Reinier Alcantara did not believe he would have another opportunity to pursue freedom, so on Thursday night, as he and his Cuban soccer teammates were preparing for a team dinner at the Crystal City Doubletree Hotel, the 26-year-old forward made his break.
Sharing details in a telephone interview with The Washington Post last night, Alcantara said he was in the lobby, wearing a casual shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, when he saw the coaches wander into the gift shop. He rode the escalator down to street level and "started running like crazy and didn't look behind," he said through an interpreter who arranged the interview and requested anonymity for political reasons.
After sprinting for about eight blocks, Alcantara said he flagged down a taxi and, with the few words of English he knew, told the driver, "Go, go, go!"
"I felt very sad" watching the game, he said. "I felt I let the team down, but it is a decision I had to make for my future. I want to be free. It was my decision to make, to leave my family and my country, not knowing when I could go back. But I needed to be free for myself, for my life, to choose my future."
Midfielder Pedro Faife, 24, also went missing from the team hotel. According to the Miami Herald, Faife left the team on Friday and relatives met him in Washington and drove him to Orlando. Alcantara said he didn't learn of his teammate's departure until reading a story online.
With no wife or children in Cuba, Alcantara said he had thought about defecting before. He contemplated a move last year, when Cuba played in the New York area, but the opportunity was not right and he felt close to the national team. However, his playing time had diminished recently and, he said, internal issues had soured his view of Coach Reinhold Fanz and the program.
Alcantara described poor treatment of soccer players: bad food that was rationed, terrible field conditions and a lack of equipment, cleats and uniforms. Because there are technically no professional athletes in Cuba, Alcantara said his occupation was officially maintenance worker at a sports complex, a job he never performed.
Before departing Cuba late last week, he did not tell his parents of his plans and never discussed it with his teammates because "no one on the team trusts anyone," he said. At least one member of Cuba's traveling delegation, he claimed, is a government spy.
After Thursday's training session in Washington, the team returned to the hotel and the players reported to their rooms. The telephones had been removed by Cuban officials, a standard practice to discourage players from communicating with outsiders on foreign trips.
He showered, then sought out a team official for permission to lounge in the lobby. Once there, he waited until he was out of view of the coaches and "realized it was my only opportunity. I ran and ran and then told the taxi driver to 'Drive me far away,' " he said. "I was so nervous. I didn't know where we were going, but I knew I was in a free country and everything would be okay."
Meanwhile, let's check out how things going in that other wonderful communist paradise with the Chavez clown as president?
The state oil company, PDVSA, produced 3.2 million barrels per day in 1998, the year before Mr Chavez won the presidency. After a decade of rising corruption and inefficiency, daily output has now fallen to 2.4 million barrels, according to OPEC figures. About half of this oil is now delivered at a discount to Mr Chavez's friends around Latin America.
Ahhh. I see that Chavez' policies have improved the economy there....and Venezuelans have, under his careful guidance managed to surpass even Columbia's murder rate!
How is it that these freedom-hating, poverty-generating revolutionaries hope to stage their comeback on the world stage? Not with the traditional guns and revolution of old, but through the indoctrination of young minds into their failed ideology--a process already underway here in the U.S. Communism and socialism has a new lease on life in the 21st century, in spite of the devastation and misery they unleashed in the 20th. Their "scholars", aided and abetted by postmodern philosophy have managed to erase history and shift the blame for all their own failures onto the capitalist system.
The evils of capitalism are being drilled into our consciousness on a daily basis; and as for our children, learning contempt for the capitalist system begins as soon as they enter the educational system.
Recently Andy McCarthy reminded us (was anybody listening?) of the sort of educational reform that the Obama-Ayers-Chavez axis promotes:
The real issue is Ayers's revolutionary leftism (at around the time Ayers and Obama began working on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, by the way, Ayers described himself as "a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist”).
Obama is clearly lying when he claims ignorance about Ayers's terrorism, but even if you wanted to pretend otherwise, it is impossible that he was in the dark about Ayers's revolutionary leftism: Ayers has never made a secret of it and can't seem to help himself from mentioning it about every 30 seconds. Obama not only knew about Ayers's views in this regard; he obviously subscribed to them: was a member of the Chicago New Party begun by the Democratic Socialists of America; he worked closely with Ayers on "education reform" for years, he approved of Ayers's similarly fringe-Left views of the criminal justice system's treatment of juvenile crime, and, we are learning; and he was tightly aligned with ACORN, which he and Ayers funded and whose practices fit comfortably with the Ayers view of "participatory democracy").
