Monday, June 2, 2008
Reparation - a little something, something.
Over-heard at Versailles: If all the bragging were true, Cuba should be the size of Australia.
Back in 2000, just after eliangate, misguided James Hall wrote:
"So look for something to happen on the embargo front soon, most likely a gradual opening for the exporting of American food and medicine, to be followed by reparation talks on behalf of American business interests. After the November elections, when the Cuban-American lobby's influence wanes, the US Congress may be bold enough to end the longest running US embargo ever, and perhaps write the Cold War's final chapter."
Guess he didn't get the memo about bush v gore. The sub-plot to elian saga was to discredit miami then lift the embargo so, among other things, mid-west big agro ADM - (supermarket to the world) could do business with cuba. But the effort failed and regular "guajiros" got tighter restrictions for travel and remittance.
Cuba Today is a museum of a failed system. The Cuban America is stagflated at an impasse between bull-headed embargo moss-backs and proponents of natural law.
I've just about given up on progress and to be honest it's no big deal. By progress I mean reparations.
You should know that native americans, japanese americans, african americans and jewish americans all have received reparations at some point or another in their struggle for justice. A justice that is over-due. A justice that defies political borders. A gesture that transcends generations.
But for cuban americans reparation is a case of who, what, when and where. Who is entitled? What can they claim? When will it transpire? Where is the outrage?
My estranged relation Roberto Zayas-Bazan has written a new book, El Pez Dorado (golden fish) Zayas-Bazan ( love that name) tells a fictional tale inspired by his recollection of real people back in provincial camaguey just before the revolution. I hear my family is featured prominently.
Here is a photo of my grand-father, Adolfo, the first cuban to graduate from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. It took steel to take the rail-roads into the tropics to take the bounty to market. His house in cuba today is head-quarters for the "sisters of the revolution" whatever that is.
My great grand father, Juaquin, is buried in Brooklyn's Calvary Cementery. The family magna carta is an 85 page, 100 year old, hand-written document of antiquity complete with official stamps and wax seals. It is kept in a super secret safe place. The relic contains an itemized inventory of holdings. It is an investment portfolio from a bygone era in our family history. In no uncertain terms it spells out - land as far a the eye can see, stocks of every kind, utilities, commodities, insurance, and other places for smart money games. Freaks me out to look at the thing and wonder, how did they do it and where did it all go. You know where all that wealth went? It went down the memory hole. All the men are dead and the women folk are a-political.
Yet it is nice to know that my great-uncle Julio was a fishing buddy of Ernest Hemingway, that I am somehow related to Anais Nin, Ignacio Agramonte, Pedro Menendez.... and that someday i
may walk where i belong...
Where have all the big fish gone.