Letters

Gonzalo: What About the Cubans Who Can't Play Piano?
Judy Cantor's piece on pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba ("The Quiet Cuban," October 9) was very well-done. I have not heard him play but I am sure he is a gem.

As I read the article I thought of the night he played the Gusman Center: protesters outside, people inside eagerly awaiting the artist's entrance, then the star finally appearing and playing "Imagine." I too imagined thousands of young Cubans on an island where their dreams go nowhere, frustrated perhaps because they may not have the talent (or the connections) of Gonzalo Rubalcaba to get them out of their desperation.

I respect the talents artists have been blessed with, and I respect their hard work. But just as Michelangelo fought with the church, I would expect an artist, if not politically involved, to have some kind of belief. I mean, I don't like the Ku Klux Klan; that's some kind of belief.

Everyone must know there are people like me who have been in exile for 35 years, who have suffered, and we just won't ever tolerate the idea that our exile has no meaning. We simply can't do it. We will not forget!

Lucrecia Bolet
North Miami

Gonzalo: Priority #1 = $$$
The title "The Quiet Cuban," although not the intent of Judy Cantor's article about Gonzalo Rubalcaba, did not target the real issue: Rubalcaba's silence about the tragedy of the Cuban people trapped for 38 years under a dictator never before seen in the Western world.

Rubalcaba seems clear as to his priorities: getting U.S. dollars. He is going to have his cake and eat it too. Castro will give him the royal treatment reserved for the chosen ones, while the other 11 million Cubans lack bare necessities.

"The Quiet Cuban" also showed the intolerance of Cubans in Miami, though the article failed to address the fact that the not-so-quiet Cubans are expressing their right to criticize those covering up for Castro and his gang, who have forced 11 million people to also be "quiet Cubans."

Isaac Matz
Miami

Gonzalo: The True Quiet Cubans Are Those Left Behind
Ms. Cantor's fixation with Cuban musicians who reside in Cuba and her disdain for anti-Castro activists is very troubling. The true "quiet Cubans" are those silenced by death and oppression under Castro's rule. I think there could be no sane argument against that. Of course Cuban exiles who live in Miami (or anywhere else) will protest appearances by an artist based in Cuba. These protesters, which she so demeans, have had homes, businesses, and lives of friends and family members taken from them by the totalitarian regime headed by Fidel Castro.

Again, I find it extremely troubling, because if Mr. Rubalcaba were a white South African who refused to speak out against apartheid, or a German who refused to denounce the crimes of Nazism, you would not be so flippant when describing the protesters at the concert.

This is not about politics or music. Mr. Rubalcaba can play where he pleases. This is about lives both lost in the past and being destroyed as we speak. So Gonzalito can play wherever he pleases, but those who feel that his silence regarding the murderous tyrant borders on complicity (count me among them) reserve the right to protest his appearances, or those of any other accomplices in this, the land of supposed freedom for all.

Emiliano Antunez
Miami

Natacha and the Woodpecker's Rump
The articles written by Kirk Semple and Jim DeFede concerning Dade County commissioners Natacha Millan ("Temporarily Grounded?" October 9) and Javier Souto ("The Rational, Eloquent, and Persuasive Mr. Souto," October 2) epitomize what happens when the Third World takes over Dade County politics. While Commissioner Souto appears to be completely clueless, Commissioner Millan seems hell-bent on making all of Dade County look like the environmental hellhole called Hialeah. Her statement "Show me an economic development motor and show me a bird, and I'm going to choose the economic development motor" sounds typical of her mentality. She represents Hialeah, an area not really known for its nature preserves but more for development run amuck.

It seems the majority of the Third Worlders on the Dade County Commission disdain everything that does not involve development. And they still refer to themselves as exiles, in the self-deluded belief they will one day go back to Cuba -- if Castro gets run over by a truck or dies of old age, since none of those exiles is making any attempt to assassinate him.

The question this poses for the community at large is obvious: Where do their loyalties lie? Why should they care about environmental issues? Cubans, who compose nearly 60 percent of all Hispanics in Dade, dominate the government, the media, the school system, and more. If they think of themselves as exiles, what does that say for commitment? Can public servants be sensitive to the public good if they are here only temporarily?

In 1986 ivory-billed woodpeckers (long feared extinct) were discovered in the highlands of eastern Cuba. Much to their credit, Cuban authorities at the highest levels agreed to shift a major north-south highway already under construction that would have crossed the ivory-bill area. This is a clear sign that Cubans in Cuba are deeply aware of conservation matters. One can only predict what will happen if, or when, the Latin Builders Association and the likes of Natacha Millan set foot on Cuban soil. Show Natacha Millan an ivory-billed woodpecker and an economic development motor and I guess the world can kiss the woodpecker's ass goodbye.

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