The Latest: Governors from Alabama, Texas speak after crash

LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the crash of a tour bus that was returning to Texas from Disney World (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show the company that owns the bus that crashed in Alabama was involved in four other crashes in the past two years, one involving a fatality and three others without deaths or injuries.

First Class Tours Inc. said driver Harry Caligone was killed Tuesday when its bus carrying Texas high school students home from a Disney World trip crashed in Alabama. Caligone was not the driver in the previous crashes.

According to a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report, one of the company buses failed to yield the right of way in May 2017 in Houston, fatally striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk as the bus turned left.

Other reports also show: a bus driver was given a warning citation in Houston in January for turning right too wide after the bus and an SUV collided; in August 2017, a bus was hit from behind in traffic in Sugar Land, near Houston; in March 2016 a man driving an SUV was cited for an unsafe lane change in front of a bus in Houston after their vehicles collided.


4:50 p.m.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says she’s talked with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the crash of a Texas-bound charter bus carrying a high school band.

Ivey says she told Abbott her office will do whatever it can to assist, particularly those from Channelview High School near Houston.

The bus carrying 40 students and six adults from Channelview crashed early Tuesday on Interstate 10 nearly the Alabama-Florida line. The driver died and about three dozen others went to hospitals.

Ivey says she and state law enforcement will continue to monitor the situation. She says Abbott thanked her for the state’s assistance.


3:55 p.m.

The Alabama Department of Transportation says both lanes of Interstate 10 have reopened hours after a tour bus crash that killed the driver and injured about three dozen others, mostly teenagers.

The agency said the final detour was removed Tuesday afternoon, about 10 hours after the early morning accident.

The wreck happened in a rural area on the Gulf Coast between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

Authorities say a bus carrying members of a high school band from the Houston, Texas, area crashed while returning home from Disney World.


1:50 p.m.

A bus carrying Texas students whose bandmates were involved in the wreck of another bus on Interstate 10 in Alabama has returned to a Houston-area high school.

The bus pulled into Channelview High School east of Houston under police escort Tuesday afternoon.

The bus was one of two carrying the school band and chaperones back from a band competition at Disney World in Florida.

The other bus careened off the interstate early Tuesday in Alabama and down a ravine before toppling onto its side. The driver of the bus was killed and about three dozen others were hurt, mostly teenagers.

The bus that returned to the school later in the day was driven past a throng of reporters and into a part of the school campus out of public view.


12:45 p.m.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that in past two years, the company that owns the bus the crashed in Alabama has been involved in four other crashes, with one of those also involving a fatality.

No one was injured or killed in the other three crashes involving First Class Tours Inc. The agency’s records don’t indicate fault.

The driver was killed Tuesday morning when a bus carrying Texas high school students returning home from a Disney World trip plunged into a ravine near the Alabama-Florida line. Many others were injured.

According to a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report, the previous crash involving a fatality took place in May 2017 in Houston, when one of the company’s buses failed to yield the right of way as it turned left and fatally struck a pedestrian who was in a crosswalk.


10:10 a.m.

An Alabama state trooper says the driver was killed when a tour bus carrying Texas high school students home from a Disney World trip plunged into a ravine.

Many others were injured in the Tuesday morning crash near the Alabama-Florida line on Interstate 10. About 45 people were aboard the bus.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 and then fell into the 50-foot (15-meter) ravine. It wasn’t immediately clear why.


10 a.m.

The company whose tour bus was carrying Texas high school students home from a Disney World trip when it plunged into a ravine near the Alabama-Florida line says it pledges its assistance in cooperating with authorities.

One person was killed in the Tuesday morning crash and many others were injured. In a statement, First Class Tours says their prayers are with the injured and their families.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 and then fell into the 50-foot (15-meter) ravine Tuesday at about 5:30 a.m. It wasn’t immediately clear why.


9:40 a.m.

A sheriff says about 45 people were on board a bus that was carrying Texas high school students home from a Disney World trip when it plunged into a ravine near the Alabama-Florida line, killing one.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says all of the people on board were brought to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida.

