Lesnik: Longing for the Lap of Luxury?
Mike Clary's article "Miami's Man in Havana" (April 30) was mistitled. It should have been "Havana's Man in Miami." Max Lesnik is proof that Cubans in Miami are a tolerant people. We need him here in order to see, in the flesh, one of Jose Marti's insightful thoughts: Every tyranny has at hand one of those learned men to think and write, to justify, to extenuate, and to disguise. Sometimes it has many of them, because literature is often coupled with an appetite for luxury, and with the latter comes a willingness to sell oneself to whoever can satisfy it.

John Suarez
Free Cuba Foundation

Lesnik: Not Close to Being Funny
To try to paint Max Lesnik as anything other than an apologist for the Castro regime is a distortion of the facts. Whether for philosophical reasons or personal friendship, Mr. Lesnik has chosen to stand by Castro, even making such outrageous statements as "To compare Hitler with Fidel, you are in some way glorifying Hitler." This statement might seem humorous if it were not so obviously biased.

Though Mike Clary's article tries to paint Mr. Lesnik as nothing more than someone with differing opinions, possibly based on differing personal experiences, nothing can change the fact that the regime he refuses to condemn has a consistent history of oppressing its people, denying free expression, imprisoning political dissidents to a degree that makes the former South African regime look tame, and, not being satisfied with its own misery, attempting to export revolution to other nations by violent means. If anything, Mr. Lesnik should be called "Havana's Man in Miami."

Cesar Vasquez

Attention All Drug Dealers: Yvonne Will See You Burn
In reference to Tris Korten's cover story titled "Our Hero the Drug Dealer" (April 23), I could not be more upset and disappointed. Are we glorifying known drug dealers? That is the impression this story gave me. So what if Rickey Brownlee gave out turkeys at Thanksgiving? So what if he gave clothes to those "less fortunate"? So what if he coached kids' sports and distributed Christmas gifts? Be real, people. Rickey Brownlee is a damn drug dealer!

The article left out the opinions of the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, and friends of those whose lives Brownlee's "business" has ruined. Those who have been abused physically and emotionally by a loved one who is a crack addict. Those who have been robbed and beaten for a few dollars by a crack addict. Those who have seen death brought on by some desperate crack addict who needed a fix.

The article says: "These people who are buying, everybody has their own free will." If you are dumb enough to try crack, you'll no longer have free will. It's very easy to get hooked, and then it takes over your brain. Anybody who has been addicted to crack will tell you it's not an easy habit to break.

So to Rickey Brownlee and all you freakin' drug dealers out there, don't blame society for your inability to get a real job. There's always a better way than having to resort to dealing drugs. I hope you all burn in hell for the hell you've caused here on Earth.

Yvonne Diaz
Coral Gables

Ahead of the Curve in the War on AIDS
Regarding Kathy Glasgow's article about Health Crisis Network ("Fall from Grace," April 30), I would ask readers to consider all the important reasons HCN rose to the status of Florida's premier AIDS service agency. Interviews with any of the thousands of well-served clients who have passed through its doors over the years -- especially at a time when there was nowhere else to turn -- might shed some additional light.

Nonetheless we are experiencing a changing epidemic (yes, it is still an epidemic) that requires new strategies and hard looks at our agencies. The pending merger of HCN and the Community Research Initiative of South Florida will provide our community with a tremendous opportunity to be served by a team with a renewed commitment to providing the most comprehensive and effective set of services possible, in the most efficient way possible. It's great to be perceived as "ahead of the curve."

Rick Siclari, executive director
Community Research Initiative
Coral Gables

This Virus Does Not Discriminate
Since the AIDS epidemic first emerged in the early 1980s, the face of the disease has changed from gay white men to people from all walks of life, of all ages, religions, and colors, as well as other characteristics that divide us as well as unite us.

And like the epidemic, AIDS service organizations must also change and evolve. The founders of Health Crisis Network were some of the first people to respond to the epidemic and to the expanding needs of the community. While I have privately and publicly disagreed with many of HCN's actions, I have also agreed with many of its policies and directions. I have always recognized its leadership, commitment, and dedication during the entire AIDS crisis.

I am excited that the expanding face of AIDS will now include a combined HCN and Community Research Initiative. Rick Siclari has done an excellent job at CRI, and I have faith that the organization will expand to better serve the community.

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