her hair done at the Cadris Hair Design salon in Miami. She was accompanied by two grandchildren, ages eight and six. Everything seemed normal, and Ms. Gonzalez sat for her hair cut. Toward the end of her appointment, however, several women came in to the salon, shut and locked the door and, together with the salon employees, proceeded to shout and hurl insults at Ms. González: 'Communist, traitor, get out of Miami!' Several held signs: 'If you like Fidel so much, go live in Cuba,' and 'Only vermin like Fidel will kiss Fidel,' She was struck by at least two people, hit on the arms and face. All of this occurred in the presence of her grandchildren. Eventually, Ms. González escaped with the children through a back entrance. Extremely distraught and worried about her high blood pressure, the elderly Ms. González sought medical attention."

The HRW report called it an "Act of Repudiation."

The last act of violent intolerance that I can think of occurred on January 19th, when members of the Bolivarian Youth were publicly attacked by Vigilia Mambisa after engaging in a counter-protest on Calle Ocho. It was all caught on video. A report was later filed with the City of Miami police department against the attackers, but charges were never filed after the investigation. Instead, the police told the Bolivarian Youth to pursue their case alone in court.

Another occurrence I can think of that came close to an act of intimidation was in August when the Cuban child custody case again made Magda Montiel Davis a target. In the midsts of Radio Mambi callers again voicing their disgust towards Montiel, radio host Ninoska Perez-Castellon allowed one caller to give out the office number of Montiel's office on the air.

It should be obvious to anyone that freedom of expression also entails having the freedom from obstacles that impede one to freely express oneself. That means protection from intimidation and threats that retaliate against popular or unpopular viewpoints. Furthermore, its should be obvious to those who constantly defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that freedom of expression extends universally as "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."

Article 19 of the UDHR says: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

And, Article 7 says: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination."

I sometimes wonder if some people in Miami truly understand these words.

[Part 1]

[*] Miami Herald, May 18, 1994, "Backlash Beats the Video for Absurdity" by Liz Balmaseda.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What I Meant to Say (Part 1)

So as I write stories for this blog, and try to keep readers updated with some Cuba-related news, some posts get left behind in the time crunch. I've decided to finish those thoughts once and for all. Here's two stories that I didn't complete, they are summarized a bit, but the original message that I wanted to convey is still there.


In this story I attempted to review the recent defections of top Cuban boxers visiting South America and extract meaning and motivation from their (successful or unsuccessful) actions. I further sought to associate these events with the changing attitude of Cuba's younger population and the prospects for change within the Revolution and the current political transition.

I began by reviewing the story of Odlanier Solis, Yan Barthelemy and Yuriorkis Gamboa, three young Cuban boxers who defected from the national team while training in South America last year. The three have since gone their separate ways in professional boxing. Barthelemy is 3-0 and now fighting here in Miami with a recent win by unanimous decision. Gamboa is ranked #5 by the World Boxing Association in the featherweight division [PDF] and currently training in Los Angeles. And Solis is fighting in Germany with a current undefeated record of five bouts with four knockouts.

Their success stands in stark contrast to the most recent attempts at defection by
Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux, two other top boxers from Cuba who were visiting Brazil in July. Both boxers were arrested by police after disappearing for 11 days, afterward revealing a mysterious tale of events. In this case, there are opposing sides about whether the two boxers intended to defect, or had no intention to abandon their national team. Several stories in the media seem to indicate that the boxers did attempt to defect. Despite reports that the boxers had signed contracts or had prior agreements with boxing promoters, one story suggested that the boxers had tried to apply for visas to travel to Germany. Also, Human Rights Watch became concerned about the arrests and felt that "[e]ven if the two athletes did not explicitly request political asylum, claims for refugee status can be signaled through actions, rather than through an explicit request."

Yet, upon their return to Cuba, Lara and Rigondeaux were adamant that they did not intend to defect, but were instead coerced and possibly drugged by aggressive boxing promoters. Speaking to the Cuban state media, both boxers denied having signed contracts and seeking asylum in Brazil. A recent Sun-Sentinel article by Ray Sanchez catches up with Rigondeaux again saying that he never signed a contract with boxing promoters in Brazil. "That was all a lie... There was no contract," he says. Currently, Rigondeaux lives "in a leaky, run-down apartment belonging to Cuba's sports ministry," wishes to air his many grievances with the Cuban government (especially Fidel), and continues training by himself in hopes that he will soon return to the ring.

The athletes mentioned above, part of Cuba's world renowned athletic community, are seen more as soldiers of the Revolution. Fidel Castro himself, reflecting upon these events, said: "The athlete who abandons his delegation is not unlike the soldier who abandons his fellow men in the midst of combat." This also explains the required nationalistic indoctrination of young athletes throughout training. They are prepared to make a national sacrifice, just like any other potential soldier from around the world. But, the question arises: are these young men prepared to make that sacrifice?

