August 06, 2005

Explanation -- and Costa Rica, part 1

Greetings everyone. Hube here, and I´ll be writing here occasionally whenever I have something to say. Back at my now defunct blog "Hube´s Cube," that urge to "say something" occurred too frequently. I´ve had the desire to become a writer for a long time. I absolutely love to write. Thus, Hube´s Cube was the perfect outlet for me -- the avenue by which I could espouse my views on literally anything, and join in on whatever discussion that followed. It was perfect.

It was a little too perfect, as it turned out. I began to spend more and more time writing and searching for topics to write about. When I had little or nothing to say, I´d spend a lot of time perusing other blogs and commenting on their posts. I´d hesitate to call it an addiction, but perhaps it was bordering on such. Time for other matters -- especially for those of family -- began to suffer. And being that I´ve always considered family THE ultimate foundation of all around us, I had to ... stop. Family is all, folks. All.

Hube´s Cube thus ceased to exist in early July. I have some regrets, yes, but ultimately it is for the best. I wanted a "clean break," so to speak, and no -- "The Cube," as many of you so called it -- will not be coming back. There were some other peripheral issues surrounding The Cube´s demise (server problems being one), but I won´t get into these. I did what I had to do, and I´m very thankful to Rhodey and co. for offering me a chance to jump in whenever I have a free moment -- with something to say, that is! Speaking of which ...

Costa Rica!! If you ever get the chance to visit what´s dubbed "The Switzerland of the Americas," grab it. Immediately. My wife is from CR, and we travel back to her homeland every 2-3 years or so, since her family is all there. Her folks live in San José, the capital, very close to the American Embassy as it would be. I first set foot in CR back in 1986 as a college junior in an exchange program. It´s amazing how much the country has changed over these last 19 years. Tourism is a huge industry, if not THE industry in the country. Thus, many of the coastal areas that I recall as being hardly developed back in ´86 are now virtually cities. Also, there were not many Americans in CR in the mid-80s. This was probably due to the civil war in neighboring Nicaragua (the Sandinistas vs. the US-backed "Contras") and dictator Manuel Noriega running things to the south in Panama. However, these things affected CR very little, then. CR has an extremely long history of political stability, with a very large middle class. The people are very pro-American for the most part. I first discovered this my first week of classes in ´86: An obviously anti-American speaker had a microphone at the usual student hangout in front of the university library, and many people were whistling at him. At first I was worried because in the US, whistling usually signifies a positive feeling. On the contrary here. In CR, whistling is the equivalent of booing! A Tico (as Costa Ricans refer to themselves) who spoke perfect English, pointed this out to me. Hell, maybe that speaker was Dana Garrett for all I know!

The ironic thing was, at the time, I became sympathetic to the Sandinista cause thanks in large measure to the advocacy of our accompanying professor. An outspoken Marxist, Dr. M freely discussed the "greatness" of the FSLN (Sandinistas) and Cuba. He brought in virulently anti-American speakers to "talk" to us in class and in discussion sessions held at his apartment. In a nice change of pace one time, Dr. M invited a representative of the newly-elected Oscar Arias government to a discussion session. He was quite the anti-Communist, and sparks flew as Dr. M and the representative went at it. Us students clandestinely chuckled at how the perfect English speaking rep. kept his calm the entire time while refuting Dr. M´s points with introductions like "Now let me help you with that idea..." or "Now let me tell you the real story..." Dr. M´s face would turn beet red with anger.

Still, despite Dr. M´s outspoken leftism, I still regard him to this day as a very kind, gentle and wise man. Despite his outspokeness, he never "hurt" us grade-wise if we disagreed with him; indeed, he welcomed disagreements and would invite more discussion. He was always there to help us with problems adjusting to CR life (we were there for three and half months, after all), and would even go out and party with us!

(Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!)

Posted by Hube at August 6, 2005 03:40 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Hube! Welcome back. It's nice to read you again. Glad you had a nice trip. Now it's my turn. A week in the Adirondacks. Aug. 12-20. Can't wait.

Good luck with your new gig with Rhodey.

Posted by: Mike M. at August 6, 2005 12:23 PM

Yeah, by all means welcome back to the blog arena. I missed my daily dose of Hube Sense.
I gotta say, I found the "This site no longer exists" a bit chilling, like spy novel stuff. Once Xrlq reassured us you were OK I filled in the blanks for the hell of it and had you 'dissappeared' by and enlisted with the CIA on a mission to capture Osama.
Anyway, hope you're able to find a comfortable balance. You certainly have your priorities right.

Posted by: mikem at August 6, 2005 02:46 PM

Welcome Back. I was beginning to wonder... If you ever feel like doing a little education writing as a guest poster over at the Wonk's, just let me know.

Posted by: EdWonk at August 7, 2005 05:39 PM

Well, Hube, we’ve finally found something we agree on. Family does come first. And the logical extension of the family is the community and of the community, humanity. But for that reason you should be careful w/ those family feelings, Mr. Libertarian. You might learn that the self isn’t all that’s cracked up to be, hardly the prime reality of human experience.

Interesting that you would characterize Costa Rica as possessing an “extremely long history of political stability.” Does that include CR’s death squads that were responsible for the mass killings and disappearances twenty years ago of peasants, trade unionists, human rights activists, leftists, just about anyone suspected of not toeing the government’s line? Does it include CR’s abysmal ongoing history of tolerating rampant sexual exploitation of children (a real draw for many would-be “tourists”)? Or how about its criminal penalties for defamation, libel, slander and calumny, laws that have all but stifled independent journalism in the nation? Are these methods to use to produce exemplary stability in your view?

Perhaps what you mean is that CR has a long history of near perfect obedience to US interests, making it mostly a vassal state. Well, that's true. But it's hardly expemplary.

I will give CR this much: it did have the good sense to ban Ollie North for life once it discovered that he was helping the Contras run drugs to finance their terrorism in Nicaragua.

You know Ollie, don’t you Hube? The FOX News reporter, the darling of Reagan and the Republican Party, the self-proclaimed conservative.

Posted by: Dana Garrett at August 7, 2005 09:31 PM

Your claims about CR are mixed up with what occurred in El Salvador, I believe, Dana. There are a gazillion polit. parties in CR, many far left. Mass killings? When? Where? Independent press is all over the place. There are countless newspapers across the country. You'd better offer some solid sources for these obscene charges or otherwise you're just being your usual pathetic far-left screaming self.

Posted by: Hube at August 8, 2005 09:46 AM

BTW Dana, you left out Costa Rica abolishing its military back in 1948 to put all the money into education, universal health care, a 98-99% literacy rate, ever-increasing standard of living, Oscar Arias brokering a peace plan back in the mid-80s which won him the Nobel Peace Prize...

Weird how a Costa Rican was awarded such a prize when he was chief executive during the exact time frame in which you accuse CR of "mass killings" etc.

Posted by: Hube at August 8, 2005 10:00 AM

I agree with Hube. I'd always thought El Salvador to be the culprit in those crimes. Heck, Oliver Stone told me so in his movie "Salvador."

Posted by: Mike M. at August 8, 2005 12:32 PM


Welcome back. Gonna miss the "Cube ". Are you still going to contibute to " Oh That Liberal Media " ? And don't sweat Dana Garrett . He probably believes the big lie.." I , Rigoberto Menchu "



Posted by: Fred at August 10, 2005 10:18 AM

Fred: Thanks. And yeah, I'll occasionally contribute to OTLM when I get the urge.

Posted by: Hube at August 12, 2005 01:00 PM