Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George

RIP to the thinking man's comedian. In my opinion, the most cerebral comedian in modern times.

Globe Staff / June 23, 2008

George Carlin, a comedian famed equally for his bawdy routines about drugs and obscenities and for his ability to render absurd the most commonplace of items in modern life, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital yesterday, a spokesman said. He was 71.

Mr. Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica in the evening after being admitted in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material, Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine about seven dirty words you could not say on television. A regulatory battle over a broadcast of his "Filthy Words" routine reached the US Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top US court ruled that the words cited in Mr. Carlin's routine were indecent and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.

He was irascible, profane, blasphemous, and determinedly astute. Whether deciphering the American political scene, or dissecting Americans' foibles, or disassembling the English language, he had the ability to re-create the perceptions of a listener, to hilarious effect.

A favorite on college campuses for the past 40 years, he maintained a busy touring schedule, last visiting Boston at the Wang Theatre in March. Before that concert, he told The Boston Globe he started his career with the desire to go beyond telling jokes, to becoming a part jester, part philosopher.

"If [a comedian] does both of those things with dazzling and marvelous language, then he . . . becomes a bit of a poet," he said. "So without trying to sound too grand about myself, I think there's a touch of those other two things going on in this common, ordinary stand-up comic, which is what I am really."

Last year, Mr. Carlin was voted the second-best comedian of all time behind Richard Pryor in a Comedy Central poll of network executive and industry veterans.

In all, he made 22 albums and wrote three books.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just Say No???

Addiction is an ugly thing...

Report: Amy Winehouse has emphysema

1 hour ago

LONDON (AP) — Soul diva Amy Winehouse has damaged her lungs by smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes, her father said in an interview published Sunday.

The Sunday Mirror quoted Mitch Winehouse as saying that Amy has early stage emphysema and an irregular heartbeat, and has been warned that she will have to wear an oxygen mask unless she stops smoking drugs.

"The doctors have told her if she goes back to smoking drugs, it won't just ruin her voice, it will kill her," Mitch Winehouse was quoted as saying. "There are nodules around the chest and dark marks. She has 70 percent lung capacity."

Winehouse, 24, collapsed at her north London home Monday after signing autographs for a group of fans and was taken to a London hospital for tests. She remained there all week.

She is still scheduled to sing at a concert in London on Friday celebrating the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela, the South African Nobel Prize-winner, and plans to take part in the Glastonbury music festival the following day.

Mitch Winehouse said it would be good for his daughter to perform.

"When she's been inactive work-wise then that's when the problems really start. The doctors have said that medically there isn't any reason why she can't do Glastonbury," the paper quoted him as saying.

He also pleaded with her drug-taking friends to stay away from her.

"What hope does she have if people are taking drugs around her," he said.

Chris Goodman, spokesman for Amy Winehouse, said "If that's what Mitch says, that's what he says. It sounds right."

Mitch Winehouse could not immediately be reached for comment.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fans' questions answered

I've decided to answer some of the questions that I get repeatedly before/during/after my shows. I'm just going to lay them out in no particular order. When people ask me somethin', I'll send them to this blog.

1. No, I'm not from Jamaica, not every reggae artist is Jamaican.
2. No, I don't smoke marijuana...not every reggae artist smokes marijuana.
3. Yes, congratulations on discovering Bob Marley's Legend CD...No, I'm not covering
any of his songs.
4. Yes, I write my own lyrics and I'm not gonna do "that Sean Paul song".
5. Bob Marley didn't "invent" reggae.
6. I don't wear locks because I'm not a rasta. No, most reggae artists aren't rastas.
7. Yes, hip-hop evolved from reggae.
8. Yes, Shaggy is really Jamaican (spend some time in Brooklyn or Miami).
9. Your time an a cruise ship or at a resort in the caribbean doesn't make you an
expert on "caribbean culture"
10. Yes, Gullah is a language.
11. You must ask my bass player before you touch his locks.
12. Yes, you can dance with me...just keep it clean.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Amy....Come ON!!!

