Pitbull — Middle aged suburban mom loves the music and respects the man

It’s a standing joke in our family that Mom — middle-aged suburban housewife that I am — really, really likes Pitbull.  I love the way he does mash-ups of classic songs from the 50s through the 80s, and I like his cheerful, self-deprecating rap.  He’s on my playlist, and I don’t care if the children groan when we’re driving in the car and, suddenly, there’s Pitbull.  As you can see from these videos, he’s rather salacious, but that’s hard to avoid nowadays, and I just . . . well, I just like him:

Today, I also find myself in the rare position of not just liking a musical artist’s performance, but actually respecting his views.  Why?  Because Pitbull was disgusted with pop stars Beyoncé’s and Jay-Z’s much talked-about trip to Cuba.  Jay-Z said of his visit:

“I done turned Havana into Atlanta,” Jay-Z raps. “[…] Boy from the hood, I got White House clearance… Politicians never did s— for me except lie to me, distort history… They wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine, let me commit a real crime.”

[snip]

Jay Z later raps: “Hear the freedom in my speech… Obama said, ‘Chill you gonna get me impeached. You don’t need this s— anyway, chill with me on the beach.’”

Both of those vapid airheads (Jay-Z and Beyoncé) seemed very pleased with themselves for having visited a communist country that keeps its people imprisoned in grinding poverty, under the constant eye of the state police.

Pitbull was not impressed.  He did a pro-American rap, which he promoted on his Twitter account (click on image to get to Pitbull’s tweet):

Twitter  Pitbull I'm cuban american i was born ... - Mozilla Firefox 4142013 81836 PM.bmp

Pitbull — thank you!!! Next time my children tease me about loving your music, I’m going to tell them that you’re not just a great rapper/musician, you’re also a principled and decent man. Woo-hoo!

Yet another Tom Lehrer song proves to be prescient

I blogged the other day that Tom Lehrer’s MLF Lullaby, although about Germany, worked well with Islam in the starring role.  It turns out that Tom Leher was prescient about folk songs too.  First, the New York Times story:

When one of Cuba’s best-known musicians landed in the United States, his first appearance was not onstage, but on Capitol Hill.

Carlos Varela, often referred to as Cuba’s Bob Dylan, had come to remix an album with his good friend Jackson Browne. But he also hoped to help reshape relations between the United States and his homeland.

So before going to Hollywood to work on the album, he stopped in Washington early this month for meetings with legislators and a lunch with a senior White House official. Later he held a jam session in the House Budget Committee meeting room.

Almost everywhere Mr. Varela, 46, went during his weeks here, including at universities and policy institutes, small talk about music gave way to pressing, albeit polite, questions on policy.

“I don’t represent any government or political party,” he said. “But perhaps that’s why governments and politicians might be willing to listen to what I have to say.”

Yes, it is a Cuban folk song army. And yes, Tom Lehrer wrote more than forty years ago about folk song armies:

One type of song that has come into increasing prominence in recent months is the folk-song of protest. You have to admire people who sing these songs. It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out in favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on. The nicest thing about a protest song is that it makes you feel so good. I have a song here which I realize should be accompanied on a folk instrument in which category the piano does not alas qualify so imagine if you will that I am playing an 88 string guitar.

We are the Folk Song Army.
Everyone of us cares.
We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
Unlike the rest of you squares.

There are innocuous folk songs.
Yeah, but we regard ‘em with scorn.
The folks who sing ‘em have no social conscience.
Why they don’t even care if Jimmy Crack Corn.

If you feel dissatisfaction,
Strum your frustrations away.
Some people may prefer action,
But give me a folk song any old day.

The tune don’t have to be clever,
And it don’t matter if you put a coupla extra syllables into a line.
It sounds more ethnic if it ain’t good English,
And it don’t even gotta rhyme–excuse me–rhyne.

Remember the war against Franco?
That’s the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles,
We had all the good songs.

So join in the Folk Song Army,
Guitars are the weapons we bring
To the fight against poverty, war, and injustice.
Ready! Aim! Sing!

