I’m fully aware that Cubachi’s given name is Jennifer Caballero. Truly, I am. But even now as I plant the finishing touches on this profile, after a week of exchanging information, “Jen” never springs readily to mind and “Cubachi” is right there at the forefront of my consciousness. If her branding effort succeeds as well with the broader reading public as it has with me (and I suspect it has), then that’s an accomplishment worth touting.
Jen is one of a few fascinating bloggers/Twitter personalities I have followed for quite some time, yet still have not met. I somehow sensed that there might be a powerful story behind the elusively beautiful face we’ve come to know and love. I was not mistaken. It is no exaggeration to predict that the story of Jen’s life and the heritage, of which she boasts with appropriate and comely pride, will make your heart swell with patriotic fervor. Most of us are too many generations removed from persecution to adequately cherish our distinct American freedoms. Our friend Cubachi is an exception to this norm.
Whether or not you agree with Cubachi’s take on current events, she possesses an unmistakable knack for publishing commentary on developments and ideas that are relevant and timely. With 2012 looming on the not-so-distant horizon, a luminous future awaits for this talented young woman.
10 Questions for Jennifer Caballero
1. I’ve told you in the lead-up to this profile that you are one of the most enigmatic people on Twitter…rather mysterious! So first, tell us about how and where you grew up and how this ties in to your Twitter handle: @Cubachi!
I am definitely a Jersey girl, and I continue living in this great state. My Twitter handle is due to my heritage. My parents are Cuban exiles, and immigrated here during the Nixon administration.
My father was a political prisoner in Cuba and was arrested for his opposition to Castro. He was tortured and malnourished. Just to give you an idea, my father is six feet tall. He left Cuba’s prison weighing 98 pounds. After getting the papers to come to the US, there was nothing like breathing in freedom and liberty for him.
The President at the time was Richard Nixon, and much like Arnold Schwarzenegger, my father became a Republican after listening to one of his speeches. But his favorite President of all-time is Ronald Reagan. That was one man who did not fear Communists and the evil they promote.
So in his household, liberalism was a definite no-no. I never swayed away from being on the right side of the aisle. I never understood the fascination with liberalism even when I went to high school and college.
I went to Fairleigh Dickinson University, and got a BA in Communications (Specializing in Print Journalism) and an MA in Corporate Communications. I might go back to school sometime in the future for a doctorate.
Currently, I work for a periodical in NJ as a researcher.
As for my Twitter handle, it’s a funny story. I went to an urban high school, and rap was all the rage. I was the only gal who wasn’t a fan of rap music. My tastes lean to rock and other genres. Anyway, the class made up ridiculous nicknames like “Cereal Killer”, and I decided to pay homage to my heritage. I’m the dull one. Heh. My maternal grandfather was Chinese Cuban. He died in the US a decade ago. He was a trumpeter for a mambo band in Cuba, and when he exiled to the US, he opened a small business here, along with the Chinese side of my family.
I assure you all, I am no “gangsta.” Ha!
2. You blog, as would be expected at your own site: Cubachi.com. When did you start blogging, how long have you maintained that site and was this what you thought you’d be doing today, 5 years ago…and do you plan to continue down this avenue for a good while to come?
I started blogging last February. I first started out at my buddy Brian’s site at www.therightscoop.com. From there, I started my own site, using my unique Twitter handle. It started off with a shaky entrance because I was trying to find my own groove in what to do with the blog and politics.
Finally, I concentrated in politics, with an occasional reference to pop culture. From there, I got noticed by terrific conservatives and mentors like Melissa Clouthier and Dan Riehl, so I also co-blog at http://libertypundits.net/ and Riehl World View.
3. I’ve noticed that you update many times throughout the day, almost unfailingly with headlines that I actually want to click on! Are you a professional blogger and where do you get your best scoops, since you’re based in New Jersey? In other words, how do you cultivate your leads?
I actually work in the news business. I work as a researcher for a daily newspaper here in New Jersey. So I am online practically all day, staring at the computer like a zombie. Might as well blog, right?
I am by no means a “professional” at this. However, I am learning from the best, including Michelle Malkin, Melissa Clouthier, Dan Riehl, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit over at Hot Air, Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain and other great blogs that would take so long to mention.
4. When did you join Twitter and how do you make it sync up with your blog, so that the two formats function together to promote your work?
My brother Manny is very much a techie geek, so back in 2007, he told me about the latest episode of Leo Laporte’s podcast. At the time, Laporte mentioned Twitter. So I joined, using my nickname back in high school for the uniqueness of it. I loved the idea, and started tweeting some rather innocuous things not dealing with politics. I then noticed in 2008, Michelle Malkin and some high profile bloggers joining Twitter and using it to tweet articles and news of the day. That’s when I saw Twitter as a useful medium for news, opinion and communicating with like-minded conservatives. I really enjoy it.
5. How does your Catholic faith impact your outlook on life and the way you filter the stories you tell as a blogger?
As a little girl, I was fascinated by the saints, nuns and priests who give their lives for God. My faith is enriched by this history.
I am very much pro-life. I’ve met Latina women in my community who underwent abortions since they were scared, impressionable young women. Many of them were coaxed into having abortions and I saw firsthand the pain they endure reliving those abortions.
