[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Summary of Past Few Days

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Summary of Past Few Days

It's been an interesting last few days in the Cuban-American blogosphere, to say the least. Insults hurled, followed by accusations of revealed identities, followed by hysteria by the person whose identity was supposedly revealed (including a suicide wish for Val), followed by indignation by third parties, followed by indignation by yours truly, followed by a reanalysis of what happened.

I don't want to trivialize the situation at Killcastro before knowing all the details (which we may never truly find out), but it does seem a bit odd that KC himself reveals quite a bit of information about his family in Cuba, including the double dealings of a cousin in Havana who is personally informed by the CDR that "something weird was going on". A relative of his wife is arrested on the other side of the island in Oriente, and they can't confirm why. Sounds like someone who is supposed to keep his identity hidden and worried sick about his family in Cuba has shared quite a bit with us. I assume KC knows what he's doing. I'll leave it at that.

In the meantime, a new anti-Babalu blog is started by an Alex Hernandez, and is so ridiculous and over the top that it ends up being more funny than insulting (better go back to the drawing board, Mr. Hernandez). This fellow also did an internet radio show which featured countless physical threats directed at Val. The end result is accusations of physical threats coming from both sides.

In summary: a lot of chest-thumping, a lot of indignation, a lot of pride on display. And I was a part of it, I have to admit. I don't regret getting involved in the comment thread at South Florida Daily Blog because I felt as if the entire story hadn't been told (which is still the case). I DO regret allowing myself to getting thrown off on tangents which were based mostly on long term pent-up feelings rather than the subject at hand. In the end, the original message was lost amidst an array of "You did, I did" exchanges which end up going nowhere.

We all end up in blog turf battles from time to time, but I don't know of one where one side has ended up converting over to the other side. It's necessary to stand your ground and say what you think is right, but there's a fine line between standing your ground and getting into meaningless tit-for-tats.

It's tough to remain civil when emotions take over. Still, cooler heads (including mine) should have prevailed. But I guess that's part of life. No one said this blogging stuff was always going to be fun and games.


Blogger Allen said...

Any chance the parties involved (Val and KC) can give their accounts of the events. I belive KC did, but Val has not and I'd be interested in hearing the other side of the story.

11:49 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Henry Gomez said...

I don't think anyone has to answer accusations from the deranged lunatic fringe. If we did, we'd spend all of our time defending ourselves.

Nobody's identity was compromised let's leave it at that. It's a total fabrication that's as absurd as saying that you had serious repercussions because I called you by your first name, Allen.

What is clear is the the total lack of class and respect that certain people have for other, particularly females.

12:37 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger AmandaDufau said...

I agree 100% with you, Robert. This situation is completely ridiculous. I never thought that calling someone by their first name would be so offensive (especially when, as you pointed out, so much more has been revealed by that very same person on their blog), much less a trigger for the snowball of insults and threats that has followed. I gave up reading KC a long time ago, and I don't read SFDB. High school antics like name-calling and finger pointing (and now death threats) are just not my cup of tea.
Thanks for everything, as always.

2:31 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for the words of support Amanda.

1:14 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


First let me say that I respect your blog's welcome of commentary, which stands in stark contrast to the other blog your write for.

With this in mind, allow me to make some comments about this post and the commentary above.

I find your post very disappointing because your "summary" is vague and misinformed on the KillCastro/Prieto row, which happens to be the relevant catalyst of the post.

As a result, your "summary" leaves readers misinformed and ignorant on the facts of the matter. As you can see, Amanda (above) has made up her mind on your lack of facts.

Allen on the other hand wants to know more about KC/Prieto to make a more honest decision, and he deserves it. Unfortunately it seems that the facts won't come from you. Instead, (rather conveniently) you have settled with: "we may never truly find out".

It seems you never bothered to find out (or at least find out what can be easily obtained from a few Google searches) and have settled with one side of the story (Prieto's). I, on the other hand, took the effort to find out the background and history of the KC/Prieto row and will now provide my summary of the matter for those interested. I will try to be short and to the point.

The KillCastro Blog in its first year (2005) had "respect, consideration and support" for Val Prieto.


But, it soon became evident that KillCastro (KC) had different views on US-Cuba travel and remittances than Prieto's, in the context of Cuban liberation. KC's position was in stark contrast to current US policy, which Prieto favored and continually defended on KC's blog.


Finally, by 2006, KC's differences with Prieto, coupled with his growing frustration at hard-line exiles in Miami (and their support for current US-Cuba policy) was brought to light (following a particular incident).


The line then was clearly drawn by KC away from Prieto (whom KC never mentioned by name in his post). But, Prieto, instead of going on his own way, decided to respond, and thus began the cycle of insults.

Last month, KC made a bold statement that the cause of Cuban exiles in Miami was lost, and that the new battleground for a free Cuba lay inside the island, not from exile. He laid blame to "a bunch of Guyabera wearing, cigar chomping, cafesito drinking dinosaurs."


