Let the new world begin!

Sanders Rally NY

Here it is again, from me: For all of you (us) depressed and negative about Bernie’s possibilities on the Democratic ballot:

1. We knew back in April of 2015 when he announced his candidacy for the 2026 elections that it was going to be a tough and long and uphill road, with lots of heartbreak along the way. That is the way true change comes; only in Hollywood movies do you have a genie show up and grant you three wishes.

2. Math and science in this type of thing? Not what this is about. This is about changing THE CORE of what is wrong with a) our country and b) the world. Because everything that happens in the United States affects the rest of the planet, period.

3. We should think of this as an opportunity, which comes once in ten lifetimes, of actually making a real change for the better, in a world that has turned into a bad horror movie, except that the blood is not ketchup and the haunting eyes of the miserable are not Hollywood actors. This means we buckle our seatbelts because it’s going to be a bumpy night… (No, she doesn’t say ride, she says night).

4. To give you some simple examples of things that were “impossible” but happened anyway:
a. The emancipation of slaves
b. The labor movement, the 8-hour workday, the prohibition of child labor, worker safety statutes…
c. The gay marriage act, and the acceptance of the LGBT community…
d. The right of women, indigenous people, blacks, and others to vote, to work, to earn an equal living.

Sanders Rally Portland

Obviously all of the above are not completely done; even slavery is still alive and well today, the gains of the labor movement are being destroyed by greed, and the LGBT movement still encounters violence and discrimination. The rights of women and minorities, although they may be contained in documents, are still subject to abuse and violation. But they were passed, and they exist in documents, and it is possible and certainly easier to defend that which has been established than to establish it in the first place.

Frederick Douglass tells us: ““Let me give you a word on the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to — and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” —Frederick Douglass, “The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies” (August 3, 1857)

Sanders rally

We have been deliberately un- and mis-educated and made to feel like impotent, always obedient children in this country. We have romantic ideas about change, about rights, about how things get done. Well, they get done step by step, as if you were building a house or a building; you lay a foundation, you do the framing, you add walls, windows, doors, and whatever else is needed. This does not happen in one day.

Gardens don’t grow in one day either. You plant your seeds, water them, let them be nurtured by the darkness of the earth, and sometime later you have food, or beautiful flowers. Step by step; not so much math or science as effort. Painstaking, sometimes grueling effort.

I am in this for the long run. I have been in this since I first began to reason, even as a child. I am a child of the Cuban revolution, and I have seen its travails and its victories; most of the travails coming from the northern neighbor, the seat of Empire… I was living in the Dominican Republic when the US landed thousands of Marines and unleashed a bloody civil war… I went to college in Puerto Rico, which has never been allowed to be free and which now is bankrupt and mostly destroyed due to multinational depredation. The longest-held political prisoner in the United States, finally freed by Barack Obama, was Oscar López Rivera, a freedom fighter.

How much longer can we sit in front of our television sets or tablets or I-pads or whatever your particular tool, and pretend we just don’t see what is out there? Remember Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind?

Our sense of unrest is not new, and some of us have been fighting, protesting, getting arrested, running for office, and having our hearts broken again and again because when the common coin of the land is greed and profit, all meaning is taken away. And now we have this man from Brooklyn and Vermont, who has decided to take them all on, who has chosen, rather than take it “easy” at his age, to throw in the entire effort of his personality, of his countless years of fighting for the common man and woman, and we are talking about math and science?

We never had a chance in the corporate and corrupt Democratic primary in 2016 anyway. And the Democratic Party, with its millionaires and billionaires, is threatening to do the same thing again.  After all, Bernie is threatening to take away all the nasty privileges that they are all used to; the private jets and the mansions here and there, and the bribes and the failure to pay your way, by outsourcing jobs, by outsourcing your soul, by burying or muzzling it, so it makes no noise…

I am moved to tears every time he takes the stage and begins to pound the podium, with his flyaway hair and his Brooklyn accent… Sometimes it takes me a while to calm down, but always I am left with a sense of hope, with a desire to fight yet another day, with the knowledge that finally, we can do something to change the way things are.

Sanders rally Virginia

Because they must change, because no matter how quixotic the pursuit, there are things that must be done to achieve justice… For those of you who are still thinking about voting for a “lesser evil,” I won’t argue with you anymore. But for me, I am NOT giving up the fight. Let us hold hands and move forward. Let us reach for the stars. Let the new world begin!

Because for once we have a man who inspires us to the greater good…

I promise you, home with a broken arm and a sprained wrist, acute bronchitis and allergies, that I am ready to fight back. I will be happy to help lead the civil disobedience.  Yellow vest at the ready.

Silvia Antonia Brandon Pérez, viuda de Forsyth

Posted in Bernie Sanders, establishment politics, immigrants' rights, imperial discipline, justice, societal apathy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Non-violence and state violence

I am a daughter of the Cuban revolution but I am also the daughter of a US American who was born in Tampa, Florida, the son of a Sephardi US American who was himself born in Rutherford, New Jersey.  My father, Richard Anthony Brandon, chose to identify as a Cuban citizen when he became of age, his mother, after all, was a Cuban citizen and feminist activist, but the Empire which never forgets a slight, even though he had been born stateside to a US citizen father, made him go through all the rigmarole of anyone born abroad.  He had to file for permanent residence and then for citizenship, as did I, the daughter of a US citizen father who was born in the continental United States.  So much for fairness and fair play.

I came to the United States as a young girl of 11 because my stepfather had decided to emigrate.  We had been in La Habana when dictator Fulgencio Batista took off with the country’s funds on December 31, 1958.  On January 1, 1959, there was a declaration, since the dictator had flown the coop, that the Cuban revolution had succeeded.  Most of the people in the country were exultant, and we waited for the milicianos to come down from the Sierra Maestra to La Habana.  About ten days later, those who had survived torture at the hands of the Batista death squads, led by the infamous Conrado Carratalá (who also left in a hurry on January 1, 1959) and Esteban Ventura, started to show up on television and show their terrible disfigurement and to tell their stories, of rape, mutilation, endless torture.  To this day the name of this dynamic duo of torturers and satraps, henchmen of the dictator in his search for endless power, is synonymous with sociopathic torturers and murderers. Batista-y-Nixon-1955-580x449

(Batista, Richard Nixon 1955)

Carratalá, in particular, saw his fortunes rise as his crimes rose; he went from being a commander to Lt. Colonel to Colonel of the first Division of the Police Force. He was, after all, a part of the group of conspirators who supported Batista in his coup d’état, need I repeat, with U.S. funds? The tyrant needed the help of everyone to maintain the corruption of the police forces, which in La Habana represented tremendous profits.  This is because most of the police helped the “businesses” of the capital city to develop and flourish, including gambling, prostitution, and drug trafficking.  Let us not forget that La Habana was an occupied territory of the US Mafia (remember Sam Giancana) and of the U.S. Empire, from the inception of the “new” and “free republic” to the victory of the revolution.   His bravery worked best in group attacks against the people, supported by other hired guns (sicarios) such as Esteban Ventura.  His crimes were legion; he was congenitally immoral and felt no guilt in committing his crimes against humanity.