The sheriff says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 and then fell into the 50-foot ravine Tuesday at about 5:30 a.m. It wasn’t immediately clear why. The interstate was closed down in both directions after the crash.


9:05 a.m.

One person is dead after a charter tour bus carrying students on a school trip from Houston, Texas, plunged into a ravine near the Alabama-Florida line.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack confirmed the death Tuesday morning while talking to new reporters.

Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus plunged off Interstate 10 into a deep ravine early Tuesday and multiple helicopters responded.

WKRG-TV is reporting that 12 to 20 people have been injured, and that officials say the bus was returning to Houston from a school trip.


7:35 a.m.

Authorities in Alabama say a charter tour bus carrying students on a school trip from Houston, Texas, has plunged into a ravine, with multiple injuries reported.

Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus plunged off Interstate 10 into a deep ravine Tuesday morning, and multiple helicopters are responding.

WKRG-TV is reporting that 12 to 20 people have been injured, and that officials say the bus was returning to Houston from a school trip.

WEAR-TV reports that the charter bus was carrying at least 52 people and the crash happened around 6 a.m.

Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says both lanes on the interstate have been closed. Traffic has been diverted and Alabama State troopers are asking people to avoid the area.

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YouTube TYRANTS now attacking your ability to think, speak or question the state… are we living under Communist China?

Image: YouTube TYRANTS now attacking your ability to think, speak or question the state… are we living under Communist China?

(Natural News)
YouTube tyranny is in full swing as the dominant video site has turned over video flagging responsibilities to radical left-wing slander groups like the SPLC, famous for flagging just about every Christian and Catholic group across America as some sort of hate group.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is assisting YouTube in policing content on their platform,” reports The Daily Caller. “The left-wing nonprofit — which has more recently come under fire for labeling legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups” — is one of the more than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies in YouTube’s ‘Trusted Flaggers’ program, a source with knowledge of the arrangement told TheDC.”

Under the control of radicalized left-wing censorship, YouTube has unleashed a censorship rampage over the last week, targeting nearly every prominent conservative, independent media leader and even book authors for termination. (This is what happens when Leftists control things. It’s one more reason to vote against Democrats at every election…)

YouTube bans people for talking to other people who have been banned

This censorship rampage is all being done by design, of course, and it only targets those who disagree with “official narratives” on topics of political importance. As part of its purge efforts, just yesterday YouTube issued a strike against my own account for an interview I conducted in 2012 with the author of a book that was banned by

Today, Natural News has learned that YouTube is hunting down and terminating all users and videos that mention “Jim Fetzer,” the author of that controversial book about the Sandy Hook shooting which claims that the entire thing was staged as a gun control stunt. Several content creators who post videos to YouTube have told me today that all their videos mentioning Jim Fetzer are being deleted, and “strikes” are being issued against their YouTube accounts.

In effect, anyone who dares interview an author who was banned ends up getting banned themselves. It’s like a play book right out of Red China or the former Soviet Union. Now abandoning anything resembling due process or the individual liberty to utter unpopular opinions, tyrannical tech giants like YouTube declare certain individuals to be so “toxic” that anyone who dares speak with them is also banned.

We have now entered the Twilight Zone, and the tyrants in charge are left-wing lunatics who are, without exception, totalitarians who despise dissenting views. As they are demonstrating by the hour, they are more than willing to exploit their positions of power to silence their political opposition and destroy the subscriber audiences of alternative authors or journalists. Make no mistake that this is all a prelude to a massive false flag event that I have described as “The Mother of all False Flags.”

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The Purge: YouTube Mass-Censors Conservatives, New Right, Classical Liberals

YouTube is purging right-wing and independent commentators in the wake of the Parkland High shooting while admitting that it is mistakenly banning conservatives.

