Marco Rubio Says Cuba Will Continue “Cracking Heads”

•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Obama’s Hands with the Castros Sealed with the Blood of Martyrs

•December 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s just sinking on me and it hurts. After day speaking to the press about Obama’s decision, it started sinking deep. I can’t help but thinking about my brothers of the 30th of November, the more than 400 of its members that fell in front of a firing squad in just one day: August 31 1962. The score of thousands who fell, the score of thousands who suffered under Castro’s hate.The countless martyrs like Bienvenido Infante and Pedro Luis Boitel and the endless list. The political prisoners like Mario Chanes de Armas, more than 30 years in the Cuban Gulag and the countless others. The thousands that lost their lives trying to scape the island-prison. I thought about my parents and their sacrifice to take me out of Cuba and the countless parents that did the same for their sons and daughters, always confident that the US would not betray their dream of restoring democracy to the land they loved, and still left for the sake of their children’s future.I progressively kept on thinking about the 30+ years that I put my grain of sand, endless hours into a democratic project for Cuba, the beatings, the fights, the debates, the huge protests in NYC in the 80’s and 90’s, the struggle against all odds but always with the hope that one day freedom would prevail in Cuba. I keep on thinking about people that I have admired most of my life like Israel Abreu and Mario Fernandez the first imprisoned for 16 years, the second a Man who dedicated all of his life to promote democracy in Cuba. All for nothing. And to think that I went against my own people to campaign twice for Obama because my father always told me that he would take me to a place where I could speak freely, without fear. I’ve done that. Based on my father’s promise I hope that the Wrath of God falls on Barack Obama and his generations in a trillion manifestations. His treaty with the Castros is sealed in the blood of martyrs.


•December 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment


UNION CITY, New Jersey– I am so happy my grandparents did not live to see President Obama’s announcement yesterday that the United States would legitimize the Castro dictatorship. It would have killed them.

Unlike most of my peers, my family has no heroic stories of WWII veterans or Civil War love letters. Our story here starts in 1973, when my grandparents and my father arrived in Union City, New Jersey, after more than a decade’s work trying to get out of the coastal city of Cárdenas, Cuba.

For many who read the announcement regarding lifting of certain sanctions on the Castro regime, it may be difficult to understand the reluctance to celebrate on the part of the Cuban American exile community. Yes, the embargo’s objective of dethroning the Castros has failed; yes, in countries like China, capitalism has helped cement a want of freedom that has slowly but surely built the foundations of a pro-freedom movement. Yes, it was time to try something new.

But whatever it was, this was not it. These actions by the United States government, relayed to the Cuban public by a smiling, still-in-power Raúl Castro, have added yet another humiliation of the Cuban exile people before the world — a people who, after 56 years, have been humiliated enough.

The approach the Obama administration has taken is one which required nothing from the Cuban government, save the release of USAID prisoner Alan Gross and an unnamed agent said to have been valuable to the United States (we may never know). The other “reforms” would require action by the Cuban government that is far from guaranteed. The American government would allow US telecommunications companies to build internet infrastructure in Cuba; it would allow certain trade and extended opportunities to visit the island. It would not require Cuba to issue permits for the construction of such infrastructure or rescind its recently-issued limitations on family visits to Cuba and trade in necessary goods with people on the island. It guaranteed nothing as far as the toxic relationship Cuba enjoys with the largest non-jihadist terrorist organization in the world, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and it did not require Cuba to extradite notorious police killers like Joanne Chesimard, who received asylum in Cuba.

These are all political grievances, however, and no matter how serious they may be, they can never fully account for the visceral reactions from the Cuban American community today. President Obama, perhaps sensing the inevitability of such a reaction, had no explanation to the Cuban American people, merely: “I respect your passion.” Raúl Castro did him one better, calling the new normal just one more step toward a “prosperous and sustainable socialism.”

And here lies the core moral aberration that has riled up the Cuban community. It is not solely about economic opportunity—though it is very much so about that—nor is it exclusively a matter of the Castro regime potentially earning windfall profits from tourist visits without a single concession on human rights.

Exiles and their families came to America seeking one place in the world where they could be guaranteed sanctuary from the circus of communism– the speeches, the parades, the endless celebration of their own misery. As such, watching Castro’s victory lap in tandem with the President’s concession speech to him was yet another blow in a 56-year psychological assault on our dignity.

Every Cuban exile and descendent has a personal story to highlight this, and only the collective thread of these personal stories can portray the insidious work the communist regime engages in undermining the dignity of the Cuban people.

My grandparents’ story is perhaps less violent or brutal than those whose relatives fought in Bay of Pigs or endured several decades in Cuban political prison. It’s a humble story. My grandparents served three years in “voluntary” agricultural gulags—abuela in the orange fields, abuelo on the dangerous henequén night shift—to get their only son out of Cuba. Their “voluntary” work was punitive; my grandfather owned a bicycle shop in which he rented bicycles to American tourists, which made him a member of the petit bourgeoisie and thus an outlaw. He didn’t help the situation by making a joke at the Revolution’s expense within earshot of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution shortly before the expropriation.

After nationalizing the shop, he was forced to work. In the interim, upon announcing plans to leave Cuba, they were called “gusanos,” or worms, a common derogatory term for Cubans seeking asylum in the United States, especially if they were too poor to get out within the first five years. My father was told time and again in school that his grades would suffer because he was leaving Cuba, while being bullied relentlessly for being a gusano. The nightmare only ended after arriving in America in 1973, after a brief stint in Spain.

They did not choose to abandon Cuba; the Cuban people abandoned them in their Marxist frenzy, and the choice to go elsewhere WAS made for them. They, unlike some Cubans, chose never to return– save for the funeral of my great-grandmother– because they had been humiliated enough.

When they came here, to Union City, all my family wanted was a place where they could work and spend time as a family, grow and live, without the endless droning speeches of some party representative blaring from the state’s street speakers. They wanted a place where they would no longer have to tolerate a slow but relentless stream of humiliation pouring over them, reminding that they are not wanted if they believe in something bigger than the Party.

The government in the United States, they hoped, would merely let them be, asking only that they file some papers and, if they became citizens one day, serve on a jury. They wanted to no longer be mocked because of their fundamental belief that they should be entitled to, as Cuban patriot José Martí once said, “be honest, and to think and to speak without hypocrisy.” To not have an ideology that necessitates hypocrisy shoved down their throats.

It is perhaps fitting that President Obama quoted Martí’s quote halfway, comically shortening it to: “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest.”

The United States has, for the most part, given our family the escape we sought. Last night, however, for the first time, the country no longer felt immune to the influence of the Castro dictators, at least so long as President Obama is around.

On television, Facebook, and Twitter, an assortment of future Cuban tourists lamented a future American presence on the island, hoping that capitalism doesn’t “ruin” a dystopia decades in the making. The Castro and Obama speeches, side by side, played at every news website. Suddenly, the Castros were inescapable once again, with even the yanquis celebrating with them, and the confidence I had had since childhood that this country was untouchable for the Castros, specifically, and no one would force me to revel in a communist victory, felt vulnerable.

It is a difficult question to answer, except to note that, often, for Cubans who have lost their homeland—or who have vowed to never see their nominal homeland, like me—our pain appears forgotten. Our ancestors suffered in labor camps and rotted in political prisons for freedom; were beaten in public and stripped of their livelihoods. But, on television, our culture is reduced to sexy ladies and expensive cigars. Our protests of the cruelty of the Castro dictatorship are drowned out by Josh Earnest joking that the President may one day visit a Cuban hotel– where no Cuban national is allowed to step– because Cuba has “a beautiful climate and a lot of fun things to do.”

And all for nothing but our own humiliation in the public eye once again because, as mentioned above, without significant reforms on the part of the Castro regime, the situation will remain the same.

Discursos de Obama y Raúl el 17 de diciembre del 2014

•December 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment


•December 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

by FRANCES MARTEL -BREITBART- 17 Dec 2014-In the immediate aftermath of the release of USAID worker Alan Gross, the White House is set to announce a sweeping set of changes in their policy towards Cuba that includes expansion of travel to the island, permission for telecommunications companies to establish themselves there, and opening an embassy in Havana.

The extensive list of reforms were detailed in a release by the White House Press Office today.
Claiming that the United States embargo on Cuba “has isolated the United States from regional and international partners” and “failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba,” the Press Office’s release detail significant changes in policy towards the island. Atop the list is the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time since the embargo was established, as well as a promise of “high-level exchanges and visits between our two governments.”