6. You’re rather well known as a Sarah Palin booster. What are the reasons you feel she is the best hope for the Republican Party in 2012? I was a fan of Palin’s since early 2008. I actually went to a John McCain rally in February 2008, in hopes of meeting Senator Joe Lieberman and Mayor Rudy Giuliani (one of my all-time favorite politicians). Even at that early date, I hoped to get a moment with McCain, just to advise him if he won, to take a look at Sarah Palin. I never got to meet him, nor did he need me to say anything. Heh. I’d read blogs and articles about her prior to that time, and thought she was the perfect running mate for McCain and the person to help bring excitement to his candidacy. (Which she did!)
I see her as an average person who has done extraordinary things. She didn’t have a husband or parents in politics. She went into this on her own, and defeated an incumbent Republican governor. Her entrance into politics was for the purpose of enacting change because she was tired of the status quo. Her record proves that. She is also on the right side of a lot of issues I care about: energy independence, economic issues, social issues and national security issues. I believe she is one of the very few who stood by Governor Jan Brewer when she passed her immigration law. I give Palin a lot of kudos for that. She has her pulse on what are the pressing issues of the day.
I think we need someone with that fortitude and boldness in Washington.
7. I’ll admit this is probably the strangest question I’ve ever posed in a feature I’ve done! But to set the stage: As I’ve said, you’re one of the more high-profile conservative Tweeters/bloggers, but one of a very few I haven’t yet met! So here’s the question: How would you describe your persona or failing that…how would your friends describe you? Are you outgoing online and reserved in person or really not at all shy, all around?
I used to be a shy person and nerd when I was younger. In fact, in high school, I was named “Quietest Student.” One of the reasons I was “quiet” in high school was to stay out of trouble. My dad always advised me, when it comes to drama, “Sea el cero a la izquierda.” Translation: Be the zero to the left of the decimal. Avoid trouble and drama. You know how teenagers are! Dad’s advice paid off.
I am humorous and outgoing.
While in college, I grew out of my shell, and loosened up a bit. I am very talkative now. And yes, my nerdiness still remains!
8. We want to know your favorites, Jennifer! (Even forming this question, I almost called you “Cubachi”, but restrained myself just in time…) So what do you enjoy in the following categories: Books, Musical Artists, Movies, Foods, Most Admired People…and whatever else you want to toss into the mix?
Books: I am a fan of all types of books. But my two favorite writers of all-time are Mark Twain and John Steinbeck. The single book that has impacted me was “Ordinary People” by Judith Guest.
I love Broadway shows. Living in close proximity to NYC, I get the opportunity to go see musicals and escape for three hours and enjoy a comical and fun show. I’ve seen 10 musicals so far. My favorites are Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber is a genius) and Monty Python’s Spamalot.
Music: I have an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy Hall and Oates, The Cure, Tears for Fears, Journey, Billy Joel, Linkin Park, Revel Hotel (My cousin Barrett is the drummer for the band), Matchbox 20, Johnny Cash, Hanson, Frank Sinatra, Coldplay, Andrea Bocelli, and Eros Ramazzotti. All households of those with Cuban descent, have a Willy Chirino album. The man is a patriot and a great artist. I believe he sang at a Miami fundraiser for McCain-Palin back in 2008.
Coolest moments on Twitter: Tweeting with great tweeps (too many to name), and getting replies from great bloggers, reporters like Greta Van Sustren, and from politicians like Governor Chris Christie, British MEP Nigel Farage, and Rick Santorum.
One politician I admire other than Palin: Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Call me a RINO, but America’s mayor was the best in the tri-state area. He revitalized a city that was riddled in crime and in the dumps economically. Plus, this was the man everyone looked to on the day we were attacked on 9/11, for reassurance. I think people don’t fully appreciate what he has done during his eight-year mayorship. Plus, he’s a New York Yankees fan. A major plus.
Movies: Almost any movie by Clint Eastwood. One of my most treasured items is an autographed picture of Eastwood. I am a fan of almost anything Hitchcock, Pixar, Christopher Nolan, and Hayao Miyazaki. I even wrote my Masters’ thesis on “Hayao Miyazaki: Environmental and Social Awareness Through Animation.” Best film ever made was Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner.
TV: American Idol, Dancing with the Stars (dependent on whether or not the line-up is one I would enjoy) Fox News shows, 24, Lost, Totally 80s on VH1 Classics, Celebrity Apprentice, Doctor Who and Sherlock.
9. Will any of us ever get to meet you at a future social media-oriented event and have you met, in person, any of the folks you follow on Twitter?
Ha! I might remain enigmatic. *Kidding.* Of course I want to meet the people I communicate with in the Twittersphere. I have yet to meet in person anyone from Twitter, but I have gotten to speak with a few via phone.
10. This question usually comes earlier in the interview, but we’ll conclude with it. When did you become interested in politics and news, specifically from a conservative point of view and how would you articulate the definition of conservatism today?
Living in a Cuban American household, it’s quite difficult to avoid politics.
However, two events and one person captured my fascination with politics.
Mayor Giuliani’s mayorship in NYC. I saw firsthand how he revitalized the city.
Second, in 2000, I watched MTV quite a lot, and saw a segment on MTV News about young students in favor of George W. Bush and others for Steve Forbes. That got the ball rolling for me. I thought to myself, why am I not paying attention? I was fascinated with reading about the Republican candidates, watching the debates, and reading news about it.
Third, in 2006 on WABC radio, I heard Mark Levin. No one has captivated me by the details of politics and the history of the US, like “The Great One.” I learned about conservatism and the history of it through his show. Plus, his humor and the way he electrifies on radio, is unlike anyone I’ve heard.