Sunday, February 12, 2006

What are the chances?

OK, I’ve been blogging about my vacation in California for about 8 days now. My last post was about my visit to Berkeley and how the only feedback my “Ché is Dead. Get Over It!” T-shirt elicited was positive. So on Saturday my wife, Ana, and I decided to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. When we got there we parked the car and walked down the main street with all the shops and restaurants. Almost immediately, I heard my wife say “Oh my God.” And I asked what’s the matter. She said “Look it’s Carlos Santana, eating near the window of that restaurant.”

As a bit of background, I, like many people, was a fan of Santana. That is until he showed up at the Oscars last year in a designer Ché t-shirt. He accompanied Antonio Banderas who sang a song from the “Motorcycle Diaries” on the Oscars telecast. For that, I have highlighted Santana as one of the members of the “Cult of Ché” on my web site

So after my wife says “too bad you’re not wearing your “Ché is Dead” shirt, I said “well give me a minute and I’ll change.” We had already checked out of our hotel as we are taking the redeye back to Miami that night, and all of our bags were in the trunk. I changed my shirt and had my wife take a picture of me next to the window.

The objective was for you to see him in the picture but Ana is not Annie Leibovitz and so she took the picture from too far away. Not only that, but I had the camera on low resolution because I’m using it mainly for blogging purposes.

You’ll have to take my word on it that it’s him in the picture next to the arrow. Anyway she took the picture and I turned around for him to see my shirt but he didn’t look up. I didn’t want to be a monkey dancing in the window so we kept walking. He did look up and give my wife the peace sign as she passed 5 steps behind me. We walked for about 20 minutes and I thought to myself that I had missed an opportunity to give him a piece of my mind. I suspected that he had seen what the shirt said but wasn’t sure.

While we were walking, a clean cut Mexican American man of about 60 years of age stopped me and said “I love your shirt”. Without prompting of any kind, he said “you know what Carlos Santana did, he wore a "Ché shirt" to a concert in Miami.”

I corrected him and told him it was at the Oscars where he wore it but that I knew what he meant. He said “I’m glad the NAACP inducted him because he doesn’t want to be Mexican and we don’t want him.” He said that he knew Santana’s father, Jose, and that he was a mariachi but that Carlos had spurned his Mexican roots. We told him it was a coincidence that he mentioned Santana because he was having dinner a few blocks down the road.

On our way back to the car we passed in front of the restaurant again and Santana was still there. This time, I had taken my jacket off and stopped right in front of him and pointed at my shirt. He immediately sprung up from his chair and walked to the door signaling me through the window to wait. And there we met in the doorway of the restaurant.

I’ll to try to capture the essence of what he said in our 3-4 minute discussion but I know I won’t do it justice. My wife, who observed the entire exchange, said he sounded like he had smoked a pound of marijuana. He definitely had the “chill out man” voice going on. He was also dressed like bum, with a knit cap on has head, the kind a dock worker might wear.

The first thing he said was something to the effect of “Ché is dead for you but not for me, he's alive in our hearts.” And I told him that he’s dead and that he was nobody to worship or idolize. I said that Ché had killed 180 Cubans (that are confirmed) and one of them was the husband of my dad’s cousin. And they didn’t get any kind of a fair trial if they got one at all.

He went on and on with “it’s about love and compassion.” I told him that Ché Guevara exhibited neither love nor compassion. He said that Ché had fought for blacks, women and native Americans in Latin America. And I asked him that if I granted him that the goal was a righteous one then do ends justify the means? Does it justify killing people? He didn’t have an answer except to continue with his platitudes in his spacey tone of voice. I told him “there’s your opinion, and there’s my opinion and then there’s facts.”

He was very condescending as if I just didn’t get it. He made some statement about “getting hung up on facts” that it’s the “spirit” that matters. He mentioned American Indians several times for some reason and he also mentioned Jesus Christ at least once. One thing he said that indicated to me that he’s totally off his nut was that in Cuba [before the revolution] women couldn’t go into the casinos. I’m telling you this guy is what my father in law would call a “space shot”.

I told him that I was one of those “crazy Cubans” that protested outside his concert in Miami. At one point he asked me my name. He also switched to Spanish for a few words a couple of times. I finished by telling him that he’s free to wear his little t-shirt and that I’m free to wear mine and that incidentally I spend a lot of my spare time exposing people to the truth about Ché Guevara. I told him that once Fidel dies and Cuba is free that the world will know the truth. He said something about nobody being free until we free our hearts. It was all very civil but it wasn’t much of a debate because I was giving facts and he was giving me slogans from the 60s.

So when I called my friend Albert to tell him about the whole episode, he asked: “What are the chances of that?”