The Secretary of State, John Kerry, is set “to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba,” and the United States will look towards “expansion of travel” to Cuba and opening significant trade avenues– such as telecommunications– to help private business in Cuba grow. To help Cubans build new businesses, literally, from the ground up, the announcement notes that US companies will be allowed greater freedom to export “certain building materials for private residential construction, goods for use by private sector Cuban entrepreneurs, and agricultural equipment for small farmers.”

Telecommunications companies based in the United States will be allowed to build infrastructure in Cuba, for the promotion of greater access to communications and internet– the cause that landed Alan Gross in prison.

Many of the provisions the White House details will have no impact on the Cuban people if the Cuban government upholds its own embargo on the United States. Cuba’s communist regime recently tightened the embargo on the United States, limiting the number of necessary goods, like soap and underwear, that Cuban Americans can bring to their families. For example, granting American telecommunications companies the ability to build infrastructure in Cuba will mean nothing if Cuba does not allow those companies to do business on the island. Similarly, allowing Americans to sell goods to Cubans will have no impact if the Cuban government bans Cubans from buying said goods.
To that end, the White House Press Office release identifies the problem and requests that Cuba open its arms to an influx of capitalism: “we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities.”

Perhaps knowing that opening Cuba for business to Americans is not necessarily a positive change for the communist government, favors unrelated to economic reform, such as reviewing Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terror, are also on the list of changes. Cuba has been on America’s state sponsor of terror list since 1982 for providing asylum to leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the wealthiest non-jihadist terrorist group in the world.

The Associated Press reports that President Obama has spoken by phone to Cuban dictator Raúl Castro about these reforms. President Obama is set to speak about these reforms at noon in a public address, as well. The Cuban government has yet to respond publicly to these changes.

1986: The Preppie Murder

•December 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

America in Black and White: The OJ Simpson Verdict 20 years ago

•December 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

España: ¿Es Pablo Iglesias el político más corrupto de “la casta”?

•November 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Federico Jiménez Losantos desenmascara otra vez al estalinista Pablo Iglesias y lo pone como a un zapato viejo

•November 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Guantanamera | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

•November 9, 2014 • 2 Comments

Jiménez Losantos: el plan de gobierno de Podemos

•November 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

Jiménez Losantos contra Venezuela, Cuba, Podemos, Pablo Iglesias y Juan Carlos Monedero

•November 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

España hoy: La cara oculta de Pablo Iglesias

•November 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

El magistral discurso de Gloria Alvarez que revoluciona las redes sociales

•October 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

Los Chavistas se apartan del Madurismo

•October 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment


•October 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By Frances Martel/ Courtesy of Breitbart News

This is Communism:

Twenty-one-year-old Yeonmi Park escaped the prison nation of North Korea by sneaking into China and walking with her mother across the Gobi Desert into South Korea. Her journey is laden with the bodies of old friends, relatives, and the thousands of victims of public executions she was forced to witness.

Park has now become a human rights activist, traveling the world to tell her story and demand that international attention go to the millions of victims of the North Korean communist dictatorship. In an extensive interview with the Irish Independent, she tells her story and expresses outrage at the global fascination with Kim Jong Un’s appearance, an attention denied to those he has killed.

In the interview, Park highlights a number of details in North Korean law previously unknown. The extreme secretive country kills three generations of family members in retaliation for any comment perceived as insubordinate to the communist regime, for example. Public executions, she explains, are “celebrations” of the defeat of enemies, and both not attending and expressing grief at the death of the person being killed are crimes.

“It’s unimaginable how difficult it is, really undescribable. They are not living there, they are surviving there,” she explains, noting that one of her friends’ mothers was publicly executed when she was 9 for “watching a James Bond movie.” When both her parents were sent to prison, she and her older, 11-year-old sister had to fend for themselves.

She understood why no one in her community tried to help the two girls. “People were dying there, they don’t care… I saw the bodies on the street and I didn’t care because I was going to die.” She noted that, with the exception of a few high-ranking communist officials, “Everyone is starving, most of the people are just hungry.”

Her trip out of North Korea led to even more misery. In China, a man who caught them threatened to report them to police– resulting in a return to North Korea– if he could not have sex with Park. Her mother refused to let this happen to her 13-year-old daughter, offering herself instead. “I saw my mother raped before my eyes,” she laments.

They finally decided to leave China as well, walking across the Gobi Desert to South Korea with no food or water and very little money. They survived, and Park has vowed to be a voice for her people while they remain imprisoned. “Every journey, every interview I do is risky, but it doesn’t matter how risky it is, or how dangerous it is,” she says. “It’s not about me.”

Park finds the outside world’s fascination with Kim Jong Un a particularly problematic hurdle to overcome as an activist. “He killed 80 people in one day for watching a South Korean movie or [sic] with the Bible,” she notes, “Crazily, we are talking about Kim Jong Un’s disappearance– nobody asks, where are the North Korean people who died? Millions of people died for ridiculous reasons.”

“It’s the same thing as the Holocaust,” she notes, a crime against humanity widely ignored while it went on. “We ignored it, and we said ‘never again,’ but now it’s happening again, and we are ignoring it.”

Park is in Ireland to speak at the nation’s One Young World summit at the National Convention Centre in Dublin. She told most of her story before a large audience in traditional North Korean garb. Watch her moving speech below:

Douglas McGuirk: My Testimony about the Achieve NJ Act:

•October 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The Achieve NJ Act is certainly doing its part to make a convoluted mess out of the art of teaching our children.

In this testimony, I will address the most readily apparent of its many problems: data collection, Student Growth Objectives, Student Growth Percentiles, PARCC tests, and the new observation system. The AchieveNJ Act, and all of its affiliated changes, is simultaneously stretching the education profession in two different directions, most likely to the point of snapping it in half. I am no longer certain about what my job description is these days; am I a teacher, one who attempts to engage students and help them understand subject matter and their world, or am I a data collector, one who keeps statistics on all manner of measurables in a theoretical attempt to improve the process of teaching in which I am often not engaged because I am busy collecting the data?

AchieveNJ seems to operate on the fallacious principle that there is an infinite amount of time. During my day, this humble English teacher will collect data, analyze data, send students out for standardized tests, be observed by an administrator, and, somewhere in and among all of that, plan lessons, grade papers, and teach students. When do all of these things happen? How do they get done? How do I prioritize if each of these items is now considered crucial?

Most days only allow for one to two hours of time not spent in front of a class. Allow me to recount a personal story of how I spent two weeks in October of 2013. Every moment I worked, excluding those during which I was contractually obligated to actually teach students, was spent doing something related to my Student Growth Objectives (SGOs). I had previously administered a benchmark assessment or pre-test (no staff member in my school is sure about what terminology to use, so we have alternately used both, to the point that the students are not sure whether they are being benchmarked, or pre-tested, or, to put in plainly, harassed into doing something they do not wish to do), so I had a stack of essays that needed scoring. To start work on my SGO, I graded the essays according to the soon-to-be obsolete NJ Holistic Scoring rubric. Then I created and organized a spreadsheet to sort and organize my data. Then I entered all of the scores into the spreadsheet. Then I read through all the emails sent by district administrators about how to create my SGO. Following that, I formally wrote my SGO and submitted it to my supervisor.

The next day, the SGO was rejected, and my supervisor told me that all SGOs had been done incorrectly and that our staff would need training. We held a department meeting to review SGO policies. We then held an after school training session to discuss the writing of SGOs. I attended both of these. After two weeks of writing and rewriting my SGO, complete with all of the Core Curriculum Content Standards pasted from the web site, I finally had an acceptable SGO. I managed to accomplish absolutely no lesson planning during this period of time. I graded no papers. I am a veteran teacher with nine years in the profession. I understand how to manage my workload, overcome setbacks, and complete my responsibilities. In short, I am a professional who maintains a diligent work ethic.

But nothing could prepare me for the amount of time I had just spent on a new part of my job that basically exists so that I can continue to prove that I should be entitled to do the other parts of my job. After I completed my SGO, my principal told our staff to make sure we save all of the data, paperwork, and student work relating to our SGO, just in case people from the State want to review the integrity of the data. Seriously? This is the most egregious assumption that there is an infinite amount of time.

When will State reviewers go back and reread mountains upon mountains of SGO data to make sure that my essay scores (which suffer from an inherent subjectivity anyway) are accurate? The real goal of the SGO process seems to be to take teachers so far out of their comfort zones, and so far from working directly with students, that they may begin to question what kind of work they are doing anyway. Wouldn’t this time spent collecting mountains of dust-collecting data be better spent planning more interesting lessons? Offering students more feedback on work they understand and view as necessary? Researching content to make myself more knowledgable and helpful to my students? I guess not.

