Letters

High-Spirited and Perhaps Highly Imaginative
Though I shudder at the thought that Kathy Glasgow's "Urban Shipwreck" (March 6) will amount to my fifteen minutes of fame, I respectfully request your correction regarding the following:

1) Robert Madsen has been paid in full through his last date of employment. He is owed nothing.

2) In 1987, while Michael Zapetis's offices were closed for four months, the state comptroller's office found no wrongdoing, no charges were brought, and Mr. Zapetis was not required to pay restitution or cease any of his businesses. The only effect of the 1987 investigation was that all the plants in the office died while the state's investigators went through all the files in the office and spilled coffee all over the rug.

3) Nick Zapetis has never been a partner of Michael Zapetis, but a very short-lived employee of Michael. Nick, who suffers delusions of grandeur, has never "lost" any money with Michael. To the contrary, he helped himself to whatever he could carry.

4) Anonymous quotes from folks who claim that Zapetis and/or the Rex Bear owes money to "everyone" on the river are blatantly untrue. Anyone proving money owed would have filed a maritime lien, which has not been done. The Rex Bear is free and clear.

5) I take some issue with the description of my demeanor -- "bristles," "protests," "cries," "ballistic." I appear close to a breakdown in the article, whereas my friends consider me simply high-spirited.

Karen Carazo, president
First International Finance Corporation
Miami

Kathy Glasgow replies: Robert Madsen says he was not paid all he was due between November 1995 and July 1996. He also asserts that he wasn't paid for his final four days.

As for the Rex Bear owing money, several businessmen on the river say the ship's owners owe mainly dockage fees and that in most cases it is not worth the time and expense to file a lien.

The court order closing Zapetis's businesses in 1987 states that he and his co-defendants were "transacting business in a manner which is fraudulent and otherwise violative of Florida law," and refers to "substantial amounts of unsecured monies acquired by the defendants in violation of Florida law." In the stipulated order of May 1988, Zapetis and his co-defendants agreed permanently to cease several listed business practices. They also agreed to "make restitution to any party who can demonstrate, upon proper application to a court of competent jurisdiction, that they have paid to said defendants improper expenses, fees ... etc."

Cantor on Kantor: A Sonero's Sad Serenade
I would like to congratulate Judy Cantor on her great article about Israel Kantor ("Exile Blues," February 27). It seems that history repeats itself. When jazz and blues came out, America ignored them at first, while in Europe people became very interested in the sound coming from America.

Being a European resident, I have seen the advantages of the Cuban-European cultural exchange. I have become deeply involved in the Cuban music scene in Europe and have had the privilege and honor of seeing groups such as Los Van Van, NG La Banda, El Medico de la Salsa, Climax, and others. Not only have I been able to attend these fabulous concerts, but I've gotten to know some of the musicians personally. A lot of them are very disciplined and dedicated to their music. They are true professionals and simple, humble young people, uncorrupted by this materialistic world. Never have I heard a political or communist statement -- and there was nobody in the room who would torture them if they made such a statement. Yes, maybe they did talk about how difficult things are, but even with their problems their attitude is a positive one. Their desire to share their music with the outside world has prompted an underground Cuban music craze, and now in European nightclubs you'll find people dancing "Cuban style."

It's a shame that Cuban Americans, out of hatred or resentment, have imposed a block on any cultural exchange with Cuba. These musicians, after all, aren't politicians. And what they have to offer is definitely better than the Latin music scene in Miami.

Thanks once again to Judy Cantor for shedding light on a very talented musician such as Israel Kantor.

(I prefer to remain anonymous. If not, I've been told, someone may put a bomb in my car. That's freedom of speech.)

Name Withheld by Request
Miami

Cantor on Kantor: Keep Your Hate Politics Out of My Concert Schedule
I find it ridiculous that Los Van Van were granted visas to perform in the U.S. but yet they could not play in Miami because of the intolerance of some reactionary Cubans who think they govern the city. Those Cubans left, as most of us did, due to intolerance and a dictatorship that has been reigning there for the last 38 years. Then they choose to do the same over here. Apparently they have learned very little about tolerance, pluralism, and diversity.

They also demand of artists visiting from Cuba that they "define" themselves, something that the Cuban government itself has done for years. That definition has to do with political orientation, specifically with coming out and saying that Castro is a tyrant and that the revolution has done no good whatsoever. We clearly saw this with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who did not criticize the government. And we saw it with Rosita Fornes, who wanted to sing in Miami but then would dare to return to the island.

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