Watching a documentary about Hungary ’56 reminded me of our Cuban experience

We Cubans have a special place in our hearts for anyone who stood up to communism.

A few days ago, I had a chance to see a documentary about Hungary 1956.  It was the the story of Soviet tanks crushing the democratic aspirations of the people of Hungary.

It made me think of Cuba:  the refugees, unaccompanied children sent to freedom, people being processed at camps and the freedom that we found in the US or other lands.

I wrote a post at American Thinker today remembering November 1956:

“It was a long time ago but the bravery of the Hungarian people is worth remembering.

I am a strong believer in reminding the younger generation that freedom is not cheap. In fact, many have paid the ultimate price to fight for it.

Many Hungarians did this month in 1956!

Before Prague 1968 or Poland 1980, there was Hungary, one of the great chapters of human valor of the 20th century.”

We salute the brave people of Hungary and how they fought for freedom 57 years ago:

“Yo no fui” Obama throws the NSA under the bus

The NSA people are furious that they are getting thrown under the bus for carrying out orders, according to Max Boot:

“The intel community isn’t happy about being blamed for conducting what Obama implies is a rogue operation: “People are furious,” said a senior intelligence official. “This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community.”

Not only is Obama blaming the intel community for doing something wrong, he is leaking word that he will order a ban on spying on allied leaders.

One wonders how “allies” will be defined since no nation stands with the U.S. on every single important issue.

Germany, for example, supported us in Afghanistan but not in Libya. (I am tempted to say Germany didn’t support us in Syria either but since we have no coherent policy on Syria it is hard to say whether they support us or not.)

If he is serious about it, Obama’s actions will result in a loss of valuable intelligence and will hardly appease the NSA’s critics who think that all data-hunting operations except perhaps those focused on Ayman al-Zawihiri’s emails should be shut down.

Obama was aware earlier in his administration of the danger of stigmatizing the hard-working intelligence professionals he needs to keep America safe; that’s why the administration shut down attempts to prosecute CIA personnel over the use of torture.

But now, in a frenzy to appease European critics, the president is demoralizing the intel community and sending them a signal that aggressive collection efforts will not be rewarded. That’s a bad tradeoff.”

Here is the problem. The men and women at the NSA follow orders.  They do espionage or carry out policies approved by the president.

President Obama should support the men and women at the NSA for carrying out his policies.  He should not play word games and throw patriots under the bus.

Taking ownership and responsibility won’t make the hyper sensitive Europeans happy but it will establish that someone is in charge.

We desperately need to know that someone is in charge in Washington!

“Yo no fui” Obama is making the US, the NSA and President Obama look rather silly.  He needs to “man up” and support the people who are carrying out his orders!

P. S. Speaking of “our shocked European allies”, they should watch “Casablanca” tonight:

“Las monjas se van a enojar con Obama” for spying on Pope Francis

I hope that they didn’t tell President Obama about this one:

“The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.”

My guess is that the White House will distance President Obama from this.

It’s one thing to get the Germans or the Europeans angry.  It’s quite another thing to spy on the Pope before he became Pope.

This is not going to go down well with Catholic nuns!  Watch for the nuns to lineup outside the White House ready to slap President Obama’s hands.

Let me tell you something from personal experience.  There is nothing more scary in the planet than an angry nun with a ruler!

P.S. By the way, I miss Alvarez-Guedes on days like this one!  Can you imagine what he would say about the President of the US spying on a bishop waiting to become Pope?

 

Communist Cuba “no se puede arreglar” and that is why change is near

It must be tough being Raul Castro these days. He tries this or that but Cuba is still a disaster. He yells at the younger generation but they are not paying attention. He wants people to be more productive but they are not.

Cuba can not be fixed. There is no version of a “Perestroika cubano” around the corner. It won’t work in Cuba anymore than it did in the USSR.

It’s over in Cuba. We’re just waiting for the referee to blow the whistle and say that the game is officially over.

Carlos Alberto Montaner discussed Cuba’s currency problems in his recent article.  He wrote this:

“What can Raúl Castro do to really straighten up Cuba’s economy?

Unquestionably, he must bury that asinine way to produce and organize society.

The system cannot be fixed.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who also tried to save communism, ended up admitting that such a goal was impossible, as happened in practically all of eastern Europe.

Why doesn’t Raúl Castro do this?

For three reasons at least, I suppose: for muddled ideological convictions that he has never shaken off; for clinging to power, and – the weightiest – for being emotionally incapable of accepting that he has spent 80 years defending wrong ideas.