I have to teach my students the content needed to improve on the SGO so I can keep my job, which apparently consists of collecting even more SGO data. Just in case the SGO process is not intimidating and distracting enough, many of us (myself included) now have the threat of Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) looming as well. The fact that these SGPs only apply to certain disciplines is inequitable and unfair to begin with, but that does not even address the fact that the correlation between my SGP score and my actual effectiveness is non-existent. Every article that I have read on this issue shows that the data produced by SGPs is statistically insignificant in its ability to determine my actual teaching effectiveness. I might as well determine a sizable portion of my evaluation by rolling dice or, to draw upon history, releasing doves and watching which way they fly. I have no control over how hard the students will work on these tests. I have no control over how thoroughly they will prepare.

From what I have read, these PARCC tests do not even have any actual effect on student grades or promotion. They are only used to evaluate me. In that case, allow me to hand-select the students who will be used to determine my effectiveness. Or better yet, the most fair thing to do would be to allow me to take the test myself, so at least I can have complete control over my own evaluation. Beyond just potentially affecting me in a random (and possibly absurd) way, the PARCC tests further reinforce the current contradictory nature of education rhetoric. What do policymakers want for our children? I consistently hear, from the mouths of our politicians, that our students are falling behind (falling behind whom?) in their critical thinking skills. (May we at least ask, how are these critical thinking skills measured? By bubble tests?) If that is the case, then shouldn’t we, as professionals, seek to introduce more critical thinking tasks, like project-based learning, into our curricula? Aren’t multiple choice standardized tests anathema to critical thinking tasks? Why is anyone promoting them, then? Where is the emphasis? Do we want students to legitimately be able to assess and evaluate on their own? Or do we want illogical measures to make sure that our teachers are, well, doing what exactly? If (some) teachers’ jobs are contingent on whether or not they achieve a high SGP score, then those teachers will, for the sake of their own self-preservation, certainly spend a great deal of time and energy trying to prepare students for those very tests, even though they cannot do the one thing that will ensure satisfactory scores, which is make the students put forth their best effort.

No students dislike learning. But many dislike education, because education consists of misguided and needlessly enervating tasks like standardized tests. Instead of spending this time engaged in critical thinking, students will be responding to questions that will be used to make sure their teachers are doing their jobs. Ironically enough, teachers will again be doing less of their jobs, as I assume we will be called upon increasingly to babysit computer labs full of children clicking vapidly through PARCC assessments. (As a side note, I am sure international test production companies like Pearson stand to profit from this arrangement immeasurably, probably at the expense of my own paycheck, most of which would have been spent in the local New Jersey economy.)

The final issue I will address in the AchieveNJ Act is the inconsistent new observation system. For starters, the public school districts across the state use two different evaluation systems: Danielson or McRel. If we are striving for consistency, why can we not agree on a single, unified observation system, so that all teachers are theoretically evaluated in the same fashion? Still, even if we achieved such uniformity, all observations would continue to suffer from the same inherent bias as the grades on students’ essays: each observer (or teacher, as is the case with the essays) has a different viewpoint (yes, even using a rubric). The administrators who serve as observers in my school have wildly varying interpretations about what constitutes an effective lesson. Even worse, some administrators are offering critiques to teachers about “how the lesson should have been conducted,” and providing less than satisfactory ratings to teachers who choose to do something in a different way.

The biggest source of all of this uncertainty and inconsistency has been the use of technology. Some of our administrators have said that we are to use technology in every single lesson, no exceptions. Others have been more lax about this requirement. I make this point to further illuminate the backwards nature of many these evaluative changes. If we must use technology, then technology is the starting point for each and every lesson. Previously, student learning was my starting point. What tools will help my students learn? Am I there to teach them or to show off the latest and greatest tech toys in my classroom? Are observers looking for critical thinking? Are they looking at my rapport with students? Or are they there to make sure that I go through the motions (according to one person’s rubric of what constitutes effective teaching) of reaching all of my supposed requirements? The inherent subjectivity of trying to quantify the unquantifiable is of course the same issue with which I wrestle when trying to score the essays that will make up my SGO. We all now must worship at the altar of data, even though, at best, the data is fickle and, at worst, it is fraudulent.

In the end I am not quite sure how to proceed under the AchieveNJ system. To paraphrase Plato, a single part of one’s soul cannot be engaged in two contradictory actions at the same time. So the only thing I can do is to default back to the ways in which I have always taught. I will try to help my students learn. I will try to reinforce material that I think is of value. I will provide as many insights from my own experiences as I can. I will focus on the human side of teaching and learning, my AchieveNJ ratings be damned. If this system says that an intelligent and dedicated individual like me is not fit to teach the students of New Jersey, then it is even more broken than my testimony could ever hope to convey.

Huevos verdes con jamón: Edwin Marines reads Dr. Zeus teaching Spanish pronunciation and the significance of “acentos” in Spanish

•October 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Patricia Poleo cierra con broche de oro su último programa en DTV: EL caso Serra

•October 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Venezuela 101 y El Buen Menelio

•October 13, 2014 • 2 Comments

Rafael Román Martel

Jamás he estado en Venezuela. Desde niño supe de ésta por un maravilloso escrito de José Martí “Tres heroes”, cuyo inicio es inolvidable: ‘Cuentan que un viajero llegó un día a Caracas al anochecer, y sin sacudirse el polvo del camino, no preguntó donde se comía ni se dormía, sino cómo se iba a donde estaba la estatua de Bolívar.’

Recuerdo a un buen hombre llamado Menelio, quien vivió en España un par de años-del 70 al 72-más o menos. Había podido huir del comunismo castrista-como todos nosotros-y a menudo repetía “Me voy a vivir a Venezuela que es un país democrático,muy bello, y parecido a Cuba en su clima, alegría y su gente.”

Y cerrando 1972 para allá se fue Menelio.

Seguramente Menelio preguntó a dónde estaba la estatua de Bolívar cuando arribó a Caracas. En 1972 Simón Bolívar era un ícono de la la libertad. Su imagen no sería tergiversada hasta la llegada al poder del primer gorila.

Yo era apenas un chiquillo y Menelio era muy amigo de mi familia. Era un hombre noble, digno.

Jamás olvidaré el día que regresó a nuestro piso en Francisco Villaespesa # 1 en el metro Quintana, después de intentar cambiar el cheque de $150 que le habían envíado de Estados Unidos.

Por entonces $150 era una pequeña fortuna en la España franquista; unas 6,000 pesetas.

Se sentó en la sala y nos contó desconsolado como lo habían cartereado en el metro entre Banco de España y Callao. Ese día, a mis escasos 12 años aprendí una lección para toda la vida: jamás llevé la billetera en el bolsillo trasero. Se la habían hurtado en medio de una melé organizada por los carteristas en la cual él sintió como le sacaron la cartera pero nada pudo hacer en el tumulto de gente que lo estrujaron, de manera tal que no le fue posible bajar ni un brazo para evitar el robo. Menelio no gritó. Ni siquiera se quejó. Además de tener habilidad los delincuentes tuvieron suerte ese día: el buen Menelio era una presa fácil. Un hombre noble.

Mis padres quedaron perplejos ante su relato. Seguramente lo ayudaron con algunas pesetas para cubrir sus gastos, así como otros amigos aunque los que vivimos en España durante aquellos años sobrevivíamos con el dinero que nos enviaban nuestros familiares desde Los Estados Unidos. En aquel entonces existía cierta solidaridad entre los cubanos. Eran tiempos difíciles. Eramos pobres pero muy felices de haber escapado de las garras del comunismo.

Estábamos unidos más por el ideal de la libertad que por la ambición del materialismo.

Eran tiempos distintos y definitivamente únicos para aquella generación de cubanos.

La mayoría pertenecíamos a esa casi extinguida raza de exiliados políticos.

En la España del Generalísimo, tan difamado por los vencidos, los buenos modales y hasta cierta humanidad y respeto por la vida formaban parte de una ley no escrita, que abarcaba hasta a los ladrones de billeteras que acechaban a sus víctimas en el metro. Se imponía la ética hasta en los “malandros” de calle.

Luego, en 1974, regresarían los comunistas abriéndose paso a bombazos: terrorismo puro. Y la España de los 70 quedaría marcada en sangre y sed de venganza. Ya no por una cruel guerra civil, sino por bandas terroristas de izquierda radical. Y sin ni siquiera controlar el poder los comunistas, que como siempre lo ansían a través del universo desde 1917 hasta nuestros días, continúan con su afán de separar y destruir a España a costa de, si es necesario, millones de vidas. Esto se ha demostrado a través de la historia por más de un siglo y está estrictamente documentado.

