De Paquito D’Rivera a la attaché cultural americana en Cuba
Miss Valentina Porras
Cultural Assistant/Public Diplomacy Office
U.S. Interests Section-Havana, Cuba
Phone: (537) 833-3967
Me llamo Paquito D’Rivera, músico y escritor cubano exiliado en Nueva York por casi 3 decadas. No le cuento mi historia pues a pesar de que las autoridades de mi país natal han hecho todo lo posible por borrarla o restarle importancia, de acuerdo al cargo que usted ocupa, seguramente me conoce bien. Aquí en su hermosa tierra he podido desarrollar una extensa carrera libre de obstáculos y tanto las autoridades como el pueblo americano me han recibido siempre con respeto y hospitalidad.
Me permito escribirle en español, pues veo que maneja usted con soltura y gracia el idioma que tras 50 larguísimos años de dictadura y chabacanería socialista, las generaciones mas jóvenes (y otras no tan jóvenes) se han encargado de deformar, retorcer y vulgarizar a grado extremo.
Por alguna extraña casualidad —o más bien causalidad— hasta mí ha llegado este intercambio de mensajes electrónicos entre usted y una de las poquísimas familias cubanas privilegiadas a las que se les permite poseer una computadora. En dicho mensaje cuenta usted en detalles la cantidad de “personalidades de la cultura cubana” que asistieron a la exitosa fiesta que se celebra anualmente en la Oficina de Intereses Americanos en (lo que queda de) La Habana. Celebración a la cual, por primera vez en la historia fueron excluidos completamente los valerosos cubanos disidentes y periodistas independientes que cada año han sido invitados a estos eventos. Casualmente —o causalmente, reitero—, hace pocos meses, Barack Obama hubo de enviar en su lugar a un emisario a la recepción que tradicionalmente ofrece cada año el presidente de los Estados Unidos en honor a los valientes expresos políticos cubanos en la Casa Blanca. Esto coincide con la negativa del mandatario a recibir al Dalai Lama en sus predios y la iluminación en rojo y amarillo del edificio Empire State de Nueva York, nada menos que conmemorando el 60 aniversario de la sangrienta revolución de Mao Tsetung. ¿Qué será lo próximo, doña Valentina, una fiesta de cumpleaños para Stalin en el Capitolio, o celebrar un aniversario más del pase a cuchillo de los enfermos del hospital del cuartel Moncada la fatídica noche del 26 de Julio de 1953?
Para colmo, el insultante alumbramiento pro-comunista del emblemático edificio de la Ciudad de los Rascacielos, coincide además con el apagón de la cinta luminosa que ofrecía noticias internacionales desde lo alto de la Oficina de Intereses de los Americanos en la otrora deslumbrante capital cubana, y que era una de las escasas fuentes de información con que contaban mis empobrecidos compatriotas, sumidos en la mas total y completa ignorancia informativa. Cinco décadas de traiciones, pesimismo y paranoia me hacen temer que la próxima “medida económica” del nuevo gobierno sea el cierre de Radio Martí y quizás la distribución gratuita del Granma y la revista Verde Olivo en los kioscos de periódicos de la elegante estación de trenes de Washington DC. Ojalá me equivoque, o al menos que Dios no me de vida para ver por CNN al presidente americano recibiendo cordialmente a Raúl Castro en la Oficina Oval.
En resumen, señora Asistente Cultural, debo aceptar con dolor que ni los norteamericanos ni ninguna otra nación están obligados a ayudarnos en nuestra lucha por los derechos humanos en Cuba, como antes SÍ hicieran con Suráfrica, Chile y Haití. Pero permítame decirle que no se mejoran las relaciones entre los pueblos pactando con tiranos ni flirteando con sus verdugos y los artistas que los adulan por cobardía, ignorancia, hipocresía o egoísmo. Por otra parte, darle la espalda a Marta Beatriz Roque, las Damas de Blanco y sus familiares presos injustamente, al doctor Biscet y a otros que luchan diariamente contra la injusticia y el totalitarismo en mi patria, es una canallada de las grandes, que además, va en contra de los principios más elementales sobre los que se supone estén fundados los Estados Unidos de América, país de adopción de casi dos millones de exiliados ¡y votantes! cubanos. ¿Merece esta actitud un premio? Por favor, señora Porras, medite bien la respuesta.
Paquito siempre pone el dedo en la llaga, muy buena su carta, gracias a los dos.
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I love the man and I love his music. I was at the Blue Note, in NYC the first night he played there.
But while I agree with the sentiment of the letter, I find the tone condescending even pedantic. And certainly misleading when it mentions the lighting of the Empire State building as an indication of coddling of China by the current administration.
Mr. D’Rivera should know that the Empire State Building is privately owned — by W & H Properties, according to the AP, which could even be a Chinese company for all we know — and the lights on top are not controlled by the White House or the US Government.
Furthermore, both Democratic and Republican Congressmen from New York expressed outrage about the display, which he fails to mention.