It must be very hard to admit that the work of one’s whole life was a perfect blunder that generated massive damage.”

We will continue to watch Cuba and Cubans suffer more and more. There is no happy ending to this tragedy that the Castro brothers started in 1959.

The only good news is that the end is near.  It is a lot closer that you think.

 

Cuban American Orestes Matacena working on a new movie project

It’s always a pleasure to tell you about Orestes Matacena, a fellow “Cubano” who has been making and acting in movies for decades.

His resume is very impressive:

“Orestes first ventured into films at the age of six when he worked as an actor in “The Life of Billy the Kid,” with a cast comprised only of children. The movie was shot at the Mercedes Sugar Mill in Matanzas, Cuba, where he lived with his parents.

Orestes has worked as an actor with high profile directors on films, television and commercials.

As a film actor Orestes has played the antagonist in many Hollywood Studio films such as “The Mask” starring Jim Carrey and “Diggstown” with James Woods and Lou Gossett Jr. just to name a couple.

In the advertising world, Orestes has worked in 37 commercials so far, nine of them directed by Marcus Nispel. The New York Museum of Modern Art has made Mr. Nispel’s body of work part of its Permanent Collection. Thanks to Mr. Nispel’s artistic endeavor, Orestes is part of that wonderful collection.

Orestes is well known for NOT taking “no” for an answer. He raised the capital to produce and direct a feature movie from a screenplay he wrote called “Tainted.” However, he decided that, rather than consuming his time finding investors to bankroll his movies, he would finance them himself and use that time to sharpen his creative vision.

Orestes is, as the French would say, a real film auteur. His body of work to date as a filmmaker includes “In Plain View,” “Sex Guns Money @ 20,” “Cuba Libre,” “Fatal Encounter,” “Tainted,” “James Gilbert Albright and the Haunted Studio,” “The Two Faces of Ruben Rabasa,” “Aguabella” and “Theater in the Parks.” He has written, directed, produced and edited almost all of his work.

In 1968, Orestes wrote his first play, “The Gym.” Since then, he expanded his versatility as a playwright and screenwriter with three plays and more than twenty five screenplays and various television concepts to his credit to date. His writing encompasses a variety of styles: thrillers, dramas, comedies, horror and action-adventures.

“Bitter Sugar,” a movie Orestes wrote for Hollywood director Leon Ichaso about a young couple living under the Cuban Communist Tyranny, opened to excellent reviews and was shown to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland and to the United States Congress. For Orestes this was a spiritual and rewarding experience.

Orestes was born in Cuba to Italian immigrants and grew up on a sugar mill plantation where the country and all kinds of animals, especially horses, were a large part of his life. He describes himself as a “third world country boy.”  But his business partner, Orna Rachovitsky, says he is a “hillbilly in an Armani suit.”

His new project is “Swastika”, a movie about Jewish resistance in World War II:

“We celebrate the “soldiers” of the Resistance for their courage, perseverance and consideration for future generations like ours. They fought for their own freedom, but they fought for our freedom too. And this is why we are making the movie “Swastika” in order to remember and offer the same consideration to future generations.”

You can hear my interview with Orestes here:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/2013/10/29/todays-message

You can learn more about the movie here:      http://www.swastikathemovie.com/index.htm

 

The problem is that Obama “se ahoga en un vaso de agua”

“Obama the manager” is suddenly a topic for discussion.  Put me down as one who thinks that President Obama does not like “the managerial duties” of the presidency.  He loves Air Force One, the ceremonial tasks and White House Chef but not the often hard work of governing and dealing with difficult problems.

He is also “in over his head”.  In cubano, we say “se ahoga en un vaso de agua”.

My friend Frank Burke described Obama the manager like this:

“In classic management theory, Barack Obama would have to be described as an abdicative manager.

The abdicative manager evidences a tendency to flee from responsibility and is frequently encountered in situations where he or she never wanted the job in the first place (for instance, a son or daughter who inherits a company or the individual who discovers that they are incapable of adequate performance).  Abdication can be exhibited in a variety of ways, ranging from physically removing oneself through travel (the confusion of movement with action), to obsessing about personal interests or a limited range of controllable subjects.

Obama’s frequent vacations and absences, especially in times of crisis, coupled with his unwillingness to personally invest himself in key initiatives, are demonstrative of this style.

An excellent example occurred after passage of the healthcare initiative.