Menelio siguió con su matraquilla de irse a Venezuela. ¿Quién hubiese imaginado entonces que en Venezuela vendrían los días en que te pegan un tiro antes de robarte una billetera, un móvil, o un par de zapatos? No importa qué vayan a robarte; el tiro no te lo quita nadie.

¿Quién hubiese pronosticado que en uno de los países más ricos en recursos naturales del mundo el pueblo carecería de los más elementales artículos como la leche o el papel sanitario?

Sólo Fidel hubiese predicho tal miseria, siendo él el maestro de la escasez, el padre de la miseria.

En 1972 todavía la inocencia era una palabra vigente y hasta el respeto por la vida alcanzaba al código del hampa.

Con su maleta de noblezas se fue a Venezuela el buen Menelio. Jamás supimos detalles de su vida, excepto alguna que otra escasa carta que nos envió narrando brevemente lo bien que estaba en ese hermoso país.

Había encontrado un lugar donde la imposibilidad del comunismo era una realidad (relativa). En Caracas Fidel Castro no tenía ninguna oportunidad de filtrar su epidemia de muerte y de odio.

Se equivocó Menelio.

Siendo un hombre emprendedor, seguramente se afincó y prosperó en La Gran Venezuela.

Hechó raíces a pesar de sus casi cincuenta años. Allí, supongo, vivió los últimos años de su vida, a no ser que hubiese huído hacia Miami olfateando el chavismo en el inicio de los 90.

Jamás supimos de él, reitero, pero estoy seguro que murió en Venezuela. Si es así se tuvo que haber arrepentido mil veces de buscar asilo en el país donde el Realismo Mágico del Boom más marquesco y La Raza Cósmica de Vasconcelos se materializó.

Cuando Hugo Chávez comenzó su cruzada de odio, como muchos anticomunistas, me interesé por Venezuela. Comencé a leer sobre su historia, su exotica geografía, el calor de su gente.

Entonces arreció la plaga: llegó Fidel y su familia.

Paso a paso se apoderó Fidel, Raúl y La Familia de Venezuela hasta llevarla a nuestros días; una colonia cubana. Y si continúa en ese rumbo llevará a los venezolanos a la era pre-colonial, así como ha llevado a Cuba a la de los Taínos.

Chávez exacerbó el lenguaje más grotesco de Andrés Bello y junto a éste la violencia sin precedentes entre los venezolanos. Armó hasta los dientes a los sectores más pobres, más resentidos y vagos, repletos de inquina de la sociedad venezolana.

Asesorado por Fidel desató la violencia y la mentira como armas revolucionarias contra todos los que habían levantado y contribuían a edificar el país.

Los pobres, los miserables y los criminales vieron en él un redentor, un Cristo en carne. Lo han elevado en Padres Nuestros, lo han hecho parte del sincretismo caribeño, de la idolatría de los que desvían sus ojos de Dios.

Así seguí los acontecimientos de La Gran Venezuela, con sus héroes, sus hermosísimas mujeres, su dote de milagros, su extensa y grandiosa geografía, su estirpe bolivariana que se personifica en hombres como Leopoldo López y mujeres como María Corina Machado.

Mirando atrás, mucho he escrito sobre este país desde que pude divisar, como muchos de ustedes, la influencia y ahora el total control de los comunistas cubanos.

Hace siete años, casi ocho, predecí-sin ninguna magia ni mucho menos pretendiendo ser un “pitosino”- que a Venezuela le aguardaba el destino Tormentas y Sangre.

El país ha quedado a merced del odio. Y tras la muerte de Chávez se ha acentuado la maldad, la corrupción y la violencia como culturas nacionales, como reflejo de la mezquindad de Fidel Castro y su multimillonaria y genocida familia.

Aquella Venezuela a la que huyó Menelio, seguro de que el comunismo jamás llegaría allí, se ha convertido en un país en guerra civil de baja intensidad, con más de 200,000 asesinados en quince años.

El incapaz, el inepto heredero de Chávez la llevará a la ruina total sino ocurre un milagro. Y en comunismo ocurren pocos milagros.

Con la llegada de Maduro al poder es como si el país tuviera que pagar por todos los pecados de América del Sur, antes y después del descubrimiento.

Venezuela está al borde de una guerra civil, a la que llamaba el simple y aburrido Ernest Hemingway una epidemia.

Venezuela ha caído en el abismo.

De una manera u otra tardará otro siglo en enderesarse porque porque el desorden y el caos son la primera regla del comunismo a largo plazo y con los más monstruosos intereses. Mucho más atroces que el materialismo más crudo. El Gran País ha caído en desgracia. El asesinato, el sicariato, la extorsión, el secuestro y el escarnio reinan. La impunidad y la rampante corrupción son la ley.

Los más grotescos, odiosos y caricaturescos personajes representan al comunismo en la asamblea nacional.

Venezuela es un país poseído por el odio y sus violencias.

En la Venezuela de hoy el demonio camina y hace de las suyas libre e impunemente.

Sólo otra epidemia, como una guerra civil, podrá curar a la nación de Bolívar de los males que hoy la afectan.

¿Cuántos Menelios habrán sido víctimas, no de un cartereo en la España franquista sino de un asalto del comunismo: una enfermedad más letal que el ébola o que las hordas islámicas que azotan a Afganistán y a Siria?

¿Sino la Mano de Dios, quién sanará a Venezuela?

Una cola en Venezuela, Octubre del 2014, para comprar leche en polvo y arina.

“Nadie Escuchaba” “Nobody Listened” (1987) a breakthrough documentary by the great Nestor Almendros and Jorge Ulla

•October 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

La triste realidad del turismo sexual en Cuba comunista (sólo para adultos)

•October 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Habana 1933, A Walker Evans – Rafael Román Martel (Cuando se acaban los pueblos, 1994)

•October 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment


A Walker Evans.

Las ruedas rugen el peso del aire;
arrojemos los ojos al mar.
La ciudad se humedece y el silencio
abriga revoluciones.
-“Se admiten abonados”- el eco retumba
como una voz inquieta.
Siempre que nos paremos en las esquinas
estén alerta los balcones. Allí
se mezclan las nubes y el fango,
se afilan uniformes.
Persianas agitan los círculos del rojo tableteo:
Habana fusilada.
De más de treinta crímenes hablarán
las páginas del panteón.
Será imposible cerrar la fortuna
aunque todas las fondas
envidien los pasos del pirulero
o las madres lleven sesenta años de luto.
La ciudad nos hala como un signo
en la frente del Karma.
Sabemos que el silencio llena las paredes de balas.
Estamos lejos de los estrenos,
la lotería sorteará su núcleo de sangre.
Ni la montura del veterano,
ni siquiera la estatua llena de sombreros
será capaz de prevenir la venganza.
Sesenta años continúa la rueda,
olvidemos los ojos, esta vez
arrojémonos al mar.

Rafael Román Martel (Cuando se acaban los pueblos, 1994)

Roque Dalton: Hora de La Ceniza

•October 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Finaliza Septiembre. Es hora de decirte
lo difícil que ha sido no morir.

Por ejemplo, esta tarde
tengo en las manos grises
libros hermosos que no entiendo,
no podría cantar aunque ha cesado ya la lluvia
y me cae sin motivo el recuerdo
del primer perro a quien amé cuando niño.

Desde ayer que te fuiste
hay humedad y frío hasta en la música.

Cuando yo muera,
sólo recordarán mi júbilo matutino y palpable,
mi bandera sin derecho a cansarse,
la concreta verdad que repartí desde el fuego,
el puño que hice unánime
con el clamor de piedra que eligió la esperanza.

Hace frío sin ti. Cuando yo muera,
cuando yo muera
dirán con buenas intenciones
que no supe llorar.

Ahora llueve de nuevo.
Nunca ha sido tan tarde a las siete menos cuarto
como hoy.

Siento unas ganas locas de reír
o de matarme.

Lee todo en: HORA DE LA CENIZA – Poemas de Roque Dalton García

Patricia Poleo con Orlando Urdaneta en “Cuéntamelo todo”

•October 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Estremecedoras revelaciones sobre el asesinato del diputado Robert Serra en el programa de Patricia Poleo

•October 7, 2014 • 1 Comment

Kostya Tszyu: Destiny

•September 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lewis VS Tyson 2002, 6, 8

•September 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Fey – La Fuerza del Destino

•September 27, 2014 • 1 Comment

Los tiburones se comen en la piscina comunista: El caso Ochoa

•September 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Fidelón hace una verdadera reflexión

•September 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

¿Es Niurka Marcos la vedette más famosa de la historia de Cuba?