Independent journalist Mike Cernovich reported earlier today that a video he uploaded of left-wing Antifa activists chanting death threats had been taken down by YouTube. The video shows Antifa shouting violent threats at attendees of Cernovich’s Night for Freedom event in Washington DC, which took place on Saturday. Cernovich commented to Breitbart News on YouTube’s removal, saying, “YouTube is censoring honest, unedited reporting about ANTIFA’s actions. This can mean only one thing — they endorse far left wing violence.”

Google, which owns YouTube, has also banned political YouTube star and classical liberal Carl Benjamin, better known by his online pseudonym “Sargon of Akkad.”

Although his videos are still available to view, he has been locked out of his Google account, including YouTube, and is unable to upload new videos. Benjamin was also permanently banned from Twitter last year — Facebook is now the only major social media platform that he can use to get his message out.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Benjamin said the ban, which mirrored that of Canadian academic Jordan Peterson last August, was the beginning of a “platform-wide purge.”

“As James Damore’s lawsuit against Google has shown, the entire company is riddled with a far-left ideological orthodoxy that has taken hold to a radical degree,” said Benjamin.

“Google’s active suppression of individualist ideas within its own ranks has caused classical liberal and conservative commentators to be considered as far-right as Nazis, and are being treated with the same kind of prejudice and ruthlessness.”

Earlier this week, we reported on the censorship of Ashton Whitty, a conservative vlogger and Berkeley student. After Whitty uploaded a video criticizing CNN over their coverage of the Parkland shootings, YouTube took down her video and issued her channel with a “strike.” If a channel receives three strikes within three months, it can be permanently banned from the platform. Although the initial video was restored and the strike removed, the same thing happened to another of Whitty’s videos within a few hours.

The YouTube purge has also hit InfoWars, a popular alternative media channel run by radio host Alex Jones, who interviewed Donald Trump while he was still a candidate. InfoWars’ YouTube channel, which has more than 2 million subscribers, has now been blocked for two weeks over accusations that it posted “conspiracy theories” about Parkland. If it receives one more strike within three months, the channel will be permanently banned.

In a comment to Breitbart News, InfoWars Editor-at-Large and YouTube star Paul Joseph Watson said Google’s unchecked power and influence over civil discourse required regulation.

“Google is a monopoly, and its anti-free speech policies are beginning to erode the sanctity of civil discourse,” said Watson. “We need some kind of constitutional amendment or mass movement, such as the one against SOPA, in order to re-assert the supremacy of free expression.”

“YouTube admitting they made a “mistake” in terminating some accounts and content does offer a glimmer of hope that there are some rational actors within the company.”

“However, this speaks to the wider phenomenon of how society has become so coddled and infantilized, that stridently challenging the views of public figures is now being treated as ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment.’”

Watson warned that the “fury” caused by mass censorship on social media platforms would only increase the same “hyper-partisan tensions” that the big tech companies claim to oppose.

A YouTube spokeswoman recently admitted that some videos were being removed in error, attributing it to teething problems caused by their recent hiring of 10,000 new human moderators.

“Newer members may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals” admitted the spokeswoman. “We’ll reinstate any videos that were removed in error.”

At a Senate hearing last month, Sen. Ted Cruz called out YouTube’s alleged ideological bias, highlighting Prager University’s lawsuit against the company over censorship of conservatives. Cruz told a YouTube representative that if the platform did not remain politically neutral, they could lose legal immunity for user content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Without this protection, social media companies would be legally liable for all content posted on their platforms – an existential threat to their business model.

Update — InfoWars contributor Jerome Corsi reports that his YouTube account has been terminated.




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Thank you President Trump, you have finally ended US double-speak on Middle East ‘peace’

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Artist’s intense landscape collages speak of grim environmental impacts

As one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions, Chinese landscape painting has evolved over the centuries, yet, its major emphasis on depicting natural landscape still remains central. But due to rapid urbanization and development, the ecological character of some places in China have changed beyond recognition, and a growing number of artists are reflecting these environmental impacts in their art.

