[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Chatting About Cuba

Friday, February 23, 2007

Chatting About Cuba

Discourse and dissent in Miami? Never happens here, according to left-leaning Cuban-Americans.

Well, at least not until now. Oscar Corral's latest article is about a Calle Ocho cafe which is planning a tertulia, or open chat session, to debate and discuss U.S. policy towards Cuba.

Sounds good, right? Open discourse is rarely a bad thing.

As well-intentioned as this might be, the attitude behind and accompanying the organizers of the tertulias turns me off.

Neli Santamarina, owner of Tinta y Café, explains her motivation:
''My parents didn't sacrifice themselves and come to this country so we would stay quiet and be afraid to speak out,'' Santamarina said. ``Everyone says things need to change in Cuba, and that's true. But they also need to change in Miami. There's a culture of intimidation in Miami that doesn't allow people to criticize U.S. policy toward Cuba. I'm not going to let that go on.
'Miami is at a tipping point,' Santamarina said on a recent afternoon as she tackled a plate with a plantain leaf-wrapped tamal, manchego cheese and arugula. ``I feel that we need to give a voice to the silent majority of people in Miami who are frustrated with the failures of U.S. Cuba policy.''
It's the usual "we're the victims" talk from people like Santamaria who get a front page article in the Herald, yet still complain about the "culture of intimidation" in Miami. The arrogance often displayed by these individuals comes out in her comment about the "silent majority" who apparently agree with her and have apparently been repressed for so long by the indominable
Miami Mafia.

Excuse me for saying that this is a load of crap.

Santamarina and her buddy, none other than Silvia Wilhelm, otherwise known as Ms. "I wish Fidel Castro one more day of survival after George Bush leaves the presidency", each invited 10 people to the first session this Sunday and asked them to bring someone who disagrees with them on U.S. Cuba policy.

How nice of them. How contrived.

To set the mood, Santamarina has an art book featuring Che Guevara at the entrance "to provoke conversation". Discussing the rights and wrongs of U.S. Cuba policy next to a book featuring fidel's #1 accomplice. Seems like the playing field is tilted, don't you think?

Here's my final analysis of this:

Discussion and disagreement on U.S. Cuba policy is all over the place in Miami and other parts of the country. You have radio shows such as Francisco Aruca's on Radio Progreso in Miami who constantly bash U.S. policy and side with the castro regime. Cuban-American families right here in Miami have weekly, if not nightly, discussions and civil disagreements on the matter.

More importantly, you have real and constructive debate in the blogosphere. Look no further than Babalu Blog, where this post from a couple of weeks back is just one of many that have openly discussed the pros and cons of U.S. Cuba policy. There are way too many more examples than I have time to list here.

Therefore, Santamarina and Wilhelm's tertulias, as well-intentioned as they appear to be, are nothing more than a way for them to let out their frustration at being in the minority, or at the very least split 50/50, when it comes to these issues. You see, people of their intellectual level can't stand to be wrong, especially at the hands of the right-wing cigar-chomping Miami Mafiosi.

You see, Ms. Santamarina and Ms. Wilhelm, you can't continue to blame the United States for Cuba's failures and get much sympathy for your cause. It's as simple as that, ladies.

And I hate to break this to you, señoritas, but the silent majority agrees with me.

Read the article here.

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Blogger Jose Aguirre said...

I share your reaction to that article. The silent majority in the Cuban American community definitely does not agree with them! In addition to whatever political beliefs they may share they are also probably looking for ways to get more business to their restaurant and a big article in the Herald could help.

11:12 AM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Frank said...

I followed the link to the other article, the one where Ms. Wilhelm is quoted as saying she hopes Castro outlives Bush's presidency. That just tells me she is another one of these clowns who think George Bush is worse than Castro, Hitler and Stalin. She is clearly nothing more than a left-wing Castro apologist.

2:46 PM, February 25, 2007  

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