12 CDs for the Price of 1!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Someone Re-Opened the Freedom Tower?

 (Cuban, Argentine, Puerto Rican Migration to South Florida)

---- Natacha Seijas got all people-of-color on us. She blamed the problems she has had with the recall efforts on Anglos “Fear of a Latin Planet”. When told that many of those working in the recall effort were Hispanic she replied that many Hispanics don’t even think of themselves as Hispanic, they see themselves as like just some White person. (Note how this quote from the 3/16/06 Herald was edited down by New Times writer F. Alvarado who must have seen her virtually coloring-up to minority status as unsettling.)

The recall effort that casts her as a willing and corrupt proponent of the powerful Latin Builders Association reminds us (Ms. Seijas contends) that Anglos/Whites are targeting Hispanics with the help of these self hating collaborators. Hmmph! Those sell outs. Because that’s what all this has to be about. Not her support of every development project that comes along.

In fairness, Natacha has always been a tireless worker for the Latin developer and contractor. We all recall the fiasco where she supported the unqualified Cuban American contractor with a shady past in getting the lucrative contract for installing traffic lights. Shocking! (Geddit.) She also moonlights with non-Hispanics here and there.

Miamista has been fond of Ms. Seijas since she threatened an Anglo commissioner (known to be demeaning to Hispanics), telling her, “if you ever speak to me like that again you’ll leave this chamber in a body bag”. You could hear the applause from Havana to Union City. I still like Commissioner Seijas and generally refrain from taking shots at her b/c I believe she isn’t a crook per se. She is a relic of the time when Cuban Americans were compelled to use ethnic solidarity and patronage as a means to political participation.  I guess that time really hasn't passed has it... As a Cuban American I’d like to think I can always call on her. (I have to say, I've met her on a number of occasions and she was warm and gracious, so hey...  Maybe I'm biased but Cubanisma gets me right in the "feels".)

When presented with the recall petitions the County Attorney, Harvey Ruvin threw most of them out on a nebulous and highly questionable technicality. Mr. Ruvin happens to be Jewish (and I think sometimes we must make that specification rather than using the term Anglo considering Miami’s history of Anglo/Jewish enmity.) I guess they're not all out to get us.

------ No need for me to write about Frank Arza. Need more background? BTW, Shout out to Rebecca Wakefield on that one...  I love Frank.  Cubanismo hits me right in the feels too. He's a guys' guy.

---- Commandante Robert Ferro! He sells guns, explosives and small artillery to drug dealers and gang members when he is not working with other Cuban American extremists training undocumented Mexicans to invade Cuba. (Talk about illegal aliens.) Former Miami resident Mr. Ferro received his Special Forces training in the early 70's at the notorious Ft. Benning School of the Americas at the same time a number of Alpha 66, Omega 7 etc., members. He served in the Army Special Forces for a numner of years in clandestine operations. The illegal stashes of weapons were found throughout Mr. Ferro's home including behind false libraries and trap doors. Upon Arrest Mr. Ferro claimed amnesty because of his membership in Alpha-66 (something that has worked for terrorists and drug runners before.) Alpha-66 could have simply claimed that he was not affiliated with the group, something that they have done with various known members when caught in illegal activity. Instead Alpha-66 claims that he is not only not a member but they never heard of him before. A decade ago Ferro's name was all over Spanish language papers and radio in Miami, with Alpha 66 members protesting to have his charges reduced for his 1992 C-4 explosives and artillery escapades.

The ever unreliable in house extremist spokesman at the Herald, Oscar Corral, stated that his sources say Mr. Ferro may be a Cuban agent sent here to make Alpha 66 look bad. (Note, I talk about Oscar but I think he's staunch...) Nonethless we are talking about maintaining the pretense of a newspaper... In-fucking-credible. Note that our death-merchant Mr. Ferro is asking to be spared imprisonment because of heart problems and diabetes.

---- Speaking of Alpha 66, group co-founder of said organization and leader of the non-existent Miami Mafia, Jose Miguel Battle was in the news briefly. Mr. Battle has pled guilty but will have to take some time before sentencing because of failing health- you know, liver, heart problems and diabetes... He and his cohorts are suspected to have earned $12 billion through their world wide enterprise of crime. The federal government can only trace $1.5 billion which seems to be all gone. Meanwhile the gambling, drug running, extortion, loan sharking, prostitution and arms peddling of the outfit may be going on without him.

An interesting case here for comparison. Jorge Mas Santos, whose father, Jorge Mas Canosa, was tied to this sort of corruption, money laundering for drug dealers, threats and bribes to elected officials, etc. gets to keep his wealth, now invested in international heavyweight construction and technology firm MasTec.

(The company was literally stolen by Mr. Mas Canosa from two Miami businessmen and built at least partly on fraud. The company, formerly named Church and Tower, had been convicted of swindling the government repeatedly but still recieves contracts.)

Mr. Canosa Sr.’s money and influence backed everyone from Ileana Ros Lehtinen (and her Alpha 66 affiliated father) and the Diaz-Balart brothers. When Jeb Bush, son of CIA director and Alpha 66 sponser came to town to be the new head of the county Republican Party, he threw his weight behind Ros-Letinen and the Diaz Balart brothers, getting them to change their party affiliation. (He also served as their campaign manager.) Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s father was associated with both Canosa's CANF and Alpha 66. A slew of other contemporary politicians had their origins as hand selected Mas Canosa candidates…

In this little incestuous cesspool does a case against Mr. Battle smack of selective prosecution? I say this whole thing seems faintly Communist. FREE MIGUEL! FREE MIGUEL! T-shirts on Miamista soon? Oh, that's right, he isn't in jail.

Seriously though, since the pilgrims, people have done whatever they could to get by when they arrived in this country. I'm not condoning it but I will not selectively condemn it. I find it hypocritical when one group is singled out. Is there anything that these folk have done, that wasn’t done before them? (Allowed, it has been more colorful due to Latin nature .) So ease up on the smugness my Anglo compadres…

---- The Miami New Times wakes up from its slumber to offer news stories worthy of mention. There was a challenge to county board set-asides for agricultural preservation, a story on police corruption, another on Manny Diaz’s national public relations efforts (which included serious misrepresentation of his achievements). Actually MNT appears to be on a roll. Did someone stick a pin in editor Chuck Strouse or did Chuck stick a pin in his writers? Oh yeah, sing with me-"Hi, Ho the Bitch is dead"... or at least demoted. (Jean Carey, who compiles "The Bitch" column and was managing editor will now be music editor/Bitch columnist.) 'Bout time!

---- The most recent article of note in the New Times was about the condo and McMansion explosion in Key Biscayne. Edgardo Defortuna, one of a few dozen of Argentine big money developers in our fair city is profitably destroying old Key Biscayne. Forgive me if I don't care about that. Here is something more interesting. A simple search of many of these Argentine developers, including Mr. Defortuna, BAP Development, The Sky Group, BSG Development, G&D Developers, The Lowenstein Family, Shefaor Development, et al reveals some folks with very shady backgrounds back in Tango Land. (That’s not to impugn the entire lot. Once again out of fear of personal safety and hope for future advertising when this blog goes on air, Miamista will slink away and let others do the research. (Fat chance.)

A significant number of Argentines have left for home. But Jewish Argentines have revived some near-moribund Jewish enclaves and institutions. (Maybe they're thinking, "Hmm, that name 'Kirchner'... 'Swiss' German my ass!") Combined with the earlier influx of Israelis, it has made the local Jewish community more cosmopolitan, educated and prosperous than the city itself. Go on Hebrews!

---- Speaking of various parts of Latin America and immigration, get ready for more Puerto Ricans. At this point the two largest Hispanic groups in Florida, of roughly equal size, are Puerto Ricans and Cubans. One third of Puerto Ricans in the state live in South Florida. While the U.S. is limiting Cuban immigration, (the drown a Cuban/dry foot policy), and cracking down on other Latin American immigrants, Puerto Ricans, citizens since 1917 can come and go as they please. The two groups (Cubans and Puerto Ricans) have been politically cooperative in the past, even though they often entertain widely divergent veins on foreign policy issues. Puerto Rico is an island with a strange set of realities.

So let's get to know our new neighbors. Puerto Rico has absolutely no say over trade policy and many aspects of domestic development. The island is spared some taxes but receives little benefit from local taxation because of strong industrial lobbying. And of course islanders can't vote for president and have no federal congressional representation.

Puerto Ricans on the island have voter participation above 80% in local elections. All sorts of irregular electioneering takes place in the politically charged climate. Radical syndicalism and socialism have been popular on the island, perhaps due to poverty and lack of political self determination.

There are three parties. A pro statehood party (the PNP); their platform may be the most pragmatic and also the most humiliating. They argue that "statehood is for the poor". Puerto Rico's residents have an average income of less than half the poorest state in the Union, Mississippi. (Despite a dollarized economy it ranks somewhere below Chile in terms of income and per capita GDP.) As 2/3 of the island is eligible for some sort of federal assistance, the PNP argues such a desperately poor island would get more federal money if it was funded as states are. (Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican residents have a special formula whereby government assistance is given at a fraction of the rate that the mainland receives.) Social ills plauge the island as a result of deep poverty. Ironically statehood supporters are among the most vociferous opponents of U.S. policy towards the island, calling it barely guised colonialism.

The Commonwealth Party (PPD) has hard realities working in its favor. Few islanders want to lose their identity and at least limited pretense of independence. (And in fairness the PPD does call for increased autonomy though islanders have no say in the matter.) Moreover, there are twice as many people of at least partial Puerto Rican descent on the mainland as on the island. Third, fourth and fifth generation mainland Puerto Ricans maintain ties to the island. Citizenship and the attendant freedom of travel allow this level of connectedness. Only the most radical of folks can ignore this reality. Both the PNP and PPD are rife with corruption even in comparison to other parts of the Caribbean. I'm taking the opportunity to give this Puerto Rican a hello/btw kill that dog!->

Then there are the Independentistas. They have a political party (the PIP). Some of the more staunch Independentistas refuse to participate in politics “under colonial occupation”. After several massacres on the island by U.S. government agents the Independentistas have some cause for distrust. An element of sympathizers have been in a back and forth battle with the U.S. government and, oddly enough, some Alpha 66 and related groups have taken part in extremely violent anti-Independentista activities. (The federal government contracted out suppression work to such groups in the past.) There have been politically motivated bombings and killings of men, women, children and elderly. A number of Puerto Rican individuals and organizations have been subject to severe repression. A network of informants have been maintained throughout the island and local police have taken on the cooperative role in these affairs. Many active in the Independentista movement struggle on after imprisonment, assasination attempts and even the murder of their children. Below are the late Don Filberto Ojeda Rios murdered this year and PIP leader Don Ruben Berrios.

On a personal note: Several of my family members, active in Independentista politics have been victims of government repression in its ugliest form. They have died at the hands of Miami based terrorist lackeys, who by their claims and our Cuban history should be the last people who commit such heinous acts... Miamista has a deep and abiding hatred towards these folk and will ask these terrorists and their supporters politely TO NOT EVEN FUCKING DARE TO PUT THEIR COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG. If I could I would kill you bloody murderers and I don't want read your drivel… OMG, where did that come from-- that wasn't good, that I would go there...

Puerto Rico's economy, as it exists, is dominated by mainland-based corporations, which is a sore point for many island residents. U.S. mineral companies have depleted the island's formerly considerable natural resources. Agriculture has become uncompetitive and unprofitable. Only tourism, pharmaceutical companies and sweatshops remain. (The island is also a major drug transhipment point and money laundering center.) These all flourished at one point because of corruption, lax environmental and labor regulations and low taxes. None are surviving increased Third World competition well. So here come the residents of Puerto Rico, looking for opportunity in the great state of Florida.

Of course there are politicians keep an eye out when such demographic shifts are occurring. There has been a lot of Jeb Bush bebe-kissing at Puerto Rican community institutions and brought brother Dubya to speak at the Puerto Rican Club of Central Florida yesterday. Jeb is scheduled to speak to the South Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce in a few days. Is Jeb Bush flaunting his Spanish and inexplicable chumminess with Hispanic leaders for a national 2008 run? God I hope not...  It's just not time.

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