Having ceded authority in what would later be described as his key achievement to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he watched as they forced the bill through under a manufactured emergency that precluded lawmakers from having time to read it.

He then went on a four-day vacation before signing it.”

I think that Frank got it right back in 2011!

Today, Edward Luce added this to the picture of Obama the manager:

“The simple explanation is that Mr Obama’s White House is dominated by a coterie of insiders who have learnt that their boss does not like to hear bad news. Nor are friendly whistleblowers made to feel welcome. Whether on Syria, spying revelations or the White House’s preferred candidate to head the Federal Reserve, the president has been caught off guard by recent crises. “

My concern is that we have a man overwhelmed by events and surrounded by people who won’t give him the straight stuff.   The word around this White House is that “the boss” does not like conflict or people telling him that the website won’t be operational on time.

My bigger concern is that our enemies are also watching this president incapable of leading or running a minimally competent administration.

The world is watching Obama and that should worry everyone.  We are talking about the president of the US not some leader of a small nation with no leadership role.

 

The ObamaCare roll-out is officially designated “un arroz con mango”

One of my favorite Cuban expressions is “arroz con mango”,  or a very sticky or messy situation.  Frankly, everything about “the roll out” has the look of a disaster, or “un arroz con mango” as we say in “cubano”.

ObamaCare was destined for disaster because it was never openly discussed in Congress, i.e. no open hearings.

No experts were brought in to argue for this and that.  Instead, it was rushed through Congress and passed in the Senate by offering special arrangements to Senators.

Remember The Louisiana Purchase?  or that special “Cornhusker kickback”?  The Obama administration had to use these tactics to pass the bill.  They passed the bill in the House by 4 or 5 votes despite having a 40-plus majority!

Today, we can tell you that the roll out has been a disaster, from “glitches” to so called “isolated” problems.

According to insurance industry sources, the problems are not “isolated” at all:

“An executive of the largest contractor working on the federal health insurance exchange web site told Congress Thursday that problems with erroneous enrollment information being transferred to insurance companies were “isolated” – a claim later echoed by an Obama administration official.

But insurance industry officials have told the Washington Examiner that this is simply not true. The problems – such as duplicate enrollments being sent from the federal system to insurers, incorrect cancellations, and spouses being mixed up as children – were in fact being widely encountered across the insurance industry.”

Furthermore, we hear of a “tech surge”, or an additional commitment of technical personnel to make the web site work.

The jury is still out:  Will the surge work or are we just throwing more money away:

“President Obama’s “tech surge” to turn around the failing HealthCare.gov is running into concerns that the administration could be throwing “good money after bad” while complicating an already complicated situation.

Tech experts who spoke with FoxNews.com say that, like any good military strategy, this “surge” is not just about the number of soldiers, but how they’re used. The administration’s plan to enlist a team of experts and specialists from both the private and public sector could be a big waste of money if they aren’t used correctly.

“If you start throwing people in and start having them just fixing bugs it could be a recipe for disaster where you end up with more bugs than when you started,” explained James Turner, a member of the technical staff at software company Beeonics and contributing editor at O’Reilly.com.”

Last, but not least, we hear that the website may not be ready until the end of November:

“The Obama administration said Friday it will take until the end of November for the new federal health insurance Web site to be fully fixed, and that a private contracting firm would be managing the effort.”

Let’s officially call the ObamaCare rollout one nasty “arroz con mango”.

My question is very simple:  Who cooked this “arroz con mango”?

Who is going to be held responsible for this very expensive and embarassing “arroz con mango”?

P.S.   Click here for our discussion with James Yardley, contributor to American Thinker.

The Ted Cruz Democrats! (a.k.a. “Cubanito Cruz” que bueno baila usted!)

Last month, Senator Cruz was called every name in the book for suggesting that ObamaCare should be repealed, or at least defunded.

Despite the vicious attacks, Senator Ted Cruz fought on because he understood just how unpopular Obama Care is outside of Washington.

Where are we now?