Rep. Diane Watson probably isn’t that into toilet paper anyway

This morning, I sort of glossed over the story of Representative Diane Watson (a Dem, of course), singing Castro’s praises to high heaven, as part of a broader attack against all of the One’s racist enemies, who are trying to destroy America just to destroy a black man:

Here’s the money quote:

It was just mentioned to me by our esteemed speaker did anyone say anything about the Cuban health system?  Now let me tell you, before you say “Oh [uintelligible]“, you need to go down there and say what Fidel Castro put in place.  And I want you to know now you can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met.  And you know, the Cuban revolution that kicked out the wealthy, Che Guevara did that.  And then after they took over, they went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new nation.  And they found, well, just leave it there (laughs) an attorney by the name of Fidel Castro.

(Hat tip:  Hot Air)

As I said, I ignored the story because it was just another far Left Dem bad-mouthing America by praising Castro.  I would have continued to ignore it if Sadie hadn’t sent me an email that left me wondering if Ms. Watson would be quite so impressed if found herself in a Cuban hospital, wiping her butt with old newspaper:

There’s good news and bad news in Cuba.

The bad news: There’s a shortage of toilet paper, and officials in Havana say it will not ease until the end of the year.

The good news: Day-old copies of the Communist party’s newspaper Granma, a traditional substitute, are available for less than a U.S. penny. And that’s six to eight full, if rough, pages per day.

Cuban officials say the shortage is the result of the global financial crisis and three devastating hurricanes last summer, which forced cuts in imports as well as domestic production because of reductions in electricity and imports of raw materials.

But CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria says that “at the bottom of this toilet paper shortage is Cuba’s continuing commitment to its bizarro world of socialist economics.”

[snip]

The toilet paper shortage is no joking matter for Cubans.

Toilet paper is not included in the ration card that covers basic goods at highly subsidized prices, so Cubans have long been forced to buy their supplies at so-called “hard currency stores” or use alternatives — Chinese and North Korean magazines have been a favorite because of their soft paper.

I, for one, am betting that, if Ms. Watson visits Cuba, she’s put in a luxury, party-run hotel with lots of Charmin, and taken to the same beautiful, shiny clinics that treat Castro, his buddies, and just about no one else.

Random thoughts about Obama *UPDATED*

Obama made much of the fact that his father was an African immigrant from a small village with goats (or something like that).  Few people have made anything of the flip side of that little bit of bio, which is the fact that the first black president has no connection to America’s slave culture.  This is consistent with the fact that the blacks who get ahead in America tend to be the children of recent immigrants from Africa and the Carribean (think:  Colin Powell), rather than from blacks who trace their American roots much further back than I can trace mine.  I draw no conclusions from this; I just observe.

Obama’s decision to close Gitmo (sort of, maybe) in a year is nicely symbolic, but creates more problems than it solves (and what it solves is merely symbolic too, in that it placates the nutroots).  Closing Gitmo means shutting down a physical site, but one is still left with the problem of the prisoners.  American prisons don’t want them, especially because they’re already struggling with the rise of Islam in prisons, a rise that does not make for docile prison populations, but rather, one that increases the sense of aggression and entitlement.  Releasing these prisoners who, in their own minds, continue to be at war with us, simply puts them back on the field.  The 18th Century concept of a parole (which saw released prisoners promise to refrain from fighting for 18 months) really isn’t a workable concept today.  The most logical option is to build a new facility that’s like Gitmo in all ways except that it’s not called Gitmo — which would be a perfect triumph of form over substance, something I suspect we’ll see with increasing frequency in the “image is everything” Obama presidency.

Also on the subject of Gitmo, this is precisely what John Kerry promised back in 2004 — we’ll turn this icky, politically incorrect war into a police action.  Releasing Gitmo detainees into the criminal justice system is just the first step.  But as many commented back in 2004, police actions are ex post facto.  The person commits the crime and then you catch him.  Bush’s system, mercifully for Americans for all these years, was pro active, stopping terror before it started.  You’re right, Bob, about the inevitable consequences of Obama’s instant back-down.

One more thing:  Suek is absolutely correct that this decision is going to give American troops a much greater incentive to “take no prisoners.”  The POW concept, which is a fairly recent and humane one, removed fighters from the battlefield without killing them.  If the battlefield is going to be turned into a revolving door, the only way American fighters can assure themselves that they won’t find themselves staring down the barrel of the same gun a second time is to disable that gun (and its operator) permanently.