What are the chances, indeed!


Jose Aguirre said...

Great job Conductor!!! The truth will get out one person at a time!

Alfredo said...


Santana will never get it or he is a plain and simple communist. Happens all the time, a non-Cuban telling a Cuban how great and wonderful Che was? Go figure!

Thanks for the great post!

Sirimba said...

this is awesome! You lived the dream that many of us have, giving that dope head a piece of our minds. Keep up the good fight, every little piece makes a difference.

AmandaDufau said...

Coño, Conductor! Good job...even if he didn't listen. You took the opportunity and ran with it.

daniel said...

HANK!!!! wtg bro.. things are good here in brasil, tons of odds and ends to work on to get this project going.. love to you and la familia

benning said...

Well done! I'm impressed with your remaining polite and not descending into anger. Good on ya!

Che forever! - dead, that is!

GOD Bless you and yours!

ziva said...

That moment when you decided to go put on the shirt says it all Conductor. You stepped up to the plate, and hit a home run for Cubans. Way to go!

Albert Quiroga said...

It is obvious you che(ckmated) the brain-dead Santana, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Nice job.

That was really...ummm...Smooth...

A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Breaking: Conductor's reporting is very accurate. Take a look at what Santana just said to a Chilean radio station over the phone from Sausalito:

Ben Litchman said...

God bless you!

Karridine said...

Oooh! Speaking Truth to Used-to-Be-Powerfully-Melodius!

Good on you! My heart with your family's losses at the hands of Ernesto Guevara.

Keep up the good work!


PatriotCross said...

Great Job!

The truth is the truth, no matter whether you like or not.

But, I still love his music.

I just wish all the good entertainers wern't such nut cases.

They must use the only brian cells they have for entertaining, uh?

Keep up the good fight brother!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let me preface by saying this has nothing to do with my admiration of Carlos Santana the musician, and everything to do with just how I was raised to respect people.

I think you're a tactless idiot, the type you read about Charles Barkley tossing through a plate-glass window in a bar. Whatever your slant on the "Che" issue is, you don't parade back and forth in front of a window in full view of someone trying to enjoy a private dining moment with his wife.....regardless of his celebrity-status, he's not fair-game.

Reversing the shoes, how would you like it if you were out dining with your wife and got hassled over something you did at work?

And then to post on a public web forum that Carlos appeared stoned.....ZERO class. Besides, anyone who has viewed Carlos in interviews knows that he has a natural "stoner" way about his behavior and style of speech......that's just his manner.

Read the blog again and ask yourself who you respected more at the end for the way they handled themselves? or Carlos?

Denny Crane said...

Response to Anonymous:

First of all, it only took you 35 words or so to contradict yourself about how you were raised to respect people...maybe you could look up the definition of respect...

As for "reversing the shoes", well, not only is that an ambiguous's downright stupid.
Are you switching the left shoe with the right? Frontward and back? Or both? Are you then parading in front of a window?

Sanatana is and remains fair game. Wearing his beloved Che shirt was his's his statement.

Perhaps Santana's worst offense is that his support of Che is not of admiration, but more of a fashion statement...which indicates his true misunderstanding of the man and his myth.

steve poling said...

Carlos Santana can play a guitar, and he can do so quite well. Incidentally, he has an opinion about Latin American Marxists.

Incidentally, I own a guitar but never got around to learning to play it. It's ridiculous to think my music could be worth listening to. Why do we think it anything more than ridiculous when a celebrity presents his political opinions?

Mr. Santana should stick with what he's good at.

Anonymous said...

I wish people weren't so hard on Carlos about the Che' shirt. He apologized! Get over it!!

We all know Carlos means well. He's a big picture, screw the details kind of
guy and sometimes it comes back to haunt him.

He's a kid at heart and I like that. I am sure we can all be accused of being ignorant and contradictory ourselves on some issues.

Carlos is a spacey guy who basically loves everyone and wants the world to be a better place.

His long history of fighting for the rights of Mexican Americans, African Americans and Native Americans and children all over the world has been clear to most people who paid any attention to what's going on in the world.

This blogger has a cause and probably for good reason. I didn't know the good
and the bad about Che' until Carlos was grilled for wearing the shirt. I still
think we have much bigger issues to deal with on this planet.

One thing is so obvious and the guy doesn't even give Carlos credit for, is
being a man about it and inviting the guy to have a conversation about it while Carlos is having a meal with his wife. That says alot about Carlos'.

Carlos is a big time superstar and still felt strongly enough to go out of his way and talk with someone who strongly disagreed with him. I was amazed at that as I read the

That's being a man, a Hippie and a really nice human to have on this planet.