•September 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Cabo Vadillas “Caracas”

•September 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Scotand rejects referendum to break free from UK

•September 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

By a wide margin of more than 10%: 1,914,187 and s 1,539,234 the People of Scotland have spoken on September 19, 2014. The Kingdom Will Remain United.

NYT-EDINBURGH — Voters in Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a referendum that had threatened to break up the 307-year union between them, according to projections by the BBC and Sky News early Friday.

Before dawn after a night of counting that showed a steady trend in favor of maintaining the union, Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, effectively conceded defeat for the “yes” campaign that had pressed for secession.

“Like thousands of others across the country I’ve put my heart and soul into this campaign and there is a real sense of disappointment that we’ve fallen narrowly short of securing a yes vote,” Ms. Sturgeon told BBC television.

With 26 of 32 voting districts reporting, there were 1,397,077 votes, or 54.2 percent, against independence, and 1,176,952, or 45.7 percent, in favor.

At that point the tally seemed wider than opinion surveys had suggested but it gave pro-independence campaigners a strong platform to press for greater powers and autonomy for Scotland promised by British political leaders during the campaign.

The outcome was a deep disappointment to the vocal, enthusiastic pro-independence movement led by the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who had seen an opportunity to turn a centuries-old nationalist dream into reality, and forced the three main British parties into panicked promises to grant substantial new power to the Scottish Parliament.

“El escolta”, la entrevista

•September 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

9/11- We’ll Never Forget!

•September 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rafael Román Martel

We will never forget September 11, 2001. The contrast of a cloudless day and the fire and smoke of the towers and the death occurring within them, visible from our homes, and the sense of frustration and incomprehension that plagued us.

The victims of 911 had not attacked anyone. Most were members of the so-called minorities, many Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims, etc. The murderers did not take that into account, those that were dragged by hate. And they provoked a united nation, the awakening of a movement that today is more alive than ever.

Perhaps they believed that fear would work here.

The city is replete with residents, tourists, more alive than ever at any time you visit. The respect towards firefighters, police, and public servants has been reinvigorated. Many gave their lives and today many are chronically affected by the chemical residue that scattered throughout the city after the collapse of the Twin Towers.

I will never forget the alarmed eyes of a good friend who traveled with me from Elizabeth, NJ, that day, Tony Pacheco, where we taught and a trip that we usually made in fifteen minutes cost us nine hours. The world had paralyzed around our homes. Standing in the middle of Routes 1 and 9- completely jammed for hours- people clearly saw the smoke and fire in the distance. “What happened? What could have happened? How did this happen?” they asked one another between large intervals of silence. Because even though the media had time and again warned of the possibility of a terrorist attack no one knew exactly what had provoked it. And much less was the suspicion of its infectious intention, the diseased machinery that had achieved such a disaster.

We didn’t suspect that that day was the beginning of a new era. It was the end of innocence in the freest country in the world. Nothing was ever the same again.

And it was the beginning of war.

We reflect over what the Israelis experience on a daily basis under the attacks of those godless fanatics without conscience.

We reflect on the free will and calm we employ in traveling, in feeling safe. However, the principal objective of the terrorists had failed. Shock and anguish we reflected on the faces of the residents of this country, but in New York, terror never worked. We united like never before. The world united and today New York is the Mecca of Freedom, a place to where men, women and children from all corners of the world make their pilgrimages. Yes, those that hate did much damage, they left 10,000 children orphaned as a result of their rage but awakened a sense of unity that had never been manifested in such a form, not even when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Today New York is a true symbol of liberty. It is the city that everyone wants to go to, not one that everyone wants to flee from.

Those that fell in the Towers were not warriors, nor bloodthirsty imperialists; they were simple, hard-working people, family men, pregnant women, young adults that had a future open to them as a result of their work and effort, children that died in the arms of flames in a day care.

That cannot be forgotten.

Here we are crying for innocent people.

These victims had not gone anywhere to throw bombs or plant terror.

They will not be forgotten.

I am against wars. They are the plague of humanity, but to defend oneself is not a plan of war, it is an exercise of survival. Those that tear their clothing and strike themselves with chains in the name of their cause in the Middle East perhaps accompanied those that danced in the streets when innocents preferred to commit suicide, jumping from the highest floors before perishing in the flames that never got to understand. Here we suffered. And suffer.

The hate of the terrorists triggered a wave of love. From terror sprung courage, the spirit of sacrifice, unity.

This is also incomprehensible for the assassins.

For the majority of the world, 911 was a cold, unexpected hit. For those that hated this- the best country in the world- it was a party. For us, who live barely minutes away from Manhattan, 911 is a symbol of unity and support against all who confront terrorism on Earth. Terrorism works in godless societies without a sense of direction. In the United States, it has failed.

“Any day now they’ll return”, I have heard in infinite occassions, but the fear they intended to sow has manifested in a reverse manner. There are more people on the streets of New York that in any other stage of its history. There is more respect for authority. There exists a greater sense of unity, of humanity. Our sense of mission against terrorism is alive.

This is perhaps the most relevant homage that we can pay to the victims of 911.

Sunday Nation: Twin Towers jumpers that Americans will not talk about

•September 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

AFP | Nation A man leaps to his death from fire and smoke-filled north tower of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 in New York City after terrorists crashed two hijacked passenger planes into the Twin Towers. And. on facing page, four people jump out of the north tower.

By David James Smith/Sunday Nation

Many would rather believe that those who fell from the World Trade Centre were forced from their offices as saying they jumped connotes suicide; a few, however, see courage in their decision to take charge of the manner of their dying.

Eddie Torres had just started as a broker at the financial trading house Cantor Fitzgerald. September 11, 2001, was only his second day at work.

He had left his pregnant wife Alissa at home when he set off for his office above the 100th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. They had argued the night before and only managed a cursory goodbye. Eddie left early, and that was the last Alissa ever saw of him.

AA11, the American Airlines’ morning flight from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 people on board when the lead hijacker, Mohamed Atta, piloted the plane into the north tower. Alissa would later note that Atta, who had just turned 33, was close in age to Eddie, who was 31.

The time was 08:46:40. The point of impact was between the 93rd and 98th floors. Eddie was trapped above the resulting inferno.

The story of exactly how Eddie Torres met his death on 9/11 is lost. And with a handful of exceptions, that is pretty much the case for all 2,753 people who died at the World Trade Center.

Indeed, 10 years later, more than 1,000 of them have yet to be identified from remains. They have simply vaporised, their death certificates issued without them. And so, Eddie’s story exists only in the imagination of his widow. She has created her own legend.

They said the sound of all those bodies hitting the ground, like a thud or a dull explosion, was both terrible and unforgettable.

One afternoon, not long ago, Alissa and I sat on a bench in Central Park and talked. It was a difficult, painful conversation.

“Are we done yet?” Alissa asked. She told me I was “disgusting” because of my curiosity about the people who jumped or fell from the Twin Towers. I understood, but I knew too that Alissa herself, much as she tried not to be, was haunted by that subject, not least because she believes that Eddie jumped. Like a dirty or embarrassing secret, the people who jumped or fell from the Twin Towers have been all but erased from the history of 9/11.

Since the earliest days after the attacks, the American media have shown a collective reluctance to publish images of those who jumped or fell. And in official terms, the “jumpers” simply don’t exist.

Not use the words

At the New York office of the chief medical examiner — in charge of recording and investigating all the deaths on 9/11 — they will not even use the words “jump” or “jumper”. Nobody jumped, they say, they only fell or were forced from the towers.

“We’re pretty firm on that position,” said the medical examiner’s spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove. “People were forced or pushed out by the force of the heat and the flames.” To be a jumper, many people feel, implies the act of suicide, an act that some perceive as shameful.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum, which opens at Ground Zero in a year’s time, will include a small display devoted to those who died that way. The committee that set up the museum spent months agonising over how the story of the jumpers should be told. It was decided that visitors would need privacy to see the images — and should be given the choice of whether to view them at all — so the display will be hidden in an alcove.

I assumed it would not be hard to establish the facts about how many people jumped, who they were, how their deaths were recorded and so on. In fact, it proved nigh on impossible at first. Nobody would talk, and people had stopped asking.

There had never been an official count. Or so it appeared, until I discovered an account buried in a massive report devoted to how and why the towers fell, prepared by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). So hidden was the study that even NIST’s own press officer was initially unaware of it, and told me he thought no such account existed.

Fortunately, he double-checked and found that among the report’s numerous appendices was a clinical analysis of the precise time that people jumped and fell, noting the floor and even the window they came out of.