Are any of you surprised the Obama is refusing to speak to the press?  I’m not.  He was able to leapfrog from being a nobody to being a president thanks to the gift the press gave him during the candidacy, which was their willingness not to make serious efforts to speak to him.  He still has nothing to say, but he’s now in a position to impose the cone of silence from above, without being dependent on their slavering good will.

I notice that Obama is urging Israel to create a permeable barrier between itself and Gaza. In the same spirit, I think Obama should do away with the Secret Service.  Indeed, to the extent no one has yet tried to kill Obama (and I pray that no one will), he’s actually in a better position security-wise than Israel, which actually has concrete proof that the people in Gaza mean to put their murderous threats into effect.  To date, I’ve been less impressed with Obama’s much vaunted intelligence than others have been.  I have absolutely no doubt that his is a feral, not a thoughtful, mental strength.  This kind of stupid statement proves me right.

And on a totally un-Obama note, are you as impressed a I am with the progress they’re making in plastics (or is it wax) in Cuba?

UPDATE:  I like Laer’s Gitmo solution, which is sort of the mirror image of my suggestion about Obama, Gaza and the Secret Service.

The upside of technology

It’s often frightening to see how terrorists use technology against freedom. It’s therefore uplifting and refreshing to see people using technology to advance freedom. The New York Times, which has always been dizzyingly respectful of Castro, has pulled a fast U-turn and written a very good article about young people using technology to circumvent Cuba’s dictatorship:

A growing underground network of young people armed with computer memory sticks, digital cameras and clandestine Internet hookups has been mounting some challenges to the Cuban government in recent months, spreading news that the official state media try to suppress.

[snip]

“It passes from flash drive to flash drive,” said Ariel, 33, a computer programmer, who, like almost everyone else interviewed for this article, asked that his last name not be used for fear of political persecution. “This is going to get out of the government’s hands because the technology is moving so rapidly.”

Cuban officials have long limited the public’s access to the Internet and digital videos, tearing down unauthorized satellite dishes and keeping down the number of Internet cafes open to Cubans. Only one Internet cafe remains open in Old Havana, down from three a few years ago.

[snip]

Yet the government’s attempts to control access are increasingly ineffective. Young people here say there is a thriving black market giving thousands of people an underground connection to the world outside the Communist country.

People who have smuggled in satellite dishes provide illegal connections to the Internet for a fee or download movies to sell on discs. Others exploit the connections to the Web of foreign businesses and state-run enterprises. Employees with the ability to connect to the Internet often sell their passwords and identification numbers for use in the middle of the night.

[snip]

Some young journalists have also started blogs and Internet news sites, using servers in other countries, and their reports are reaching people through the digital underground.

Yoani Sánchez, 32, and her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, 60, established Consenso desde Cuba , a Web site based in Germany. Ms. Sánchez has attracted a considerable following with her blog, Generación Y, in which she has artfully written gentle critiques of the government by describing her daily life in Cuba. Ms. Sánchez and her husband said they believed strongly in using their names with articles despite the possible political repercussions.

[snip]

Because Ms. Sánchez, like most Cubans, can get online for only a few minutes at a time, she writes almost all her essays beforehand, then goes to the one Internet cafe, signs on, updates her Web site, copies some key pages that interest her and walks out with everything on a memory stick. Friends copy the information, and it passes from hand to hand. “It’s a solid underground,” she said. “The government cannot control the information.”

It is spread by readers like Ricardo, 28, a philosophy student at the University of Havana who sells memory sticks to other students. European friends buy blank flash drives, and others carry them into Cuba, where the drives available through normal channels are very expensive and scarce.

Like many young Cubans, Ricardo plays a game of cat and mouse with the authorities. He doubts that the government will ever let ordinary citizens have access to the Internet in their homes. “That’s far too dangerous,” he said. “Daddy State doesn’t want you to get informed, so it preventively keeps you from surfing.”

I consider this article a very nice companion piece to the other recent surprising Times article exposing the fact that, when trapped between a fascist local religion and Western Democracy, more and more young Iraqis are doing the politically incorrect thing and opting for the latter.

