June 17, 2017

Is it really true, this story about the Cuban boy who played the "Star-Spangled Banner" when the Cuban police forced him to play?

It had an awful whiff of the apocryphal when Trump told it yesterday:



Great story but so sentimental, so seemingly made-to-order for maudlin Americans. Did it really happen like that? I found an article in Newsmax and by Jackie Gingrich Cushman.* It's from last year — when Fidel Castro died — so it doesn't do much if anything to bolster the story. Cushman identifies the violinist, Luis Haza, as her friend. His father, a Cuban police official, was executed after Castro took power.
"My father thought the revolution was for democracy," Luis Haza told me. "Castro betrayed my father and the entire revolution."

By 1963 [at age 12], Luis Haza had become an accomplished violinist and was appointed an associate concertmaster of a professional orchestra in Cuba. According to Haza, "the power structure wanted to see if I could be 'integrated' into the system. If they integrate the son of an executed man, it would be a model for all the young people."

But Luis Haza had a different dream: "To come to the United States for freedom. We knew that in Cuba, eventually we would die, just like we had seen neighbors die, and so-and-so disappeared. It was a daily thing, a daily subject: American freedom, to go to the United States."

After Haza refused to play for the elder Castro, a military squad charged into a rehearsal and pointed machine guns at the pianist. "Boy! Play something!" they shouted.

He did. "I played the American national anthem, 'The Star Spangled Banner.' The entire thing! You could hear a pin drop. I finished playing, and nobody knew what to do."
Great story. Too great? Make stories great again? Do we want the truth or do we like the fake news that we like?

When I heard Trump telling this story — which I never heard before — I was talking back to the screen as Trump crept up on the big reveal — that the boy played "the Star-Spangled Banner." I was groaning: Oh, no, don't tell me.
___________________

* Yes, she's the daughter of Newt Gingrich. The mother was Jackie Battley, Newt's first wife, whom he met when he was a high school student and she was his geometry teacher. According to Newt's second wife, Marianne Ginther, Newt was only 16 when the relationship began. (We always hear about how cruel Newt was to Battley — divorcing her when she had cancer — but does anyone talk about what she did to him when he was a teenager?)

56 comments:

rhhardin said...

Bands are always getting the wrong China anthem too.

John said...

I'd never heard the muzician story before either bu I suppose it could be true.

Far more interesting to me was how newt married his teacher/rapist. Never saw that one before either.

John Henry

traditionalguy said...

Truth is stranger than fiction. The story highlights that the fiction of Communists being Rebels fighting for freedom for all is topped by the truth that they are systematic murderers for loot for the few. And the fiction rolls along.

Saint Croix said...

"Is it really true, this story about the Cuban boy who played the "Star-Spangled Banner" when the Cuban police forced him to play?"

I believe it. It's exactly the sort of thing authoritarians do--point guns at people--and they're always shocked when people stand up to them.



Bob Boyd said...

So that's why nobody had Newt on to comment about the French election.

Humperdink said...

While this clearly depicts the ruthlessness (without Ruth?) of the brothers Castro, the more important aspect of yesterday address was what Trump said about the Cuban tyrant(s) and their government. Trump outlined the reasons for re-instituting sanctions and what it would take to lift them. It was vintage Ronald Reagan.

Laslo Spatula said...

Domitian‎, the Proud Sexy Gay Commenter says...

I LOVE Cubans! The brown skin is to die for, and they are so adorable when they get angry, and Cubans, they get angry a LOT...

I don't follow politics, so I don't really get what our country's problem is with them; all I know is there are a lot of gay Cubans around here -- not in MY neighborhood, of course, but I see them when I'm slumming for some raw trade...

I once had a Cuban up to my condo -- he was Young and Hot and barely spoke English, which I like -- but he wanted to put his cock in my ass: needless to say, I Don't Do That. He got all petulant, but then he sucked my magnificent Horse Cock. When I shot my load he said it tasted like Saoco, which made me very happy...

Afterward I tried to give him money for a Taxi, but he was too proud to accept: they are a funny bunch, those macho Cubans...!

Bye, everyone! Suck suck!

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

"As a boy, Haza had defied the regime, delivering a surprise performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before high-ranking revolutionaries.

He survived to tell the tale and repeat that performance on Friday, playing America’s national anthem for the audience congregated to welcome the new Trump-era policy on the communist regime."

Ann Althouse said...

