By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Mr. Mayor, I beg of you, please don't inflame the exile community any more than it already is. I love Miami -- that's why I haven't left yet. But as understanding of the Cuban exile community as we (Americans) are expected to be, why isn't the Cuban exile community expected to have that same respect and understanding of us? Please, I implore you, ask the Cuban exile community to respectfully "agree to disagree" with their neighbors. Shouting, bottle and rock throwing (Los Van Van concert ring a bell?) does nothing but denigrate this fine country. Do Cubans have a different set of laws than the rest of Americans?
As a Nicaraguan American I feel that you don't care to represent my interests. While the county is mired in corruption, poorly run schools, sports arenas built at taxpayer expense, you choose to pick a fight with Washington. I'm sure you have better things to do than prostitute yourself to the mobs in Little Havana. Sadly I have reached the conclusion that if I vote for a Cuban politician, I would be wasting my vote, since they seem to be more interested in what happens in a foreign country 90 miles away than what goes on in our country.
Are Haitians subject to the same laws as Cubans? Would you prevent our federal government from repatriating others in an identical situation?
I am a 25-year-old man who came to South Florida from Colombia when I was 7 years old. At one point you were somebody I looked up to. I thought you were a man with a strong backbone who would do what is right for our community. Instead you are bowing to political pressure. Mayor, please remember this country is great because the law applies to all of us without exception.
There are other Cubans here who think [Elian] should be reunited with his Dad. Where is our representation?
My husband and I have been residents of Dade County for over 40 years and we have never been as angry or embarrassed at a speech by a Dade County mayor as the absurd speech you made yesterday. You are mayor of Cuban and Latins only, and the other residents of Dade County have no mayor.
I can assure you that if there is a recall movement for you, we will sign it immediately. We will also do whatever we can to ensure you are not elected to office again. We are totally appalled, angry, and humiliated by this situation.
I personally am not of Cuban descent. I am proud to be from the island of Puerto Rico. I would like to remind you, with all due respect, that you have an obligation to all the people of this county to make sure that all laws are obeyed. This is definitely not anarchy, and we should not be forced to accept the will of a few hundred Cuban fanatics.
Allow me to remind you, sir, that you are the mayor because an awful lot of non-Cubans voted to elect you.
Seeing as you have prostituted yourself in favor of the interests of one group of citizens, and seeing as you have condoned and in fact encouraged lawlessness and violence in our country, I respectfully request that you resign.
As you so aptly reminded all of us: "I am a Cuban first."
Fifty-year resident, voted for you, donated to your campaign, wouldn't spit on you now if you were on fire standing next to me.
Up until this incident I was a vocal supporter of yours, but now I am ashamed of your narrow-minded political pandering to a very small segment of the misguided exile movement.
Well, you can take the boy out of Hialeah but I guess even an Armani suit means you can't take Hialeah out of the boy. My God, Alex, what drugs are you taking? I will remember this in November. I vote, I have plenty of money, and I donate.
Alex, you owe the people of the U.S. an apology and the people of Miami some respect. Be a man and admit that you were speaking from emotion and not logic. I can understand your emotions. I have them as well. You are expected to walk a higher road, much higher than Raul Martinez, for example. Good God.
I voted for you, Mr. Penelas, when you were running for mayor because I believed you had principles and would not cater to the Cuban community only but to all citizens of this county, and that you would uphold the oath of your office. I can now see I was wrong. I will not vote for you again for any office you run for, and I am sure there are a great amount of people who feel the same way.
You have proven to be just another foot soldier of this sick and crazed machinery who specializes in stirring mass hysteria by exploiting the pain of the Cuban-exile community. It is a way of life for that group. But for you? Just by observing who was standing behind you [at the press conference], it was clear to me that you had basically sold out to powerful interests in this community.