By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Castro Is Bad, Not Cuba
Last Thursday my children called to tell me that I was featured in New Times ("Overthrow on the Radio," February 13). Later that day I saw myself in the photograph, but when I read Kathy Glasgow's article, I did not recognize myself or my friends from [the shortwave radio program] The Voice of the Resistance. I respect your right to see me as you see fit and to write as you feel. That right, the right to self-expression, is one of the motivating factors of my struggle.
In our brief conversation, I told Ms. Glasgow that the war in Cuba has not finished. That was the gist of our conversation. It has not finished because Castro betrayed the Cuban people -- abolishing rights, executing Cubans, and entrenching himself in power. I wonder what her life would have been like had she had been a Cuban who grew up under the system. She would see her parents whispering in fear, then falling silent when they saw her, for in Castro's Cuba, children are encouraged to squeal on their parents.
She would have to wear the red kerchief of the Cuban Youth, scream slogans, and ask for executions for "traitors." Perhaps she would have learned the reality of oppression and decided to struggle against it. For speaking out she would face prison and torture in the dungeons of state security, where an officer would warn her with sadistic smiles of all the dangers she would face if she continued her rebellion.
After the initial shock, she would be faced with doing nothing or struggling against the system and facing the consequences. Should she continue, she would find herself naked in a cold room without toilet facilities, with water up to her ankles, being told that she must sign a "confession" as a CIA agent or suffer the consequences of jail, torture, and anger that state security unleashes upon its prey. Worst of all, there would be the knowledge that she would face this alone, an individual against the system, a system entrenched in absolute power.
I objected to the tone of the article because the subheadline stated, "With a vengeance born of extremists ...," giving the worst impression that we are irrational radicals bent on revenge. In reality, our programs stress the fact that we forgive the majority of the Cuban military and the political structure, holding only the Castro brothers and a small group of henchmen responsible for the present plight of our nation. We stress in all our programs that those learning our methods should apply them with care and not hurt civilians or innocent bystanders.
We do not want random destruction or acts of terrorism. We seek to mentally free those who are enslaved by the tremendous repressive machinery of the system. The robot zombies the system has attempted to create can only free themselves by standing up to that system, by acts of rebellion, by an individual choice of struggling for rights guaranteed by the United Nations. We advocate legitimate resistance that will paralyze the Cuban political and economic structure.
We see ourselves not as vengeful extremists but as Cubans who have suffered the pain of the system and who see resistance as the only solution against a totalitarian dictatorship. Were members of the French Resistance terrorists? Was Menachem Begin a revenge-oriented radical when he forged national pride in the creation of Israel? Was the Boston Tea Party an act of terrorism?
What we demand is no different from what the United States government asks of the Cuban government -- that the Castro brothers disappear from the scene and that the nation be rebuilt on the basis of suffrage and respect for human rights.
Sadly, Ms. Glasgow's article dwelled on the methods of resistance that we teach but did not dwell at all on the reasons why we struggle. I wonder if she would have portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr., as a rabble-rouser who advocated strikes and confrontations with police without explaining the reasons for the civil rights struggle in America?
Dr. Armando A. Zaldivar
You Think Castro Is Bad? Try Batista
Kathy Glasgow's article "The Phone Is Mightier Than the Sword" (February 6) made me laugh. The headline should have read, "Phony." You people got suckered.
Yes, Ninoska Perez is anti-Castro. The question is, Why? The answer is obvious: She and her husband lost all the goodies they had as children of colonels under Batista. Those national police colonels were not exactly Boy Scouts. As a matter of fact, they were downright nasty, every bit as nasty as Castro's police. It is almost like a child of the KGB saying that SS troopers were nasty people.
Most of the leaders of the uprising against Batista were not acting for altruistic reasons or for the good of Cuba. They simply wanted to throw the bums out so they could take over the money pits -- the gambling, prostitution, and all the other rackets. Hell, there isn't a Cuban alive who can remember an honest government in that country, which makes it no different from any other Latin American country.