@Fernandinande

I don't understand what you think you are adding. Breitbart is simply reporting what Trump said. I have given you the clip of Trump saying it. Breitbart repeating it doesn't add one scintilla to the believability of the story.

Humperdink said...

I really don't see how this story to be shown to be accurate or false. Too much time, too many executions.

Chuck said...

I will be surprised if this story stands up to scrutiny. Maybe it will; I am willing to be surprised.

But the default option for Candidate/President Trump is that these stories are told shamelessly and carelessly, based on poorly-sourced or poorly-researched snippets.

A perfect example being the "General Pershing" story from the last campaign.

The Washington Times (I recall Althouse recently wondering what the Washington Times was) is the diminutive and hardline conservative alternative to the Washington Post. Everybody, it seems, did their own story on the false recklessness of the General Pershing story. I have chose to link to one of the most conservative outlets I could find.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/20/donald-trump-touts-fake-story-about-general-execut/

Chuck said...

"chosen"
Yipes. Spellcheck doesn't mind "chose" as a word. Too bad grammar-check didn't alert me.

Once written, twice... said...

Who cares about the story? What doesn't make sense is that Trump has no problems with Putin or the rulers of Saudi Arabia, but he is going to make it harder for Americans to travel and do business in Cuba. Does that make any sense?

Humperdink said...

"I will be surprised if this story stands up to scrutiny."

Count me as shocked that LLR leans towards opposing side (ie the Castro side) of the story.

Enlighten-NewJersey said...

The New York Sun ran the same story about Luis Haza on January 2, 2007, " Cuban Refugee Lives the American Dream".

Michael K said...

"Does that make any sense?"

It does to the Cubans in prison for political "crimes."

I suppose you have no sympathy for them.

No, you don't care about them. You just like the 1950s American cars in Havana.

You're probably one of the leftists who wanted to see Havana before it was "spoiled" with prosperity.

Robert Cook said...

"Does that make any sense?"

"It does to the Cubans in prison for political 'crimes.'"

What about the equally atrocious behavior of countries we call friends?

You're ignoring the context of the original question.

clint said...

I have no idea whether or not Luis Harza's story is true...

But this isn't a story that President Trump made up. In speaking to an audience of Cuban-Americans and announcing a harder line against communist Cuba, President Trump told that audience one of their own stories. A story which is relevant to why he is announcing a harder line against communist Cuba and about a member of their community who was present. He's expressing solidarity with a minority population that has felt itself under attack in recent years. It's a political act, not a history lesson.

If it turns out that the reality isn't quite as shiny and poignant as the myth... that doesn't change the importance of the myth. Nathan Hale didn't really regret that he had but one life to live. Ghandi was a racist. Jefferson owned slaves. Rosa Parks didn't suddenly become an activist when someone told her to get to the back of the bus. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't actually free the slaves. The first shot fired at Lexington and Concord wasn't really heard round the world. The Boston Massacre wasn't. Washington didn't really chop down the cherry tree.

Once written, twice... said...

Michael K, what about political prisoners in Russia and Saudi Arabia? Don't you care about them? Why doesn't Trump speak out and sanction those countries?

Once written, twice... said...

Trump does not care about political prisoners in Cuba. He just wants Cuban American votes here. Trump is just a typical politician.

Michael K said...

"what about political prisoners in Russia and Saudi Arabia? "

Tell me about them. And why Russia ? Is this part of the left's obsession with Russia now that Hillary lost the election ?

I would not want to live in Saudi Arabia but I know a couple that lived there for 25 years. Their two sons graduated from the Naval Academy. He told me a very interesting story about how Saddam invaded Kuwait to collect a debt and maybe we should have let him have Saudi, too.

Saint Croix said...

That's a long clip with a lot of different speakers.

Here's Marco Rubio talking about Trump and the Cuban people. Really good.

I will be surprised if this story stands up to scrutiny.

Well, I'm sure the Castro regime will deny it!

Not sure what kind of news scrutiny you think they have in Cuba. It's a prison state with state-run media. You have desperate people trying to get to the United States by floating on a tire.

Our media has not attacked the Castro regime for its evil, or the Venezuela regime for its evil. Our media forgot to mention that Stalin murdered some people. And that Gosnell thing? That's not news. An abortion doctor killing newborns? Not news. Definitely not news. Look the other way, everybody.

It'll take decades for the truth to come out.