And who trained these groups of torturers and murderers, agents of repression?  The United States through the CIA and the FBI; schools of assassins such as the School of the Américas, and similar groups paid for with the tax dollars of U.S. citizens who knew little about what was going on.  When they left Cuba with the contents of the National Treasury, who welcomed them with open hands in the United States of America?  The Immigration Service, despite knowing that these men were killers and murderers.Guantanamo 1

Much as we are enmeshed in this ridiculous conspiracy theory against “Russia” and “Putin,” no longer a Communist country or leader, we saw the Red Scare in the United States affect Cuba.  As it would later use drug monies to fund the Contras against the Nicaraguan revolution, the United States did whatever was in its power to fund, in Batista, one more dictator and his henchmen.  As it had done in the Dominican Republic, in Haiti, in Puerto Rico, a country which is still a U.S. colony, the Revolution became non grata when it began to nationalize U.S. owned industries.  The sugar cane plantations, the hotels, the banks, were owned  by U.S. money.  I have written previously on this blog about the United States installing a military governor in Cuba after we won our independence from Spain, and occupying the Philippines, who were also part of the Spanish Empire, and carrying out the first genocide of the Twentieth Century against the Philippines.  Never mind occupying Puerto Rico and outlawing the speaking of Spanish on that island, among other repressive measures.


The title of this post starts with “non-violence.”  I have been variously arrested in protests, and have gone to trial, and have paid bail here and there, and anytime I propose to engage in direct action, I have to take non-violence training.  Yesterday I was sent an interesting review of the new Star Wars movie where it talks about Luke Skywalker and violence.  https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/will-last-jedi-make-luke-skywalker-reject-turn-toward-nonviolence/  The author, David Goodner, is a community organizer in Iowa and a labor union staff representative in Wisconsin. He is currently a Catholic Worker writing and reporting from the frontlines of Midwest social movements.

Although I agree with a great deal of this post, I find some of it disturbing.  When the Empire is training killers and sociopaths, what are the people to do?  We in Cuba would still be beholden to killers and rapists had the people not risen against oppression.  The Jesus (Yeshua, Isa) that I follow is not completely peaceful.  Our protesting is not completely peaceful.  It disturbs others, disturbs “the peace.”

This is something I am working on, and have been working on for a very long time.  I want peace, I want the rule of law to be followed punctiliously, no matter the color, gender, sexual orientation, financial situation of the accused.  I want an end to crimes against humanity.  And I am well aware that the courts in many places, no less in the United States of America, do not protect the common people.  They in fact frequently hand out sentences against the innocent and let the guilty go free.  I am above all a defender of peace and of human rights, but it is not quite as simple as it is presented by those who would only allow non-violence.  At Standing Rock, the water protectors and their allies were savaged by the forces of the State, which sprayed freezing water, caused severe injuries, and also sprayed toxic chemicals against people in prayer.

Years ago the Black Panther movement arose in order to defend children and women and elders in communities that were being terribly attacked, burned down, the people lynched, their organs collected as spoils of war.  All the terrible dictatorships that the US defended over the years committed atrocities against the people.  How do you end it?  Sometimes you have to fight back.  As Oglala Lakota leader Crazy Horse sang just before he entered battle: / Hoka hey! Follow me / Today is a good day to fight / Today is a good day to die.  And don’t forget that the Declaration of Independence of the forefathers of this country states, quite clearly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. 

Can we deny that “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object,” have been taking place against the people of this nation?  PLEASE UNDERSTAND that I am not inciting to the overthrow of the government, but I am reminding each and every one of you who read this that those who founded the nation stated that it is their right [the people], it is their duty, to throw off such Government.  Hopefully we can do this by establishing a people’s party, and by resisting, with every breath in our bodies, until we have been able to establish a system that derives its just powers “from the consent of the governed.”  But let’s stop playing with the peace of the planet, with the destruction of the beautiful Earth that we inhabit.  The two parties as they exist today are in collusion to destroy it all, if they can make a buck out of it. 






Posted in colonialism, electoral corruption, endless war, environmental justice, establishment politics, imperial discipline, making a difference, moral protest, righteous anger, social justice, the dismissal of non-white cultures, the exploitation of indigenous peoples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Justice: a boil that must be lanced / La justicia: un forúnculo que hay que reventar

“Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham City Jail. / “Como un forúnculo que nunca puede curarse mientras esté cubierto, sino que hay que abrirlo en toda su fealdad de flujo de pus a las medicinas naturales del aire y la luz, la injusticia tiene que ser expuesta, con toda la tensión que su exposición crea, a la luz de la conciencia humana y el aire de la opinión nacional, antes de que puede ser sanada. ” Carta desde la cárcel de Birmingham del doctor Martin Luther King, hijo

Yesterday I looked at something I had written some time ago about the arrest of three anti-nuclear-weapon activists and as I looked further into the story, I began to cry. Below is an article (2015) about how the sentence of Sister Megan Rice was overturned and she wound up serving “only” two years out of her original sentence, but she was an octogenarian when she took this extraordinary action, and the Court did not consider the government’s brutal activities in developing nuclear weapons to destroy peoples and the planet. / Ayer vi algo que había escrito en el pasado sobre el arresto de tres activistas contras las armas nucleares, y cuando seguí leyendo el artículo, me puse a llorar. Este artículo que comparto más abajo, del 2015, habla de cómo la sentencia de la hermana Megan Rice fue anulada, y al final cumplió “solamente” dos años de su sentencia original en la cárcel, pero ya ella era octogenaria cuando tomó esta acción extraordinaria, y el tribunal no tomó en consideración las actividades brutales del gobierno norteamericano en el desarrollo de estas armas para destruir a los pueblos y al planeta.

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Posted in el amor y la paz, el capitalismo racista, environmental justice, la depredación del medio ambiente, la misericordia, las multinacionales arrasadoras, los derechos de los inmigrantes, making a difference, moral protest, peace and love, restorative justice, righteous anger, social justice, societal apathy, solidarity, US imperialism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOMILIA EN LA ORDENACIÓN DE SILVIA BRANDON PEREZ  Abril 8 del 2017: Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP*

Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles

En esta ocasión nos hemos reunido para acompañar a nuestra compañera y hermana Silvia, en la celebración de su Ordenación como presbítera al servicio de la Iglesia en el Movimiento y  Asociación Internacional de Presbíteras Católicas Romanas.

Somos un movimiento internacional de mujeres católicas romanas, en estado de persistencia y resistencia. Dicha persistencia y resistencia no es nueva, las mujeres llevamos muchos siglos bajo la “teología de la desigualdad” y del sexismo, ¡ya es hora de levantar la piedra, abrir la puerta y anunciar la Buena Nueva!

No es un capricho femenino, no son ansias de poder y, menos una competencia.

Nuestro interés no es un gran estadio, una plaza de toros, o el campo de golf colmado de gente.  ¡Esto es un asunto de consciencia! Aquí el poder más fuerte que nos empuja es la energía Divina, recibida en nuestro Bautismo.

