Mr. Lesnik has a right to his opinion. Fortunately for him, he lives in Miami, the supposed mecca of intolerance. I sincerely would hate to see what would happen to Mr. Lesnik in the land he calls paradise if he opposed Fidel's point of view.

Emiliano Antunez

Lesnik: While Max Plays, Cubans Pay
In my capacity as a journalist for many years in Havana, I knew Max Lesnik. He was a handsome young student, leader of the Ortodoxo youth, fighting against the corruption of the Prio government and the dictatorship of Batista. What Lesnick does not mention in his memories of his university days with Castro is the fact that the Cuban dictator memorized all the speeches of Benito Mussolini and rehearsed them in front of a mirror. He also constantly carried under his arm a copy of Mein Kampf.

Lesnik also did not mention how many of his friends had been executed by the tyrant. Has he visited Cuban prisons or talked to the Cuban dissidents who languish as prisoners in their own homes? While Lesnik is frolicking with the dictator, Cubans' human rights are violated and the freedom of press he enjoys in Miami is denied to the land where he was born.

Delio Valdes
Miami Beach

Lesnik: No Castro, No Problem, No Lie
Please be advised that there exists a serious lie in Mr. Clary's article. On page 31 appears this statement: "... conservative Miami lawyer Leonardo Viota, author of the ubiquitous bumper sticker 'No Castro, No Problem'." This is simply not true. Mr. Viota is not the creator of the bumper sticker. As Mr. Viota knows, the creator wishes to remain anonymous. The "No Castro, No Problem" author has let the authorship of said bumper sticker slogan belong to the people.

Mickey Garrote

Mike Clary replies: Mr. Viota has never claimed to be the sole author of the "No Castro, No Problem" bumper sticker. Rather, says Mr. Viota, the slogan grew out of discussions held by several founding members of the group Agenda: Cuba, an exile organization dedicated to democratic reforms in Cuba. The group was founded in August 1994, and the first bumper stickers were produced that fall. Mr. Viota adds: "Mr. Garrote was nowhere around when that slogan was created."

Speaking of Castro ...
I applaud the changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba and hope this heralds the first step toward normalization of relations. For far too long U.S. policy toward Cuba has been dictated by reactionary immigrants rather than common sense and tested international policies.

The demands of Cuban exiles have created a decades-old siege mentality in Cuba and ensured Castro's position long after he would have lost power had relations had been normalized in the Seventies, as they should have been.

If the United States sincerely wants to help the Cuban people who have bravely remained on their island for nearly 40 years, and wants to ensure an orderly transition of power post-Castro, aggressive steps must be taken to fully restore a friendly relationship with our neighbor as soon as possible.

Stanton Schram
South Miami

Speaking of Knee-Jerk Anti-Castro Troglodyte Exiles ...
Thank you for having the courage and tenacity to deal with the issue of freedom of dissent in South Florida. For years I have felt shame about the actions of my government in siding with oppression all over the world while mouthing expressions of supporting freedom, democracy, and self-determination.

Engagement with Cuba's evolving socialism would be the desired method for capitalist co-optation if the United States were really in favor of reciprocal economic and cultural activity as per "free" enterprise.

It seems our government is more interested in obtaining votes from knee-jerk anti-Castroites, whose agenda I have always suspected has more to do with getting a handout from Uncle Sam than actually doing in Fidel. With all the resources and mercenaries available to them in Florida for more than a quarter-century, no band of counterrevolutionaries ever seriously moved to "liberate" the Cuban masses. Like comic-opera generals, they've sat in Miami or Hialeah downing buchitos and beating their chests about the great tyrant. While others try to seriously fraternize with real Cubans, these troglodytes go about intimidating singers and artists and other easy targets. Don't get me started!

Derek Lawler
Pompano Beach

HCN: Victim of Relentless Negativity
While we commend Kathy Glasgow for her weeks of extensive interviews to learn about Health Crisis Network (HCN), we would be remiss in our commitment to the community if we did not clarify certain issues raised in her article ("Fall from Grace," April 30).

In response to "Where does the money go?" it is indeed true that salaries account for a substantial portion, as we could not provide services without trained, salaried individuals. Skilled people are needed to staff the bilingual hotline and to provide counseling, case management, a free HIV mobile testing van, treatment education, children's programs, and a minority-based women's program. HCN's client load has doubled in the past two years, with the agency currently providing services to 900 clients per month. While fewer people are dying of AIDS, increased longevity means an increase in the need for services, especially long-term support.

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