And then, just after a few days, it all came crashing down after an obvious misunderstanding between KC and Ziva, a friend of Prieto. But this time, instead of just insults (which seems to be normal behavior for the parties involved), Prieto threatened to reveal KC's real name (already offering a portion of it on KC's blog).


Reviewing the posts, its seems that KC, who long ago privately revealed his name to Prieto, confided in Prieto as a friend to keep his name secret. No longer bound by that relationship, Prieto abused the trust once handed to him in order to make a threat against KC and gain an upper-hand in a cycle of petty insults.

Prieto's violation of an old friend's trust reveals abusive behavior. Instead of turning the other cheek to petty offenses, Prieto displays behavior that anyone would abhor. While KC himself is guilty of offensive language, he never made direct threats to Prieto in the past.

Furthermore, KC had already told Prieto in 2006 that attempts to reveal his real name could possibly endanger KC's secret information sources inside Cuba with government reprisals.

The justification that Prieto rightfully responded in the defense of feminine honor (that of Ziva's) does not make sense, especially since the Babalu Blog uses offensive language against anyone regardless of their gender.

The minimization of blame against Prieto, suggesting that KC himself is guilty of threatening his own identity from past comments, is also manipulative. KC has repeatedly warned that it is not himself, or his family that is vulnerable, but rather his secret information sources in Cuba who would most suffer if his identity is revealed.

The indignation that Prieto is receiving for his actions is justified. Those who are defending him, or minimizing his illicit behavior, are being dishonest in their assessment of the situation and overlooking a clear case of abuse of trust.

8:27 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger AmandaDufau said...


Out of respect for Robert and his blog, I will not turn dwell on this further than to say the following: With the exception of the post on the 22nd, I had previously read the posts you included links to over at KC. As with anything on the net, or anywhere else for that matter, you can't believe everything you read. One has to use their own common sense, separate fact from fiction, and arrive at a reasonable conclusion. That being said, what I think of KC's family and friends safety is neither here nor there at this point. Yes, Val may (or may not) have done something wrong, and if he addressed this privately or not with KC I don't know. What I do know is the bloggers have spewed vile words towards my friend Ziva, my uncle Val, other fellow bloggers and friends, and now me. I will not stand for that.
That is all.

4:30 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


Nobody should tolerate the use of insults or offensive language. We should take this incident and reflect on the use of such language and its consequences. Those who use such language with regularity, such as the KillCastro and Babalu Blog risk many things.

Insults and calumnies rely on base human instinct (usually to reflect indignation) devoid of highe rationale, and provoke similar base reactions from an audience (sometimes intentionally). One need only ask if this is the kind of exchange one wants to engage in, or avoid.

Unfortunately, the blogosphere is replete with such low and sometimes malicious language. But, we are only human and sometimes we cannot help it. Yet, we do have the capacity to sometimes repress these instincts and take the "higher moral ground."

Not only should people avoid the use of offensive language, they should avoid an environment that perpetuates it. KillCastro and Babalu Blog can take steps to change that environment, and set an example for others.

They have the capacity to do so, just as you or I do.

7:33 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...


Sorry I disappointed you, but this post was not intended to cover the history of the KC/BB relationship, nor did I even given the illusion that it was what I wanted to do. If that's the angle you want to pursue, great.

There's no way anyone can draw a definite conclusion from what happened over the weekend, in large part because KC hasn't said a peep about it in the last few posts. How is his double-agent cousin doing? How about his brother-in-law in Oriente? His family in Havana which KC expressed concern over? He has contacts in Cuba, doesn't he? Well, where's the news, then? If you know something I don't, please offer it here. Otherwise, we really DON'T know the whole truth, do we? I don't know all the facts, nor do I pretend to. All we have are the original posts, the comments, follow up posts describing in detail the workings of an "insider", and the accusations. Period.

KC's post was well publicized over at another local blog, and my readers are as familiar with that one as they are with mine, if not more. They can go there for any background/clarification.

9:19 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


The truth here lies in reviewing the facts we have already, especially those that led up to the last confrontation between KC and Prieto. I examined the history of differences and accusations between both from 2005 to March 2008. The exchange of insults between both KC and Prieto reached a new level once Prieto made a threatening remark.

I don't think the gravity here lies in whether KC's secret sources were compromised, but rather how Prieto abused the trust that KC once shared with Prieto. That's far more egregious I think. And, most likely where the original indignation lies between the two: a friendship that came to a very ugly end.

11:45 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger MadHatter said...

Sorry for what is an unrelated item, but I wanted to alert you to something in this week's New Times (http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2008-04-03/news/che-guevara-who/full) where it appears that Urban Outfitters at Sunset Place is selling the Che Guevara shirts a la Macy's; they're even on the stores' website (http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&navAction=jump&id=14308613&search=true&isProduct=true&color=04). We were successful in getting Macy's to stop selling the shirts, let's spread the word about these jerks.

11:51 AM, April 03, 2008  

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