In the meantime, I will pretty much believe what the people who have fled Cuba are saying, and I will cast a suspicious eye on anything that comes from state-run media from a fucking prison state. As for the journalists who have never run a photograph of an abortion in 40 years of so-called journalism? I don't trust you, either.

Michael K said...

"Trump is just a typical politician."

Now there is one of many things that you are just dead wrong about.

You lefties can't keep your stories straight, He is a "typical politician" or is he an incompetent businessman?

He doesn't know what he is doing or he is Hitler.

Come on. You can do better than this,.

Robert Cook said...

"I believe it. It's exactly the sort of thing authoritarians do--point guns at people--and they're always shocked when people stand up to them."

When people are brutalized or killed by the authorities/authoritarians pointing guns at them in America, most "freedom-loving" Americans declare (or believe state declarations) that the victims of state violence "had it coming too them," (even in the face, more and more often, of video evidence to the contrary). The murderers are rarely prosecuted, even more rarely punished.

Ain't America grand?

Michael K said...

"You're ignoring the context of the original question."

And that was?

Let me tell you a story, Cookie. I have a daughter, a very smart daughter but she is a lefty, About 15 years ago, she and a friend went to Cuba. She is fluent in Spanish and three other languages. I over heard her telling aother friend that she wanted to see "If Socialism really worked" so they went. Because she is fluent in Spanish, she could talk to people away from the "escorts."

She quickly realized that Cuba is a prison. She is still a lefty but a lot more realistic one than you are.

Peter Irons said...

The story seems to have a reasonable provenance, but what is most interesting here is Ann's take. It is a symptom of American political culture's decadence that so many intelligent people find it difficult to believe that an oppressed people could resist their oppressors or look to the United States as a city on the hill holding out a light of freedom and dignity--or, that this resistance could yield stories and images as beautiful as John Winthrop's metaphor--like, say, the protester in Tienanmen Square facing off a line of tanks.

In San Francisco recently, my wife and I had as cab driver a Russian who had grown up in Uzbekistan, and who had come to the U.S. about 15 years previously, now a citizen he proudly told us. He was probably in his early sixties, driving a cab every day. In the course of a 30 minute drive, stuck in traffic, he got around to declaring his love for this country in the most believable terms, praising both Obama and Trump, saying each was HIS president. No decadence there, and impossible to imagine an "educated" native American saying anything similar.

An excessive love of irony is a sure sign of decadence.

Robert Cook said...

The point is not whether Cuba is a prison, whether or not we should have open relations with them. The point is that we do have open relations with other countries that are equally authoritarian or worse. The point is, we really don't care in the least about how other countries treat their citizens. We care only about what serves our advantage. If we can profit materially or politically by allying with brutal authoritarian regimes--secular or theocratic--we will do so, happily. If it better serves our advantage to rail against the brutality of a particular country, we will find any excuse--even false ones--to try to destroy them.

It's a lie to bring up "morality" or "human rights" when discussing America's international relations, (or domestic policy).

grackle said...

It's probably myth. But what was Trump to do? He didn't originate the myth; the fiddler, who is the only one who REALLY knows, apparently goes along with it; the Cuban community, where the fable was created with the acquiescence of the major character, apparently celebrates this story.

Should Trump have refused to speak about it? On what grounds? That it is probably not true? The crowd seems to have expected the story, given that the fiddler was waiting in the wings, violin tuned up. Come on – be real. Trump gets an easy pass on this from me.

What about the equally atrocious behavior of countries we call friends?

For me it goes like this: We must have allies in the Middle East and other parts of the world. We have no other choice, other than to withdraw from the world stage altogether. The problem with the reasoning above is that those regions are populated almost exclusively by repressive regimes. There’s no “nice” regimes to choose from.

But we do not have to be friendly with a repressive regime just a few miles away; a regime that has always fomented revolution throughout Central and South America. We do not have to help their military or their communist government. Tourists can still go there if they wish, but apparently only idiotic celebrities want much to visit and then only to virtue-signal.

In a larger context the comment illustrates an underlying fallacy of Progressive foreign policy assumptions. This fallacy is based on the idea that only virtuous allies are permissible. I call it the “unicorn and rainbow” foreign policy principle. Off and on, the unicorns have been running foreign policy since Eisenhauer.

Foreign policy should be based solely on what is strategically good for America and American interests overseas. Nothing else.

Darrell said...

I bet it's a lot truer than Barack and Hillary's bullshit stories.

Ken B said...

Peter Irons makes a good point. Ann probably boos Casablanca when the bar sings the Marseillaise.

Darrell said...

Barack would have the band play a Chinese communist anti-American propaganda song--like he did at the White House dinner for Hu Jintao.

friscoda said...

Peter Irons irony comment nailed it. "Sophisticates" don't get love of the US by those in totalitarian societies. The lack of "self-love" and self-regard as a country will be our downfall.

Snark said...

Oh my, that was funny. Among other things it sounded like Trump chanelling Wolf Blitzer.

Michael K said...

Foreign policy should be based solely on what is strategically good for America and American interests overseas. Nothing else.

Yes but the left doesn't want "what is strategically good for America ."

They will bash us with any club at hand. Cookie hates America.

It amuses me that all the lefties have a hundred other countries they could choose but they never seem to leave.

Chuck said...

Humperdink said...
"I will be surprised if this story stands up to scrutiny."

Count me as shocked that LLR leans towards opposing side (ie the Castro side) of the story.

I can't think of anything apart from "baseball and cigars are nice things" where I'd take the Castro side.

I am on the "Donald Trump is a habitual liar" side of things domestically. Nothing about that ought to automatically put me on any Castro side of things. I can't think of a single publication in America that has been more consistently anti-Castro than the National ("Against Trump") Review.

Michael K said...

" cigars are nice things" where I'd take the Castro side."

Castro ruined the Cuban cigar industry and Cuban cigars are crap. I quit smoking cigars after I had a bypass but when I did I would buy them in England and they were inferior. The cigar makers dispersed to Tampa and Nicaragua and Canary Islands.

Chuck said...

Michael K I didn't say anything about Cuban cigars being better. I only suggested that cigars and baseball, together if possible, were nice.

I prefer a much milder cigar, than most Cubans. (Although a nice and authentic Rafael Gonzalez Lonsdale or Corona would be nice.) Cohiba Behikes for a special occasion. Macanudo Gold Labels the rest of the time.

Yancey Ward said...

I have to ask you, Ann- if you hadn't seen this picture, would you have believed a story telling you about it?

Yancey Ward said...

I should read the comments before commenting, I see now. Peter Irons for the win.

Etienne said...

You can tell when a Cuban is lying: When they are still breathing.

People who live/lived under Marxist regimes, all sound like the people from Compton.

The truth is, they just lived smaller than the wealthy capitalists.

More people die in Chicago in a month, than the whole Cuban Revolution.

Humperdink said...

Count me as shocked that LLR leans towards opposing side (ie the Castro side) of the story.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LLR responded: "I am on the "Donald Trump is a habitual liar" side of things domestically."
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What does this have to do with this story? As posted upthread, Trump didn't originate this story.
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LLR said: "Nothing about that ought to automatically put me on any Castro side of things."
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Your response:"I will be surprised if this story stands up to scrutiny" indicates doubt on your part. What part of the story would lead you to doubt it? BTW, the principle involved, Haza, was at the Trump event. He knew what was coming. He could have whoa'ed the story down, but chose not to.

Known Unknown said...

Sanctions have done a terrible job of bringing the Castro regime to and end. It's only been 6 decades of implementing them.

I favor open relations not as a way to reward the Castros, but as a way to subvert the regime through the power of capitalism and ultimately reward the Cuban people.

Men with guns won't overthrow them, but men with plans. Plans to make socialism irrelevant.

How's Viet Nam looking these days?

William Chadwick said...

I would be inclined to believe the story for two reasons: (1) because what the State CAN do, the State sooner or later will do; and the more absolute the State the more likely that it will be sooner than later. And (2) "liberals"--the Gang That's Wrong About Almost Everything, as part of which they like to paint the rosiest picture of Communist tyrannies--would tend to disbelieve it. Or at least try to get the rest of us to disbelieve it . . . because there is no truth but socialist truth.

D said...

Hypocritical if not applying same moral standard to Saudi as one would to Cuban regime, if I understand Mr Cook.
Is it more honest to see that America doesnt have permanent friends, only permanent interests?
One of those interests being, perhaps, a less hostile regime close to Fla? History suggests it is a common aspect of nations to be more particular about the near v. far.
Not trying to burn your toast - the point of holding people to similar standards is not an awful one - but I wonder if it cannot be honest to see that in human nature, it is in our way to be more critical of the next door neighbours lifestyle than the crazy guy two streets over, even if both behave in a manner we dont like.
A few days ago you recoginized - or conceded - that no one is perfect. That is a very good point. I understand why some Americans seem to be talking one way about Cuban human rights and not the same way about, say, country X in Africa. Or Russia. Or China! They aint perfect!

grackle said...