Un Bautismo conversando y preparado en familia, entre…

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The marketing of ideals, faith principles, and the small and larger issues of the day, by misdirection

I just returned from picking up from LAX airport, a friend and person who came to me for help over two years ago when her husband of almost thirty (30) years died and his children, who had been her frequent guests, and who were well aware of her almost three decades of unstinting service as wife, caretaker, gardener, and if this were a funny story, chief cook and bottle washer, went about the work of evicting her from the only home she had known during those years.  I had a difficult time in writing this finding a name other than “client” for this person who came for help.

Because the work I have done for the past six or seven years has been done at no charge, albeit with the receipt of occasional donations from people who were helped, I hesitate in using the word client.  The fact that we use a marketing model for everything that is done nowadays is, in my opinion, one of the problems of the larger and smaller society in the United States, and since we export all our music, goods, and attitudes to the larger world, in the planet.  All matters between human beings, between the person and the members of his or her family, between the person and the members of his city or town, county authorities, medical practitioners, and ultimately, the government, are seen as contractual in nature, and contractual is no longer an honorable thing, because contracts are driven by profit motives only.

I am not saying that making a profit is necessarily a dishonorable thing, or that the “contract” as such is a problem.  Years ago in law school I studied the old-fashioned “gentleman’s agreement.”  I am not now going to discuss the use of “gentleman” or the gender or class orientation of such a term; I am suggesting that the idea of such an agreement was that a contract was something set up to exchange a value or goods, for something else, whether by the payment of money or the exchange of services or some other “valuable consideration.”  A contract implied an ability between both sides to have an equal or similar bargaining position.  Thus, contracts of adhesion, in which a larger and more powerful party dictated the terms by which the “lesser” and powerless party was bound, were frowned upon and thrown out by the courts.

This is no longer true, and may have never  have been true.  When I went through the study of jurisprudence, with which I fell in love with at the time, as I had fallen in love with topics of philosophy earlier, these high sounding phrases of trust and equality and freedom filled me with great hope as to the many wonderful things that could be achieved by the law.  Yet the society at large was using such concepts to misdirect, delude and enslave others; the obscenely powerful and rich were using such concepts to enslave and to misguide the citizenry; the citizen was quickly becoming “the consumer, client, customer,” ultimately, to paraphrase P.T. Barnum, the citizen was just another sucker born to be fleeced and bamboozled.
I have added  to my prayer and healing intention list every day those who hoped that the election of a businessman would prove a boon for the country in general, that the swamp would be drained, and that the common people, those who actually work for a living and make or work on things, whether they be houses or clothing or food or agricultural products, would be brought out of the mire of poverty and desperation.  Alas, the policies at the national, state, county and municipal level are full of deliberate misdirection, and the corruption of language and of ideals, so well portrayed by Orwell in 1984 with his description of doublethink, which is that power to hold contradictory beliefs in the mind at the same time, and believing them both to be true.  In our society, with its emphasis on war, we equate war with peace, and this is an ability of human beings that is exploited, and a very small example of our current societal ills.
More and more I have come to realize (for many years, because of many betrayals of revolutionary ideals and beliefs), how much it has always been about power and money, from times immemorial, from the first feudal stronghold and then empire and war of one people against another, from the first shedding of blood for the sake of “ideals” — the ideals just something to use to excuse horror…
I don’t have the time this morning to go into these issues with the detail I would like, and I am writing and will be publishing on these topics, but I will give you two recent examples of misdirection, simple “commercial examples” that occurred during my trip to Los Angeles to pick up my friend.  My daughter made a reservation at what seemed a very nice hotel in the L.A. area for a large room with two beds (they charged $10 extra for the second bed) with a free breakfast included.   She paid in full with her credit card; I had already given her cash, and received a confirmation.  When I arrived I was asked how I wanted to pay… and after multiple telephone conversations, I paid cash again, and the man at the desk, who had been an example of how NOT to do customer service, refused to give me a receipt until the next day.  The couches at the “waiting area” were ripped, the non-outstanding customer service had already left me cold, and this Dynasty Inn must have belonged to a dynasty of worms (and I apologize to worms everywhere for this description).
These are the times when I thank my perennial PTSD for coming to my rescue.  My blood was boiling over, and I said if he didn’t give me a receipt immediately for the cash I had given him, I would if need be call the police.  He called some number and mumbled something and then issued me a receipt, which I should not have had to ask for, but that is an issue for the review I will write later about where NOT to stay in Los Angeles.  And if you want to know why I didn’t just pack up and leave without paying, I will mention that I had struggled through inching traffic from Hayward to LAX, with frequent accidents adding long periods of time to the trip.  My friend will be 84 in a couple of weeks, and she had already fallen asleep in the car.  I needed a room immediately to sleep in, and had paid for one.
Oh, the man also told me breakfast would be available starting at 6 a.m.  When I went down in the morning, of course the “breakfast” area was completely empty, and the man at the desk said, “Breakfast?  We serve no breakfast here!!”
An earlier incident had occurred at a Subway restaurant.  My friend had been hungry and had wanted to use the restroom.  After being served, when I asked about a restroom, the young man at the desk told us that they had no guest restroom, but only employee restrooms.  I wondered about public health guidelines but apparently if a store is sufficiently small you do not need to have a public restroom. I then asked, politely and hopefully, in the Spanish in which we had conducted our entire transaction, mentioning both our ages, whether an exception could be made, and I was informed me that this was store policy, and there was a clear period at the end of that particular statement.
I bet you Fred DeLuca, who in 1965 borrowed $1,000 from friend Peter Buck to start “Pete’s Super Submarines” in Connecticut, to achieve DeLuca’s goal to earn enough from the business to pay tuition for medical school, as well as to help Buck obtain a doctorate in physics, might not have agreed with this refusal to let an 84 year-old pee in the employee bathroom, or her 68-year-old driver.  But the corporate model of governance these days will excuse all sorts of things for profit, including paying employees, who double as “chief cooks” and bottle washers, frequently making the sandwiches, charging for them, and cleaning tables and the store for a pittance, while the franchise makes incredible profits.
So it is in our world, another day, another callous dollar.
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Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, we are all related, todos somos familia

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, we are all related, todos somos familia

Imagine being by nature more of a pantheist than anything else, and arriving at a place where ALL life is respected… For me, that was the feeling that permeated my entire being at Standing Rock, despite problems here and there with people who were intent on their own agendas.  I went there to pray and to commune with nature and with others of my brethren, and I did that at all times, and the effects of those prayers will remain with me until my last day on this planet and this time around.  standing-rock-horses

Imagínense ser más panteísta que otra cosa por naturaleza, y llegar a un lugar donde TODA la vida se respeta… Para mí, esa fue la sensación persistente durante todo el tiempo que permanecí en Standing Rock, a pesar de problemas aquí y allá con alguna gente determinada a que se cumplieran sus propios deseos… Fui allá a orar y a comulgar con la naturaleza y con otros de mis hermanos, y eso lo hice en todo momento, y los efectos de esas oraciones permanecerán conmigo hasta mi último día en este planeta y esta vuelta.

I am on day one of a water fast. When I went to Standing Rock, both times I fasted, but the second time, with the inclement weather and the Rozol poisoning, I became quite ill on day 4 and was persuaded to begin to end my fast by drinking diluted orange juice, which was first given to me by a water protector who has been bravely there for months, she knows who she is. I had to return to California and have taken over six weeks to heal, but the grace and beautiful energy of Standing Rock will provide energy for the long and hard work ahead in this country and in the planet. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ and Wopila.