Today, red state Democrats have decided to call for delays:

“Lawmakers are pressing to extend the deadline beyond March 31 after the troubled roll out of Obamacare raised concerns that people might not be able to sign up in time to avoid the $95 fine that jumps to $695 by 2016.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who faces re-election next year, wrote to President Obama, noting the glitch-plagued roll out that began Oct. 1 and asked him to extend the deadline beyond March 31.
“The difficulty that people in New Hampshire and in other states that are relying on the federally facilitated marketplaces are experiencing is incredibly frustrating and disappointing,” Shaheen wrote. “For over three years, we have been waiting for the creation of the health insurance exchanges, which now in their fourth week of existence, are riddled with problems.”
Backing Shaheen are Sens. Mark Begich, D-Ala., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., two more more vulnerabP.S. le Democrats from red states facing competitive re-election bids next year.
Pryor, considered the most vulnerable Democratic Senator, said in a statement that “it makes sense” to extend the deadline and that the Obama administration “should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can’t sign up in time.” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is not up for re-election but whose state is more purple than blue, said he and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., would introduce legislation to delay the health care law’s individual mandate by a year.”

Will The White House call them reckless and irresponsible?  Terrorists and arsonists?

Yes, it’s true that these red-state Democrats are looking out for themselves. They are also hearing from constituents, specially after the ObamaCare web site fiasco!  They are not hearing anything pretty from angry taxpayers who can’t understand why the Obama administration spent $600 million on a website that doesn’t work.

Let’s welcome and cheer the first class of “Ted Cruz Democrats”!

For more on these Democrats, check out Kimberley Straeel at The Wall Street Journal:

“The pressure for other Democrats to join will rise, as will the pressure for the party to embrace more extensive changes to the law.”

Yes, slowly but surely they will become Ted Cruz Democrats, i.e. people who come to their senses about this horrific law!

 

“Que paciencia tiene la novia”: 80 years and a couple sing “Quiereme siempre” by Orquesta Aragon

This is a story that Fausta Wertz brought to our attention last week:

“An elderly Paraguayan couple have got married in a religious ceremony after living together for 80 years.

From his wheelchair, Jose Manuel Riella, 103, promised his eternal love to Martina Lopez, his 99-year-old bride, who wore a long white dress.

The wedding was held in the couple’s garden, where an altar had been set up.

The ceremony was attended by many of their eight children, 50 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great-grandchildren.

The priest said they were the oldest newlyweds he had ever known.”

I guess that some guys just have a hard time asking for the lady’s hand.

Let’s wish Jose and Martina another 80 years of love and happiness.  Maybe they will “populate” another village!

At the same time, this is probably not what the authors of  “Quiereme siempre” had in mind:

“Siempre, (siempre), quiéreme siempre,
(quiéreme siempre) , tanto, (tanto)
como yo a ti (como yo a ti)
Nunca, nuca me olvides, dime, dime que si
Cuando, (cuando), beso tu boca, (beso tu boca),
nada (nada ), nada es mejor (nada es mejor)
Dame, dame tu vida, quiéreme siempre, dame tu amor,

Siempre, quiéreme siempre, tanto, como yo a ti
Nunca, nuca me olvides, dime, dime que si
Cuando, beso tu boca, nada, nada es mejor
Dame, dame tu vida, quiéreme siempre, dame tu amor, …Amor…”

 

 

 

Maybe the ObamaCare website “no sirve” because it speaks 150 languages!

We learned from President Obama’s “call this 1-800 number” speech that ObamaCare can speak 150 languages.

I guess that you can call the 1-800 number and push a button to speak to someone who can help you in one of these 150 languages.

Let me tell you the truth:  I did not know that there were 150 languages in the US.    How in the world did they find customer service people who can speak that many languages?  Also, did anyone test these people?  How do we know that they can even speak the language they claim to speak?

Also, whatever happened to the idea that you have learn English if you come to the US?

Shouldn’t we expect people to learn English or try to learn English?

Didn’t our parents have to learn English or at least try to communciate in English?

We do know that “the Spanish version” is a mess, too, according to my friends at Babalu.

Spanish and English are down.  Wonder how the other 148 are doing?

 

Dear Mr Leisman: Cruz is Cuban and the jobs report is pre-shutdown

Steve Leisman of CNBC had a very embarassing moment today:

“There was a brief moment of awkwardness on CNBC Tuesday morning when, during a discussion of the weak jobs report and Senator Ted Cruz, reporterSteve Liesman asked for some “Mexican music” to be played while they talked about Cruz.

Liesman said, “We’re going to call this the Senator Ted Cruz jobs report. These are the jobless claims of Senator Ted Cruz.”

When a picture of Cruz appeared on the screen, he continued, “Can we get some music to go along with that? Some Mexican music, maybe?”

There was also some music briefly playing for a few seconds before immediately being cut.”

