* Fr. Enrique T. Rueda, "Los Van Van en Miami: un reto a nuestra dignidad"

* Agustín Blázquez, "Intolerance toward Cuban exiles"

* Diario Las Américas, "There is no Such Thing as a Cultural ‘Exchange’ With Cuba"

* Diario Las Américas, "No hay tal ‘Intercambio’ Cultural con la Cuba de Castro"


Los Van Van en Miami: un reto a nuestra dignidad

Fr. Enrique T. Rueda

La ACLU ha lanzado un reto a nuestra dignidad. Hay que responder como estos desalmados se merecen.

Como es de público conocimiento, el gobierno de Fidel Castro está utilizando para llevar dólares a Cuba una forma novedosa de levantar fondos. Bajo la apariencia de "conciertos artísticos", se auspician eventos que no son otra cosa que maratones para obtener dólares para Castro.

En un ataque frontal al exilio cubano, uno de estas organizaciones levantadoras de fondos va a venir a Miami. La organización de marras son los "Van Van", un grupo que se dio ese nombre en homenaje a la llamada "Zafra de los 10 millones" - que nunca se produjeron - de la cual decía Fidel Castro "De que los 10 millones van van".

Los Van Van no son sólo una organización para levantar fondos, sino un arma política del gobierno de Fidel Castro.

Cuando por razones legales el fundraising para Fidel Castro lució que no iba a poder darse, los aliados naturales del dictador cubano pusieron el grito en el cielo: la ACLU movió cielo y tierra para lograr nuestra humillación y que el evento tuviera lugar.

Pues bien, reto lo tenemos bien claro: el mismo día que los Van Van y la ACLU estén levantando fondos para Fidel Castro se va a exhibir una película contra la tiranía. La izquierda está preparada para llenar el Maimi Arena (a $ 50 por cabeza.) La ACLU está movilizando todos sus peones para que el evento pro-castrista sea un éxito total.

Si no llenamos el Knight Center el 9 de Octubre, si nuestros funcionarios electos no nos apoyan con su asistencia... bien mal estamos.

El reto está lanzado. ¿Cómo vamos a responder?

(Haga un forward de este mensaje a todo cubano o amigo de la libertad de Cuba)


Intolerance toward Cuban exiles

Agustín Blázquez

with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton (c) ABIP 1999

In this day and age of "political correctness" the pitifully aggressive editorial "Anti-Castro Enforcers Go Too Far" in the St. Petersburg Times of September 17 is truly an outrage. How can they get away with it? They would not have dared to write such a hate piece about Jews or blacks in America.

But the intolerance for Cuban exiles in America is reaching alarming proportions.

This virulent attack upon Cuban exiles in Miami was written because of their opposition to the performance in Miami of Castro's official music group Los Van Van at the James L. Knight Center next October 9. The Cuban exiles are constitutionally entitled to the same freedom of speech as any other US citizen. They have the right, no, the duty to protest when their sensibility is violated just as the Jews, the blacks or any one else.

Apparently many Americans have been bred by their college and university professors and by the liberal media to be insensitive and intolerant regarding what Cubans on the island and in exile want the most: to end Castro's tyranny.

Based on their own first hand experience living inside Cuba as Cuban citizens, they have a perspective that many Americans who have never lived in a communist totalitarian society may find challenging to comprehend, therefore they ignore or even try to malign it. Cubans cannot be fooled so easily and fall for the prevalent pro-Castro propaganda. They've been there, done that.

Cubans realized long ago that Castro is opposed to any change that would threaten his hold on power. Therefore, there will be no changes for as long as Castro and his cronies remain in power. Establishing relations, trade, cultural or scientific exchanges is not going to do the trick. It will only serve to prolong his regime in detriment of the population. It's really very simple: when one's power is baseless, one must put all effort toward maintaining it. One has no other concerns.

Many Americans (including many editorial writers), generally misinformed by the US media and without the cultural background to understand the situation are easily influenced by propaganda. Cuban exiles, by calling attention to the recent policy mistakes with their protests, are in the way of the liberal establishment who contribute to the myth about Castro and his revolution, and have been covering up his crimes for the last four decades.

That same intolerant US liberal establishment does not want to recognize that they made a mistake when they helped create Castro and that he is the tyrant that Cuban exiles have been denouncing since 1959. Besides, they make a lot of money by writing and talking about him. It doesn't matter that they are toying with a tormented people.