The report records 104 such deaths, although NIST says its tally is not definitive, and that the actual total is probably higher. Nevertheless, this is the first time any official figures on the subject have been published.

I certainly faced great resistance in the US when I began researching this article. But the story of the “jumpers” was haunting, and I had always known I would end up writing about them one day.

Nine years ago, I commemorated the first anniversary of 9/11 by spending some time with New York firefighters. They had spoken then of the “jumpers” who had fallen about them as they had entered the north tower — the first tower to be hit — on their rescue mission. The sound of those bodies landing, they said, like a thud or a dull explosion, was terrible and unforgettable, and I could not forget their affecting description of that noise.

In the days after 9/11, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) had conducted several hundred debriefing interviews with firefighters and emergency service workers.

These were made public much later following a freedom of information request by The New York Times. In one or two cases, the interviewees were so traumatised by what they had seen they could barely speak.

For many, it was the sight and sound of the falling bodies that had disturbed them more than anything else. They described moving through a surreal landscape in a cloud of smoke and dust, the sky full of fluttering paper and the ground littered with smouldering debris and body parts.

Above them it was — an often-repeated phrase — raining bodies. “They were jumping now, one, two, three, four, smashing like eggs on the ground,” recalled emergency service lieutenant Rene Davila. Someone near him suggested they should collect names, keep a record. “I was like, you’re out of your mind.”

Choosing to die

“I felt like I was intruding on a sacrament,” said one firefighter, Maureen McArdle-Schulman. “They were choosing to die and I was watching them and shouldn’t have been, so me and another guy turned away and looked at the wall, and we could still hear them hit.”

Did they choose to die that way? Was it a real choice? What would any one of us have done? The choice, to jump or not to jump, must have been so agonisingly real that the chief medical examiner Dr Charles Hirsch’s denial that the “jumpers” existed seemed insulting.

In his version of events, nobody “jumped”; they were all victims of homicide, and the vast majority of death certificates carry the same wording: “Blunt trauma …” Only 176 complete bodies were returned to their families.

Borakove said Hirsch was acting out of sensitivity for the bereaved families, and out of respect for those who died — “the families are our first priority” — but I know there are some people who take comfort from the idea that their lost partner or relative chose to jump and so actively took charge of the manner of their dying.

I suspect, too, that for some the decision itself was an act of immense courage — albeit born of desperation — and deserves to be remembered as such. I discovered from the NIST study that in about four cases, people got out of the windows, 100 or more floors up, and began trying to climb up or down the outside of the building to imagined safety. Of course, they soon lost their grip and fell.

Richard Pecorella had searched high and low for a trace of his beloved, Karen Juday, but it was not until Christmas Eve, 2001, that her jawbone was found. He had the remains cremated, and scattered them off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Brooklyn — the first place in the city Karen had seen when they started their lives together.

Karen was a farm girl from Indiana, said Richard. And she had courage. Richard believed she had jumped. After the jawbone came another fragment, then another, and so Richard signed a waiver allowing the medical examiner’s office to dispose of any further remains. He couldn’t go on forever handling the pieces of her.

When they met in 1997, Karen and Richard had both been married before. Richard said he knew she was “the one”. He worked at the trading house Bear Stearns, whose office on the Brooklyn side of the East River had a clear view of the Twin Towers. He helped Karen to get a job as an administrator at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Sometimes she would call him to describe an amazing spectacle outside her window. “You can’t believe this, but a jet plane just flew by my window. It was so beautiful.”

On the morning of 9/11 Richard had a bird’s-eye view of the whole thing. He saw the second plane hit the south tower and tried to call Karen, but there was no answer. Soon, his building was on a lockdown. Frustrated, desperate and enraged, Richard picked up a chair and threw it at the window. The nurse was called. She wanted to take his blood pressure.

“I says, ‘Are you kiddin’ me?’ I said, ‘My fiancée probably just got killed and you wanna take my blood pressure? Of course it’ll be up!’” That was the Brooklyn in him coming out, he told me.

Alissa has written about Eddie’s death, describing little people falling “like fairies”. She told herself that Eddie had skydived without a parachute.

Richard used to look at the postings and the photographs on the internet and sometimes wondered if Karen had jumped. She was very vain and particular about her face, he knew; she used plenty of wrinkle cream, and he always figured if conditions were that bad she would jump rather than face the fires.

He eventually made contact with Richard Drew, the Associated Press photographer who recorded many images of those who jumped or fell on 9/11 — so many he has never counted them, he told me — including one much-published image of a man frozen in a head-first dive that came to be known as the Falling Man.

Very graphic

Pecorella went to Drew’s office and was shown a collection of photographs.

“Are you sure you want to do this? It’s very graphic,” Drew asked him, but he was sure — and there she was, in the first photograph he saw.

She was wearing the familiar bandana she always put on at work and stood in the window frame, holding on, with the flames behind her. There were a lot of other people in the photograph, but Richard was sure he recognised her cream trousers and blue cotton top.

There was a second photograph of a woman falling, hands over her face, legs raised as she came down, no bandana now, but the hair and body shape all too familiar. Drew was almost apologetic to Richard — his instincts had just taken over, he said, he had just recorded what was happening.

Richard reassured him that, in fact, it gave him some closure to know that, at the end, Karen had made a choice. She had jumped; she did not, as he said, burn up and become toast.

“She chose how she should die. It’s not a religious thing with me. A lot of people have problems because they consider it as suicide, which means you go to hell, but I don’t consider it like that, I think it’s more complicated.”

Richard had never met anyone else who believed they knew a victim who had jumped.

“Nobody talks about the jumpers,” he said. It made him feel like he was the only one who knew and had something to hold on to. In fact, as Richard later realised, there were others who were looking to claim ownership of the same images.

When his own health deteriorated after 2001 — he developed a condition similar to emphysema that has restricted his mobility — he began spending more and more time on the internet, and noticed that some people were saying the images he thought were of Karen were of another woman, Edna Cintron.

Cintron had worked on a different floor for a different company, Marsh & McLennan, and had also run a flower shop part time in Spanish Harlem with her husband, William. The shop was named Sweet William.

She has since come to wider internet attention as the unlikely subject of a bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theory. Cintron is seen, in a third image — in fact, a fleeting few seconds of footage — waving out from a deep gash in the north tower with smoke and flames behind her.

The impact zone in WTC-1. Edna Cintron in the red square died during the pulverization of the building. Where is the plane? Remember that a plane is a hollow tube of aluminium, while the tower was built with solid and massive steel columns.

Some people claim it would be impossible for anyone to stand so close to an inferno, and that the photograph must be a hoax, and part of the whole “lie” of 9/11, which they believe was staged by the American government.

Richard had been emailed by some of those people, who call themselves “truthers”, thanking him for confirming it was Karen and not Edna in the first two photographs, which in their view isolated the third image as a sure hoax.

The NIST report took 10,000 pages to consider in very fine detail just how and why the buildings collapsed.

The south tower was hit last but collapsed first, at 09:59. The north tower remained standing for just over 100 minutes before it fell at 10:28. Appendix M of that report, Observation of Falling Human Beings for WTC1, logged 101 falls from the north tower and the precise window and exact time at which each had fallen.

The appendix was compiled by one person reviewing video footage and still photographs. It is the only record in existence of those who jumped or fell, and is presented as a table — a graphic display of the building’s upper floors and windows.

The first fall occurred just over four minutes after the first plane hit, from the 149th window of the 93rd floor on the north face of the building.

The cascade began seven minutes later, with 13 falls in two minutes. One person had climbed out and got from the 93rd to the 92nd floor before falling, one second after someone else had fallen from the same window — window 215 on the east face of the tower.

At 10:06:59, two people had fallen together from the same window on the 95th floor; simultaneously, a third person fell from the next window, followed a second later by two more people falling together. Altogether, in six seconds nine people fell from five adjacent windows. The last person fell just as the building collapsed, at 10:28:09, from the 106th floor.

Richard Drew of AP must have photographed that person: he told me he discovered later that he had two frames that showed someone clinging to debris as they fell with the building. Eyewitnesses have described people hugging or holding hands as they fell in pairs.

An FDNY photographer with a long lens saw someone “nudged out” as he watched. He took half a dozen shots of people falling before saying to himself, “That’s enough of that.”

Time and again, the hardened firefighters and paramedics would say they had never seen anything like it. Many looked away, but others were transfixed.

The landings, of course, were the worst. The fall was said to have taken about 10 seconds, but would vary according to body position and the time taken to accelerate to terminal velocity, typically 120 miles per hour (193kph), but up to 200 mph (322kph) if the person fell with their body straight.

