Translate blog

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


It was well after midnight on July 24, 2000, when I heard a knock at the door of our room on the Hotel Nacional’s sixth floor. Visiting hours in Cuba run later than they do in the United States, but even by Havana standards, this was a tad late. My husband opened the door to reveal Jerry Brown, the mayor of Oakland, former governor of California, former presidential candidate, and one of the most original and unpredictable politicians in American history.

It’s true you never know who you’ll run into at the Nacional Hotel in Havana. A shabby Grand Hotel, whose suites are rumored to be secretly wired, the very walls of the Nacional seem to breathe intrigue.

Think Casablanca on the Caribbean.

And never more so than in the summer of 2000. Fidel Castro, after all, was celebrating his greatest triumph since the Bay of Pigs: the return of the miracle rafter child, Elian Gonzalez.

Welcomed into our modest room, an amiable Brown, who had put on some weight and lost some hair in recent years, first inquired what we had to drink. Finding something to his liking in the minibar, he settled into the room’s one upholstered chair and put his feet up.

Earlier in the evening, we had encountered and chatted with Brown and his aides in the small dining room on the Nacional’s sixth floor. He and his companions said they were enjoying Cuba’s many enchantments, including the hotel’s mojitos, when not attending to official business.

My Havana meeting with Brown came at the beginning of his one-week Cuban adventure, a Caribbean getaway that perhaps did not take into consideration his future political ambitions. It was unlikely that Brown anticipated he would soon be the attorney general of California or that 10 years hence he’d be throwing his hat into the ring once again to be governor of California. Or that his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, would be willing to pony up some $150 million to defeat him. Until last week, Whitman was basking in a five-point lead, numbers that plummeted after revelations of her long-term employment of an undocumented Latino housekeeper.

Suddenly Brown, in a state where Latinos cast 22 percent of the vote, has the five-point advantage. But as it turns out, Brown had his own Latin misadventure, one that may have skirted the law.

Indeed, by the time Brown returned from his Cuban idyll on July 29, 2000, he had bonded with its Maximum Leader and lunched with the world’s most famous 6-year-old, Elian Gonzalez.

And all thanks to a trip planner who happened to be a former CIA officer-turned-double agent-turned-tour guide. (don't miss the rest here at San Francisco Sentinel)

1 comment:

Montana said...

Griff Harsh, the husband of California gubernatorial candidate Nutneg Whitman, acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that “it is possible” he received and wrote notes on a letter from the Social Security Administration back in 2003, regarding the former housekeeper. The Whitman/ Harsh household then fired their housekeeper in June 2009 (after nine years of service), when Nutmeg handlers decided that she was an election liability.

Meg, Meg, Meg, where do I start, you have reportedly spent $140 million of your own money to get elected Governor but you couldn’t use some of it to get your housekeeper (after nine years of service) some legal help to get her papers, and worse you lied about it. Wow, what a WITCH, of course I meant it with a “B”.

But your comments on holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers real takes the cake, I assume you exempt yourself and your husband, or will you be turning yourself in.

Meg on holding employers accountable:

Meg you think you can buy the election, but what puzzles many is if you real cared and loved California then why not do your civic duty and vote, seems more rhetoric than anything else.

In good times we might give you a try but not in our disaster mode that we find ourselves in after that so-called outsider Independent Republican, named Arnold Schwarzenegger (sold to us by radio personalities John and Ken), ruined our state, yah we will trust another one of you liars, think not. And another thing nine years this maid was in your house, in your house and you failed to learned this major thing about her, come on this sounds like a huge lie that no one can believe in.

Ebay paid out $200,000 because Nutmeg assaulted an employee, so it’s not the first time she has mistreated an employee. Good luck winning Nutmeg, money will buy you admiration from the majority just from the Gay Old Party (GOP), but not from all of California.