People are actually taking bets on how long it will be before she ODs...sad. So much little self-control.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's Shameful

Everyone that knows me knows how much I love Bo Diddley's music. He died a few days ago and the coverage has been almost non-existent. The man was a pioneer who never got his due and the media barely acknowledged his influence on popular music. This is a major pet-peeve of mine. There are so many pioneers that get very little recognition while the copy-cats get the shine. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino are still with us...but I feel like these American IDLE loving people will never have a clue....

Bo Diddley's funeral rocked and rolled Saturday with as much energy as his music.

For four hours, friends and relatives sang, danced and celebrated the life of the man who helped give birth to rock and roll with a signature beat that influenced Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and many others.

As family members passed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's casket, a gospel band played his namesake song. Within moments, the crowd of several hundred began clapping in time and shouting, "Hey, Bo Diddley!"

Diddley, 79, died of heart failure Monday at his home in nearby Archer.

"In 1955 he used to keep the crowds rocking and rolling way before Elvis Presley," Diddley's grandson, Garry Mitchell, said before kicking his legs sideways, high up in the air, the way Diddley did onstage. Mourners cheered.

"I'm just telling it the way it is," Mitchell said.

Diddley, who was born Ellas Bates and became Ellas McDaniel when he took the last name of a cousin who raised him, was remembered for much more than his songs. Friends recounted his generosity, manifested in concerts for the homeless and work with youth groups and other charities; and the way he loved to talk to just about anybody he met.

Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan referred to one of his most famous hits as she told the crowd, "When the question is asked, 'Who do you love?', it's you, Bo."

The funeral was followed by a tribute concert featuring his touring band and other musicians.

Eric Burdon, leader of the rock group The Animals, attended the service, and flowers were sent from musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Petty, George Thorogood and others.

Burdon, also a member of the Rock Hall, called Diddley a big influence.

"I've been a fan of his since 16, 17 years of age. Probably one of the first records I ever owned," Burdon said, recalling that his attention was immediately grabbed when he saw an album cover with Diddley sitting on a scooter with a square guitar.

Burdon said he saw Diddley play last year at a concert in Australia, and even though he could tell his health wasn't great, Diddley put tremendous energy into the show. He was known for his stage moves, which some presume influenced Presley.

"He's always been jumping around and very aggressive; if he was onstage with the Stones, he was obviously putting Keith Richards in his place," Burdon said. In describing the "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm Diddley made famous, Burdon said, "I call it bone music, because it goes to your bone."

But stories of another side of Diddley were told repeatedly at the funeral. A man who loved God and his family, who would always stop to talk in the grocery store and was always smiling.

His brother, the Rev. Kenneth Haynes of Biloxi, Miss., said Diddley always asked how he could help and what he could give.

"There was one thing he wouldn't give me. That's his hat," Haynes said, referring to the black hat the musician was also known for.

But Haynes said his brother grew weary of life on the road.

"'But this is what God gave me to feed my family,'" Haynes recalled Diddley saying. "'I have to keep doing it until God says it's enough.'"

Diddley was born in McComb, Miss. He moved to rural Archer in the early 1980s and had a recording studio on his 76 acres. Mitchell joked that Diddley got up so early, he would tap the roosters on the shoulder to wake them up. And he always sang at breakfast.

Diddley's friend Roosevelt Hutchinson described how the musician would wrap meat in several layers of tin foil, bury it and light a fire on top to cook it. Once the fire was lit, he would grab his guitar.

"He just enjoyed playing that thing under those trees," Hutchinson said.

But he enjoyed his family even more, friends said. He had four children, 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

"Please know this, because I know Diddley," the guitarist's business manager, Faith Fusillo, told his family. "As much as you loved him, he loved you more."

Monday, June 02, 2008

When Disadvantages Collide

By Shankar Vedantam
Monday, June 2, 2008; A02

One hundred forty-three years ago, women's suffrage advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton faced a conundrum: With the Civil War over, Stanton had to decide whether to support the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which enabled black men to vote -- at a time when white women such as herself still did not have that right.