Estoy en el primer día de un ayuno a base de pura agua.  Las dos veces que fui a Standing Rock  ayuné, pero la segunda vez, debido al envenamiento con Rozol y al mal tiempo, me enfermé en el cuarto día y me convencieron de que dejara el ayuno mediante el consumo de jugo de naranja diluído, que me lo dio por primera vez una protectora del agua que ha estado allá con gran valentía desde hace muchos meses, ella sabe quién es. Tuve que regresar a California y me ha tomado más de seis semanas sanarme, pero la gracia y la energía hermosa de Standing Rock me darán energía para el trabajo largo y difícil que está ante nosotros en este país y en el planeta. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ y Wopila.

Many years ago, having completed a workshop taught by Indian healers in the mountains of Massachusetts and having made a mask of my own face, with no mouth because I sensed I needed to be silent for a while (which is very difficult for me), I engaged in a potlatch ceremony (from Chinook, from Nootka patshatl: a giving, present) at home with my children… I invited them to take anything they wanted with them, and because of how we are raised in our culture of avarice, all of them were sure I had contracted some dread disease… so they asked, and I smiled and just asked them to take whatever they wanted… one by one, they asked me to come to the kitchen for something or other and asked me to “level” with them… The last resort was my only daughter and the baby of the family. By that time I was laughing out loud… I think they spent days and weeks worrying about when the other shoe would drop…

Hace muchos años, después de completar un taller impartido por sanadoras indígenas en las montañas de Massachusetts, y luego hacer una máscara de mi propia cara, sin boca porque yo percibía que  necesitaba estar callada por un tiempo (que es algo muy difícil para mí ), celebré una ceremonia de potlatch (del vocablo chinook, nootka patshatl, que significa “dar”) en mi casa con mis hijos… Los invité a todos a llevarse lo que quisieran, y dada la forma en que nos crían en esta cultura de la avaricia,todos estaban seguros de que yo había contraído una enfermedad terrible… de modo que me preguntaron, y me sonreí y les dije que tomaran lo que quisieran… uno por uno me pidieron que fuera a la cocina con ellos para algo, y me pidieron que fuera “franca” con ellos… El último recurso fue mi única hija mujer y la bebé de la familia.  Ya para ese entonces me estaba riendo a carcajadas… Creo que estuvieron días y semanas preocupados por saber cuándo se iba a saber lo que estaba pasando…en-la-muerte-de-abuela-carmita

Years ago I met a woman who had received a large estate from her divorce and had given it all away… I envied her the gesture, and no, I am not ready to give it all away yet but I may be, someday.  I do remember that when I was trying to negotiate the life or death of my husband, one of the things I offered is that I would live under a bridge for one more month.

Hace muchos años conocí a una mujer que había recibido mucha propiedad de su divorcio y la había regalado toda… Le tuve envidia por el gesto, y no, no estoy lista para regalarlo todo, pero tal lo vez lo esté algún día.  Recuerdo que cuando yo estaba tratando de negociar la vida o muerte de mi esposo, una de las cosas que ofrecí fue vivir bajo un puente si me concedían un mes más…

I do find that I love to give, and that I sometimes give beyond the point of reasonableness. Last February 2016, just after my birthday, I found I had given so much that I didn’t have money to pay for gas or food, and had to sell my bedroom set to finish out the month! That is probably a bit silly… but if I were to follow a saintly man, it would Francis of Assissi, from whom Francisco our Pope has taken his name…

Me doy cuenta de que me encanta dar, y que a veces doy más allá de lo que es razonable.  En febrero del 2016, justo después de mi cumpleaños, noté que había regalado tanto que no tenía lo suficiente para comprar gasolina o comida, y ¡tuve que vender mi juego de cuarto para poder terminar el mes!  Eso probablemente es algo tonto… pero si yo tuviera que seguir a un hombre santo, sería Francisco de Asís, de quien nuestro papa Francisco ha tomado su nombre.  

Francis was a prime example of Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, especially because he believed, as I do, that ALL life is sacred, and that includes our brothers and sisters who walk on four legs or who fly and the plant world and everything, as I keep explaining to the small spider that comes out of my bathroom sink every so often (although by now it is probably her great-granddaughter), and whom I have to talk into a newspaper and let out the window into the beautiful native plum tree that is blooming right now for my sheer delight.  My mother and my sister María Elena are probably still talking about the roach I talked into a newspaper and put on the sidewalk in Miami Lakes, there to continue her roachly pursuits…giotto_-_legend_of_st_francis_-_-15-_-_sermon_to_the_birds

 Francisco era un ejemplo perfecto de Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, en particular porque creía, al igual que yo, que TODA la vida es sagrada, y eso incluye a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que caminan con cuatro patas o que vuelan, y al mundo de las plantas, y a todas las cosas, como tengo que seguir explicándole a la pequeña araña que sale del lavabo de mi baño de vez en cuando (aunque es probable que a estas alturas sea su bisnieta) y a la que tengo que convencer de que se monte en un periódico para poder sacarla por la ventana al ciruelo criollo que está en flor ahora mismo para mi delicia total.  Mi madre y mi hermana María Elena probablemente  siguen hablando de la cucaracha que convencí de subirse a un periódico y saqué de la casa a la acera en Miami Lakes, para que pudiera continuar sus faenas cucarachiles…

I later met a woman at Camp Casey who was a lay nun, and who had given away all her possessions and gone to live in the street because the people she counseled would tell her that until she felt what it was like to live completely unprotected, she couldn’t really understand… so she did! She was sentenced to a year and a half of hard time in a federal prison for writing School of Assassins on the gates of Fort Benning, by the same judge who pardoned the MyLai massacre architect… Her picture appears below; we were singing on the great stage at Camp Casey.singing-and-praying-and-protesting-on-the-big-stage

Luego conocí a una mujer en el campamento Casey que era una especie de monja laica, y que había regalado todas sus posesiones y se había ido a vivir a la calle porque la gente a la que ella aconsejaba le decía que hasta que ella supiera lo que era vivir completamente desamparada, no podía realmente entender, de manera que eso hizo.  Estuvo presa cumpliendo un año y medio de tiempo difícil en una cárcel federal por escribir Escuela de Asesinos en los portones de Fort Benning, por el mismo juez que indultó al arquitecto de la masacre de MyLai… Su foto se muestra más abajo; estábamos cantando en el escenario en el campamento de Casey.

So today I began in prayer and Reiki healing to all water protectors and to my brothers and sisters there, wishing I could have gone back, and I will remain in prayer throughout. You are all an inspiration and a gift to the world. And the movement you have inspired will carry us forward through these hard and dark days of imperial tyranny and white supremacy of the 1%. There have always been traitors who sold out for a few coins, but I carry you in my heart of hearts, and am proud to consider you my brothers and sisters, now and forever. May you be blessed, and may we follow your leadership always until we deport greed from the world.