Trained alongside some of the country’s master landscape painters, Shanghai’s Yang Yongliang has created large-scale collage-like works that depict something close to a traditional Chinese landscape. As the Metropolitan Museum for Modern Art explains:

Viewing Chinese landscape paintings, it is clear that Chinese depictions of nature are seldom mere representations of the external world. Rather, they are expressions of the mind and heart of the individual artists—cultivated landscapes that embody the culture and cultivation of their masters.

Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang

This digitized version of this artistic tradition speaks to how technology has changed everything. However, upon closer inspection, one also sees that these landscapes aren’t the bucolic representations of nature that one might have seen in the far past. Instead, these imaginary landscapes are clogged with skyscrapers, machines, cranes, and overcrowded buildings. This is the new natural landscape.

Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang
Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang
Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang
Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang

Dubbed “From The New World,” the work stands at an impressive 26 feet by 13 feet tall in size, lending a sense of scale to the enormous ecological impacts of unbridled industrialization. Yang’s visual commentary here seems to allude to the rise of factories and sprawling cities over the last couple of decades — which have contributed to unprecedented socio-economic gains for many people — yet, have nevertheless resulted in a heavy environmental cost that can no longer be ignored. It has become part of the natural landscape of the Chinese psyche.

Yang Yongliang© Yang Yongliang

Of course, this environmental decline is not unique to China; we are seeing it all over the world in the disappearing rainforests, polluted rivers, melting glaciers and plastic-filled oceans with dying corals. Little has been left untouched by human intervention, and as this work suggests, on some level we are polluting our inner landscape as well. It’s time to clean things up — inside and out.

More over at Yang Yongliang.

[Via: This Is Colossal]

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Putin and Trump Speak

Putin and Trump Speak on Tuesday

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

They’ve spoken twice by phone, today reportedly for an hour. They’ve met face-to-face twice – in Hamburg, Germany and Danang, Vietnam. 

No summit was held or planned, nothing achieved between them except Putin promises he’ll keep, Trump’s to be broken, the way Washington deals with all its obligations not serving its interests.

Putin briefed Trump on his meeting with Syria’s Assad. He wants peace and stability in the country. 

Trump wants endless war and regime change. Ignore his comments otherwise. His deplorable actions speak for themselves.

The aims of both leaders are world’s apart. Irreconcilable differences separate them – despite the substance and tone of their discussions.

Ukraine reportedly was discussed. Washington spurned Russia’s best efforts to negotiate conflict resolution between Kiev and Donbass. Conflict continues with no signs of significant steps to end it.

The Kremlin press service said both leaders “exchanged opinions on the situation on the Korean peninsula, stressing the expedience of search for the settlement of the problem through negotiations, diplomatically,” adding:

“The leaders touched upon the situation in Afghanistan, which raises concerns in view of growing terrorist and drug threats.” 

“They also discussed the situation around Iran’s nuclear program” Russia stressing the need for “full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – a major factor in ensuring regional stability and settlement of the problem of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The Kremlin saying “(b)oth the parties expressed satisfaction with the phone call, which was practical and informative” was meaningless boilerplate.

Putin has no partner in Washington on virtually all vital issues. Dark forces in America control Trump.

US hostility toward Russia is the most ominously dangerous in memory. Its rage against Iran and North Korea risks naked aggression against both countries.

Instead of deescalating conflicts he inherited, Trump intensified them, along with opening new theaters.

America’s permanent war policy and phony war on terror assure endless conflicts – sooner or later against virtually all sovereign independent countries, likely including Russia and China, the only nations able to challenge its hegemonic aims, risking nuclear armageddon if either country is attacked.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Three Riviera Beach Police Officers Speak Out About Corrupt Chief Clarence Williams

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – Three Riviera Beach police officers are breaking their silence and talking exclusively to WPTV’s Wanda Moore.

They say they are afraid of repercussions from speaking out. 

“I fear physical retaliation from the chief and his little minions,” an officer said. 

“I’m personally afraid for my safety and my family’s safety,” another officer said. “People are demoralized. The officers are scared.”