As Alice Greenwald of the 9/11 memorial museum said, in a sense we were all victims of 9/11. It was watched by billions around the world, and few of us were unaffected.

At the heart of it, most affected of all were the bereaved. Nancy had always known that Danny Suhr, her high-school sweetheart, wanted to be a firefighter. Nancy was Italian-American; Danny was Irish-American. Not long before 9/11, one of Danny’s oldest and closest colleagues, Harry Ford, had died and he had invited Nancy to attend the funeral, not least because a firefighter’s funeral was quite an event, he’d said. Danny was very moved by Harry’s death and gave Nancy instructions that, should he ever die in the line of duty, he wanted a closed coffin.

Nancy had said there wouldn’t be anywhere big enough to hold a funeral for Danny, because he was widely known and popular, but he specified the Marine Park Funeral Home, and she promised. Looking back, she wondered: did he know?

Danny was a strong man, not a bully, who made everything seem like it would be okay, especially for Nancy and for his daughter, Brianna, who was two years old and about to start nursery on the morning of 9/11, but never arrived there.

Engine 216 got the call — the run, as they would say — and set off to the scene, where they were directed to assemble at the command post inside the south tower. The captain, Paul Conlon, who was leading them, described how they had about 200 yards to cover.

Debris was falling and people were jumping as they surveyed the scene. Danny said something like, “Let’s make this quick,” so they set off together in a diagonal line, when Danny was hit. As Nancy recently told me, “She came out of the sky like a torpedo.”

Was struck

A woman had jumped or fallen, and landed on Danny. It was a freak accident, made all the more unlikely by the fact that few victims jumped or fell from the south tower. The NIST study only observed three people falling from the south tower — one at 09:30, about the time Danny was hit.

His colleagues reacted quickly and carried him to the shelter of some nearby scaffolding. A photographer captured the moment they lifted him, which must have been seconds after he was struck.

He was taken by ambulance and treated by a doctor and paramedics who soon realised he was “not viable”. Two of Danny’s closest friends and colleagues travelled with him to Bellevue hospital. They kept yelling his name. The medic with them knew Danny’s neck was broken because of the way his head moved every time they hit a bump.

“Please stop staring at him,” he told Danny’s friends. “You’re going to burn this image into your head. I want you to remember a better image.”

Nancy got home that morning to find a voicemail message from Danny. “Hey babe, it’s me. Just want to tell you that everything’s okay. I’ll talk to you later. I love you.”Not long afterwards, she received a phone call from the fire department, telling her that Danny had been hurt and they were coming to take her to him. She knew then, in her heart, that he was dead.

At the hospital, the captain said: “I’m so sorry, Nancy.” It was like an out-of-body experience, she told me. Thinking of Brianna, she said: “Who’s going to walk her down the aisle?”

They tried to stop her seeing Danny, but she insisted, and so she was taken to him, and saw his forehead cracked in half and his cheek and nose broken. “He is going to be so mad that he broke his nose,” she kept thinking.

She was determined to keep her composure and not throw herself on the floor. She kissed him and whispered to him and walked out of the room. She had to go home now, she said, and do the laundry.

Later that night she learnt how Danny had died, and all she could remember thinking was: “How horrendous for that poor person.” What had been going through their mind before they jumped or fell? How horrific for those people up there to have to choose.

Danny did not choose, but they had to.

Richard Drew told me he liked to think of the Falling Man as the photographic equivalent of the tomb of the unknown soldier, representing all those who had died by jumping or falling.

The man in the picture has been identified by some as Jonathan Briley, a 43-year-old African American who worked at the Windows on the World restaurant on the top two floors of the north tower, right above the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald.

Briley came from a religious family who were also entertainers. His sister, Gwendolyn, was an actress and his brother, Alex, was one of the Village People — the GI.

Gwendolyn told me that Jonathan was a talented musician, working at the time of his death as a sound and video technician at the restaurant. The family had felt some relief when his body was found soon after 9/11. His younger brother, a police officer, had gone to identify him and had taken a shoe from Jonathan’s foot as a keepsake.

Perhaps because the Falling Man’s feet and shoes were visible in Drew’s photograph, a photographer had turned up once at the Briley family home in Mount Vernon, asking to photograph the shoe.

The family had a body that was intact, and so far as Gwendolyn was concerned that meant her brother could not be the Falling Man, even if the photograph had reminded her of him when she first saw it.

“The truth is, that can’t be him, but if some people find comfort in believing it is him, then, no, I am not going to challenge that,” she said.

She knew there were people who looked upon the act of jumping as suicide, and an unforgivable sin before God, but that was not the way she believed her God showed his love. Who were we to judge how anyone would react in that inferno? Nobody should feel any shame, she said.

Those people were getting out of that situation as best they could. “They were falling into the arms of God, they really were.”

Union City School District Makes History Appointing First Woman School Superintendent

•September 5, 2014 • 3 Comments


On a especial meeting held by the members of the Union City Board of Education Mrs. Silvia Abbato was officially appointed UC Superintendent of Schools last Friday, September 5th, 2014. Mrs Abbato has 33 years of experience in education in the Union City district. She has performed duties as a teacher, supervisor, school vice principal, principal and assistant superintended of schools garnering the respect and admiration of the community as well as her peers for her long career as an outstanding educator, assisting the youth of Union City.
In a short, heartfelt speech, Superintendent Abbato thanked the members of the board as well as the numerous crowd of UC Board of Education employees who attended the especial meeting to show their support. She reminded everyone about her roots as a Cuban exile, thanking her parents for the work ethic they instilled in her with their example. She also thanked her family and her husband Chris Abbato for their support through the years of her illustrious career. Her words were concise and profound. She was visibly moved as she conveyed her feelings to the audience, whose heart she touched as many could identify with her experience.
The newly appointed UC Superintendent of Schools also thanked NJ State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack for his support to education and the improvements he has brought to Union City since becoming mayor. Brian Stack has invested much of his time improving education in Union City as well as supporting its hard working teachers and administrators, building new schools, always fighting in the senate floor to provide the Union City School District and its employees with the necessary tools to perform at their highest level, always keeping in mind that the real beneficiaries are the students. As a result Union City is recognized today as a national leader in public education. Here she proudly poses with her family minutes after her appointment as superintendent.
En un primer plano la Sra. Abbato posa con sus hijos en este día tan espacial, tan especial, tanto para ella como para todos los hispanos y u día de triunfo para las mujeres capaces y de verdaderos valores humanos e intelectuales. Los cubano-américanos debemos sentirnos muy orgullosos de esta mujer ejemplar que ha logrado sus sueños a base de duro trabajo y dedicación a través de una de las vocaciones más hermosas y productivas: la enseñanza. En la segunda foto posa con su esposo Chris Abbato, Maestro del Año en Union City. Uno de los seres humanos más auténticos, honestos y serviciales que he conocido en mi vida. Conozco a este maestro hace muchos años desde cuando los dos fuimos-o por lo menos yo-“exiliados” a Elizabeth, NJ en tiempos cuando otro gran cubano-américano, Rafael Fajardo;El León de Elizabeth luchaba por lograr grandes y positivos cambios en la educación de los estudiantes de esa ciudad . Chris Abbato es hombre ejemplar, acarrrea en su carácter el don de servir, de asistir a los emigrantes que diariamente y tradicionalmente han llegado y llegan a nuestra ciudad. Siempre cordial, siempre luchando por educar de la mejor manera a los estudiantes que acaban de arribar de sus países. Siempre leal a sus amigos y a sus principios y con una luz muy clara sobre las sombras que también gravitan alrededor de nuestra profesión, es querido y admirado por todos los que entendemos la verdadera misión del educador: el estudiante es lo primero. La media naranja de la Superintendente de Escuelas de Union City, Silvia Abbato, es el complimento perfecto para la frase popular: detrás de una gran mujer hay un gran hombre o viceversa.


Superintendent Silvia Abbato at the UCHS 50 Year Capsule Ceremony in the winter of 2013, speaks about the historical significance of the event and the educational improvements that have placed Union City as a leading district and an example of excellence in education.


Joan Rivers in Critical Condition

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Joan Rivers has been rushed to a New York City hospital in critical condition after an emergency call that she was in cardiac arrest, according to a law enforcement source.

The New York City Fire Department transported a woman matching her description to Mt. Sinai Hospital earlier this morning after receiving a call that the woman was in cardiac arrest at an Upper East Side clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, an FDNY source said. The law enforcement source confirmed the woman was Joan Rivers.