The thing about Carlos sounding like he smoked a lot of weed doesn't make
sense. He swore off weed a long time ago and he was with his wife who would
have had a few things to say about it if he were in fact stoned.

If I were Carlos, I would have just asked the guy, "What have you done for the children of the world today? Would you like to talk about something really important to share with your readers? Come and sit down with us and we'll tell you about our "Milagro" foundation."

Scott W.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Response to Anonymous:

It seems you really didn't really read my post. First of all I didn't parade back and forth. I took a picture in front of the window where he was eating. He's a celebrity and I'm sure he's used having people have their picture taken with him and I was on the other side of glass. Because I didn't want to parade in front of him I kept moving along the sidewalk. Only 20 or so minutes later did I come back, with no guarantee that he'd be there. I was on my way back to my car that was parked around the corner. I stopped for what couldn't have been more than 2 whole seconds when he jumped out of his seat and initiated the contact. My intention was only to let him know that there people that find his wearing of Che's image offensive and that I'm one of them.

Once he engages me in conversation, it's fair game. I told him what I felt and he told me what he felt. As I said it was very civil.

What's more tactless: My stopping in front of a window for 2 seconds so he could see that I disagreed with him on Che, or him wearing a shirt on national TV that glorifies a man who is a symbol of misery, tyranny and death for millions of Cubans? Give me a fucking break pal!

I never said Carlos was stoned. My wife commented that he sounded stoned. And I've smoked enough pot in my life to know what a stoned person sounds like. Perhaps he was, perhaps he wasn't. But he was definately spacey.

Response to Scott W.:

I wasn't aware that Santana ever apologized for wearing the Che shirt or being involved in the further perpetuating the myth of Che. He didn't mention any apology to me and he never apologized to me. And for someone that supposedly swore off pot, he has some very enthusiastic words about the matter that appeared in EFE news just yesterday. I posted about it under "Valentine's Day Blogging."

And as far as what I do for the children of the world, that is irrelevant. There's some real charitable scumbags out there.

But just so you know. I pay a hefty property tax bill every year which fund public schools in my area though I don't even have children. I support several causes that involve children's health such as the Wilson's Disease Foundation, Juvenile diabetes and La Liga Contra El Cancer. Additionally, I am an active volunteer in Animal rescue.

Anonymous said...

Your right, you do sound like you have smoked enough pot in your lifetime to know...
but what I can't tell from reading your ramblings.

Man, you need to get a life!

Anonymous said...

Racism (hatred of people because of the color of their skin) is a VERY VERY bad thing. In reading your blog, and many other "anti-Che", anti-Cuba, anti-Chavez, anti-popular movements, anti-indigenous, anti-black, etc., it seems that Ernesto Guevara, largely of European descent, will NEVER be forgiven, by those who are largely of European descent, for fighting for the rights of people of color. It seems that this is the highest crime and the most serious offense a European can commit. Very sad, but at the end of the day, Guevara is so much bigger in death, than he ever could have hoped to be in life. So, to all those who hate on 'Che'... there are those you can kill and there are those you just can't. The harder you fight, the larger he becomes, and 2000 years from now...well, you know the rest. Peace! p.s. sorry to post anonymously, but i live quietly and do not wish to have the hate mob come after me :(

Anonymous said...

I suppose Devadip Santana just smoked too much pot when he was young.

Don't you pay attention to those brainless marxists. I am living in my country, Venezuela, and I can assure you it's hell. They talk a lot about helping the poor people, but the young researchers and the professors at the public universities are starving to death, because this administration refuses to give them a fair raise. We still have the same salary we had at 2003, but the combined inflation index of 2004 and 2005 surpasses 100%. Where is justice there?

Anonymous said...

By the way: let me tell you that Chávez is giving money to every single country in Latin America, but the main highways, interstate roads and many other roads here in Venezuela are colapsing. Yes, COLAPSING. Is that fair? Why the hell Chávez has to help other countries while his own country, the one he is supposed to care for, is falling to pieces?

Anonymous said...

Henry Gomez, don't tell me you've never cut a pedo in your life you wish you could take back!

Carlos Santana apologized on stage in Miami on June 1, 2005.

From May - December 2005 he posted an apology for the world to read on

Enuff said! He doesn't deserve to be stalked while peacefully dining with his wife. "Carlos Santana wearing Che's t-shirt to the Oscars" is a boring non-issue. The man apologized multiple times, therefore, you and Mrs. Stalker should've just kept right on walking!


Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

To the last Mr. Anonymous. I was outside the concert in Miami protesting Mr.Santana. I was not inside and could not have heard that apoloogy if there was one. He could have very easily publicly apologized as Thalia did when she comitted the same faux pas. I have not seen anything on the internet reporting that he ever apologized and he did not mention any apology to me. If you could furnish any kind of proof as to this apology, I would greatly appreciate you posting the appropriate link(s) or emailing them to me.