Stanton decided to oppose the amendments: "As the celestial gate to civil rights is slowly moving on its hinges, it becomes a serious question whether we had better stand aside and see Sambo walk into the kingdom first."

The question of what to do when the interests of two groups that had long suffered discrimination clashed with each other split the feminist movement. In order to gain passage of the 19th Amendment, which in 1920 gave women the right to vote, leading feminists jettisoned issues important to African Americans to win support from women and politicians who would have nothing to do with people of color. Without the support of the racists, the amendment might have failed, said Kimberle Crenshaw, professor of constitutional and civil rights law at Columbia University and UCLA.

There were two ironies in this: Stanton, like many other suffragists, was a passionate abolitionist. And in the years before she made her derogatory remark about "Sambo," abolitionists had treated women in exactly the same manner -- excluding them from equal participation in the movement merely because they were female.

The political alliance that the suffragists built helped pass the 19th Amendment, but it drove a wedge into the women's movement. Over the long term, just as relegating women to second-class citizens weakened the campaign for civil rights, abandoning solidarity with people of color weakened the women's movement.

"At the end of the day, what is winning and what is losing?" asked Crenshaw. "Yes, the 19th Amendment happened, but feminism lost its soul in the process."

The resonance of that long-ago predicament is still with us today, as a bitter Democratic presidential primary battle has caused many supporters of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to feel that the campaign has pitted race against gender. Many Clinton supporters, men included, cite openly sexist criticism targeting their candidate -- conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh asked, "Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?" -- and feel that a political defeat would be an unconscionable victory for sexism itself.

Obama's supporters, the majority of whom are white, cite the racism their candidate has faced -- large numbers of voters have openly told pollsters they would never vote for a black man. Should Democratic superdelegates hand the race to Clinton, many of these voters would feel racism has won.

As with century-old debates between suffragettes and abolitionists, the debate has veered toward which disadvantaged group has suffered more. And resentment has grown between them.

Clinton supporter and Bethesda psychologist Lynette Long, for example, described herself as a liberal white woman who has always reached out to help disadvantaged black men. But she now sees these potential Obama supporters as an "impediment" to her own dreams. She wrote, "In this election cycle, they symbolize an impediment to something I want more than anything in the world, a chance to see one of my own win the highest office in the land."

Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins, a University of Maryland sociologist who is to be the next president of the American Sociological Association, said the error being made by many Clinton and Obama supporters is to see race and gender in unidimensional terms: "Obama represents race and Clinton represents gender -- this is a flawed model," Collins said. "Why does Obama not represent gender? He has a race and a gender. Hillary has a race and a gender."

The reason for our selective focus, the scholars said, is that people are keenly aware of unfair disadvantages but spend no time dwelling on unfair advantages.

Supporters of Clinton and the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, for example, do not forcefully disavow the support of voters who say they will never vote for a black man. Obama does not systematically try to kick out misogynists -- and turn away voters who say they will not vote for someone as old as McCain.

Our focus on unfair disadvantages rather than unfair advantages may be understandable, but it causes us make our own group's disadvantages the problem -- when the problem is actually unfairness itself.

Right from the time of the suffragettes, the simplest way to see the problem with thinking about race, gender, age and social class in unidimensional terms is to consider what happens to people at the intersection of competing disadvantages: In the case of race and gender, women of color have invariably found themselves in a bind.

In 1851, Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech was a call to think about the effects of racism and sexism at the same time. In 1913, black suffragette Ida B. Wells-Barnett had to crash a march in Washington aimed at winning women the right to vote -- she had been asked to stay out or stay in the back after organizers decided to allow the march to be segregated.

In the Democratic nomination battle, black women have found themselves in a less tragic but similar bind. Whether you are talking about Obama supporters such as Oprah Winfrey, or Clinton supporters such as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), Crenshaw said, black women are accused of treachery: Clinton supporters are accused of being race traitors and Obama supporters are accused of being traitors to their sex.

The real question, with the suffragettes or with those in the current political race, comes down to whether groups that face discrimination focus their disappointment and resentment at discrimination -- or at each other.