The response of the reactionary hard-line US liberal establishment from their ivory towers has been to attack Cuban exiles' reason and credibility using an arsenal of derogatory labels. This recent editorial in the St. Petersburg Times is a textbook example of the bigotry against Cubans in the US.

An eloquent Cuban American born in the US said, "Every single sentence in this editorial tries to hammer in the notion that Cuban exiles who oppose Los Van Van's concert in Miami are not only enemies of free speech but anti-Americans! We are called a 'rabid cult,' a 'snarling pack of Cuban Americans,' and 'Contra-Castroistas.' Cuban born politicians are ridiculed as 'politicos,' and 'Miami Hidalgos,' and our struggle against Castro's 40 year long tyranny is simply discarded as 'anti-Castro hysterics.'"

And he stresses, "The St. Petersburg Times might do better examining the real issues surrounding this concert instead of striking a blind and punitive pose. To begin with, if Cuban Americans are anti-American and against free speech for trying to ban Los Van Van's concert, well then so are African Americans." Was there something wrong with banning Official South African artists from performing in the United States during Apartheid?

"How about Jews?" he continues. "The Jews rightfully banned Yasser Arafat from speaking at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Is that indicative that Jews are anti-free speech and anti-American?

"Only someone who is monstrously irrational and refuses to consider the evils of apartheid, the PLO bombings in Israel or Castro's tyranny would unconditionally call these bans signs of being against free speech.

"As far as Los Van Van's concert, the real issue here then is that Castro is using these artists, who are not paid, as good will ambassadors to depict his Stalinist government in a positive light and to make money to support his baseless power. Even if money made from Los Van Van's concerts doesn't find its way back to Castro's coffers, the sale of Los Van Van's CD's propped up by this promotional tour and free publicity from the media, certainly does, and this can only mean more money for Castro's repressive machinery!"

According to a Hollywood source who understandably requested anonymity, the breakdown of the royalties of the CD "Buena Vista Social Club", featuring Castro's official musicians, is as follows: 50% goes to its American producer, Ry Cooder, 45% to the Cuban government, 5% to a non-Cuban technical staff and 0% to the Cuban performers. The source says, "this is public knowledge, if you work in Hollywood."

The same economic principles apply to Los Van Van's CDs that will become more popular after their promotional 26-city tour in the US. Considering that 0% goes to the performers (Los Van Van), who are we helping here, Castro or the Cuban people?

Yes, the Petersburg editorialist actually said, "Somehow it's hard to imagine Fidel shaking his green fatigues to the drum-driven rhythms of Los Van Van's dance music". So, since Los Van Van's style of music couldn't possibly be Castro's personal favorite, he couldn't possibly have anything to do with their appearance in the US. Thank you, sir, I'm convinced! Why doesn't the St. Petersburg Times get equally as excited or more so about other talented Cuban musical groups and performers living in the US? They are just as Cuban as Castro's official groups.

Cuban American exiles complain about these acts of insensitive intolerance for their plight the same way Jewish leaders complained in 1997 about the award given in Los Angeles to 95-year old Leni Riefenstahl, a filmmaker who directed propaganda films for Nazi Germany. No one in the liberal establishment trashed the Jews, called them derogatory names or accused them of being anti-American.

The Associate Dean of the human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, condemning Riefenstahl's award said, "There is no doubt that she is a brilliant documentarian and filmmaker," but her films "helped inspire millions of Germans and Austrian to embrace the Nazi ideology that brought such horror to the world. You cannot separate the art from the implications of the art."

Castro brought the horror of communism to the Cuban people and has caused the unnatural death of at least 86,000 Cubans. Los Van Van and other official Castro artists being sent to the US to collect royalties for the tyrant are offensive to Cubans. As Rabbi Cooper, the Cuban exiles say, "we cannot separate the art from the implications of the art."

We should be respected and not dragged through the mud because of the liberal establishment's intolerance for the Cuban's cause.


Diario Las Américas, ed. electrónica, 27 de septiembre de 1999, Editorial

There is no Such Thing as a Cultural "Exchange" With Cuba

Among the many false arguments that are used to openly or covertly favor the tyranny of Fidel Castro, is that the presence and presentation of the so-called artistic groups that Fidel Castro sends to the U.S. under the guise of cultural "exchange" should be authorized. The use of that concept is absurd and irritating. The facts prove it.