In any event, here are excerpts of Ayers's 2006 speech before Hugo Chavez and other assembled "comrades":President Hugo Chavez, … invited guests, comrades. I’m honored and humbled to be here with you this morning. I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica [sic]! Welcome to the World Education Forum. Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana! ...
[M]y comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice … has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution [i.e., Chavez's movement] and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and I’ve come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggle—I look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane…. [For more information on the Venezuelan socialist Luis Bonilla-Montoya, see here.]
I began teaching when I was 20 yeas old in a small freedom school affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The year was 1965, and I’d been arrested in a demonstration. Jailed for ten days, I met several activists who were finding ways to link teaching and education with deep and fundamental social change. They were following Dewey and DuBois, King and Helen Keller who wrote: “We can’t have education without revolution. We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now.”
I walked out of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice. After all, the fundamental message of the teacher is this: you can change your life—whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, another world is possible. As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!
… [I’ve] learned that education is never neutral. It always has a value, a position, a politics. Education either reinforces or challenges the existing social order, and school is always a contested space—what should be taught? In what way? Toward what end? By and for whom? At bottom, it involves a struggle over the essential questions: what does it mean to be a human being living in a human society?
Totalitarianism demands obedience and conformity, hierarchy, command and control. Royalty requires allegiance. Capitalism promotes racism and materialism—turning people into consumers, not citizens. Participatory democracy, by contrast, requires free people coming together, voluntarily as equals who are capable of both self-realization and, at the same time, full participation in a shared political and economic life.
… Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failing of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome. Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.
… [W]e, too, must build a project of radical imagination and fundamental change. Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation.
Viva Mission Sucre!
Viva Presidente Chavez!
Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana!
Hasta La Victroria Siempre!
As our own country mindlessly (and rather cluelessly) lurches ever closer to socialism ushered in by the reckless policies of our elected officials--and by a citizenry looking for easy answers and quick solutions for the current economic mess; the growing concensus seems to be that we need even MORE socialist economic policies to get us out of crisis and save us from ourselves. Whoopee!
Good to know that the political left is ready to capitalize (err....I mean socialize) on the economic disinformation currently being peddled about the financial meltdown--which in retrospect can be clearly attributed to government interference in the economy.
A while back, Zombie infiltrated an anti-America rally in San Francisco, (you wouldn't believe some of the posters and the incredible hatred directed at America, capitalism and, of course, President Bush...oh wait, you probably will believe it):
[TO: The World
EAT $HIT ...We want you to be satisfied]
and, "Capitalism is suicide"
What do we want? WE WANT SOCIALISM! When do we want it? WE WANT IT NOW!
Presumably, in the minds of the so-called artists, socialism will (1) will satisfy you and not give you $hit and (2) is life-affirming. It is very interesting, don't you think, that in the real world exactly the opposite is true?
In the real world, people are desperate for freedom.
How many people are defecting to Castro's Cuba or Hugo's Venezuela to escape from the "horrible" poverty of capitalistic countries? And how many people risk their lives and sacred honor to escape from those regimes--and many others who live under the boot of communist and socialist thugs? How many of our privileged Hollywood elite seek their medical care in Iran or Cuba or North Korea, despite Michael Moore's glorification of same?
These posters, the artists who created them, and the useful idiots who celebrate them are examples of a pervasive intellectual trend in the West that seems to mindlessly bash capitalism, private property, business, and free trade at every opportunity; while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of all of them.
Our academics--even the ones who teach children as young as 4 and 5 years of age-- rail against business and private property. Our government constantly seeks to control them. Our youth are propagandized to death about its evils from pre-school through college.
Students from kindergarden through college are indoctrinated by dedicated idealogues into the "perfection" of systems like communism and socialism and encouraged, not to think but to cultivate an unquestioning obedience to the collective.
While our popular culture sensitively refrains from prtraying Islamofascists as villians in movies out of political correctness (yet another aspect of socialism's quest for "social justice"); it does not hesitate to make businessmen the bad guys, always evil and malignant oppressors of the innocent. Individualism, the pursuit of profit, and private property is always portrayed as bad and everyone must bow to the will of the collective. Islam (the name even means "submit"), even in all its terrorist varieties, does very well by this perverted moral standard.
The truth about communism was exposed in the last century; and even with all the millions of lives it destroyed and the economic misery that it instituted wherever it had been forced on humans there are few movies that have come out of Hollywood that depict it as villainous or evil.
