Miami: Where the Night Stops

Alfredo Fernandez

Edmundo Garcia. Photo: yoandry.com

HAVANA TIMES — Ever since I learned of the existence of the Miami program “La noche se mueve” (The Night Moves), directed by the ineffable Cuban radio host Edmundo Garcia, I haven’t stopped asking questions.

What does Edmundo lend to such a style of journalism? Who is he trying to convince in Miami with his stale position of praising Havana while demonizing Miami from that very city? Why does Edmundo Garcia remain in Miami if he hates the Cuban community there so much?

To confirm the validity of my questions, all one needs to do is read some of his articles that were previously themes on his program and that today are reproduced in Cuba in editions 46 and 47 of the officialist monthly (so officialist that these are published by the Ministry of the Armed Forces itself) La Calle del Medio (The Street in the Middle), edited by the equally ineffable Enrique Ubieta.

In edition 46, Edmundo Garcia speaks to us about Cuban artists who went to Miami pursuing dreams that turned into disappointment, pointing to leading Cuban actor Reinaldo Miravalles “having even been a night watchman in supermarkets” as well as the superb Cuban actress Susana Perez being forced away from the theater and television — where she always sparkled in Cuba — to today finding herself giving beauty tips to aging housewives in Miami.

In edition 47, Edmund throws himself into an even more difficult venture: trying to make us believe that Cuban baseball players who desert do something that’s wrong. To make his point, he talks about “rudimentary barracks in the Dominican Republic where young athletes live whenever they immigrate.”

If there is an unforgivable omission made by Edmundo it’s that perhaps not all of these people left because they were specifically running after some gilded dream, but because they wanted a life that was better than what they would have in Cuba today.

But what happens to the thousands of Cubans who annually leave the country who are not artists or baseball players, but mere mortals who crave more opportunities now than what are offered by the Raul Castro government?

Therefore Edmundo Garcia should do more than call into question the decision of these people to rebuild their lives outside of Cuba, as he asserts both in “Night Paralysis” in Miami, as well as in his two articles in the Havanan “La calle periferica” (The Street on the Outskirts).

He should advocate a system of rights for all Cubans where we could, whenever we want, try our luck elsewhere, and if something goes wrong or even turns out well for us (as has occurred with the baseball players El Duque and Jose Ariel Contreras, actors and musicians Alexis Valdes, William Levy, Albita Rodriguez and Pancho Cepsedes), we could return at any time to our country as citizens with all of our rights.

 

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.


9 thoughts on “Miami: Where the Night Stops

  • August 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm
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    @ Alberto,
    you may be happy to visit this link of many hundreds of famous people that ‘channel’ back into their communities. You shouldn’t be so quick to assume that this doesn’t happen

    http://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity

  • July 2, 2012 at 9:43 am
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    I have to agree with Alberto, but lets not judge the mistakes of few. Many well know artists, players, and even polititians have put a good chunk of money to work toward social programs; specially, school rehabilitation for childrens and young adults. They have also helped countless imigrants ( Cubans been the majority), perhaps as Cuba opens to a new era of exchange relations with the USA ( which seems doubtfull unless that system changes) , then more people can get involved from both sides.

  • July 2, 2012 at 4:41 am
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    Being objective, fair and impartial is a pervasive human deficit. Speaking horrors of others, denouncing their ills while ignoring ours, seems to be part of our dominant genes.

    What I do know as a Cuban who left my country for reasons beyond this topic, is that no matter what or wherever I go, I will always be a Cuban, which makes me enjoy our success, triumph or I am saddened with our failures or demeaning actions anywhere. It is not a reason for joy for me, when Cubans are hauled away in cuffs in Miami, it is a reason for shame!

    For too long, many of us revel and highlight our success and where success was found, especially in the US, but shy away, ignore or forget endless horror stories endured by countless Cubans, for whom the grass was not greener on this side of the street.

    What I categorically have opposed or denounced, is those of us, who in smaller or greater degree have succeeded in finding a better life, or, are not willing to admit or recognize, that some or part of it, is directly related to a given environment existing in the Cuba from where we originated.

    If any of us is today a successful physician, Dentist, Musician, Artist, Sportsman or Engineer, should he/she not remember, that this is possible to a certain degree, to existing conditions in Cuba at the time, that made it possible for me and for which, I should be grateful?

    Why not come up with ways, means or ideas, of how each of us can give back, demonstrate our gratitude and support for to those following in our footstep?

    If most baseball players, boxers (as an example) earning millions and wasting it foolishly in flashy cars, scandalous love affairs, gambling or drugs, would have channeled a fraction back to their school, community or stadium, their piers in Cuba, would admire, respect and understand their decision much easier.