TMZ earlier reported that Rivers was having surgery on her vocal chords at the clinic.

No other details were immediately available and her rep had no other information when contacted by ABC News.

Rivers, 81, had been hard at work of late, co-hosting her E! TV show, “Fashion Police” and doing stand-up comedy. According to Ticketmaster, she had seven shows planned across the U.S. for November.

“Ignore aging: Comedy is the one place it doesn’t matter. It matters in singing because the voice goes. It matters certainly in acting because you’re no longer the sexpot. But in comedy, if you can tell a joke, they will gather around your deathbed,” she wrote in the Hollywood Reporter in 2012. “If you’re funny, you’re funny. Isn’t that wonderful?”

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just “star” this story in ABC News’ phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.


View Comments (1487)

President Barack Obama on ISIS and the execution of American Journalist James Foley

•August 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

La dictadura comunista de Maduro Diosdado Cabello (God Given Hair) censuran a Nitu Pérez-Osuna: no hay libertad de prensa en Venezuela

•August 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A Jorge Valls Arango, a manera de homenaje

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Conocí a Jorge Valls en 1986 gracias a mi hermano del 30 Tony Pons, a su vez hermano de celda en los 22 años que cumplió en las mazmorras castristas. Los dos para mi son verdaderos héroes, el arquetipo del patriota. Jorge participó en las tertulias literarias que fundó la inolvidable Dra. Onilda Jiménez en el entonces Jersey City State College. Jorge influyó a todos aquellos jóvenes de mi generación con su humanismo ecuménico sin cristianismo que reflejaba un inmenso amor por el prójimo. Esto causó que algunos en el exilio de entonces lo criticaran y como respuesta nació este poema. ¡Qué Dios bendiga a Jorge Valls Siempre!

A Jorge Valls Arango

“No me duelenlos dientes de los hombres: más triunfantemuestra el alma su luz por la hendidura”.

José Martí

¿Cómo, os preguntáis,
ansiosos en la daga que él ignora
filtraremos sus mil libros,
su mano
al elevarse en el duelo
de las cruces que lo alzan?

¿Cómo entonces, su
seguro caminar
cuando después de los abismos:
la corona del poema,
el pasaporte de las almas que lo aman,
en su diestra de alcanfor
como una mañana victoriosa
silencioso sostiene?

Es libre, os aseguro.

Calza los horizontes de la geografía.
Dibuja antiguas risas en la sangre.
Ha traspasado el hierro de las rejas.

Con agua de sol ha despeinado el odio
que circula,y más
de lo que no dice,
porque pasando todas las pruebas
se retiene de ofender.

New York City ,1987. De “Cuando se acaban los pueblos” (1994)

Venezuela: Futuro para Todos

•August 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

María Corina Machado celebra el Congreso Ciudadano amenazada por la atroz dictadura de Nicolás Maduro

•August 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

¡Qué mujer tan valiente! Entre esta señora y Leopoldo López está el futuro de Venezuela. Voluntad Popular es el partido más fuerte de este hermano pueblo. Primero Justicia ha quedado relegado a un partido colaboracionista y Henrique Capriles, un líder conveniente a los poderes actuales. Ni hablar de Julio Borges, una verdadera serpiente. Voluntad Popular el partido donde sus líderes han dado el frente ante la más cruel dictadura que haya azotado a la gran Venezuela. María Corina Machado y Leopoldo López escribirán las páginas azules de la historia. La juventud venezolana y ellos ya lo están haciendo. Como bien dijo Winston Churchill: “Esta humanidad ha dicho BASTA y ha echado a andar”. A andar por encima del comunismo desde 1989, a andar por la senda de la libertad, del progreso, del desarrollo. ¡Venezuela será Libre! ¡Cuba será Libre de las botas de la familia Castro y sus asquerosos secuaces! No hay comunismo que destruya los ideales de la libertad. Pueden estar en el poder 74 años, como lo hicieron en Rusia o medio siglo como se liberaron los países de “La Cortina de Hierro” para ser, como Alemania, países unidos y prósperos. La triste realidad del comunismo ya golpea a los que siempre apoyaron al hipócrita de Hugo Chávez. De Cuba, el “paraíso utópico”, los comunistas escapan todos los días hacia Miami, esta ciudad que han llamado siempre “el nido de los gusanos”. Y los muñecos televisivos los ponen en pantalla como primicia. Estos también son una mierda. Este excremento ha sido el resultado de 56 años de materialismo de extrema izquierda: corrupción y maldad. Llegan a la misma ciudad miles de venezolanos al mes, quienes escapan de las garras de Maduro y sus oportunistas secuaces, las sabandijas que hacen vida de la miseria a la que han llevado al pueblo venezolano. La democracia vencerá a los comunistas en Venezuela.

Legendary actress Lauren Bacall has died at 89

•August 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Legendary film star Lauren Bacall has died, the Humphrey Bogart Estate has confirmed . She was 89.

“With deep sorrow for the magnitude of our loss, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall,” the Estate posted on Facebook.

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported she died of a suspected stroke Tuesday morning at her New York home.

Known for her husky voice and sizzling looks, Bacall started out as a model and then broke out as a leading lady opposite Humphrey Bogart in her first film, 1944’s To Have and To Have Not. The two had a whirlwind romance and wed the following year, but it wasn’t without scandal. When they met, she was 19 and he was 44 — and an unhappily married man.

The couple went on to star together in more films: The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948). They had a son and daughter together and remained married until Bogart’s death from throat cancer in 1957.

Bacall’s other notable films include 1950’s Young Man With a Horn and 1953’s How To

Marry A Millionaire, in which she starred alongside Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe.

She also experienced success on stage, starring on Broadway in Goodbye, Charlie (1959) and Cactus Flower (1965), and won Tony Awards for her performances in Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981).

In 1997, the same year she received the Kennedy Center Honors, Bacall was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces opposite Barbra Streisand. She did not win, but was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 2010.
Source: Cindy Clark, USA TODAY, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

•August 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Comedian Robin Williams was found dead this afternoon in his home in Tiburon, Calif., where he lived with his wife, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s department. The cause of death is suspected to be suicide by asphyxia. His press representatives have said that Williams, who was 63, was battling depression.

Williams’ most recent TV project was The Crazy Ones on CBS CBS +1.6% where he starred as an eccentric ad exec opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar. The show was canceled after one season.

Williams was a beloved stand-up comedian who got his big break with 1978′s Mork and Mindy. Playing an alien trying to understand life on Earth, Williams unleashed his manic improve style on network TV and created a phenomenon that lasted four seasons. Rainbow suspenders and the term “nanoo nanoo” because part of the culture thanks to Williams (who played it a bit dirtier in his stand-up routines). The Crazy Ones was the first time Williams had returned to TV in a starring role since Mork and Mindy.

He went on to a lucrative movie career that mixed serious turns in films like Good Morning Vietnam and Good Will Hunting with comedies like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage. Williams won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting and earned three other acting nominations over the course of his life. His films earned more than $5 billion at the global box office.

Most recently, Williams appeared as Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. At the time of his death, the actor was working on the third Night at the Museum movie where he played another famous president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Williams was also a star who put all of himself into his charity work. Along with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg he was instrumental in turning Comic Relief into a thriving organization that has raised more than $50 million to help the homeless.

Williams dealt with his share of struggles when it came to drugs. He did several stints in rehab for cocaine and alcohol but had reportedly cleaned himself up. He recently checked in to Hazelden rehab to “fine-tune” his sobriety. Williams leaves behind his wife and three children.

8 11 2014 – Nicolas Maduro es considerado “un títere de Diosdado Cabello” por los obreros venezolanos.

•August 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

First Genocide of the XXI Century Might be Hours Away

•August 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The United States should lead an international effort with a strong military intervention to stop the first genocide in the XXI century. The Western powers have a responsibility, the UN has a responsibility to stop 200,000 people from being butchered by these barbaric hordes that decapitate children, women and torture and rape at will just because their victims are Christians and ethnic minorities. It’s a matter of a day or two, maybe hours before the mass killing expands to genocide. As Christians we must pray together for our brothers and sisters who are being killed by these beasts just for believing that Christ is our Salvation.

No podrán encarcelar nuestro sueño por La Mejor Venezuela

•August 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Muere el compositor cubano Chein García Alonso

•August 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Nos acabamos de enterar por la cuenta de FB del cantante cubano Willie Chirino que falleció hoy el compositor cubano Chein García Alonso. Lo conocí al principio de su carrera. Era un hombre sumamente modesto y amable, muy talentoso. Para sus familiares y amigos mi más sentido pésame. Qué descanse en paz.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 133 other followers