"Who do you blame, who are you angry at?" Crenshaw asked. "When you have a feminist who says, 'I will be damned if Sambo gets in before me,' she is mad at him."

R.I.P. Bo Diddley

I grew up listening to this man....You don't know happiness until you've heard "Bo's Bounce" and "Mumblin Guitar"

JACKSONVILLE - Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.

Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Fla., spokeswoman Susan Clary said. He had suffered a heart attack in August, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. Doctors said the stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

Diddley appreciated the honors he received, "but it didn't put no figures in my checkbook."
"If you ain't got no money, ain't nobody calls you honey," he quipped.

The name Bo Diddley came from other youngsters when he was growing up in Chicago, he said in a 1999 interview.

"I don't know where the kids got it, but the kids in grammar school gave me that name," he said, adding that he liked it so it became his stage name. Other times, he gave somewhat differing stories on where he got the name. Some experts believe a possible source for the name is a one-string instrument used in traditional blues music called a diddley bow.

His first single, "Bo Diddley," introduced record buyers in 1955 to his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as "shave and a haircut, two bits." The B side, "I'm a Man," with its slightly humorous take on macho pride, also became a rock standard.

The company that issued his early songs was Chess-Checkers records, the storied Chicago-based labels that also recorded Chuck Berry and other stars.

Howard Kramer, assistant curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, said in 2006 that Diddley's Chess recordings "stand among the best singular recordings of the 20th Century."

Diddley's other major songs included, "Say Man," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," "Shave and a Haircut," "Uncle John," "Who Do You Love?" and "The Mule."

Diddley's influence was felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Buddy Holly borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song "Not Fade Away."

The Rolling Stones' bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964. The following year, another British band, the Yardbirds, had a Top 20 hit in the United States with their version of "I'm a Man."

Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.

"He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic," E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

Many other artists, including the Who, Bruce Springsteen, George Michaels and Elvis Costello copied aspects of Diddley's style.

Growing up, Diddley said he had no musical idols, and he wasn't entirely pleased that others drew on his innovations. "I don't like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it," he said. "I don't have any idols I copied after."

"They copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up. It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there," he said.

Despite his success, Diddley claimed he only received a small portion of the money he made during his career. Partly as a result, he continued to tour and record music until his stroke. Between tours, he made his home near Gainesville in north Florida.

"Seventy ain't nothing but a damn number," he told The Associated Press in 1999. "I'm writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain't quit yet."

Diddley, like other artists of his generations, was paid a flat fee for his recordings and said he received no royalty payments on record sales. He also said he was never paid for many of his performances.

"I am owed. I've never got paid," he said. "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun." In the early 1950s, Diddley said, disc jockeys called his type of music, "Jungle Music." It was Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with inventing the term "rock 'n' roll."

Diddley said Freed was talking about him, when he introduced him, saying, "Here is a man with an original sound, who is going to rock and roll you right out of your seat."

Diddley won attention from a new generation in 1989 when he took part in the "Bo Knows" ad campaign for Nike, built around football and baseball star Bo Jackson. Commenting on Jackson's guitar skills, Bo Diddley turned to the camera and said, "He don't know Diddley."

"I never could figure out what it had to do with shoes, but it worked," Diddley said. "I got into a lot of new front rooms on the tube."

Born as Ellas Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Miss., Diddley was later adopted by his mother's cousin and took on the name Ellis McDaniel, which his wife always called him.

When he was 5, his family moved to Chicago, where he learned the violin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He learned guitar at age 10 and entertained passers-by on street corners.

By his early teens, Diddley was playing Chicago's Maxwell Street.

"I came out of school and made something out of myself. I am known all over the globe, all over the world. There are guys who have done a lot of things that don't have the same impact that I had," he said.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fidel On Obama....



It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23 at the Cuban American National Foundation created by Ronald Reagan.
I listened to his speech, as I did McCain's and Bush's. I feel no resentment towards him, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favor. I have therefore no reservations about criticizing him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

What were Obama's statements?

"Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice and repression in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy.
(…) This is the terrible and tragic status quo that we have known for half a century - of elections that are anything but free or fair (…) I won't stand for this injustice, you won't stand for this injustice, and together we will
stand up for freedom in Cuba," he told annexationists, adding: "It's time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime. (…) I will maintain the embargo.

The content of these declarations by this strong candidate to the U.S. presidency spares me the work of having to explain the reason for this reflection.

José Hernandez, one of the Cuban American National Foundation directives who Obama praises in his speech, was none other than the owner of the 50-calibre automatic rifle, equipped with telescopic and infrared sights, which was confiscated, by chance, along with other deadly weapons while being transported by sea to Venezuela, where the Foundation had planned to assassinate the writer of these lines at an international meeting held in Margarita, in the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta.

Pepe Hernández' group wanted to renegotiate a former pact with Clinton, betrayed by Mas Canosa's clan, who secured Bush's electoral victory in 2000 through fraud, because the latter had promised to assassinate Castro, something they all happily embraced. These are the kinds of political tricks inherent to the United States' decadent and contradictory system.

Presidential candidate Obama's speech may be formulated as follows: hunger for the nation, remittances as charitable hand-outs and visits to Cuba as propaganda for consumerism and the unsustainable way of life behind it.

How does he plan to address the extremely serious problem of the food crisis? The world's grains must be distributed among human beings, pets and fish, which become smaller every year and more scarce in the seas that have been over-exploited by the large trawlers which no international organization could get in the way of. Producing meat from gas and oil is no easy feat. Even Obama overestimates technology's potential in the fight against climate change, though he is more conscious of the risks and the limited margin of time than Bush. He could seek the advice of Gore, who is also a democrat and is no longer a candidate, as he is aware of the accelerated pace at which global warming is advancing. His close political rival Bill Clinton, who is not running for the presidency, an expert on extra-territorial laws like the Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts, can advice him on an issue like the blockade, which he promised to lift and never did.

What did he say in his speech in Miami, this man who is doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency? "For two hundred years," he said, "the United States has made it clear that we won't stand for foreign intervention in our hemisphere. But every day, all across the Americas, there is a different kind of struggle --not against foreign armies, but against the deadly threat of hunger and thirst, disease and despair. That is not a future that we have to accept --not for the child in Port au Prince or the family in the highlands of Peru. We can do better. We must do better. (…) We cannot ignore suffering to our south, nor stand for the globalization of the empty stomach." A magnificent description of imperialist globalization: the globalization of empty stomachs! We ought to thank him for it. But, 200 years ago, Bolivar fought for Latin American unity and, more than 100 years ago, Martí gave his life in the struggle against the annexation of Cuba by the United States.
What is the difference between what Monroe proclaimed and what Obama proclaims and resuscitates in his speech two centuries later?

"I will reinstate a Special Envoy for the Americas in my White House who will work with my full support. But we'll also expand the Foreign Service, and open more consulates in the neglected regions of the Americas.
We'll expand the Peace Corps, and ask more young Americans to go abroad to deepen the trust and the ties among our people," he said near the end, adding: "Together, we can choose the future over the past." A beautiful phrase, for it attests to the idea, or at least the fear, that history makes figures what they are and not all the way around.

Today, the United States have nothing of the spirit behind the Philadelphia declaration of principles formulated by the 13 colonies that rebelled against English colonialism. Today, they are a gigantic empire undreamed of by the country's founders at the time. Nothing, however, was to change for the natives and the slaves. The former were exterminated as the nation expanded; the latter continued to be auctioned at the marketplace ­men, women and children­for nearly a century, despite the fact that "all men are born free and equal", as the Declaration of Independence affirms. The world's objective conditions favored the development of that system.

In his speech, Obama portrays the Cuban revolution as anti-democratic and lacking in respect for freedom and human rights. It is the exact same argument which, almost without exception, U.S. administrations have used again and again to justify their crimes against our country. The blockade, in and of itself, is an act of genocide. I don't want to see U.S. children inculcated with those shameful values.