Here too, the answer seems complex. The attitude of young Cubans seems no longer associated with old heroes like the legendary Teofilo Stevenson, better described as the "Cuban Ali." One need only look at how Ordlanier Solis presented himself to the media upon his debut in Germany. He wore gold rings and chains, boasting a "Thug Life" on his Tupac T-Shirt. (Did I mention gold watches on each wrist?) The sacrifice and commitment of Teofilo Stevenson towards the Cuban Revolution seems to have been abandoned by these young athletes. The current economic problems that affects young and talented Cuban athletes, and young Cubans in general, seems obvious to blame. But, does this mean a total abandonment of the Cuban system?

If you read Babalu Blog (check La Contra Revolucion's post on the "Youth Factor") or listen to Radio Mambi every day, Cuba seems ready to burst any day now. (Even the Cuba "experts" at UM can give you chills.) But, some current reports about the attitude of Cuba's youth and general population does not present this dire image. And, again the picture seems more complex.

Late last year, an AP article described well the frustration that many young Cubans are most likely experiencing. Damian Fernandez from FIU's Cuban Research Institute calls it the "frustration of expectations." "I want more technology, to be somewhere that feels more advanced," says Tony, a 20-year old music producer, in the article. "We want freedom of expression, freedom to do what we want... And we want dollars," says Luis, described as a young rebellious Cuban.

Another article (by Frances Robles) published in the Miami Herald last year described the problem as the Cuban government having "failed to capture the hearts of the nation’s nearly 5 million Cubans under the age of 30." But, this article becomes more specific than the AP. Robles quotes a 20-year old "potato vendor" saying: "The only bad thing here is the salary system. ... With capitalism, we’d have to work harder to pay for everything. I’d have to pay for my medicine... I’d like the same system, but I just want to earn more."

Ahmed Rodriguez, 21, is quoted saying: "If the government wants to capture the hearts of the young people, all it has to do is give higher salaries that cover living expenses, democracy, and freedom... Young people want to be able to live off their salaries... We can’t buy things, we can’t go out with our girlfriends... What are you going to do with $10?"

Gallup polling around that time, in Havana and Santiago, also showed similar tendencies. Cubans desire more personal freedoms, while at the same time viewing themselves more "equalitarian" (egalitarian) than "democratic." They also approved highly of the political leadership from Brazil and China, far more than the American leadership. Cubans respondents also strongly favored their educational and health care system, far more in comparison to other Latin countries. The US still remained the most desired trading partner.

In my opinion, young Cubans, and Cubans in general, seem anxious for change, and the new generation may not be ready to make the same sacrifices like the generation before them. The Cuban government may need a new brand for struggle. The Cuban people deserve something beyond meaningless indoctrination, or terrible predictions of instability from Miami. Their honest desires need to be heard, for their youth and their future.

Hopefully, Cuba and the US is listening.

[Part 2]


Tonight on Radio Mambi (yet again), the Commandos F-4 appeared on "La Mesa Redonda" with Armando Perez Roura for the entire two-hour program. Their mission this time (like all the other times before): collect funds from Radio Mambi listeners for their "sabotage" missions and "propaganda" (sticker) campaigns.

According to Rodolfo Frómeta, chief commander of Commandos F-4, and who testified in 2001 of being involved in violent acts against Cuba, their clandestine organization has operational bases in third-countries who provide moral support for Cuban liberation. Frómeta in the next sentence mentions cities like San Salvador.

Tonight, Frómeta and other members of Commandos F-4 are on the air asking for more funding from Cuban exiles who "REALLY" want a free Cuba. They believe that with proper funding they can create the "spark" needed to overthrow the Cuban government within 6 months. They are also appealing to young Cubans in exile who want to know more, or perhaps enlist.

According to their "Declaration of a Military Offensive," Commandos F-4 "declare a firm position of confrontation towards the Cuban government, of which continually justifies the use of force as the only method to to liberate our homeland."

Their "Platform" page states: "In view of the impossibility to achieve these demands by peaceful means, the people are left with no other choice but to burst into a popular insurrection."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Are You for Real?

Yesterday evening, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart appeared on Radio Mambi's "La Mesa Redonda" with Armando Perez Roura. There didn't seem to be a special reason for his appearance, the Diaz-Balart brothers appear occasionally on Radio Mambi to talk about a whole host of current events. Last night was no exception, highlighting the fact that Radio Mambi is nothing more than a soapbox exclusively for the hard-line political leadership in Miami.

Diaz-Balart, with a broad brush, went over current events (practically without interruption) and gave us his view of the world. Somehow, he always manages to include some exceptional levels of fear-mongering.

"Therefore, it is totally, in my opinion, incorrect to assert that Communism is dead. In addition, Communism is in coalition with other elements, other groups, other ideologies that want to enslave humanity. They are in a great coalition of evil. President Bush used the concept of 'axis of evil.' There's a great coalition of evil." [MP3]

As long as we allow our personal fears to override our commitments to reason, then we can only expect a conspiratorial world of perpetual conflict. Which, by the way, for the last 15 years seems to have worked well for Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Congratulations.