De modo que hoy comencé el día en la oración y la sanación de Reiki para todos los protectores del agua y para todos mis hermanos y hermanas que se encuentran allá, siempre me quedé con el deseo de volver, pero sigo en la oración de forma continua.  Ustedes todos nos inspiran y son un regalo para el mundo entero.  Y el movimiento que han inspirado nos ayudará a seguir adelante en estos días duros y oscuros de la tiranía imperial y la supremacía blanca del 1%.  Siempre hubieron traidores que se vendieron por unas pocas monedas, pero los llevo en el fondo de mi alma y me siento orgullosa de poder llamarlos mis hermanos y hermanas, ahora y siempre.  Que reciban todas las bendiciones y que sigamos su liderazgo siempre hasta que deportemos a la avaricia de nuestro mundo. ¡Wopila!

May the Creator forgive the betrayers and those with greed rather than blood in their veins, and may they awaken to love and peace, the peace that passeth all understanding.  Wopila!

Que el Creador perdone a los traidores y a aquéllos que en vez de sangre llevan la avaricia en las venas, y que despierten al amor y la paz, la paz que sobrepasa el entendimiento.  ¡Wopila!


Posted in drop by drop a downpour, el amor y la paz, el capitalismo racista, el fascismo moderno en los EE.UU., el racismo, environmental justice, justice, la depredación del medio ambiente, la misericordia, Lakota values, making a difference, moral protest, peace and love, solidarity, the dismissal of non-white cultures, the exploitation of indigenous peoples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Standing Rock: the effects of colonization/ los efectos de la colonización

This is a bilingual post. Este es un artículo bilingüe.

After sleeping 12 hours, reading Emma Goldman for one hour at 2 in the morning, and sleeping for another 4 hours, I am finally up. I have been thinking, for months, about taking up the study of colonization and decolonization. Advice to all of you:  read Emma Goldman, that beautiful anarchist from the last century./ Después de dormir 12 horas, leer a Emma Goldman durante una hora a las 2 de la mañana, y dormir otras 4 horas, finalmente me he levantado. He estado pensando, durante muchos meses, acerca del estudio de la colonización y la descolonización.  Mi consejo para todos:  lean a Emma Goldman, esa anarquista maravillosa del siglo pasado.emma-goldman

Before I left for Standing Rock I broke away from many of the groups I was working with, in some cases taking an indeterminate leave of absence. At the time, I was thinking more in terms of white privilege, white supremacy, and “American” exceptionalism. I was thinking of starting a movement, as such, as a latinoamericana, to be called America is not a country. I may have actually filed something in Oakland with that name… / Antes de irme para Standing Rock me separé de muchos de los grupos con que estaba trabajando, en algunos casos tomándome un permiso indefinido para estar ausente.  En esos momentos, pensaba algo más acerca del privilegio blanco, la supremacía blanca, y el  excepcionalismo de los Estados Unidos.  Estaba pensando en comenzar un movimiento como tal, como latinoamericana, a llamarse la América no es un país.  Incluso es posible que haya registrado algo en Oakland con ese nombre…

Then came Standing Rock. Standing Rock is important because it is a place where the generations and the races, cultures, genders, are meeting to explore and change, sometimes explode the existing paradigms, plural. It is a place where we clash, the indigenous and their allies, as we seek to define who and what we are about. It is a place where colonization and its effect on every single one of of us rears its ugly head. And so my next “job” is to study it and think about it and attempt to deal with it, and to deal with how we decolonize ourselves and our world. Part of that will be white privilege, of course, and much of it will be “American” exceptionalism. But part of it will be to begin to understand just how fucked up we all are by the policies that have made us colonized without realizing it. / Entonces vino Standing Rock. Standing Rock es importante porque es un lugar donde las generaciones y razas, culturas, géneros, se están reuniendo para explorar y cambiar, a veces explotar los paradigmas existentes, en plural. Es un lugar donde chocamos, los indígenas y sus aliados, a medida que buscamos definir quién y qué somos. Es un lugar donde la colonización y su efecto sobre cada uno de nosotros levanta su cabeza horrible. Y así es que mi siguiente “trabajo” es estudiar el tema y pensar sobre el mismo y tratar de lidiar con él, y lidiar con cómo descolonizarnos a nosotros mismos y a nuestro mundo. Parte de eso consistirá en el privilegio de los blancos, por supuesto, y gran parte se tratará del “excepcionalismo” de los Estados Unidos. Pero parte de ello será comenzar a entender lo jodido que todos estamos por las políticas que nos han colonizado sin darnos cuenta.  standing-rock-5

And yes, at Standing Rock I tried very hard never to curse, but I am in Hayward, California, home of much talk about homelessness while our councilmen and women continue to have anti-homelessness laws on their books, passed by them, and making it a crime to be homeless, to sleep in your car, to raise children while homeless.  I need not talk today about the blight of unbridled capitalism, which is the law of the land on most of our planet./ Y efectivamente, en Standing Rock  traté de no decir palabrotas o malas palabras, pero estoy en Hayward, California, hogar de mucha conversación sobre la falta de vivienda, mientras que nuestros concejales continúan teniendo leyes contra la falta de vivienda en sus libros, aprobadas por ellos y ellas, y que hacen del estar sin hogar, dormir en el coche, criar a niños sin hogar un crimen, una falta penal… No tengo que hablar hoy sobre el capitalismo desenfrenado, que es la ley de los países en la mayor parte de nuestro planeta.  

So let us get educated together.  I have been on a similar path for years, and it taken me to many places, including Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan, and now Standing Rock.  Let us figure out how we hurt each other and our planet, our society, our women and children and elders, because we have accepted the policies of our oppressors.  / De manera que tendremos que educarnos juntos.  Yo he estado haciendo un recorrido similar por muchos años, incluyendo Crawford, Texas con Cindy Sheehan, y ahora Standing Rock.  Tendremos que darnos cuenta de cómo nos hacemos daño los unos a los otros y cómo le hacemos daño al planeta, a nuestra sociedad, a nuestras mujeres y a nuestros niños y a nuestros ancianos, por haber aceptado las políticas de nuestros opresores.  singing-and-praying-and-protesting-on-the-big-stage

I never promised you a rose garden… but there is one in the offing.  In the meantime, read this letter which I liked quite a bit. / Nunca les prometí un jardín lleno de rosas… pero hay uno en perspectiva.  Mientras tanto, lean esta carta que me ha gustado bastante.




Posted in aging, Cindy Sheehan, colonialism, environmental justice, establishment politics, justice, la depredación del medio ambiente, la explotación de los obreros, US imperialism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Standing Rock miracles…los milagros de Standing Rock

Last night I watched the heartfelt public apology by Wesley Clark Jr. and all the US vets who knelt at the feet of  native elders and felt a profound gratitude.  Just the depth of love and support and humbleness in the heartfelt apology is something that has been missing since the start of the nation. Breathtaking! / Anoche vi la disculpa pública y sincera de Wesley Clark, hijo, y todos los veteranos de los Estados Unidos que se arrodillaron a los pies de los ancianos nativos y sentí un agradecimiento profundo.  La profundidad del amor y del apoyo y de la humildad en este pedir perdón de por sí es algo que nos hacía falta desde los comienzos de esta nación. Es algo sobrecogedor.