The rest of the insinuations or prognostications in the letter — The Stalin birthday gala, the Moncada celebration, the Marti defunding and the free distribution of Granma and Verde Olivo — is the kind of paranoid-conspirational nonsense I’m used to hearing from ignorant ditto-heads that follow Glenn Beck on Twitter.
It is obvious that Mr. D’Rivera believes — like so many of my country folk — that Mr. Obama is a communist/muslim/terrorist who’s soft on dictators and who’s plotting to usher in socialism to Washington. It would help his argument if he at least got his facts straight and took the tone down a couple of notches.
I still plan to listen to his music. His diplomatic and political assessments? Not so much…
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¡¡Bravo Paquito D’Rivera!!
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jmadlc55, I don’t think Paquito believes The Messiah is a muslim, but of the rest, «if it walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck…»
Show me one dictator he’s met that he hasn’t loved.
And what does Glenn Beck have to do with this? Don’t you think Mr D’Rivera and others are smart enough to reach these conclusions on their own without having to follow what some clown on TV says? Projecting much?
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ElcubanitoKC, If you want to have an honest and respectful discussion with me about my comment, I’m game. You will, however, need to supply me with data to back up your statements, not just give me blanket statements.
Your first line tells me how you feel about President Obama. That’s cool with me. You’re attempting to dismiss his accomplishments by calling him The Messiah. I get it. I don’t know if you’re a Christian, but that name is taken.
You then say the thing about the duck, which I’m assuming means you see something in his behavior that tells you what he truly is. Can you give me any examples of these «indicators?» I’ve been looking pretty closely for a while, and I’m a pretty smart guajiro, but I haven’t seen any of it. I invite you to educate me, not lecture me.
Next, the thing about the dictator’s love. Again, please give me examples because I’ve missed any such display of affection you mention. I’m as open-minded as the next guy, so if there’s something you can show me, I’ll have no problem in admitting it here.
As to the Glenn Beck reference , this is about the similarity between Mr. Beck’s methodology — make unsubstantiated, outlandish, misleading, fear-mongering statements about the opposition — and the statements made in the letter (did I mention unsubstantiated?).
Anyway, I’ve always felt that, aside from the historical causes for a majority of Cubans hating the Democratic Party’s guts — sorry, the Democrat party — and of which I am fully aware and in full sympathy with, there seems to be a problem with the political party branding. Let me explain: Here the GOP represents the right. They are the right-wing. Dems are the left or left-leaning party. Except that in the U. S. left doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in Cuba or Latin America. Do you think that there might be anything to my little theory?
I had a cousin, a Limbaugh devotee, call me a ñangara because I was supporting Obama. He had a tough time just getting past the color thing, but he was sure that the president was a socialist or a communist. He used the «duck» analogy, btw, but he didn’t have one single fact to give me, just a hunch.
Now, I call myself — proudly, by the way — a lefty leaning liberal in the American tradition, not the Latin-American one. I hate communists, opportunists, war-profiteers and corporate welfare queens with the same amount of passion. I’ve always been very clear about that in my mind and in the work I’ve produced.
So, the floor is yours, my friend. Let me have it.
One last thing, I didn’t get the «projecting much» comment.
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Yo soy cubano nacido y criado en cuba, vivo fuera de cuba por mas de dos decadas y no en los Estados Unidos…. En cuba no hay libertad y el que defienda la falta de libertad es un asesino!!!.No es asunto de derecha ni de isquerda. BASTA YA DE CHANTAGE ANORMAL CON LOS CUBANOS
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jmadlc55 writes that he loves the man, Paquito D’Rivera, but refers to him as a paranoid, outlandish, pedantic, misleading and fearmongering ignorant ditto-head (I don’t know what a ditto-head is, but it sounds bad). Nobody deserves that kind of adulation, not even from a pretty smart guajiro who is familiar with Glenn Beck (which I thought was a single malt, an expensive German beer or a commercial shampoo until now).
The central point of Mr. D’Rivera’s letter is that President Obama is forsaking Cuban dissidents such as Las Damas de Blanco, Dr. Biscet and the Dalai Lama (perhaps the first US President ever to do so). The recent chinese-red color on the Empire State Building was simply the icing on the cake, and Mr. D’Rivera is not implying that the President threw the light switch, but it is interesting to note that the he met recently with Hu Jintao, is now sligting the Dalai — all within a month’s time. In other words, the most recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (with no credentials to justify such award) is sligting a previous recipient of the same Prize (but with the record to deserve it) because he does not want to annoy Hu («third base»). These are facts, «Just the facts, M’am», as Jack Webb of the Dragnet TV series used to say.
And no, nobody is calling the President a Muslim terrorist. If Mr. D’Rivera writes passionately, fervently and with consternation, he should not be blamed. He has seen similar proclivities and governmental bearings in the past, I’m sure, and he is a concerned person voicing an opinion based on facts, so that hopefully, some may take heed.
I also like his music, ditto.
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Estimado Mariano. Gracias por el comentario.