If a cultural "exchange" really existed, the adversaries and victims of the Fidel Castro totalitarian tyranny could go to Cuba as performers or as expounders of ideological or literary topics. But in order to go to Cuba a permit from the U.S. authorities is needed and, primarily, an authorization from the Castro tyranny that implies complicity. Everyone knows that Castro does no authorize things of this sort if there is not a perfect coordination and planning with the so-called artists or individuals devoted to cultural themes. And the ones whom he approves, something done in very limited cases, it is because there exists a specific intention on the part of Castro in terms of what is best for him and those who do go have to follow the norms set by the dictatorship. Naturally, this does not mean that they would have to change the lyrics, the rhythm, or the melodies in songs.

Thus, this so-called cultural "exchange" does not exist. It simply is one more lie to advocate that the artistic groups sent by Castro should be welcome by the Cuban exile, whether warmly or indifferently, when it is known that these are elements that in order to leave Cuba and return have to bring back the money made abroad and, of course, behave in a way that is convenient, this is indispensable, for the interests of the Cuban tyranny.

The Castro dictatorship has planned to be constantly provoking the exile community with these attitudes and efforts. Unfortunately, it counts with the legal terms granted by the American government which are part of a policy that the Cuban exile rejects and that, actually, is detrimental for the United States of America. Naturally, it should not be said that faced with the systematic provocation from Castro people should do nothing, because that would also mean playing along with him, eliminating obstacles and sincere and fair public reactions of the exile against the Cubans who come posing as artists --which they might perhaps be-- but who are acting as provokers on behalf of Castro.


Diario Las Américas, ed. electrónica, 27 de septiembre de 1999, Editorial

No hay tal "Intercambio" Cultural con la Cuba de Castro

Entre los muchos argumentos falaces que se usan para favorecer, abierta o encubiertamente, a la tiranía de Fidel Castro, está el de que deben verse con simpatía y, desde ese punto de vista, autorizarse, la presencia y actuación de los llamados grupos artísticos que Fidel Castro envía a los Estados Unidos de América bajo el disfraz de "intercambio" cultural. El uso de este concepto es absurdo e irritante. Los hechos así lo demuestran.

Si realmente hubiese "intercambio" cultural, los adversarios y víctimas de la tiranía totalitaria de Fidel Castro podrían ir a Cuba a actuar como artistas o como expositores de temas ideológicos o literarios. Pero para ir a Cuba se necesita un permiso de las autoridades estadounidenses y, sobre todo, una autorización de la tiranía de Castro que implica complicidad. Todo el mundo sabe que Fidel Castro no autoriza algo como esto sino está perfectamente bien calculado y coordinado con los llamados artistas o personas dedicadas a manifestaciones de la cultura. Y a los que autoriza, que son casos muy limitados, es porque ha habido una intención específica de parte de Castro en función de sus conveniencias y los que van están sometidos a las normas que la dictadura fija. Naturalmente, no significa que adulteren la letras de las canciones ni su ritmo ni melodía.

No existe, pues, eso de "intercambio" cultural. Por consiguiente, es una falacia más abogar porque los grupos artísticos que manda Castro deban encontrar una acogida, calurosa o indiferente, del exilio cubano cuando saben que se trata de elementos que para salir de Cuba y regresar allí tienen que llevar el dinero obtenido en el extranjero y, desde luego, haberse comportado en forma conveniente, indispensablemente conveniente, a los intereses de la tiranía cubana.

La dictadura de Castro ha planeado estar provocando al exilio constantemente con estas actitudes y empeños. Desgraciadamente, cuenta con facilidades legales que otorga el gobierno estadounidense y que forman parte de una política que rechaza el exilio cubano y que, en el fondo, perjudica a los Estados Unidos de América. Naturalmente, no se puede decir que frente a esa provocación sistemática de Castro haya que cruzarse de brazos, porque en esas circunstancias también se le haría el juego a él, eliminando obstáculos y reacciones públicas sinceras y justas del exilio contra los cubanos que vienen disfrazados de artistas --aunque quizás lo sean-- pero que están actuando como agentes provocadores de Castro.

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