Okay, folks it has been a busy few weeks. Latin American leaders have been hopping all over the hemisphere making news everywhere they go. In fact, they are making such big news, even US media is paying attention. But, all this frenzy has worn me out and now I just want to chill to out.
In case you missed what’s been going on in Latin America over the last several weeks, here’s a quick and dirty look:
First, there was the ALBA meeting in Venezuela that featured two show stoppers: Raul Castro with a 15 minute indictment of the US that a man half his age could not have given as forcefully and Evo Morales’ terrific statement that he wondered whether the OAS would throw him out (as happened to Cuba) if he told them that he was a socialist-marxist-leninist-commie cocalero.
The Summit-Shummit of the Americas followed the ALBA meeting directly. While some might disagree with me, I think Daniel Ortega was the star as he schooled Obama thoroughly in Latin American history and US dirty deeds. Chavez comes in a close second to Ortega with the “Open Veins of Latin America” trick. Well played.
I will forever be prejudiced in Ortega’s favor, not because of the Shummit of the Americas, but because of the Iberoamerica Summit in Chile a few years ago. If you recall, King Juan Carlos got pissed off with President Chavez because he spoke truthfully about the collaboration of the former Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and the Spanish ambassador to Venezuela in the 2002 coup against Chavez. As we all know, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero couldn’t get Chavez to shut up so the King flung a regal hand in Chavez’s direction and uttered the words that went around the world, landed on t-shirts, and blasted from cell phones: “Why don’t you shut up?” So where does Ortega come in? It was Ortega’s comments a short time later that so insulted the King he stormed out of the room. Bravo, Daniel!
Simultaneous to the ALBA conference and the Shummit, all hell waz-a-poppin’ in Bolivia. It appears that an Eastern European-Irish-Bolivian cabal of weapons-toting mercenaries with connections to Miami Cubans and a NY “human rights” organization were plotting to kill Morales. Before they could get to Morales, Bolivian security services took ’em out — some to the morgue, some to jail.
Then the Mexican swine flu epidemic (or maybe less than an epidemic) broke onto the scene as business investors in Mexico started looking for tall buildings to jump out of. One cannot overlook the irony about the source of the nasty mutant virus — a Smithfield hog plant transplanted to Mexico from Virginia courtesy of NAFTA, that pillar of free, but not fair trade. When god handed out breaks, he completely skipped Mexico.
Then the US issued its Terrorism Report for 2008 and Cuba is still on the list of sponsors of state terrorism. In spite of some vague whisper that the US and Cuba might be talking at lower diplomatic levels, the new Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, kicks the US’ ass in a speech before the Non-Aligned Movement.
International Workers Day dawned with terrific revolutionary speeches from around the world. Morales and Chavez kicked the US’ butt.
And then the straw that broke the camel’s back. The US fails to issue a visa for Cuba’s premier folksinger, Silvio Rodriguez, preventing him from joining Pete Seeger at his 90th birthday party in NY. This got me thinking about the rich cultural heritage of Cuba and pea-brained State Department wonks advising people that should know better to keep commie Cuban singers out of the US. One too many commies is one too many!
Well, if we can’t get commie Cuban singers here in person, we will go to the place which brings them to our computer screen — You Tube.
Below are two videos showing two different versions of “Hasta Siempre Comandante – Che Guevara.” The first version is sung by the song’s composer, Carlos Puebla, another Cuban commie cultural icon. Puebla wrote the song in 1965 and the lyrics are a reply to Che Guevara’s farewell letter he gave to Fidel when he left Cuba (Che’s letter appears in its entirety after the videos). Puebla died in 1989. The second version of the song is pure ripping rock by Spanish band, Jahmila.
So comrades, take a break, enjoy the music and then GET BACK TO THE REVOLUTION!!
CARLOS PUEBLA, A SOFT CUBAN BEAT
SPANISH ROCK BAND, JAHMILA, KICKASS VERSION
CHE’S FAREWELL LETTER TO FIDEL
At this moment I remember many things — when I met you in Marfa Antonia’s house, when you suggested my coming, all the tensions involved in the preparations.
One day they asked who should be notified in case of death, and the real possibility of that fact affected us all. Later we knew that it was true, that in revolution one wins or dies (if it is a real one). Many comrades fell along the way to victory.
Today everything is less dramatic, because we are more mature. But the fact is repeated. I feel that I have fulfilled the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban Revolution in its territory, and I say good-bye to you, the comrades, your people, who are already mine.
I formally renounce my positions in the national leadership of the party, my post as minister, my rank of major, and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me to Cuba. The only ties are of another nature — those which cannot be broken as appointments can.
Recalling my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient honor and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only serious failing was not having confided more in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra, and not having understood quickly enough your qualities as a leader and a revolutionary.
I have lived magnificent days, and I felt at your side the pride of belonging to our people in the brilliant yet sad days of the Caribbean crisis.
Seldom has a statesman been more brilliant than you in those days. I am also proud of having followed you without hesitation, identified with your way of thinking and of seeing and appraising dangers and principles. Other nations of the world call for my modest efforts. I can do that which is denied you because of your responsibility as the head of Cuba, and the time has come for us to part.
I want it known that I do it with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow: I leave here the purest of my hopes as a builder, and the dearest of those I love. And I leave a people who received me as a son. That wounds me deeply. I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be. This comforts and heals the deepest wounds.
I state once more that I free Cuba from any responsibility, except that which stems from its example. If my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you. I am thank- ful for your teaching, your example, and I will try to be faithful to the final consequences of my acts.
I have always been identified with the foreign policy of our revolution, and I will continue to be. Wherever I am, I will feel the responsibility ofbeing a Cuban revolutionary, and as such I shall behave. I am not sorry that I leave my children and my wife nothing material. I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as I know the state will provide enough for their expenses and education.
I would like to say much to you and to our people, but I feel it is not necessary. Words cannot express what I would want them to, and I don’t think it’s worth while to banter phrases.
Hasta la victoria siempre. ¡Patria o Muerte!
I embrace you with all my revolutionary fervor.