I stand by my original observations.
And I must take issue with a couple of your assertions. You state that, regarding Mr. D’Rivera, I: «refer[s] to him as a paranoid, outlandish, pedantic, misleading and fearmongering ignorant ditto-head.
But if you would read my comment, this is what I said: «But while I agree with the sentiment of the letter, I find the tone condescending even pedantic. And certainly misleading…»
I’m refering to the letter and the tone of the letter, never to Mr. D’ Rivera personally. There’s a BIG difference, as I’m sure you know — but chose to ignore.
I don’t know enough about «President Obama is forsaking Cuban dissidents such as Las Damas de Blanco, Dr. Biscet and the Dalai Lama» to agree or disagree. I don’t know what you mean by «forsaking». President Obama hasn’t been to Havana — at least that we know about publicly — so I’m not sure why he would «darle la espalda a Marta Beatriz Roque, las Damas de Blanco y sus familiares presos injustamente, al doctor Biscet y a otros…» as the letter states. What proof is there of this? That he hasn’t directed someone to meet with them in Cuba? Is that conclusive proof that there isn’t any other gesture or mission taking place that we may not be aware of? Or that the approach taken by the administration to deal with these issues — not knowing what they could be — might yield better results than the one obtained for us by the previous administrations, which in my opinion has been squat?
Only when you assign malevolent motives to the President do you naturally assume that what he hasn’t done yet — nine months into his term — must be because he doesn’t care about Cubans, its dissidents and oppressed masses. Only if you assume the guy is up to no good, kissing dictator ass, do you assume that he will usher in «una fiesta de cumpleaños para Stalin en el Capitolio, o celebrar un aniversario más del pase a cuchillo de los enfermos del hospital del cuartel Moncada la fatídica noche del 26 de Julio de 1953»
I don’t know what you call that, but that is way over the top.
The lighting of the Empire State building with China’s colors should not be part of this discussion. W & H Properties does not stand for White House. It’s a private building. It’s the conflating of the events that I objected to. That and the cherry picking of info since government representatives, senators and shit, protested to high heaven about it. All you need to do is google the story. It hints of paranoia to mention that as another sign of the apocalypse. It demeans the original sentiment with which I said I agreed.
Regarding the Hu v. Dalai Lama musical chair thing, I will say that sometimes you loose a battle in order to win a war. We do not know all of the implications of each chess move. I would say that there are plenty of thing we don’t know and to interpret each short term move is a waste of time. Unless you want to use it to confirm some suspicion or assign a dark motive to someone. And Cubans — myself included — are plenty suspicious and see a leftist dictator behind every Democratic politician. I find that understandable given the history but it leads to a lot of generalizations and reactionary statements.
Regarding the comment about Mr. Obama’s qualifications, I’m not going to dispute your opinion. To me, if the Nobel Committee deems someone worthy, it’s fine with me. It’s their damn Prize and they can do with it as they please.
I’ll tell you one thing. I am glad it was an American president that won it. I would have been happy if it had been a Republican as well. I celebrate this country’s accomplishments. I was bummed that we didn’t get the Olympics. Some «patriots» were pretty gleeful about that, blinded by their hate for «The One» they neglect to put country first. Some even broke into applause, God bless them!
Last thing — and I apologize for the palique — ditto-heads refers to listeners of Rush Limbaugh, those that agree with him by nodding their heads and say ditto to his brand of conservativism (or whatever you call what he spews). Lots of people on the right have called him a muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that) a terrorist, a communist, a fascist, Hitler and much worse. That doesn’t bother me much since it only speaks of the ignorance of some.
Back to you…
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Well, I will just have to add, that Obama has plenty of Ditto-Heads, and it is far more dangerous than the ones that listen to Limbaugh. In his letter, Paquito shows his genuine concern. The interpretetation of that letter is up to each individual.
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Agreed, Niurki on most of you comment.
Obama’s blind followers — and there are some I know — are called Obamabots. It’s the curse of the charismatic leader and don’t we know this from painful communal experience.
I only follow the dictates of my dear wife and my 3 year old son. I don’t have any room for more bosses.
I agree that the interpretation of the letter is up to each individual. That’s what I tried to express originally, it was only imho stuff.
Now regarding the dangerousness of each followers I have to disagree with you. I don’t recall an Obamabot or democrat for that matter, carrying a loaded weapon to a McCain or President Bush rally in a threatening and intimidating display. Do you? I don’t recall anyone advocating a military coup when Pres Bush was bumbling his way from disaster to disaster. And it’s a well known fact that death threats to President Obama have gone up FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT (400%).
Now if you’re refering to some other lurking danger, like the possibility of a government take over by leftist radicals — a scenario being floated by some — I can argue with that.
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Gracias por clarificar esas caracterizaciones del Sr. D’Rivera mal inerpretados por mi. Ya estaba listo para quemar sus discos.
From a not-to-smart guajiro like me, to another, all I can tell you is that, like the great Will Rogers once said,
«All I know is what I read in the newspapers»
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