They say officers are scared of Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams and those who support him. 
“He’s by far the most powerful man in that city,” one officer said. 

“Who is holding him accountable? Absolutely nobody,” another officer said. 

The officers said that changed when council hired Jonathan Evans as their city manager in March. 

“Jonathan Evans was on the way to holding him accountable for what he was doing for several years,” one officer said. “And once he saw that he was going to be held accountable, they got rid of him. For no reason.” 
The officers believe the chief orchestrated Evans’ firing. 

“His fingerprints are all up on this entire corruption and this whole coup that’s going on,” one officer said. 
They point to a secret meeting at Hurst Chapel, eight days after council fired Evans, which was exposed by a WPTV investigation. 

After the meeting, he said he didn’t know anything about a meeting. 

Chief Clarence D. Williams: “I don’t know anything about the contents of the meeting. And why would walk up to the police chief and ask him…”

Bruce Guyton: “He just arrived.”

Chief Clarence D. Williams: “Yeah I just arrived.”

Reporter: “Oh, you just arrived? Because we saw you walk in earlier.”

Chief Clarence D. Williams: “I’ve come and gone. And you couldn’t have seen me.” 

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Jeffrey Dahmer’s surviving victims speak: He was likable and charismatic, then controlling, manipulative, and abusive


Jeffrey Dahmer is one of America’s most notorious serial killers, claiming 17 victims, some of whom he ate or preserved. But two men, who say Dahmer raped them during his military service, are now speaking out about the murderer who they call a “sociopath.”

Preston Davis and Billy Capshaw appear on Oxygen’s “Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks,” a special airing Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 that features an interview between journalist Nancy Glass and Dahmer during his time behind bars. In it, Dahmer himself recounts the gruesome murders that took place between 1978 and 1991.

Davis was 20 years old when he met “Jeff Dahmer,” he told TheWrap. He had eight months left on his military stint in Germany when Dahmer was stationed in Baumholder, West Germany (Davis’ father urged him to join the U.S. army after dropping out of college).

“I didn’t care for him because of his racial overtures,” Davis, who is an African-American man, told TheWrap. “He was a very racist individual, and once he started drinking, he became a very obnoxious individual.”

Indeed, Dahmer is known to have had a drinking problem. In “Dahmer on Dahmer,” the convicted killer’s former classmates remember him bringing alcohol to school, hiding it in his locker and telling onlookers it was his “medicine.” Davis told TheWrap Dahmer would repeatedly drink in the barracks during his military service – and would tell the other soldiers about his first murder victim, Steven Hicks, whom he killed just a year before.

“Jeffrey had killed his first victim a year before joining the military, and he would get drunk in the barracks and say, ‘I killed the guy in Ohio,’ and we’d say, ‘you didn’t kill nobody!'”

“He became a monster once he started drinking,” Davis added. “Alcohol is what turned him into a monster.”

Comment: Alcohol didn’t turn Dahmer into a monster. It just emboldened him to let his mask slip and reveal the monster underneath.

Davis, who is now 58, said he was taking part in a field exercise in Belgium with Dahmer in October of 1979 when their vehicle broke down with three days to go in the mission. It was towed to a train station. “Somewhere in that time frame, I was drugged and assaulted,” said Davis of the incident, one Dahmer has never admitted to. “The reason he didn’t kill me – he said after I left, ‘I should’ve killed that n– when I had the chance’ – but that was the reason he couldn’t kill me: We were out in the middle of Belgium. He had no idea how to get back to Germany.”

Davis said that his brain blocked out what had happened until about 2009, when he was 50 years old. When his memory about the incident started coming back to him, he went to treatment and saw a therapist who specializes in military sexual trauma. He said he also only later remembered – when he saw Dahmer’s name online – that he had an altercation with him and put him out in a blizzard during their shared stint in the military.

“My mind had shut down that whole time,” he added.