As I have said earlier, the energy and the healing at Standing Rock are other-worldly, supernatural in the sense that this is not the way our modern world operates. This is indeed holy ground. / Como dije antes, la energía y la sanación en Standing Rock es algo de otro mundo, sobrenatural en el sentido en que ésta no es la forma en que nuestro mundo moderno funciona.

I am now at the “psyched’ part of the journey; my living room looks like a warehouse at inventory time, my bedroom and garage are more of the same, and Bernardo’s pickup is so full it can’t be believed (pictures below!). I feel almost as though I could outfit the entire state of North Dakota…/ Ahora estoy en el punto en la jornada en que tengo las pilas requetecargadas; my sala parece un almacén a la hora del inventario, mi dormitorio y mi garaje andan por el estilo, y el camioncito de Bernardo está tan lleno que no puede creerse (¡fotos más abajo!). Casi me siento como que podría suplir al estado de Dakota del Norte entero…sunday-morning-donations-1

People have been so generous, and in some cases it has been the case of the widow’s mite, where even some who didn’t have enough have contributed. My heart is full… / La gente ha sido tan generosa, y en algunos casos ha sido la pequeña ofrenda de la viuda, donde incluso los que no tenían lo suficiente han contribuido. Mi corazón se desborda…

Some of the miracles of Standing Rock for me include my ball and chain of rage… I suffer from PTSD and walk around with a huge and very heavy ball and chain of rage, coming from childhood abuse, two revolutions that I lived through, including my homeland of Cuba and my adoptive land of the Dominican Republic during the counter-coup in 1964-65, la Universidad de Puerto Rico and the interference of the United States Imperial Government everywhere, with untold abuse and the giant triplets, as Dr. King famously wrote, of racism, militarism and materialism, which so rule our world, even to a greater extent than Dr. King could imagine. / Algunos de los milagros de  Standing Rock para mí incluyen mis cadenas y grilletes de furia… Sufro de síndrome de estrés postraumático y ando por el mundo arrastrando cadenas y grilletes muy pesados de furia, que provienen del abuso infantil, de dos revoluciones que sobreviví, incluyendo mi patria de Cuba y mi patria adoptiva de la República Dominicana durante el contragolpe del 64-65, la Universidad de Puerto Rico y la interferencia del gobierno imperial de los Estados Unidos por todas partes, con una cantidad enorme de abusos y los trillizos gigantes, como escribiera insignemente el Dr. King, del racismo, el militarismo y el materialismo, que son los que rigen seguramente nuestro mundo, a un nivel mucho más grande del que pudo imaginar jamás el Dr. King.mlk_riverside

Right now I am trying to make a list of what I still need to do. For example, I needed to fix a tire that had a nail, and I went to Costco’s 3 separate times, because I bought the tires and insurance there, and each time I left and forgot to have the tire checked and fixed. / En estos momentos estoy tratando de hacer una lista de todo lo que tengo que hacer aun. Por ejemplo, tenía que reparar una llanta que tenía un clavo, y fui a la tienda de Costco tres veces por separado, porque había comprado las llantas y el seguro en esa tienda, y cada vez me fui de la tienda y se me olvidó pedirles que me revisaran y me arreglaran la llanta.

Soon I will have to pick up fuses and cables for the inverter and solar cell I bought; that has to go on the list too. That is the store where when they found out I was going to Standing Rock, the price dropped practically to cost… / Pronto tendré que recoger fusibles y cables para el inversor y la célula solar que compré; eso también tiene que ir en la lista. Esa es la tienda donde rebajaron el precio casi al costo cuando se enteraron de que iba a Standing Rock.

There are so many examples… the guy who drove the tow truck when a car I had been lent died along the way, who refused a tip and instead gave me money for gas for the trip to SR… the man whom I bought a bumper sticker from, who returned the money and gave me some extra cash, and so many more examples of love and generosity and solidarity that just that has made my heart sing with joy. The tenants I helped get a settlement, whom I hadn’t charged because I have been helping people for free, are giving me a donation; they are working class latinos and can’t really afford to pay rent on what they make in modern-day Hayward… the mechanic who is working on the car yesterday took us out to dinner… it goes on and on. / Hay tantos ejemplos… el hombre que manejó la grúa cuando un carro que me habían prestado se me quedó parado por el camino, que se negó a aceptarme una propina y en lugar me dio dinero para comprar gasolina para el viaje… el hombre al que le compré una pegatina, que me devolvió el dinero y me dio algunos pesos adicionales, y tantos otros ejemplos de amor y generosidad y solidaridad que han hecho que mi corazón cante con júbilo. Los inquilinos a quienes ayudé a obtener una suma de dinero, y a quienes no les cobré nada, porque mis servicios son donados, a su vez me hicieron un donativo; son personas latinas de clase obrera y realmente no ganan lo suficiente ni para poder pagar el alquiler en el Hayward de hoy en día; el mecánico que estaba arreglándome el auto ayer, que me invitó a comer… y la lista sigue.

Today I love the world, and I will go to what my friend Daniel calls The Holy Land. He is a talented musician and I am sure we will have a song or a symphony or a mass or some type of religious composition based on the Holy Land of Standing Rock. I know my heart is singing, and the sound behind my breath is the native flute. / Hoy amo al mundo, e iré al sitio que mi amigo Daniel llama la tierra santa. Es un músico de mucho talento y estoy segura de que tendremos una canción o sinfonía o misa o algún tipo de composición religiosa basada en la tierra santa de Standing Rock. Yo sé que mi corazón está cantando, y el sonido detrás de mi aliento es la flauta nativa.

My mentor Rev. Debbie Lee left for Honduras and she took with her my song to Berta Isabel Cáceres; because of Standing Rock I composed several more verses and sent them to her. / Mi inspiración la reverenda Debbie Lee se fue para Honduras y se llevó mi canción para Berta Isabel Cáceres; debido a Standing Rock compuse varios versos más y se los he enviado.

Berta Caceres 2015 Goldman Environmental Award Recipient

Berta Caceres at the banks of the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to local environment, river and indigenous Lenca people from the region.  Berta Cáceres en los bancos del río Gualcarque en la región de Río Blanco del oriente de Honduras, donde ella, COPINH (el Consejo de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras) y la gente de Río Blanco han mantenido una lucha de dos años para detener la construcción del proyecto hidroeléctrico de Agua Zarca, que le impones amenazas graves al medio ambiente local, al río y a la gente indígena de la región.

Standing Rock is the miracle that will bring us all together, that will make us forget our differences, whether of skin or gender, national origin or sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs… Daniel says it is the new Selma… and it well may be. To Standing Rock, to love, to us all, no exceptions. / Standing Rock es el milagro que nos unirá a todos, que nos hará olvidar nuestras diferencias, ya sean de piel o género, de origen nacional u orientación sexual, religión o creencias políticas… Daniel dice que es la nueva Selma… y posiblemente lo sea. A Standing Rock, con amor, a todos nosotros, sin excepciones.