Sanctions have done a terrible job of bringing the Castro regime to and end. It's only been 6 decades of implementing them.

The fact that the Castros have been able to stay in power is no reason to help their military or their communist government. No one penny sez I. Not with MY tax dollars. Let them continue to drive their 60 year old vehicles.

With all the other nations that are supposedly supporting the Castros you would think that the streets would be full of late-model autos and the hotels all thriving with a strong economy ….

What happened? Could it be that the much vaunted “support” is not very strong? You would think that others would give money to the Castros’ military and their communist government – but no – apparently the Lefties in the USA think it is America’s task to do this.

Trump is not like Obama. Trump doesn’t give avowed enemies any tax money. He doesn’t bow and scrape in front of Arab assholes. He sees no need to apologize for being American or being patriotic. It’s a new era. Deal with it.

grackle said...

Men with guns won't overthrow them, but men with plans.

On second thought … why “overthrow them?” Why bother? Their military and economy is weak. The ballyhooed “support” from their fellow communist nations was never very significant. There was never a lot of disposable wealth generated from the commie nations that they could use for helping Castro. They were busy putting out their own economic fires. The shitty economy in Cuba is a valuable object lesson as to the benefits(or lack of) of a socialist-communist economy.

Don’t bail them out. Let them continue in their misery. It’s a great illustration of the dead-end that a socialist economy eventually brings with it.

Humperdink said...

^^^^^^^ Yep grackle, let 'em swim in their own dung. And assist anyone who wants to flee that rat hole.

Bad Lieutenant said...

And assist anyone who wants to flee that rat hole.



Has President Trump reversed Obama's betrayal on asylum, feet-wet/feet-dry and all that?

Saint Croix said...

Has President Trump reversed Obama's betrayal on asylum, feet-wet/feet-dry and all that?

Click on that Rubio link.

Bad Lieutenant said...

St C, how to respect to you I sat through the whole YouTube video of Marco Rubio speaking. While he seems delighted with Trump's action, he did not answer my specific question to you.

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

hey Bad Lieutenant,

Sorry about that! I'm not familiar with asylum, feet-wet/feet-dry and all that or "Obama's betrayal." Did some googling, found some interesting articles at NR.

They're Coming For Jobs, Not Freedom.

Will Trump Restore "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" for Cubans?

Two days before his term of office was over, Obama made it more difficult for illegal immigrants to come here from Cuba. (That's likely because Obama knows that illegal immigrants from Cuba are going to be Republicans!)

Rubio wrote Trump's executive order. But he's not trying to restore the special immigration status for Cubans.

Rubio did get an exception for doctors who are fleeing Cuba.

Saint Croix said...

More here on what Trump's executive order did.

The White House explained in a fact sheet released earlier today that the policy aims to keep the Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), a conglomerate managed by the Cuban military, from benefiting from the opening in U.S.-Cuba relations.

“The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military. The regime takes the money and owns the industry,” Trump said. “The outcome of last administration's executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful democratic movement. Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”


Looks like Trump decided to align with Rubio and went against the business interests who want contracts with the Cuban military. Bravo!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Thanks Saint! I guess if Rubio mediated this then it will be fair and wash politically (and superficially, further reverbations of hand size issues appear to have been stilled). I certainly don't want the next Elian Gonzalez to be set back. But I guess they feel that effectively on the ground, justice will be done.

Amazing that some feel that Cuba should just be left alone. Not only did and do they act against US interests at all opportunities, not only do they oppress their own people, but they have attempted to spread their flavor of revolucion very broadly, not merely as Venezuela but even as far as Africa, leaving ruin in their wake.

The only good reason not to send in a couple of MEUs and clean out that regime is because apparently JFK signed something long ago.

Robert Cook said...

"Hypocritical if not applying same moral standard to Saudi as one would to Cuban regime, if I understand Mr Cook. Is it more honest to see that America doesn't have permanent friends, only permanent interests?"

Yes, this is more honest, and more important, this makes our actions in the world understandable. If we pretend we're acting under "moral" imperatives, our actions make no sense. If we acknowledge we're acting purely for material and political gain and power, our actions become understandable.