Thumbing our noses at tyrants

One of the things that puts the Kumbi-ya crowd into an absolute frenzy is President Bush’s refusal to deal directly with murderous dictators. Forgetting the example set by Neville “Peace in Our Time” Chamberlain, this crowd is certain that, if they can just wrest a smile from someone evil, they’ll be halfway to ending all the wars in the world. To that end, Nancy Pelosi gets pally with Syria’s Assad, Columbia rolls out the welcome mat for Ahamdinejad, the New York Philharmonic makes beautiful music for Kim Jong-Il, and presidential contender Barack Obama announces that dictators of the world should line up at his office, because he’d just love to have a chat with them.

Right off the bat, it’s apparent that, for a supposedly smart man, Obama is pretty damn stupid. Negotiation works when both parties have a goal that, in a rational world, can be achieved without destroying the other party to the negotiation. Each side may have to give a little to get a little, but both will walk away have achieved their primary ends. But how do you negotiate with someone whose primary end is your own destruction? What Neville Chamberlain learned, and what Israel demonstrates daily, is that it is impossible to have a good faith negotiation with someone like that. There are only two outcomes in such negotiations: either the other party will lie through its teeth to set the preconditions for your destruction, or you’ll just have to agree to shortcut the whole process by committing suicide.

Such statements about an open door policy for negotiation with any and all comers are especially stupid coming from a man who is not only (at least in theory) a lawyer, but also a law professor. It’s a fundamental principle of law that negotiations, to be valid, have to be in good faith. Otherwise, as any person with on the ground experience knows, they are, at best, a waste of time and, at worst, terribly destructive.

Faced with Obama’s manifest idiocy, George Bush, showing himself to be a smart and righteous man, got all hot under the collar:

At a news conference where Bush showed unusual passion for a president in his waning months, he said “now is not the time” to talk with Castro.

“What’s lost … by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs?” he said. “What’s lost is, it’ll send the wrong message. It’ll send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. It’ll give great status to those … who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.

“The idea of embracing a leader who’s done this, without any attempt on his part to … release prisoners and free their society, would be counterproductive and send the wrong signal.”

Warming to the subject, Bush continued: “Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him. He gains a lot from it by saying, ‘Look at me. I’m now recognized by the president of the United States.’”

Good old horse sense, which is sorely lacking on the academic Left, demonstrates the truth behind Bush’s words — you don’t validate evil by treating it as ordinary and respectable. But I don’t need horse sense alone to reach this conclusion. I have testimony from someone who lived under one of the world’s most evil regimes — Communist Russia — and who writes with deep conviction about the strength it gave the Russian anti-Communist opposition to know that, out in the wider world, there were people and governments who willingly and loudly called out evil when they saw it. The testimony of which I speak comes from famed Soviet dissident and political prisoner Natan Sharansky, and is found in his book The Case For Democracy : The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.

Sharansky’s book is a sustained attack against “detente” or normalization of relationships between dictatorships and democracies.  (And isn’t that what Obama is really proposing?)  After detailing the various sophistic arguments (many well-intentioned) that supported the broad detente policy the West adopted vis a vis the USSR, Sharansky explains why it was such a bad policy when it came to dealing with a totalitarian dictatorship:

Fortunately, there were a few leaders in the West who could look beyond the facade of Soviet power to see the fundamental weakness of a state that denied its citizens freedom.  Western policies of accommodation, regardless of their intent, were effectively propping up the Soviet’s tiring arms.  Had that accommodation contined, the USSR might have survived for decades longer.  By adopting a policy of confrontation instead [as Reagan did], an enervated Soviet regime was further burdened.  Amalri’s analysis of Soviet weakness [Andrei Amalrik’s 1969 dissident treatise explaining the fatal cost to a dictatorship of having to “physically and psychologically control[] millions of its own subjects”] was correct because he understood the inherent instability of totalitarian rule.  But the timing of his prediction [that the Soviet Union would not outlast the 1980s] proved accurate only because people both inside and outside the Soviet Union who understood the power of freedom were determined to harness that power.  (p. 11.)

Obama preaches pabulum from the ivory tower; Sharansky speaks truth learned the hard way in a totalitarian society.  Who are you going to believe?  I’m with George Bush, who accepts and understands a Democracy cannot and should not prop up dictators by treating them before the world as if they are just “regular guys.”