After Davis left the military, Billy Capshaw joined the unit in Germany and stayed from 1979 to 1981. He was 17 years old when he met Dahmer, when he says similar abuse started.

“Jeff Dahmer was a sociopath, a psychopath, a narcissist – he was insane,” Capshaw told TheWrap. “It took a long time to cope with what happened, and I only came out with my experience when my father died. It was too horrible, too embarrassing, and I didn’t want my dad to know.”

Comment: Psychopaths aren’t insane. It’s just that their mind is so disturbing and foreign that they are incomprehensible to normal people.

Capshaw told TheWrap that he was Dahmer’s roommate during his time in the military, and he was tortured, beaten and tied to the bed many times over those two years. The website for “Surviving Jeffrey Dahmer” outlines Capshaw’s account: “Dahmer seemed like a likable person and had a certain amount of charisma, but within a few days Billy became frightened as Dahmer began his process of completely controlling Billy by various means. He physically beat him. When Billy complained to those in authority, he was told that he was a ‘p–‘ and was not taken seriously. The severity of the physical abuse increased, and Dahmer used an iron bar, which was part of the apparatus for the bed, to hit Billy across the joints.”

Capshaw said Dahmer made sure he didn’t get regular assignments, and Dahmer controlled the only key to the room and would often lock Capshaw inside. He also arranged that his mail from his family did not reach him. At one point he was listed AWOL even though he had not left the base.

“It was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Capshaw told TheWrap. “I was in a room I was scared to come out of. I would steal Jeff’s money thinking that if he didn’t have any money, that he wouldn’t drink anymore and therefore wouldn’t hurt me anymore. He beat me so badly for that, and to stop me from screaming, he hit me harder.”

Capshaw said he would often try to escape through the window or the fire escape but would eventually be brought right back to Dahmer. He said he is certain other people knew about the abuse.

Capshaw said his thoughts went to the extreme.

“I thought about killing him, and I thought about killing myself,” Capshaw told TheWrap.

Due to his alcohol abuse, Dahmer was later discharged from the military and returned to Ohio, and his killing spree started in 1987 when he woke up to find one of his sexual partners beaten to death in his bed. Dahmer said he didn’t remember killing the man he had met at a bar. He dismembered the body and put it in the trash, and following the murder, he began to actively seek out victims at gay bars. An attempted murder in 1991, where the victim escaped and brought cops back to Dahmer’s apartment where they found skulls, human hearts and other body parts, led to Dahmer’s arrest. His victim count had gone up to 17 at that point. A total of 74 Polaroid pictures were found detailing the dismemberment of Dahmer’s victims. Dahmer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment in 1992 because the death penalty had not been an option in the state of Wisconsin.

In November of 1994, Dahmer was bludgeoned to death by a fellow inmate.

“I didn’t find out about his death until years later,” said Davis. “The only thing I can say is karma…. I don’t consider myself a victim. I’m a survivor.”

“Dahmer on Dahmer” premieres on Nov. 11 and features interviews with Dahmer’s parents, Lionel and Shari Dahmer, as well as psychologists and former classmates. The two-day special concludes on Nov. 12.

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Condemning US imperialism: Elián González and Cuban contingent speak at the World Festival of Youth

The fisherman who found five-year old Elián González in 1998 thought he’d been saved by angels and dolphins. His mother put him on an inner tube before she and everyone else on the boat drowned. They were trying to get to Florida. It was US Thanksgiving. The Cuban boy became a household name.


This week, at 24, Elián González, speaking in Russia, condemned US imperialism. 1 He talked about the lies he was told in Florida. He called them a violation. In early 1999, the media showed a small boy in a huge toy car, surrounded by colorful children’s paraphernalia, saying he didn’t want to return to Cuba.

His father, who hadn’t known the boy’s mother’s plans, saw his son on TV and cried. In Havana, almost daily, people marched. Night after night, children took the microphone before large crowds. They asked how the US could be “saving” Elián when 11 million of its own children had no health care, and when children were killing other children with guns in US schools.

I remember an eight or nine year old, speaking for ten minutes, without notes, under the lights, citing statistics, wondering aloud about the stupidity of believing a six-year old lives better with sophisticated toys and Disney World than with his father who loves him, just because his dad happens to be poor.

Another child commented that Elián, who wanted to be a pilot, would, in the US, be able to travel the world, bombing people’s dreams.

A student from Honduras, studying at the newly inaugurated Latin American Medical School, described children in his own country carrying huge loads of wood, or working in the mines, burdened by illiteracy. He asked why the US wanted to destroy a beacon of hope, Cuba, where he’d received a full scholarship and a chance to help his people.

The North American media, of course, said the kids were “forced”. But children can’t fake the kind of enthusiasm and confidence I saw expressed at rallies across the island. Maybe they don’t fully understand respect, dignity, and solidarity. I don’t either. But they knew these values matter.

One teenager said loudly in front of the US Interest Section, now the US Embassy,

“I wasn’t sent, you know. Did you hear that?” She went on to explain to the dark, silent building: “You don’t know us. And in particular, you don’t know that nothing is more important in Cuba than one child”.

In fact, most of the US population (82%) thought Elián should be returned to his father in Cuba, and he eventually was. Fidel Castro used to say that the US people, for the most part, want to do the right thing. The problem, he’d add, is that their government lies to them.

It is no small challenge. Those lies, at least some, are an identity. They become expectations, rooted in social practises. They are presupposed, day by day.

Some are reliable. I expect fire to be hot and I withdraw my hand, without thinking. I have that expectation because of collaborative social practises. Some expectations are based in true beliefs. We rely upon them necessarily. But some are arbitrary, based in social conventions.

It is why José Martí, nineteenth century independence leader, thought a false idea of knowledge was a bigger hurdle for Latin American independence than the powerful northern neighbour. 2 Expectations determine how we understand the world, even what we see. This is well-known in philosophy. It means, if the insight is pursued, as it should be, that imperialism must be challenged in order to think – properly.

Some are now asking why the levels of anxiety in US teenagers are so high. One answer is dehumanizing social practises, promoting false expectations about life. 3

Elián was right to say this week that the lies he was told in Florida, as a small child, were a violation. A violation is an action that breaks something. When lies are about human possibilities, about who we are as human beings, and they become expectations, they break humanness, and the imagination that might feed its possibility.

The same year Elián was held in Florida, the governor of Illinois visited Cuba, the first such visit in forty years. After five days, back in Illinois, he said he was impressed that Cuba’s infant mortality rate was only 7.1 deaths per thousand live births, that there is one doctor for each 170 persons, that all children, even in remote mountain areas, receive thirteen vaccinations.

The governor was accused of having been brain-washed. He was impressed that a poor country takes care of its most vulnerable citizens. The statistics, though, are well-known. What was startling was the importance the governor gave them.

It raises a question, or might have. Cuba has few natural resources. But it has people. And for hundreds of years, starting long before the Cuban Revolution, it has cultivated ideas explaining why this matters.

Those ideas aren’t known in the North, and they won’t be, easily, for reasons Martí identified: a false view of knowledge. They won’t be known because of expectations that violate. They are part of a national identity, expectations that must be challenged in order to think, properly.

The kids I heard at those rallies raised a question: about imperialism and the truths it denies. But it wasn’t what they said. It was how they were. And it wasn’t just them. It was the social practises that made what they said – about respect, dignity and solidarity – credible. They made it matter. Some of those kids are still speaking out – Elián, for one – about lies that violate.

Ana Belén Montes spoke out, with her actions.4 She is in jail, in the US, having hurt no one, although she damaged violating lies. Please sign petition here.

Susan Babbitt is author of Humanism and Embodiment (Bloomsbury 2014) and José Martí, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Global Development Ethics (Palgrave MacMillan 2014).



2. In “Our America”. José Martí: Selected Works, tr. Esther Allen (Penquin Books, 2002) 290

3. E.g.

4. For more information, write to the or

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