Posted in drop by drop a downpour, el amor y la paz, el capitalismo racista, el racismo, environmental justice, justice, la depredación del medio ambiente, la misericordia, Lakota values, making a difference, moral protest, peace and love, solidarity, the dismissal of non-white cultures, US imperialism, water rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Standing Rock, part 1 – warning: mushy contents

Standing Rock:  Day 1 November 22nd

I found another woman who is also driving, and we are leaving later today in her school bus for Standing Rock. That means I will have to fly back, because I have to see to the final settlement of an eviction case involving three families with young children.  I also have an interpreting job on the 29th that I can’t miss. The plane tickets are very expensive (about $500), so I am hoping someone will be driving back and I can get a ride…

 November 22nd: We are finally heading to Standing Rock on a small hippie school bus and we prayed our way out of Berkeley and smudged both the bus inside and out and each other. We hope to drive straight through…

November 23rd: Morning has broken like the first morning…


November 23rd: When I in awesome wonder consider how the world thy hands have made…

When it was my turn to drive I kept singing spirituals and religious songs, and getting choked up…


November 23rd: This was earlier in the day as we were driving through Nevada and the sky and the mountains were so beautiful that for once I was speechless. Tonight we had to stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, because there was a sudden snow storm. We were told temperatures were dropping in our next stop at Evanston, Wyoming and the traffic was horrendous. People, especially the drivers of big rigs, were speeding through the highway and covering our windshield with snow and rain. We had hoped to arrive early tomorrow but now we will likely be there in the late evening. Except for the stress of not sleeping properly for a couple of days, this is a wonderful trip. I am a great lover of mountain landscapes, and the mountains here are stunning.


November 25th, National Genocide Day, also known as Thanksgiving:

Yesterday Elizabeth’s cousin Cindy brought us Thanksgiving dinner and we had a wonderful time not just because everything was delicious but because they had collected donations and made these wonderful things and were willing to share and spend some time in the messy school bus we have been driving. We are now maybe 3 hours away. We had to stop again to sleep last night because it was too cold.


November 26, 2016

When we pulled into camp, even though I had promised I would not cry, I began to sob wildly and extravagantly.  There are thousands of people, hundreds of tents and other types of buildings, and smiles and friendliness and an amazing array of human beings, gathered in incredible solidarity.  I have carried Jim’s ashes with me, hoping to have a small ceremony.  He would have been here, and still is, even if in another dimension.  I do have to return soon, because of other commitments, but I will be back soon.

November 27, 2016

I am in the Ramada at Bismarck, North Dakota, maybe 4 miles from the airport where I will fly back home tomorrow at eight in the morning, because I have a meeting on Monday with a landlord who was evicting all his tenants and I will be there to ensure he keeps up with the terms of a settlement agreement.

Last night I slept under the stars with my two subzero sleeping bags one inside the other. I meditated using the Silva Method to warm myself up, and prayed for some time asking for guidance. I woke up at 1 in the morning incredibly warm. I had pulled off one of my ponchos during my sleep as well as my hat and gloves, and I never was able to find them. One of my traveling mates, Andrea Prichett, who had provided much needed support during the trip, had put a heavy-duty tarp over my sleeping space and helped me put together the sleeping bags. We had spent time during the drive telling stories about her time in Africa and listening to her play beautiful songs; I am grateful for her practical and emotional support and her amazing soul.

To be able to commune with the heavens in a detoxifying body (I was doing a water fast) and to hear in the background the flute and the voices of native singers is a truly spiritual experience, and I came to bring supplies and to help, but most of all to pray… I had answered a call for religious people to come pray, and yesterday at orientation they talked about this being prayerful spiritual resistance.

At first light a young woman from Israel who was at the camp woke me up to make sure I was all right. I had slept, twice, very well (how could you not sleep well when you are listening to the lullaby of native flute and voices…) and even though parts of one of the sleeping bags were wet and icy, and one of my ponchos was wet, I was very comfortable and felt no cold whatsoever.

I decided to get up and greet the sun and the new day, and because I had decided to fast as part of my prayer for guidance, I did not have to worry about getting something to eat. We have been asked to give back more than we took from our brothers and sisters.

I walked around camp and met some wonderful young people including Aaron Hackett and Rob who teach permaculture and survival skills at the Living Earth School in Virginia. Many others had slept under the stars as I did, and Aaron, for example, talked to me about having taken a six week course from the man known as Wim the Ice Man.  I signed up for that today, because I want to be self-sufficient when I return for a longer stay at Standing Rock.  Mind you, I am not happy about the cold showers… but I have always been interested in self-sufficiency. I tried to share survival skills many years ago with my children during camping trips to places in New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Most of the people in our modern society are so accustomed to prepackaged life that they would not make it in the event of a disaster…

I had obtained donations of about a hundred pounds of dried beans, also rice, tuna, peanut butter and other good staples, as well as diapers. I had gone into a Walmart for the first time in more than a dozen years when we had to stop because of a sudden snow storm and had bought a small propane heater, additional subzero sleeping bag and ugly men’s boots I could wear with heavy socks. The workers at Walmart are always very nice even if the owners are not. It was difficult to purchase things there but these were things I was planning to donate and I didn’t have my own car. So it was a situation of one cause against the other and I donate to Our Walmart on a monthly basis, to change the living conditions of the workers for the largest and most brutal employer in the world.

The orientation that morning was amazing. I want to express my gratitude for the careful sharing of needed information. The official site for the Oceti Sakowin Camp where we arrived is http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/, and you can obtain historical information as well as lists of needed/wanted items. During orientation we covered the seven Lakota values, which are prayer, respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility and wisdom.

There is a desperate need of volunteers, particularly before the 5th of December, when the Army Corps of Engineers has announced eviction of the main camp. Since this is treaty land, it is incredible that our First Nations are once again being violently dispossessed. (The Army Corps of Engineers has apparently rescinded their threat, but now the Governor of North Dakota is pursuing the same “remedy,” citing similar reasons, including inclement weather.  It would be wonderful if he would prevent the local highly militarized police and guards from attacking our peaceful protesters…)

The amazing thing about the people at the camp is the generosity and kindness found almost everywhere. I was particularly impressed by the young people, who speak knowledgeably about the unbridled capitalism (and corporatism) and consumerism in our society. I feel the same sense of hope I felt during Occupy Oakland, even if I agreed with the request of our Ohlone brothers and sisters to change the name to Decolonize Oakland.

With regard to the people attending, there were indigenous people native to the area and also people from other lands. There were elders such as myself and others who were much older, and there was an attitude of complete respect for those elders, as they have the wisdom from a long life.

I am so grateful to so many, including Jennifer, a new Argentinian friend who lives in San Diego and who actually drove me to the airport in Bismarck. She gave me her seat during orientation and we spoke about many things, including shamanism.

I am returning to the Bay Area but will head back out in my car by the second of December with more supplies, and hope to stay for two or three weeks. I will stop in New Mexico to see my widowed friend and then head out again.

Later I will speak about a conversation I had with Andrea, who teaches history, about Valley Forge and the simmering of what became the first US Army. I truly believe we are at a crucial time for the planet, and this gathering of over three hundred indigenous nations and thousands of allies of every race, color, creed, national origin and sexual or gender orientation is an amazing occurrence in these otherwise dark times of an ever more brutal corporate empire.

We were asked to take no pictures or videos, and there is almost no internet connection at camp, but the inner pictures and feelings I am bringing back are life-changing.