An armed revolution in our country might not have been needed without the military interventions, Platt Amendment and economic colonialism visited upon Cuba.

The revolution was the result of imperial domination. We cannot be accused of having imposed it upon the country. The true changes could have and ought to have been brought about in the United States. Its own workers, more than a century ago, voiced the demand for an eight-hour work shift, which stemmed from the development of productive forces.

The first thing the leaders of the Cuban revolution learned from Martí was to believe in and act on behalf of an organization founded for the purposes of bringing about a revolution. We were always bound by previous forms of power and, following the institutionalization of this organization, we were elected by more than 90 percent of voters, as has become customary in Cuba, a process which does not in the least resemble the ridiculous levels of electoral participation which, many a time, as in the case of the United States, stay short of 50 percent of the voters. No small and blockaded country like ours would have been able to hold its ground for so long on the basis of ambition, vanity, deceit or the abuse of power, the kind of power its neighbor has. To state otherwise is an insult to the intelligence of our heroic people.

I am not questioning Obama's great intelligence, his debate skills or his work ethic. He is a talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the electoral race. I feel sympathy for his wife and little girls, who accompany him and give him encouragement every Tuesday. It is indeed a touching human spectacle. Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.

Is it right for the president of the United States to order the assassination of any one person in the world, whatever the pretext may be?

Is it ethical for the president of the United States to order the torture of other human beings?

Should state terrorism be used by a country as powerful as the United States as an instrument to bring about peace on the planet?

Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment on only one country, Cuba, in order to destabilize it, good and honorable, even when it costs innocent children and mothers their lives? If it is good, why is this right not automatically granted to Haitians, Dominicans, and other peoples of the Caribbean, and why isn't the same Act applied to Mexicans and people from Central and South America, who die like flies against the Mexican border wall or in the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific?

Can the United States do without immigrants, who grow vegetables, fruits, almonds and other delicacies for U.S.
citizens? Who would sweep their streets, work as servants in their homes or do the worst and lowest-paid jobs?

Are crackdowns on illegal residents fair, even as they affect children born in the United States?

Are the brain-drain and the continuous theft of the best scientific and intellectual minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?

You state, as I pointed out at the beginning of this reflection, that your country had long ago warned European powers that it would not tolerate any intervention in the hemisphere, reiterating that this right be respected while demanding the right to intervene anywhere in the world with the aid of hundreds of military bases and naval, aerial and spatial forces distributed across the planet.
I ask: is that the way in which the United States expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?

Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks on sixty or more dark corners of the world, as Bush calls them, whatever the pretext may be?

Is it honorable and sound to invest millions and millions of dollars in the military industrial complex, to produce weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over?

Before judging our country, you should know that Cuba, with its education, health, sports, culture and sciences programs, implemented not only in its own territory but also in other poor countries around the world, and the blood that has been shed in acts of solidarity towards other peoples, in spite of the economic and financial blockade and the aggression of your powerful country, is proof that much can be done with very little. Not even our closest ally, the Soviet Union, was able to achieve what we have.

The only form of cooperation the United States can offer other nations consist in the sending of military professionals to those countries. It cannot offer anything else, for it lacks a sufficient number of people willing to sacrifice themselves for others and offer substantial aid to a country in need (though Cuba has known and relied on the cooperation of excellent U.S. doctors). They are not to blame for this, for society does not inculcate such values in them on a massive scale.

We have never subordinated cooperation with other countries to ideological requirements. We offered the United States our help when hurricane Katrina lashed the city of New Orleans. Our internationalist medical brigade bears the glorious name of Henry Reeve, a young man, born in the United States, who fought and died for Cuba's sovereignty in our first war of independence.

Our revolution can mobilize tens of thousands of doctors and health technicians. It can mobilize an equally vast number of teachers and citizens, who are willing to travel to any corner of the world to fulfill any noble purpose, not to usurp people's rights or take possession of raw materials.

The good will and determination of people constitute limitless resources that cannot be kept and would not fit in a bank's vault. They cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 25, 2008
10:35 p.m.