Secondly he was not eating with his wife unless she looks remarkably like a man. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and I stood in front of a window for 2 seconds. He ENGAGED me in the conversation. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

To the other Mr. Anonymous who thinks Che did great things for blacks and that that's why we hate him, you are deluding yourself. Where are all the high ranking blacks in fidel's puppet government? I'll ask you what I asked Santana. Assuming that Che's goal was in fact to help blacks (which it wasn't) do the ends justify the means? Is it OK to kill people to accomplish that end? Or is it preferable to use a non-violent approach like MLK or Ghandi. Che relished in the violence. He wrote about it. His words were that you have to be a "killing machine".

You can call me a racist if you like but that's the type of diversionary ad hominem attack that I've come to expect from leftists when they don't have an answer to facts.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

And one more thing...

I'm not European. My Grandfather's Grandmother was Mambise that fought for the independence of Cuba. She was a martyr of the war for Cuban independence. Her son, grandon, and great grandson were all doctors that have helped more black people than Che ever did.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

After reading comments here about Santana's supposed apology I did a little digging. I found some references to an apology that was supposed to have been made on the show "primer impacto". There are no quotes anywhere to be found that indicate an apology. Perhaps he issued a non-apology apology like athletes do when they get caught doing something wrong or perhaps he was sincere but the only quote I have found is this one:

"Ya estoy acostumbrado a que no puedes quedar bien con todos, hago las cosas de corazón y al que no le guste, está bien, que apague el televisor. Mi vida es muy importante para dejarme llevar por chismes y babosadas", dijo Santana en San Juan (Puerto Rico), donde ha comenzado una gira por el Caribe, Centroamérica y México.

Which means:

I've become accustomed to the fact that you can't please everyone. I do things from the heart, and those that don't like it, fine, turn of the TV. My life is too important to be swept up in rumors and stupid games." Said Santana in San Juan (Puerto Rico) where he has started a tour of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

That's not an apology. That's saying "tough shit".

Anonymous said...


Santana Management’s official response to the questions surrounding the Che Guevera T-shirt that Carlos wore at the Oscars
4/18/2005, At this year's Academy Awards, Carlos Santana was invited to perform, along with Antonio Banderas, the winner of Best Original Song: "Al Otro Lado Del Dio" from The Motorcycle Diaries, a movie based on a nonfiction novel, the "Motorcycle Diaries" by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and "Traveling With Che Guevara" by Alberto Granado. For that occasion, Carlos Santana wore a shirt with a Che Guevara image from a famous graphic poster underneath his suit. The image was not intended to project a single note of the hatred, anger or revolutionary ruthlessness displayed when Che Guevara was a revolutionary leader in Cuba. It was worn to honor the soulful young man portrayed in the movie, who awoke to the struggle of the disenfranchised and who had a profound political epiphany during a journey across South America. The image was not meant to be an endorsement about a man who helped to establish the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.

Carlos Santana has always preached non-violence and spiritual awakening to promote a consciousness evolution, not revolution. The film and book portrayed Che as a person who cared about the poor and the needy. Santana Management hopes that those people who were offended by the image will understand the intention in which Carlos displayed it.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Yep that's the non-apology type of apology I expected. First of all it's not even a statement from Santana but rather from Santana management which means some PR flack. It doesn't even include a quote from Santana himself. It's the kind of apology that doesn't say "I'm sorry" anywhere. We're the ones that have to understand his intentions. We have to accept his actions, he has nothing to apolologize for. Well I'm gonna start wearing a Hitler shirt around and tell people they don't understand my intentions. After all Hitler was nice young lad who was a vegetarian, loved to paint and was also a big dog lover...before he decided to start killing people en masse.

Erick Hernandez said...

It was very comforting to see this article. I have been looking for the opportunity to learn that somebody put this Santana in his place.

The fact of the matter is that some people think that it is fair to express their opinion on things, notwithstanding the suffering of a whole country like Cuba. How would people feel if somebody would wear a shirt with Hitler on it? Che was a murderer and he institutionalized paredones in Cuba as mass production killing machines in the 60's in Cuba. People should think twice before wearing apparel showing images of mass murderers.

Someday the world will learn the atrocities and the New York Times, Hollywood and the liberal left who support Castro will be ashamed and exposed.

Thanks and keep up being a patriot!

Viva Cuba Libre!

David Hernandez

Greg said...

I believe your story 100%. And agree with you and what you did and how you handled yourself 100%! Way to go man.