Letters

Blumner's ACLU: In Good Hands Without Me
Paula Park's story about the ACLU's Robyn Blumner ("Free to Speak Her Mind," June 12) left out some of the things I said, thereby possibly conveying a somewhat distorted impression of my views. I continue to support the ACLU, which has done a tremendous job with cases involving the homeless, Santeria, and the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, to name only a few.

The basic work of the organization is carried out by a group of dedicated volunteer lawyers. Since I am not an attorney, I felt that I could make a more significant contribution elsewhere. It is a matter of division of labor. I did not stop participating actively because I was disgruntled or frustrated; I felt the organization was in good hands.

The ACLU does need more Latino members. It is not good enough to say that anyone can join. The organization needs to look at the issue more closely and recruit more actively. But whatever disagreements I may have with Robyn Blumner regarding the sources of intolerance in the Cuban-American community or the lack of participation of Latinos in the organization, we agree on the basic issue that threats against the First Amendment, wherever they may come from, must be fought. I think Blumner did a good job of advancing the agenda of civil liberties during her tenure as head of Florida's chapter of the ACLU.

Max J. Castro
Miami

Blumner's ACLU: Closer to Socialism or Death than Life and Liberty
In reading "Free to Speak Her Mind," I am reminded of an old saying: "If you repeat a lie many times over, it becomes the truth." In the article, Paula Park asked Ms. Blumner: "[But] you've never discussed the climate of intolerance in Miami's Cuban community." Nice question. She should also ask it of Francisco Aruca, whom I've repeatedly and publicly invited to speak on my radio show. He has refused, of course.

Ms. Park also failed to mention the assassination of the four Brothers to the Rescue pilots, murdered by Mr. Aruca's pal Fidel Castro for trying to express their freedom to save lives in the Florida Straits. She further failed to mention the large number of dead bodies the "intolerant" Cuban community has been burying for years as a result of the actions of the oppressive communist pals of Mr. Aruca. Does she know how many rafters have drowned in the last few years? How many children we have buried? How many people have been torn apart by sharks? Try to imagine watching a son or daughter overturning on a raft and being torn apart by sharks in front of your eyes. Come on! How dare she call us intolerant.

I do believe in freedom of expression. I have repeatedly placed calls to state-run Radio Rebelde, Radio Progreso, Cuban state security, and any Castro sympathizer I can think of in order to ask them questions regarding the above-mentioned tragedies. Their response has always been to hang up the phone. They say they will never speak to "enemies of the revolution." So who is intolerant?

Does Ms. Park have any proof that the fire bombs and the bomb threats she refers to in her article were actually the work of members of the Cuban community? Did she ever see The Manchurian Candidate? We in the Cuban community believe these extremists are actually Cuban state security agents sent by Castro to discredit us.

I have received numerous death threats from individuals who identified themselves as defenders of the revolution. The threats prompted the radio station to prohibit any more calls to Cuba. Our radio station has been shot at on at least three occasions in 1997 alone (yes, actual bullets), and Ms. Park speaks of exile intolerance? The intolerance is from the ones who believe in socialism or death, not from those of us who believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Enrique Pollack,program director
Havana Rock (WWFE-AM 670)
Miami

Blumner's ACLU: Praise the Constitution and Pass the Ammunition
Robyn Blumner seems to suffer from the same associative dysfunction as the upper management of the ACLU. Thus it is more correct to describe her as a liberal rather than a civil libertarian, because her world view prevents her from thinking conceptually, from, as she put it, lifting a principle from one set of facts and applying it to another. I refer specifically to the ACLU's vaunted defense of the rights of every citizen as guaranteed under the Constitution -- except the Second Amendment ["... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"].

The intellectual honesty and courage to defend all rights, however personally troubling, is the mark of the civil libertarian. To selectively support only what makes you feel good is the mark of the hypocrite.

Tom W. Glaser
Hollywood

Odio Dropped the Glass Ceiling on My Head
While Robert Andrew Powell's article "Degrees of Ineptitude" (June 12) correctly stated that Cesar Odio terminated my employment with the City of Miami, his account of the basis for my termination was inaccurate.

My termination as coordinator of the city's Neighborhoods Jobs Program (the Overtown Jobs Program) for sixteen years was not due to dereliction of my responsibilities, but rather it was the consequence of the city's historical discriminatory employment practices. Under Odio's stewardship, and as the city's financial condition plummeted, racial and ethnic tensions flourished. The glass ceiling for qualified African-American employees was lowered.

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