Peace to you all! (I am going to carry around a curse jar so I can make donations anytime I curse, which seems to be so much a part of my being…) Cursing is also a no-no at camp, because of the negative violent context in a peaceful place of spiritual resistance… (On the curse jar, I already have $8.00 in it.  I will either stop cursing or go bankrupt…)

Silvia out, with abrazos and namastés to go around.

P.S.  November 27, 2016: Fidel Castro Ruz, presente

I found out about his death in the cab/shuttle that took me to the Ramada before I left for Hayward from Bismarck. My driver was a Pakistani with strong opinions about U.S. interventions in so many countries, including most recently Syria, Iraq, Libya and too many others to mention. I met el comandante three times as a child and have a vivid remembrance of his warmth and larger-than-life persona. I remember at 9 being accidentally stepped on by what seemed to me his huge foot at Santa María beach and being picked up so he could smile, hug me and apologize. He smelled like my father, of strong Cuban cigar. Years later, although not a smoker, I would smoke my first Cohiba and remember. As in Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu,” so many times a smell or taste has brought back another lifetime…

I have spent years identifying myself as “cubana pero no gusana.” I do so again today. I shudder at the Miami scenery, at the refusal to remember the persistent and shameful occupation of our land by the United States, at the deep-seated racism and the retelling of lost property, some of it a made-up memory. The exile has produced monstrosities such as the Menéndez brothers, convicted of slaughtering their wealthy parents out of pure unadulterated of greed.

For me, I think of el comandante as a hero who incredibly survived hundreds of assassination attempts at the hands of the CIA and who helped a small nation in the Caribbean survive a punishing embargo for over half a century, becoming a beacon of freedom for many countries the world over. Despite mistakes and continuing economic problems fueled by the United States, Cuba’s literacy rates and delivery of health care far surpasses those of the United States. This was largely fueled by the leadership of Fidel Castro Ruz. Fidel Castro Ruz, ¡presente!


Charismatic leader of the revolution and president of Cuba who bestrode the world stage for half a century
Posted in Lakota values, making a difference, moral protest, peace and love, solidarity, the dismissal of non-white cultures, the exploitation of indigenous peoples, US imperialism, water rights | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leaving for Standing Rock! / ¡Nos vamos para Standing Rock!

This is yet another bilingual post… Este es de nuevo un artículo bilingüe.  Please share/ por favor compartan.  

First of all, thank you to everyone who donated; my car is almost full, as is my heart. /Primero que nada, gracias a todos los que donaron; mi auto y mi corazón ya casi están llenos… 

I have found a young driving partner, and will be leaving by the end of the 21st for Standing Rock!  I will use the tent I bought for Occupy (Decolonize) Oakland and take supplies which I have been gathering for several days.  Thank you to the wonderful artist Andrée Thompson, who donated a lot of very warm coats and jackets and talked to Micah! / He encontrado un compañero joven y nos iremos a fines del 21 para llegar a Standing Rock.  Utilizaré la tienda de campaña que compré para Occupy Oakland, y llevaremos suministros que he estado recopilando en estos días.  Gracias a la maravillosa ceramista y artista Andrée Thompson, que donó un montón de abrigos y chalecos calientes y convenció a Micah. 


I decided I needed to go to Standing Rock when one of  the elders asked that people of faith go pray… Because I seem to be mired in anger lately, what with the theft of the elections by the Democratic Party and the current problems with the elected candidate, as well as my problems with homelessness, poverty and immigration issues, both in the Bay Area and in the world, I had thought a retreat would be a good thing to do at this time.  / Decidí irme a Standing Rock cuando uno de los ancianos pidió que las personas de fe religiosa fueran a orar…  Dado que estoy atascada en la rabia en estos días, ya sea por el robo de las elecciones por el Partido Demócrata y los problemas actuales con el candidato electo, al igual que mis problemas con temas del desamparo de tantos, la pobreza y la inmigración, tanto en el área de la Bahía como en el mundo, pensé que tal vez un retiro sería algo bueno en estos momentos.

I also know that environmentalists are in the top list of victims worldwide, as we remember from the murder of environmental indigenous Lenca activist Berta Isabel Cáceres in Honduras, when she led her people to defend the waters of the Gualcarque River. / También sé que los activistas del medio ambiente están al tope de la lista de víctimas en todo el mundo, como recordamos del asesinato de la activista del medio ambiente Berta Isabel Cáceres en Honduras, cuando dirigió a su gente a defender las aguas del río Gualcarque.This one came home with me

So I go with an open heart to pray and to stand with my brothers and sisters, and to do whatever is asked of me. / De manera que me voy con el corazón abierto a rezar y a estar de pie con mis hermanos y hermanas, y a hacer lo que se me pida.


As some of you I was raised a Catholic and at the age of 14 I participated in a liberation theology retreat in the Dominican Republic and it changed my life forever. I am a member of the Johrei Fellowship, a Unitarian Universalist, and a member of the Unity Church of Christianity (Metaphysical Christianity). I am also a student of Buddhism and a student of Judaism, particularly since I am Semitic on my father’s side. / Como algunos de ustedes saben, fui criada católica y a la edad de 14 años particié en un retiro de la teología de la liberación en la República Dominicana y eso cambió mi vida para siempre.  Soy miembro de la sociedad de Johrei, miembro de la iglesia Unitaria Universalista, y miembro de la iglesia Unity de la Cristiandad (la cristiandad metafísica).  También soy estudiante del budismo y del judaísmo, en particular dado que vengo de descendencia semita por parte de mi padre.Dominican Republic invasion (Picture of US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 – foto de la invasión de la Rep. Dominicana por los EE.UU. en 1965)

I have been a part of the Christian/Catholic left since I discovered it existed, and I have spent five decades doing the work of spiritual and political revolution in the United States and abroad. I am studying for the priesthood because I have felt the calling for the ministry for five decades and because the Catholic Church forbids women’s ordination. It is an issue of patriarchy and misogyny, which I can fight best by being ordained. / He sido parte de la izquierda cristiana o católica desde que descubrí su existencia, y me he pasado cinco décadas haciendo el trabajo de revolución espiritual y política en los Estados Unidos y en el extranjero.  Estoy estudiando para el ministerio porque he sentido esa vocación durante cinco décadas y porque la iglesia  católica prohíbe la ordenación de las mujeres.  Es un problema de patriarcado y misoginia, contra el que puedo  luchar al ser ordenada.Gracias a la vida

I also have been working for years on the issues in our planet fought by Yeshua or Isa, the man from Nazareth, with regard to empire and poverty and the love of all beings, no exceptions. I choose to work in the belly of the beast, as many of my ancestors did, because it is the best way to fight. / Llevo muchos años trabajando en los problemas de nuestro planeta por los que luchó Yeshuá o Issa, el hombre de Nazaret, con relaciación al imperio y la pobreza y el amor a todos los seres, sin excepciones.  He decido pelear en las entrañas del monstruo, como hicieron muchos de mis antecesores, porque es la mejor forma de luchar.  
Interpreting for Father Roy SOAW Nov. 2011
Posted in environmental justice, justice, la depredación del medio ambiente, moral protest, peace and love, the exploitation of indigenous peoples, US imperialism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment