Aug 30, 2007

Para nunca olvides de dónde vienes

Revisando mis correos electrónicos, encontré este que más de una vez me ha hecho reír, recordar buenos momentos y sentirme orgullosa de ser cubana.
(Aún cuando a otros latinos a quienes se lo he mandado no le ha hecho mucha gracia... por qué será? Humm...)

Anyway, decidí crear mi propio comentario, para que mi Nicolasín pueda leerlo y quién sabe, a lo mejor en algún momento de su vida como Cuban American Prince, le sirva para poner los pies en la tierra y nunca olvidarse de dónde viene.

(Respeto el título del correo original que recibí)
"Así Somos"

El Cubano no corre: Echa un patín.

El Cubano no es infiel: Pega los tarros.

El Cubano no se sube: Se encarama.

El Cubano no habla mucho: Mete tremenda muela.

El Cubano no se enamora: Coge tremendo metío.

El Cubano no es pícaro: Es candela.
(Nicolás, te acuerdas cuando abuela te decía: "niño, pero tú eres candela!).

El Cubano no es inteligente: Es un filtro.

El Cubano no se emborracha: Coge nota, o curda.

El Cubano no es niño: Es fiñe.

El Cubano no consigue: Resuelve, mete mano, engancha.

El Cubano no es un experto: Es un bárbaro, un salvaje, una fiera, un animal.

El Cubano no se baja: Se apea.

El Cubano no cae:Se destimbala o de descuarajinga.

El Cubano no te golpea: Te rompe la siquitrilla.

El Cubano no baila: Echa un pie.

El Cubano no es haragán: No dispara un chícharo.

El Cubano no piensa: Le mete moropo.

El Cubano no se equivoca: Se enreda o mete la pata.

El Cubano no se muere: Canta el manicero, guinda el piojo, estira la pata o se muda para el reparto bacarriba.

El Cubano no tiene obsesiones: Tiene matraquillas.

El Cubano no se enferma: Se pone maluco.

El Cubano no pasa hambre:* Se jama tremendo cable.

El Cubano no es pobre:Está en la fuácata, está pelao, está con una mano alanta y la otra atrás.

El Cubano no esta delgado: Es un güin, un esqueleto rumbero.

El Cubano no se vuelve loco: Se desconchunfla, se le cruzan los cables, tiene guayabitos en la azotea, le patina el coco.

El Cubano no se cansa: Se desguabina, se desmondinga o está matao.

El Cubano no ignora a alguien: Lo tira a mondongo o lo multiplica por cero.

El Cubano no es culto y lector: Es una polilla.

El Cubano no dice "toca mal el piano": Dice "machaca las teclas.

El Cubano no forma una confusión: Forma un arroz con mango.

El Cubano no es ostentoso o pretencioso: Se da lija.

El Cubano no conquistó a una mujer: Ligó a una "jeva".

El Cubano no dice "come o habla despacio": Dice "¡¡¡Respira niño!!!".

El Cubano no tiene una novia delgada: La novia es un bacalao o un pestillo.

El Cubano no dice "me lo has puesto difícil":Dice "Me la pusiste en China".

El Cubano no te dice que hiciste algo excepcional:Te dice "Te la comiste!".

Aug 29, 2007

A masterful KO by Humberto Fontova... and round two comes right away

KO en el primer asalto... we, the Cubans, take off our hats to honor our contender.

See it by yourself.
Here is Humberto Fontova's response to the Washington Post cartoon about Cuban Americans.

I'll save the end for my own history scrapbook:

The immigrant (actually, refugee) group the Post insults in a manner utterly inconceivable for any other, is in fact the very one that “implanted roots" and "contributed to the national economy” like few others. The 1998 census shows Americans of Cuban heritage to have income and educational levels higher — not just than other "Hispanic" (a meaningless term) groups, but higher than the U.S population in general. Lower crime rates than the national average complete the picture.

But these insufferable people consistently vote close to 80 percent Republican, you see. This sin instantly nullifies all of the Washington Posts usual hyper-sensitivity in these matters.
Attempting to enforce U.S. law as in potential expulsion, (with full due process) of, illegal immigrants is denounced by the Washington Post as "xenophobic," "shameful," "poisonous," "nativist," "cruel," "self defeating," "illogical," and "ugly."

But a cartoon celebrating the expulsion of Americans who happened to be foreign-born, who played by the rules, who became U.S. citizens, who then outpaced even the overall U.S. population in educational and income levels (in "Americanization" you might say) and who specialize in exercising their right and duty to vote, well, these vermin should be shoved off en masse to Stalinist prison camps by a smiling Uncle Sam. Unreal.

Humberto Fontova is the author of "Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him."

Round two comes cross-posted from Babalú, and is the letter that Carlos M. N. Eire (the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies and the Chair of the Renaissance Studies Program at Yale University) wrote to Washington Post.

Professor Eire is also the author of the National Book Award-winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana.

The Tale of an Offensive Cartoon and a Thank You Note to Uncle Sam

Oh, my dear colleagues at the Washington Post! It looks like some newspapers and other media never get enough offending the Cuban refugees and Cuban Americans in the United States.

It looks that it is not enough that we are successful, educated, able to support ourselves without busting the welfare funds, empowered in key political positions... no, is just not enough.

Pat Oliphant's cartoon, recently published by The Washington Post, is offensive and is hurting our community. But, apparently, that's not important, or has never been.

The Cuban blogosphere is commenting a lot about the cartoon and the community reaction to it. We are also looking in our old drawers and dusting off reflections and letters like this one, that fellow Cuban blogger Alberto De La Cruz received a few years ago, in the middle of the Elián Gonzáles scandal.

It looks like, from time to time, we, Cubans and Cuban Americans living in the United States, really need to take a stand y aclararle la mente a algunos equivocados...

Are you guys really getting so upset because we are successful and hard workers and stick to our plans and you can not call us immigrants because we are refugees?

I truly believe there is a need to refresh all those brainless memories out there, so, here his our letter to Uncle Sam:

Dear Uncle Sam:

I am writing you to apologize for all the terrible things that we Cubans have done to you while living in the United States. Please let me begin with my own humble plea for forgiveness.

Forgive me for being too Cuban, too Spanish, too European and too white. I know how painful it must be for you to have Spanish speaking Caucasians living on your soil.

I also beg you to forgive my Afro-Cuban brothers and sisters for being descendants of the Yorube people of West Africa, one of the most highly cultured and sophisticated African ethnic groups. It is not their fault that they are both intelligent and beautiful or that they overcame the horrors of slavery with courage and dignity. Nor is there any malice in their ability to live in harmony with their white compatriots. I ask you to forgive them for being thoroughly Cuban.

On a collective level, please forgive us for having a strong work ethic, for being educated, and for enjoying a certain level of economic prosperity. Forgive us for paying our taxes and for obeying your laws. Above all, forgive us for having served in your armed forces and for having suffered casualties in your Vietnam War out of all proportion to our numbers.

Forgive us for having transformed Miami from a sleepy Southern town into a thriving world-class metropolis. Also, forgive us for contributing billions of dollars to the American economy. Forgive us for having successfully run major American corporations such as the Coca-Cola Company.

Forgive us for not being a burden on your social welfare system, for being economically self-reliant, for being charitable, and for believing in equality and social justice.

Forgive us for helping the Nicaraguans and the Haitians in South Florida. Forgive us for our contributions to both American popular and high culture.

Forgive us for Desi Arnaz, Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito de Rivera, and the Buena Vista Social Club. I assure you, we meant no offense or harm by providing you with so much entertainment and pleasure, as well as for all the intellectuals and professors whom we have given to your universities.

Forgive us for major leagues.

Forgive us for adding to your culinary diversity. Forgive us for our black beans, roast pork, arroz con pollo, fried plantains, shrimp enchilado, Cuban sandwiches, flan, pastelitos de guayaba and a host of other dishes that lack the refined sophistication of your meatloaf.

Forgive us also for brewing coffee that actually looks, tastes, and smells like coffee and most of all, forgive us for cooking with garlic.

Uncle Sam, forgive us for actually practicing family values instead of simply talking about them.

Forgive us for loving our extended families and our children and for treating our elderly with affection and respect.

Forgive us for enjoying life, for being both passionate and compassionate, and for sharing whatever we have with those who are less fortunate.

Forgive us our humanity.

Please Uncle Sam, I implore you to forgive us for our participation in the political and civil life of your nation, for becoming US citizens, for voting in your elections.

Forgive us for having elected Cubans to all levels of your government and please, please forgive us for having alienated our Latin-American cousins by defending your interests in the region.
Also, forgive us for learning the lessons of Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as for mastering that most American of all political acts, civil disobedience.

I now realize that we Cubans are terrible people, and we have hurt you in unspeakable ways, but I assure you that we will get out of the country as soon as we regain our homeland.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that this will happen any time soon, therefore, if I may be so bold, could you please allow us to remain here just a little longer? I promise that we will do our best to behave more like a stereotypical minority.

Oh, and by the way, could you find it in your heart to forgive us for choosing freedom over fascism?

Unknown Cuban-American

Arriba, !Camina pa'que te conozcan!

Aug 27, 2007

Nos trajinaron de nuevo? --Were we duped again?

For the record, I don't think so.
I rather stick to my Mom's saying: "Cuando el río suena, es porque piedras trae". (Something like... "when you hear noises in the river, some stones should it be carrying").

One or two more new "Reflections from El Comandante" in the aparato's newspaper? Don't buy it. Not enough to convince this ink-stained newspaper reporter. Specially, when I know how things works inside the "monster". Sorry, but I just don't believe that everything is OK.

Clearly, something is happening or probably already happened. In the worst case-scenario, is going to happen very soon. (Fellow Cuban blogger, Alberto De La Cruz, share some of my views. Read his here.)

And I am not the only one that thinks so.

For me, is a no-brainer: Nobody has lived forever since mankind came to earth.
And I truly don't believe that he is going to be the first one to break that rule.

It is jus a matter of time. Not very much, I hope.

This is just a time for buying time. They are just doing that. And, in the meantime, they are doign their best to confused the world and the Cubans living outside the island. This can prove you that. And this, and this .

It's the regimen usual game: I'll rule your life, even if you are living 90 miles away --or more--.

Glad they don't own me anymore.
No more.

Aug 24, 2007

More Cuban prayers...solidaridad and some planning

From Auburn, Alabama. And from sunny California.
From the Tampa Bay area, contigency plans are being organized...

May be I should get a map and start marking with pins the sites of the world where prayers are working overtime and the champagne is getting ready to splash.

Oh, boy! That would be SO COOL! :)

But I am worried about Dad. He is still there. I can help but feeling stressed out about his well-being...

A public service note, and a prayer.

For the public service, the news is that Babalu blog is down, probably due to heavy traffic. The prayer is between the one up there and me; so, won't give public comments on that.

The topic is obvious: Barbatruco colgó los tennis, probably a few days ago, and they are cooking up the version to say it clearly. Or not? May be they are going to show us a verdeolivo dressed Muppet? Who knows... with Castro's regimen, you really never know.

Reporting from the front range hills at the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado: Mami just talked to my cousins in Havana and they said nothing is happening in that area. They also said it's worthless to call them: usually, here we get the news faster than them. And they are right.

The cousin in Tenerife, Canarian Islands, in Spain, also said she hasn't heard anything. That we have to call her right away, no matter the hours, if we hear something.

Sister in law from Miami said in a quick call that friends of her talked to relatives in Cuba and they said something was being cooked up. But we don't know for sure.

Should I climb Longs Peak or at least speed up to the Continental Divider, sothe "guy up there"can heard my prayers better?

Or should I rent him a UHaul for his move to "el reparto bocarriba"?
That would be a true public service action!

Keeping track of the events? Just go here.

Cubanita in Colorado out.
... but still praying.

Aug 20, 2007

Sometimes I just can not stay calm

I really do.
I breath and read over the quote I have on top of my blog. Then I lean back on my chair and say to myself that I am supposed to write mostly, about my kiddo and our family memories.
But sometimes I can't.
Especially, when I get emails from friends telling me about things like the latest column of María Elena Salinas on Cubans immigrants.
Click here if you want to read her column in Spanish.

I have to say I always try to give the benefit of the doubt.(I guess is the mix of law school and journalist ethics still living in me).

I Google more than one newpaper or media outlet online. I read the stuff over and over.
But sometimes I just can not stay calm.

I wonder why María Elena Salinas --or so many other people-- can not understand the difference between an immigrant moved mostly by economic factors and a refugee. Is that hard to understand that we are not immigrants, that we are refugees?

I wonder why she didn't write about the way her own people, the Mexicans, treat, betray, denounce and abuse other immigrants from Central American countries while trying to make their way to the promise land and have no other choice that crossing through México.

Everything your compatriotas are claiming here, it's being denied to immigrants and refugees arriving to México. So, it's like "haz lo que yo digo pero no lo que yo hago?". Humm...

I wonder why she didn't mention that may be, may be the reasons Cubans have to leave their homeland, risking their lives at every intent, are slightly different from the reasons the Mexicans have to immigrate to the U.S.

I wonder if she really knows that most Cubans refugees in the U.S. do not agree with those human smuggling operations: we know they are dangerous, we know that money it's behind them, we know all those things...

But we also know that sometimes Cubans in the island just don't have any other choices. They are not fleeing for food or a better paid job; they are fleeing for freedom and sometimes, for their own lives.

As a fellow journalist, I used to admire her job pro immigrants in the U.S.
Now I'm not that sure.
I guess that money and fame can operate wonders in a person's professional biases.

Ay, María Elena, es tan fácil nadar cuando se está fuera del agua!.
(It's so easy to swim when you are outside the water).

But it's good that we both ARE in the United States, isn't it?
You can have your opinion. And I can have mine.

You don't need to understand or even be sympathetic to the situation in Cuba.
I --and all the Cubans in the U.S. and spread all over the world-- have enough supplies to do for you, and for us.

Aug 17, 2007

Looking back to my reporter's desk

It's been almost a month since I switched careers and left behind the chaos of my reporter's desk.

It's been a month of learning to serve others beyond my computer keyboard. And feeling really good about it.

But I haven't been able to completely shut off from the journalism environment. And this blog is part of that connection that, in the back of my mind, I insist on keeping.

That's why I felt the need to share the most recent news affecting Cuban reporters working for Cuba's government-ruled and censored-media.

From fellow Cuban blogs Babalú and Uncommon Sense, I first learned about a recent report from Reporters Without Borders about the recently imposed requirements for reporters in Cuba to access the internet.

I don't know how I can be surprised.
This is not news for me.
But I still am.

Take a deep breath and read this:

At the behest of communication minister Ramiro Valdés, the Cuban Institute for Radio and Television sent a letter to the heads of state media on 13 August announcing new restrictions on their staff. They must henceforth use a portal created by the Cuban state telecommunications company,, to access websites and email services. This will enable the government to easily monitor their online activity.

... the letter also instructed state media to make an “appropriate” choice of staff to update their websites and said the web-browsing facilities made available to “trusted” journalists could be subject to additional controls.

Not enough? Go to the Reporters Without Borders page and see it, with your own eyes.

Encuentro en la Red, a Madrid based web site, also reported about the guidelines to select those "trusted"journalists. Read the original story, in Spanish, here.

But the best concept the "hombre nuevo"can learn from Ramiro's letter is that "the Internet was a tool of global extermination that had to be “controlled".
"Yeah! Sure you will...", I said.

I wonder if ETECSA and its mother-company, Telecom Italia, would ever be held responsible --same way is happening with Yahoo for allowing the monitoring of Chinese dissidents and independent journalists that ended up in jail.

Caro mio... you better put your beard in water when you see your neighbor's in flames.

Aug 15, 2007

Those Cuban's "Japi Berdeis"

D-Day of my birthday, my-friends-the-Cubans-from-Loveland, make two delicious lasagnas for dinner. In this pic, we're just getting things ready to land in the dinner table.

I've told you before.

Everything is about having all the friends around the food --and, ideally, around a dominó table.

It's about the pleasure to set up parties and gatherings at your home without the need to give a month in advance notice.

It's about the luck to have friends that you can call any day of the week, either to ask for help to fix something in your house or to reply that you'll be "dropping by" after work to taste the congrí y las albóndigas.

Get yourself those items and you'll be able to gather all Cubans around you... even if you are in the middle of the Western plains of the United States, far, far away from our tropical island and its replica, our beloved Florida.

Aug 14, 2007

Birthdays in the front range..."a la Cuban"

We -- the Cubans in the Rocky Mountains Front Range-- have had a pretty busy summer celebrating a lot of birthdays, in a row. Literally.

The third week of July, after work, we had an "informal" reunion at a Mexican friend's house: food, endless chatting and cake and candles to celebrate her birthday and her oldest daugther's birthday.

Cuban recently arrived form Arizona were there. Cubans from Loveland joined. Cubans from Greeley were the first ones to arrive at the house.

On July 27th I hit "la tiñosa".
Bunch of people and chamas in my house. Lasagna, tostones and flan for dinner and the traditional cake to blow THE candle. Closing act with una partida de dominó.

(Since we've decided we're all just turning 28 years... we wanted to save a little and use only one candle with the cake. Sorry, old Cubans habits are hard to forget).

Following Friday: MDH birthday. Another huge meal, same bunch of people and chamas and a delicious cake with THE candle. Sweetie going nuts with all the kids running around her. Same closing act with una partida de dominó.

Last weekend, Cuban friend from Loveland's birthday. Her hubby and MDH made una paella marinera. Wow! It was good!. More cake, more candles, more "japi berdei". My pastelitos de guayaba y queso almost didn't make from the oven to the table. Same players, same dominó to close the party.

I owe you some pics. But it's good we're together, in this midwest plains so far from our Miami homeland.

Despite the unconventional ways we have met --but that's a story for another post--, we have managed to stick together pretty frequently, speaking --even thought it sounds like shouting-- Spanish, cooking our traditional food and raising our kids in the love for dominó, the respect to abuela and the "be careful con la chancleta".

I trully believe that, eventually, most of us will make back to Florida. But, in the meantime, we're having a good time with our food, music and traditions, under this freaking hot summer in Colorado, just before the the snow arrives.

Aug 3, 2007

Show some respect to Cuban history, or at least, to our food.

I just loved to sneak around my fellow Cubans bloggers' sites to see what's the hot issue out there every day. And I am so glad that I've developed this new addiction.

In a recent post at El Mizzoubanazo, I just got a sneak-preview of what was meant to be a Cuban restaurant in Baltimore, in the so "in" Nuevo Cubano style.

With the first click, I was intrigued. With the second one, I started laughing. With the third one, it just become another day when I feel extremely concerned with the world's chronic ignorance.

Ay, Martí!!!Debes estar echando espuma por la boca y revolcándote en la tumba, whenever your dead body is resting now...

So, I decided to write a letter to the contacts they are posting in their website.
And this is what I came with:

Dear Tim, Ron, Marc, Scott, and whoever else in related to Little Havana Restaurant and Cantina, in Baltimore.

With all due respect to all your amendments-given freedom to do whatever you want in your business, I have to tell you I am shocked that citizens from this great country sometimes can be so ignorant, cruel and clueless about the history and the traditions of other countries. Eg: Cuba.

Thanks God you guys are running a restaurant and not teaching at any given classroom in this country.
Thanks God. Again, again, and again.

I've got to tell you... love the intro in your webpage:
"Over the course of nine years"... very poetic.

But, over the course of nine years, you should have started by having a native Spanish speaker proofreading all the words in faked Spanish you're using in your menu and webpage.

If you were really a little bit interested in doing business with a Cuban flare, you should have known that in Cuba we say Bares, not Cantinas --those are the ones in Mexico.

Then, that non-existent authentic proofreader should have told you that parrilla is spelled with two r's; the same ones that most Americans struggle so much to roll.

Then, may be you would also have known something about concordance in the Spanish grammar: the ensalada es vaquerA (no vaquero) and that frijoles negros is only one soup, not several sopaS.

And you poor things really believed you guys are bringing Havana to me?
Sorry to wake you up, but that is just SO WRONG.

Come on!!! You didn't even researched in advance, at least to know that nachos and quesadillas are Mexican and Mexican American dishes, but not Cuban. In Cuba's traditional food, you will never ever find anything with tortillas. Helloooooo????

And there you add the glorious final touch...the image of a murder as decoration and their names in your menu. I wonder what would happen if I decide to do the same, but then I add the images of Hitler and his crew?

I am so sad. But not for me, or the thousands of Cubans that have lost their beloved one in the hands of Castro, his regimen and under the bullets of Che.

I am sad for you.

And I am sad for all the Americans from Baltimore and near by places that go to your restaurant hoping to buy something authentic. Too bad for them if they also believe that you have any idea of what the Nuevo Cubano is.

And I won't even mention the offense to Cubans for your political implications.

But, what can I do?

Ignorance is killing the world, and is being vicious in the United States, with people like you.

FYI: I am not a "rabid" Cuban from Miami, eager to constantly shout against Castro. I am a young woman that was born and raised under that regimen, that has lived in the U.S. only for a few years.
Believe me, I DO know what I am talking about.
But you don't.


Then I signed with "Best Regards".
And now, I just feel so accidentally GOOD.