This kind of thing could lose Florida for Obama

Little things mean a lot, and some Cuban voters in Florida, who might otherwise have been leaning towards Obama, may back off if they get a gander of his fellow travelers — Obama campaigners who are loud and proud in their support for Castro-ite Cuba and Che Guavara.  There is no indication at all that Obama authorized or even supports what’s going in Texas, but he’d certainly better disassociated himself from it very quickly.

Worshipping killers

The Left (both at home and abroad) likes to revile the infamous American President “Chimpy-BusHitler,” but they seem to be taking a pass on some people that even the Left would have to concede have a bit more blood on their hands. Mike Adams and the American Thinker take on the results of that, shall we say, imbalance in beliefs.

Mike Adams’ target is the Che Guevara worship that infects the self-styled “intelligentsia,” who like to swan around in Che shirts, purses and (my personal favorite), darling little clothes for their babies. Che, after all, say the intellectuals, was a “sincere, “Christ-like” “martyr.” Adams’ suggestion is that his University (UNC-Wilmington) acknowledge all this Che worship and build a Che memorial on campus. He further suggests that the University use the Jefferson Memorial as its guide, and that it cover the walls with Che’s own words:

“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che Guevara.

“If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City.” Che Guevara.

“We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims… We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.” Che Guevara.

“Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial bowl.” Che Guevara.

“Don’t shoot! I’m Che, I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” Che Guevara.

“(T)o execute a man we don’t need proof of his guilt. We only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him. It’s that simple.” Che Guevara.

Wasn’t it Jack Nicholson who blasted Tom Cruise with the words “You can’t handle the truth“? I wonder what the Che faithful will do when confronted with their hero’s blood-soaked feet of clay.

In Britain, they’ve done away with that problem altogether, according to a letter republished at the American Thinker, by simply coming up with an alternative history when it comes to teaching about Hitler:

So waiting for the Dolphin swim at Discovery Cove in Orlando, my daughter Nikki and I were seated with a Brit family–mom, daughter and son. After small talk about the great value of the pound vs the dollar etc, I mentioned that Churchill was one of my heroes. The son, no more than 16 countered that he really liked Hitler, and his sister Gandhi. I was stunned and sickened.

According to him, Hitler was a great leader and did great things for the German people. He brought them out of depression. His quest for land was only to provide “living space” for the German people. The reason for the London bombings was because Britain “carpet bombed” German cities. Hitler had to attack France, for they were a treat to his effort to gain land for living space. The atrocities of the Holocaust were attributed to the fact that he was “mad”, so it wasn’t his fault. In general, his intentions were noble.

In speaking privately with his mother after my discussion, she stated that this is the new curriculum in the British schools to combat “prejudice” against Germans. They teach the children not to “judge” Hitler.

Of course, this won’t be a problem much longer in England. The British have decided to do away with Hitler altogether, along with such iconic British figures as Queen Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill. Makes you wonder how much longer America’s Europe loving intellectuals can continue to pretend that Europeans out pace us educationally.

Delayed recognition re a Castro photo

In yesterday’s Best of the Web, there is a photoshopped picture of Osama Bin Laden.  It took me a minute to recognize that it was pasted over an August picture of Fidel Castro that the Cuban government released to prove that he’s still alive.  Am I only the who finds it ironic that the longest-lasting Communist leader in the world is wearing an Adidas shirt — a perfect capitalist symbol?

Castro’s death watch

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that Fidel Castro is not in some luxury Cuban hospital suite recovering from surgery.  If he were, the press would be inundated with pictures of him, propped him in his hospital bed, holding a cigar, and waving to the camera.  I see him in a secret room with embalming fluid being pumped into him.  This way, once the situation in Cuba is locked up, his body can be paraded around with the assurances that he died unexpectedly, minutes before his body was put on view.

The charade being played out around Castro’s death is, of course, identical to the charade that we saw when Arafat died.  The only difference here is that the perfidious French aren’t hosting the charade.  In the latter case, to the world’s press, the French still had enough credibility to add an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative.  There’s no such French cachet here, although the Press seems perfectly content to sit and wait.

In any event, both these dictators’ attenuated, secretive deaths underline the horrors of totalitarian political systems.  Because these leaders rule by force, the assumption is that, if the people learn of their deaths, they will explode in an effort to avoid a new totalitarian dictator from filling the recently vacated shoes.  After all, the transition from one dictator to another is a crack in the system that could be exploited by a disaffected people.  (Ironically, with regard to the Palestinians, those poor people have been so brainwashed that, when they had the chance, they voted in an even worse dictatorship.)