Leisman is wrong on two counts:

First, and less important, the reference to Mexican music misses the point that Senator Cruz is Cuban American.  I’m not worked up about this but there is a double standard in the media.  Would he have said “play Mexican music” if he was talking about a Mexican American Democrat?  My guess is no!

Second, and very important, the jobs report is all pre-shutdown:

“September’s report predates the culmination of the most recent fiscal showdown, whose effects are more likely to be found in the October employment report.”

So Mr Leisman got the wrong music and bad analysis of the numbers.

The jobs report was very weak.    We created a lousy 148,000 jobs but the big story that 10 millions have now dropped out of the labor force.

We are in the 5th year of the Obama stimulus and we have very little to show for the $847 billion spent.

Forget the music.  It’s the policies!

 

The missiles in Cuba: “Se fueron los cohetes pero se quedo Castro”!

We sat around my father’s Phillips radio, or the one with a short wave band.   By the way, this radio was a lifeline to international news.

My father purchased it because it was one of the first FM models to be available in Cuba.  However, it was the short wave band that became the radio’s primary feature.

Our place was very close to “El Malecon”, the legendary Havana ocean drive avenue.  We had a feeling that something was going on because it was full of “milicianos” with anti-aircraft weapons.

We heard Persident Kennedy (translated to Spanish) say that there were missiles in Cuba:

“In a dramatic televised address to the American public, President John F. Kennedyannounces that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear weapons in Cuba and, in response, the United States will establish a blockade around the island to prevent any other offensive weapons from entering Castro’s state. Kennedy also warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be construed as an act of war, and that the United States would retaliate in kind.”

Looking back, I have a couple of questions.

First, why didn’t President Kennedy tell the Soviets to take Castro out with the missiles?  My guess is that the Soviets would have asked:  Do we take him out dead or alive?  The Soviets were overextended in October 1962.  We held all of the cards and should have demanded Castro’s exit.

Second, why don’t we ever talk about the impact on the people Cuba?  The Missile Crisis was followed by more and more repression, brutality against the guerillas in Escambray and the consolidation ofthe Castro dictatorship.

As someone said:  “Se fueron los cohetes pero se quedo Castro”!

P.S. We discussed the speech and that night with Bill Katz of Urgent Agenda who was working with the CIA at that time..

Click here to listen!

 

President “Nadie me dice nada” Obama

According to The Washington Post, nobody told President Obama:

“The problem here isn’t just technological. It’s managerial.
The White House’s senior staff — up to and including the president — was blindsided.
Staffers deep in the process knew that HealthCare.gov wasn’t ready for primetime.
But those frustrations were hidden from top-level managers.
Somewhere along the chain the information was spun, softened, or just plain buried.
The result was that the White House didn’t know the truth about its own top initiative — and so they were unprepared for the disastrous launch. They didn’t even know they needed to be lowering expectations.
In any normal corporation, heads would roll over a managerial failure of such magnitude and consequence.”

Sorry but there is something really weird about this Obama administration:

1) 2,000 high powered ATF weapons fly south over the US-Mexico border and no one tells AG Holder or President Obama;

2) The IRS decides to target conservative groups and nobody tells President Obama that he has a huge IRS scandal brewing; and,

3) The rollout of ObamaCare is full of problems and nobody tells President Obama.

My conclusion is that we need new staffers or maybe a new president.

P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here.

Why didn’t we hire “the best and the brightest” in the first place?

Has anybody seen Secretary Sebelius?  She is apparently up in Massachusetts and avoiding any serious questions about this disaster known as the ObamaCare roll out.

She did say that the search is on for “the best and the brightest”, i.e. the top tech people in the country to fix the Affordable Health Care Act website.

My question is this:  Why didn’t we hire the best and brightest before?  What was that $600 million contract for?  Did we pay top dollar for the B-team?

Perphaps “the best and the brightest” wanted no part of this for two reasons:

1) This is not really about health care.  This is about expanding the role of government into areas such as the doctor-patient relationship.

2) The “best and brightest” understood just how complex this enterprise was going to be, as Ezra Klein reported today:

“HealthCare.gov is monstrously complex. The Times reports that there’s more than 500 million lines of code — of which more than 5 million lines may need to be rewritten. And that code is interfacing with computer systems (and computer code) at the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid systems, insurers like Aetna, and more. Even the best programmers would have trouble figuring out what’s going on — much less what’s going wrong — quickly.

