Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Despues de Todo" (After All). Los Van Van.

A long long time ago, over 50 years ago, the tiny island nation of Cuba threw out the U.S., the mafia, the nightclubs, the casinos, and the upper-crust Cubans who lived off of those vices, and decided they would form a new government. Many of the upper-class from Cuba who were on the Mafia payroll, or who profited from the misery of their own people, fled Cuba to a life of struggle on the beaches of Miami.

The right-wing in this country just loves those Cubans who came here, and every year taxpayer money is given to phony front-groups in Florida who claim to be anti-[Fidel] Castro. Millions and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have gone right into the pockets of these anti-Castro Cubans in Miami, who have used that money to buy up much of Miami and get rich. But they still bitch and moan about how they really want to go back to Cuba. Yeah, sure they do.

I really hate these gusanos (worms) from Cuba. I'm so sick of listening to the whining. And I'm really sick of seeing my government continue such ridiculous policies towards the people of Cuba. We spent decades trying to assassinate Fidal Castro, supported an attempted invasion, embargos, economic assaults, lies, propaganda. Why did we do that? Maybe because that small poor nation thumbed their noses at the big bad U.S.

Among the absurd policies the U.S. has towards Cuba are the travel restrictions (U.S. citizens for the most part can't go to Cuba except under limited circumstances). Also restrictions on cultural exchanges. This is the part that is so insane to me. We send assassins there, but we are afraid to allow their baseball players to come here, or ours to go there. They love baseball in Cuba. We won't let their musicians come. There was is a project by some musician to just try to get new instruments, like pianos into Cuba, because U.S. has policies try to blockade and embargo that poor country. I'm really sick of it.

"AP - MIAMI – One by one, musicians from the renowned Cuban salsa band Los Van Van made their way past immigration officials at Miami International Airport and into the bright lights and cameras of the Spanish-language media."

"One reporter offered them Cuban pastries. Another asked what it meant to play in Miami. Maintenance workers took pictures with their cell phones. One said she had grown up dancing to Los Van Van. Another denounced them as tools of the island's communist government. When they last played Miami 10 years ago, a mini-riot broke out between fans and protesters." ....

"Los Van Van are the latest in a string of Cuban bands to visit the United States under the Obama administration — and the most controversial. Many characterize the group as having a cozy relationship with the Castro government, making them an emblem for conservative exiles of a five-decade long dictatorship." ...

"Cuban-American radio stations have avoided playing music from groups from the island in the past, but that has begun to change. About six months ago, Al Fuentes, programming director for Spanish Broadcasting Systems in Miami, began playing songs from Los Van Van and other Cuban artists on his morning show. He said the decision grew from demand for the music — and his own curiosity about music made after 1959."

The article says that in 1999, Los Van Van performed in Miami and were met by 4000 protesting and rioting Cuban-Americans. When they performed last Sunday, there were only a handful of protesters. Kind of like the Daughters of the Confederacy: old history embraced by the old folks, but the younger people would prefer getting on with their lives.

This whole anti-Castro fanaticism has such a bad influence on our country. Politicians in the Maimi area are forced to denounce Castro and fan the flames in order to get votes. Most Cuban-Americans are right-wing Republicans, although that too has begun to change.

Cuba has wonderful music. And food. And they are our neighbor. We need to end these old cold-war policies and completely open up free travel and trade with Cuba. Most of the original gusanos have died off, although some of their children continue to live off of taxpayer money given to their phony organizations. I say end it now.

Completely normalize relations between our countries. Our entire foreign policy in relation to Cuba is nothing more than pandering to a few million immigrants with a desire to live off of taxpayer money, and to spread the disease of their resentment and hatred through the whole country. I think most Cuban-Americans want it to end. And as an Irish-American, I don't want any part of their old history. Let's normalize relations and let our people get to know each other. Thanks to Michael for sending me this story.

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