Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of March 2, 2000

 Castro Clutches Free Weekly to Bosom, Shouts, " Mi Amor!"
Fidel Castro loves Miami New Times! First an article by Jacob Bernstein ("Fine Young Cannibals," February 10) that seems like an unbiased account of the Elian case but is full of opinions about why the kid should be returned to Cuba. Second we have Jim DeFede's articles about Jorge Mas Santos's interest in the case ("Leave the Driving to CANF," February 17) and about the "crazy" nun ("The Flighty Nun," February 24).

Last but not least we get Granma's account of the story ("According to Granma," February 24) so readers can have "unfiltered" information about the case. Well guess what? That article backfired on you. This is what gets fed to the Cuban people every day. I am certain the American public will see that it is full of propaganda, innuendo, and slander. And it neglects to mention the reasons why anyone would want to flee Cuba, legally or illegally.

The propaganda: U.S. policy, as well as the Cuban exile mob (particularly the Cuban American National Foundation), is guilty of causing Cuba's woes. Castro's regime educates its people, feeds them, gives them free medical attention, et cetera.

The innuendo: You are a good person if you are a revolutionary and a bad person if you are not. The "bad" persons are described with innumerable adjectives: counterrevolutionary, gusano, criminal, traitor to the country, mob, whore.

The slander: Elian's stepfather was the worst criminal in the world and practically pushed Elizabeth to the water to leave the country through intimidation.

The neglect: The government documents every moment of people's lives through means such as neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. People have to take their own pillow (if they have one) and sheets to the "free" hospitals. Food and other basic necessities are strictly controlled and rationed. You cannot speak your mind, you cannot show a sign against abortion or human rights, you cannot travel freely to other parts of the world. Should I go on?

Would you send a Jewish kid back to his father in Nazi Germany? An escaped black kid to his father on a Southern plantation? Surely the answer is an emphatic no. Please spare me the boasting about what people have suffered most in the world. One injustice is not better than another. America must stop playing ball with Castro and start defending the rights of all people, even if they are minors.

I pray that God awakens the public's conscience so people will see the reality of Cuba. And I pray that God awakens the conscience of the people of Cuba so those who call themselves revolutionaries, as well as the rest of the population, find strength to bring down the dictator, who is the true cause of their suffering.

Amneris Pedroso
via the Internet

You Wouldn't Understand, It's an Anglo Thing
Enough already with Elian Gonzalez! It's bad enough that we don't have an American-oriented, English-language daily in Miami. Now we're losing our most popular English-language weekly to the Cuban interests.

I only have local broadcast television but may soon be forced to get cable so I can watch newscasts from some American city up north because local news reporting has focused entirely on this one Cuban custody case to the exclusion of all other news. Why can't Channel 23 and Channel 51 be the sources for this nonstory and let us Anglos watch the news that might be of interest to us? Why can't El Nuevo Herald carry all the Elian Gonzalez coverage and let us Anglos enjoy American news in an English-language Miami Herald?

As an American living in South Florida I take particular umbrage that this is no longer an American metropolis. Has anyone else noticed that many news reporters have dropped the hyphenated American and now just say Cuban when referring to local exile politicians, activists, and causes?

Here's an analogy: Your brother is beating up your sister-in-law. You do the right thing and take her into your home for her protection, hoping your brother gets his act together. Well, he doesn't, so your temporary act of decency turns into a long-term commitment to your sister-in-law, who has now invited her mother and brothers and cousins to come stay at your place. They've taken over the bedroom, the kitchen, and the remote, so now you can't even decide what you want to watch on TV because the in-laws dominate your household. You seriously consider moving in with your crazy brother because you're developing a mutual dislike for his pushy in-laws.

I am not a xenophobe. I sincerely enjoy the variety of nationalities and cultures that surround me in South Florida. I even have numerous Cuban-American friends, and I hope we remain amigos after they read this. But this is no longer an American community with a diverse population. It has become a Cuban-dominated community that dictates the political and social climate.

Artists who are sympathetic to the Cuban government, or who have found a way to survive under it, are censored and banned here by the fascist elements of this town. The persecuted Cubans we Americans took in have now become quite bold in their majority. They dare local law enforcement officials to protect hard-won American principles of dissent and tolerance of opposing views by not only taunting, threatening, and intimidating opponents, but by throwing things at them. They assert their new power by blocking major traffic routes at rush hour, inconveniencing thousands of commuters and endangering lives, while the cops stand around fearful of opposing the Cuban community. And why shouldn't they be afraid? The Miami-Dade County government itself has endorsed the Cuban exile agenda at the expense of free expression.

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