Only a free society can see an orderly transition of power.  That’s why free societies have no compunction about informing the people should a leader die.  For one thing, as in America, with its chain of command, the people already know who will take over.  Indeed, the Vice President is part of the package people consider when electing the President.  In addition, people know that, even if they’re less than thrilled about the temporary leader, they’ll soon get a chance to state their preferences at the polls.

Andy Garcia, Cuba and the critics

I don't like Andy Garcia as an actor, but I sure do admire him as a human being. He's the moving force behind and star of The Lost City, a movie that highlights to the destruction the revolution brought to Cuba and, more disturbingly for the complacent Left, that points out that Che was not a cute motorcyclist, but was, in fact, a cold blooded killer. According to a FrontPage magazine article, the Leftist media, profoundly ignorant of actual history, and living in a world of pro-Cuba propaganda, has taken him to task — indeed, has savaged him — for daring to present historical reality:

"In a movie about the Cuban revolution, we almost never see any of the working poor for whom the revolution was supposedly fought," sniffs Peter Reiner in The Christian Science Monitor. "The Lost City' misses historical complexity."

Actually what's missing is Mr. Reiner's historical knowledge. Andy Garcia and screenwriter Guillermo Cabrera Infante knew full well that "the working poor" had no role in the stage of the Cuban Revolution shown in the movie. The Anti-Batista rebellion was led and staffed overwhelmingly by Cuba's middle — and especially, upper — class. In August of 1957 Castro's rebel movement called for a "National Strike" against the Batista dictatorship — and threatened to shoot workers who reported to work. The "National Strike" was completely ignored. Another was called for April 9, 1958. And again Cuban workers ignored their "liberators," reporting to work en masse.

"Garcia's tale bemoans the loss of easy wealth for a precious few," harrumphs Michael Atkinson in The Village Voice. "Poor people are absolutely absent; Garcia and Infante seem to have thought that peasant revolutions happen for no particular reason—or at least no reason the moneyed 1 percent should have to worry about."

What's "absolutely absent" is Mr Atkinson's knowledge about the Cuba Garcia depicts in his movie. His crack about that "moneyed 1 per cent," and especially his "peasant revolution" epitomize the clichéd falsehoods still parroted about Cuba.
"The impoverished masses of Cubans who embraced Castro as a liberator appear only in grainy, black-and-white news clips," snorts Stephen Holden in The New York Times. "Political dialogue in the film is strictly of the junior high school variety."

"It fails to focus on the poverty-stricken workers whose plight lit the fires of revolution," complains Rex Reed in the New York Observer.
Here's a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report on Cuba circa 1957 that dispels the fantasies of pre-Castro Cuba still cherished by America's most prestigious academics and its most learned film critics: "One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class," it starts. "Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8 hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage then in the U.S."

In 1958 Cuba had a higher per-capita income than Austria and Japan. Cuban industrial workers had the 8th highest wages in the world. In the 1950's Cuban stevedores earned more per hour than their counterparts in New Orleans and San Francisco. Cuba had established an 8 hour work-day in 1933 — five years before FDR's New Dealers got around to it. Add to this: one months paid vacation. The much-lauded (by liberals) Social-Democracies of Western Europe didn't manage this until 30 years later.

Cuba, a country 71% white in 1957, was completely desegregated 30 years before Rosa Parks was dragged off that Birmingham bus and handcuffed. In 1958 Cuba had more female college graduates per capita than the U.S.

The Anti-Batista rebellion (not revolution) was staffed and led overwhelmingly by college students and professionals. Here's the makeup of the "peasant revolution's" first cabinet, drawn from the leaders in the Anti-Batista fight: 7 lawyers, 2 University professors, 3 University students, 1 doctor, 1 engineer, 1 architect, 1 former city mayor and Colonel who defected from the Batista Army. A notoriously "bourgeois" bunch as Che himself might have put it.

Clearly, I'll have to put aside my unhappiness in watching Garcia on screen and go see this movie. (And I will note that this is a twist for me, because the norm has been that I some actors while hating their politics.)