In the minds of all the neo-Marxists, dead-end communist stooges and anti-war idiots who participate regularly in anti-American and anti-capitalist protests, cosmic megalomaniacs and dedicated communists like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hönecker, Ceaucescu, Kim, and Castro are simply misguided humanitarians whose atrocities are not worth mentioning--especially compared to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and, of course now by John McCain and his evil sidekick Palin).
In the free market of ideas, socialism and communism have had their chance and they immediately shut down any ideas that threatened them. In the real world they have been show repeatedly to bring human misery, poverty, slavery, death and oppression--notwithstanding all that glorious rhetoric and propaganda about their wonder achievenments and the ideological purity of their healthy youth as depicted in the third poster above, marching in lockstep to bring the wonders of communism to a skeptical world.
In every place that communism has had a foothold, the first step is to close the minds of the young and banish any critical thinking capability. The leaders know that their scam cannot work unless they "stack the deck" and take absolute control over the thinking of the utopia's future citizens.
On some level they even understand that the very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens them to death. That is why both they and the Islamists hate it with a passion that is unsurpassed in its virulence.
In the warm and fuzzy sociopathic selflessness of today's socialist and communist remnants (otherwise know as the political left), the goal is a utopian "dictatorship of the do-gooders". These clowns march around agitating for abstract concepts like "social justice" and an "end poverty" and "peace" and "brotherhood"; yet in the real, i.e. concrete world, how is it that they never seem to notice that their ideology always brings about the exact opposite of those things?
Not only is there a strong link between economic freedom and prosperity (see here for example); there is the undisputed fact that countries which are free and prosperous preferentially engage in trade with their neighbors--not in war. They have no need to project their economic and social failures and disasters on others, demonizing them so as to distract their miserable and dying citizens. Such political tactics are the everyday bread and butter of the collectivist regimes in the Middle East, for example, who must blame the prosperous democracy of Israel for all their own inadequacies.
The reason that systems such as socialism and communism don't work in the real world and are ultimately destructive of the individual self; and of the human soul, is that they remove moral action and judgement from the individual and place it in the collective. The individual is not permitted to make his/her own moral judgements, and must obey the mandates of the collective. This can only work when the individual is stripped of all freedom to act independently and fears reprisals for doing so.
Thus political freedom and economic freedom go hand in hand. capitalism cannot maximize individual wealth for long when it exist within an oppressive political regime. Since it is more compatible with human nature than any other economic system, capitalism will cause any totalitarian regime that permits it to some degree to last longer (China is a good example), but that is only a temporary state of affairs. Without true political freedom, economic freedom cannot last and will either wither away slowly; or, alternatively cause individuals living under the oppression to demand more political freedom.
You can't be a "little bit" free-- because human nature will always demand more and more freedom once it has had a taste of it; until the despot who rules is finally deposed; or until he totally crushes all those who oppose him. In situations where the latter happens, you will always find the worse scenarios of poverty, oppression, misery, death, genocide and/or human degredation.
Likewise, true political freedom cannot last, and in the end is meaningless, where there is no economic freedom.
Think for a minute about what money really represents. Anti-capitalist intellectuals are rather fond of the phrase "money is the root of all evil" (or the love of money); but, in truth, money is the most efficient method of allowing individuals to make moral judgements. The phrase "put your money where your mouth is" is actually a more meaningful insight for understanding the importance of money and its relationship to freedom.
This is, of course not to say that everyone will make good moral choices. Nor do all people necessarily spend or even earn their money wisely. They clearly don't. But that is neither here nor there. That is precisely why political freedom demands a rule of law, and the protection of individual and property rights from other individuals and from the state.
As I have stated before, capitalism is actually good for the soul--if you have one, that is. It is the only system where the an individual's soul and his self can flourish--as our Cuban soccer friend realized; where individuals have a right to their own life and liberty, and where they can make choices--even bad ones-- in the pursuit their own particular happiness.
What we see in the protest linked to above (and I have only posted three pictures, go see all of them) is the empty, meaningless, and soul-dead ideology of the left in all its naked glory. But you knew that...you've been listening to that ideology's most recent messiah, Obama; you've heard his mentor damn America; and read the educational philosophy of Professor William Ayers, his educational inspiration, for some months now.
Welcome to their world. They are about to score. Enjoy.
UPDATE: Critical Thinking 101 as it is taught on college campuses these days. Willing fodder for the goals of a new world collective.