Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Year is Fast Fading…

2014 is nearing the end; perhaps before its time, perhaps too late in coming but… ready or not, the New Year is ready to roar to life…

A review of the year’s happenings is a “de-rigueur” thing to do about this time. Every radio or TV program has its own mini history reduced into a few thousand pixels or sound bites of what went on during the year.

On a TV show I saw recently for a few minutes, there was a review –with graphic pictures- about the deaths of several renowned actors and singers. Seems people can’t get enough of their idols, live or dead…

As citizens of a country which has grown to accept violence as a somewhat normal day-to-day issue, Mexicans have adjusted to living in this uncertainty… but even they were shocked into action by a mass murder which took the lives of 43 young students for expressing themselves against abuses of the local political czar.

Not too far south, Venezuela has become the second most dangerous country in the world, under the totally inept leadership of Chaves’ handpicked successor. Like in other so called “neo-socialist” governments in Latin America, leaders are more concerned about building up their personal power base and bank accounts than about running the countries they lead.

Chaves at death was worth almost 2BillionUS$; the Castro family has several accounts estimated at well over that figure. Kirchner’s son lives in a huge sprawling ranch in the outskirts of Buenos Aires valued at well over US$2M and so on… All this while the average person in some of these countries has to stand in long lines just to get his/her hands on the basic daily foodstuff items for their families.

We all hope this next item will fall into the “looking into the bright side” category: after 56 years there has been a beginning of a change in the US-Cuba relationship. The concept is welcome; however, the execution of the initial process has been highly criticized by most knowledgeable pundits; it lacks of any type of review, guarantees for the common people, monitoring of developments; freedom for political prisoners or a promise of –at least a possibility- of free, internationally supervised elections at any time soon. The jury will be out on this one for a while… At least this juror.

The rest has been business as usual… terrorists killing each other, old eastern bears trying to regain glories past at the expense of others, while here in the US, politicians are beginning to put themselves into position for the 2016 run at the presidency… On the virtual front, people are relying more and more on all the last minute electronic gadgets that didn’t exist a few years ago but without which, life would be considered null and void now.

As for me… well, I am a year older but not necessarily –I think- wiser (yes… I’ll say it before you do…) Every step along the way has become a teacher of some sort, showing me that much is not what I thought was, that a new lesson is just waiting around the corner… and that there are many, many corners to be turned yet.

Have a grand new year; I truly hope it brings us all the reality of our dreams, the ability to help others improve, a big bright smile and some health and love in the company of family and friends.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to otherboxp@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Emperor is Bare

Much like the emperor of fabled fame, President Obama was left with no clothes on and saying thanks for the memories…
 Yesterday was another day in a week which promised to be just another week, filled with regular, routine days. Yet, we were given some news which broke this uneventful moment; news which, in a different context and parameters, would have been welcome.

As the President spoke from the podium, we were informed that there had been an agreement to exchange prisoners and to re-establish relations with Cuba, after 50+ years of diplomatic void. There would be new business avenues open, and even the status of Cuba as a terrorist sponsor nation would be subject to revision. All this, in exchange for basically… nothing.

What happened was that with one unilateral (and probably unconstitutional) decision, Obama has given a new lease on life to a tired, sagging regimen that has oppressed 11M citizens, caused massive people flight and has germinated untold deaths through their fostering of guerrillas in Latin America; Sendero Luminoso, Putumayos, Sandinistas, FARC (group which is now in Cuba “negotiating” a very one-sided peace treaty with the Col. Govt) and the list goes on. All given in exchange for nothing.

Where is the agreement to free political prisoners, to guarantee human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and thought; freedom of movement. Where are the monitoring structures to guarantee that whatever comes in will -at least in part- go to the direct benefit of the people? Not just to the government and to the already bulging bank accounts of the hierarchy? Sorry Mr. Obama. You were invited to a party, were made to pay for it and got the leftovers. Bad move. This grandstanding is not the way to retake the initiative lost in the midterm elections.

A change in the relations would have been welcome, but with some of the above issues included as must-deal-with issues. The Cuban communist hierarchy is a government which has shown absolutely no intentions of leaving the country or the power it wields over its people. This is a government which has, while yelling “Foul”, completely subjugated a people, keeping them in emotional, physical and intellectual misery. They have used every excuse in the book, blamed everyone but their own actions and terrible mismanagement, accusing the very Yankees who would now become their de-facto saviors, of being the cause of all their ills and misery. All this while filling their personal bank accounts to the point of obscenity.

Maybe the midterm election debacle left a very bad taste in the mouth of our defeated president. I wonder if this is an in-your-face slap to that 65% of voters who turned their back to his own mismanagement and mistakes, and to his use of an almost dictatorial mania in decreeing what he thinks right, without really accounting to those who disagree.

If this is the case, it will be left to those who will now come to reestablish the rule of law to review and not to shelve, but to restructure what could be a positive beginning, but which must include benefits for the people of both the US and Cuba.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
·       Any comments please send to otherboxp@yahoo.com

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...