  • July 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm
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    Michael, perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of the term “ad hominem”. I disagree with NobodyO based upon the facts and not his orthograpy and syntax. While I would agree that culturally Miami is no New York, your dislikes appear, in part, to be….generational. I mean are you serious…Tennessee Williams? Seriously? Listen, there is a young Cuban hiphop artist Armando Christian Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull. He is doing some good stuff. Check him out . And by the way, Miami Vice is a classic. Cops were never so cool.

  • July 1, 2012 at 11:06 am
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    …done no good to the world? What world do you live in? If you live in the same one as I do, you have benefited from American ingenuity, technology and advances in medical sciences to name but very few. No exceptionally talented artist, musician, scientist, athlete or educator has been forced at gunpoint to leave their native country to live a more comfortable, better paid life in a country of greater freedom and opportunity. They do so because they are normal human beings who wish to live better. The US doesn’t have to “steal” anyone. You don’t want to live in the US, your choice. We will struggle by without you. By the way, we were at war with Vietnam. Sh*t happens. Besides, guess which country is Vietnam’s largest trading partner now? Good ole’ US of A. Why haven’t we destroyed Cuba militarily? Fidel has proven capable of doing that without our help.

  • July 1, 2012 at 9:16 am
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    Both Edmundo Garcia and Alfredo Fernandez, not to mention Moses, are guilty of ad hominem arguments: Edmundo by impugning the motives–and character–of most Cuban emigrees to the North, and Alfredo for questioning the venues where his articles appear, and the source of his topics, although he does somewhat adddress the reasons for their emigration. Most Cubans, of course, emigrate to improve their economic and career status. Since the economic atmosphere in the North is increasingly heartless and competitive, amongst the few winners there are many loosers. Probably the key to being a winner, rather than looser, is energy, imaginativeness and adaptability. Although it doesn’t much matter in sports, where the athlete offers him- or herself to the highest bidder, with the arts it is a different story. Miami is not a good environment for an artist, be s/he a writer, painter, musician, with any integrity. In fact, compared to Habana, Miami is a cultural wasteland. Better that the artist emigrating North should continue on to New York, or even one of the European capitals. Miami may be a good backdrop for various cocaine themed policiers, like “Miami Vice,” or the latest versions of such; otherwise, it has little to offer. I recently returned there for my 50th high school reunion. Even 50 years ago Miami was no Athens; now it is an utter cultural desert. I was shocked to now find the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse, where Tennessee Williams used to open early versions of his plays (later to be reworked and refined at his home in Key West before opening the final versions on Broadway), shuttered and slated for demolision to make way for yet another high-rise luxury condo. In contrast, during my most recent visit to Habana I had to pick and choose between a great variety of plays, concerts and art openings, plus world-class museums. Incidentally, during my high school reunion I heard a story of woe from a classmate who has subsequently become a successful artist in South Florida. His paintings gained ever higher prices–but he found out that big time drug kingpins (of the type, no doubt, depicted in “Miami Vice” or the latest Steven Segal vehicle) were merely purchasing them as “investments” to move their drug money. Moreover, his lawyer/manager wound up siphoning off much of the money he had earned. Still, despite his problems, if he chooses, he can continue painting, this time taking more control over who purchases his painting and where they are offered!

  • July 1, 2012 at 7:56 am
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    and? USA has done no good to the world and always tries to rob the best talents by providing them higher salaries then elsewhere. They did the same even with Europeans. For the invidual it is great, getting paid 5000 USD or more a month, but the states left behind suffer a loss in first place. I was a couple of times in US, have nice friends there, but i could never live in a country that lies so much to its own people, the world, kills so many and acts completely violent and arrogant against all others. US foreign politics are today very similar to the third reich’s. You are with us or against us. The only thing i don´t understand why the killed 3 million in Vietnam, laid minefields but never attacked Cuba? Maybe because they wanted an example of an embargoed economy on the front door. Kind of reserve enemy.

  • July 1, 2012 at 7:01 am
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    Alfredo, allow me to explain why Mr. Garcia exists as such in Miami. You see, Americans love clowns. We love people who are willing to make fools of themselves to entertain us. Some clowns paint their faces while others paint their words. As with all clowns, Garcia performs his routine with the occasional truth. In doing so he connects in part with his audience by reflecting the outrageous ideas that all of us have rolling around in our heads from time to time. Of course, in Cuba, his appeal is different. The ruling class use him as a sort of forward scout whose Granma articles confirm the propoganda du jour. Cubans, in general, know full well that he is just another of the many regime mouthpieces that say what they are told to say. For all of his campaigning, he can not reduce one day off the sentence of any of the five Cuban spies. He can not undue one tittle of the embargo. HIs role is solely to entertain.

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