The truth is that the Obama administration is, to a much greater extent than it would like, dependent on the very people who built HealthCare.gov to fix it. They’re the only people who know what’s going on inside the system.”

This is a mess!

Maybe this is why CNN has disapproval for ObamaCare is at 56%!.

And Gallup has President Obama’s approval at 44%!

 

A “Cubana” from Dixie who tells stories!

The Cuban American experience is diverse and very interesting.

On one hand, there are those Cubans who stayed in South Florida and grew up there.  They attended schools full of other Cuban exiles.  They walked on streets beaming with “Cubanismo” or the smell of “cafe cubano”.  They were never really separated from Cuba.

On the other hand, the rest of us settled in places like Chicago (Carlos Eire),  Virginia (Jorge Ponce), Louisiana (Humberto Fontova) or Wisconsin like me.  We had to find “cubanismo” by getting together with other Cubans or playing those Beny More LPs on our turntables.

Speaking of the second group, we chatted this week with Tersi Agra Bendiburg, a “Cubana” who grew up in Georgia.

Her family story is similar to mine, and perhaps yours:

“Tersi had vivid memories from her childhood in post-revolution Cuba.  She remembers soldiers walking through her house, taking inventory of everything her family owned.  A year later, when they were to leave the country with nothing –not even her parents’ wedding rings, the soldiers returned to re-inventory all the contents of the house.  She also remembers her father hiding a young man in their home  (who had been shot by soldiers) until he could be passed along safely.

At age, ten, Tersi’s family moved to Mexico City where they stayed with a distant relative while her parents applied for political asylum in the United States.  That Christmas was the first time Carmen, age 3, had ever seen Christmas lights because religious celebrations had been halted after the revolution in Cuba.

          It was a wonderland.  On the Dia de los Reyes, Three Kings Day, Tersi wrote to the kings to let them know Tersi and her family were no longer in Cuba, but were, instead, in Mexico City so they would know where to bring presents.  Her parents were so worried that Tersi had written a letter and they had no money to buy her a present.  It was then that she spoke with a relative from Decatur, Georgia who told Tersi that the kings had left presents for her and Carmen in Decatur, and that in the future she should direct her letters to Santa Claus because the kings said the coffee in America was too weak for men from the east and the icy streets were too much of a challenge for the camels.  Sure enough, when they arrived in Decatur, both girls had presents waiting for them.
In Decatur, the Agra family was sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Decatur.  They never needed welfare since they had a little furnished apartment and Mr. Agra began work almost immediately.  Tersi attended Oakhurst Elementary where she had the famous spinach incident, and many other adventures.
          That first Halloween in the United States Tersi ran home with a pillowcase full of candy.  She dumped it out and said, “You just say trick-or-treat and they give you candy!”
          “What a country!”  Her father exclaimed.”

Yes, what a country indeed!

Today, Tersi tells children the wonderful stories of Latin America and others:

“Latin American Folktales

Consists of a large collection of age-appropriate folktales and legends from Latin America. Tersi explains how these stories crossed the Atlantic from Europe and Africa centuries earlier and became part of the Latin American folklore. The use of songs and musical instruments moves the stories along. Students are encouraged to join in for songs and refrains during the stories. A workshop for grades 5-12 on how to research, collect, and adapt folktales can follow the presentation.
Georgia: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Offers a memorable collection of legends, stories, and anecdotes taken from the folklore and history of Georgia to bring its rich culture to life right before the students’ eyes. This program is especially suitable for eighth grade students who study Georgia history.
Coming to America: Red Clay Stories
Raises awareness and builds understanding about the difficulty immigrants face in adjusting to a new country and putting down roots through bittersweet stories.
Day of the Dead:  A Scary Name for a Beautiful Celebration!
Tells how this Mexican holiday of celebration and remembrance reflects the values and customs of the two very different cultures of Europe and the Aztecs. Tersi explores the roots of the Day of the Dead in All Saints Day from Europe and a number of celebrations of the Aztec and other indigenous peoples.
Our Holiday Table:  a Multicultural Feast
Tells how real holiday dishes inspire stories drawn from the three cultures that came together to make up the Spanish-speaking Caribbean: Native American, European, and African. “
What a wonderful lady!   Thanks to Fernando Hernandez for the introduction!     We spoke with Tersi on Friday’s show and learned that she was born in Florida, Camaguey or not too far from my mom’s hometown of Ciego de Avila!   As my mother loves to say:  “Que mundo mas chiquito”!
Enjoy the show:  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!