Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of April 20, 2000

The Sanchez Solution
Ramon Saul Sanchez is an exile leader with charisma, style, and a strong sense of drama
By Kirk Nielsen

Follow the Leader -- as He Backs You into a Corner
Kirk Nielsen's article concerning Ramon Saul Sanchez, self-anointed exile leader and one of the men behind the Elian saga ("The Sanchez Solution," April 13), provides glimpses of the contradictions that exist between what he says and what he does, and more important, between what he allegedly seeks and what he ultimately achieves.

Mr. Sanchez says he doesn't want to do "anything chaotic, because that is how we will lose respect." As a Cuban American with 35 years in this country, I can assure you that our conduct over the last few months has already lost us the respect of the American populace, and much more. The shameful conduct of the few hundred exiles under the tutelage of Mr. Sanchez and a few others has undone decades of exile productivity and peaceful coexistence by the other 500,000 of us. It has, in fact, painted the entire exile community as undemocratic, if not fascistic. Furthermore this conduct has given the impression that we are an ungrateful community that does not abide by the law, about which Fidel Castro is quite happy. Most painful, however, is the display of anger and hatred toward this nation's leadership. The exiles hurl insults against our president (coward, traitor, communist) and against Attorney General Janet Reno (referring to her as "Shaky").

Leadership usually connotes long-range vision. But with the Elian issue and with many past battles, dubious leaders such as Mr. Sanchez always seem to take positions that lead us in only one direction: toward a dark corner from which we lash out with intolerance, intimidation, and indignities.

A Spanish saying goes this way: "Tell me who you hang with and I'll tell you who you are." A recent picture of our county Mayor Alex Penelas illustrates this quite well. There's our mayor surrounded by a bunch of exile "leaders" in front of the Gonzalez home. In this distinguished group, among others, appears a former Castro henchman condemned by many for killings during the beginning of Castro's revolution. Another smiling face nearby was tried for attacking a ship with a bazooka at the port of Miami. (He also was suspected of blowing up an airplane full of Cuban athletes.) A third gentleman penetrated Cuban airspace with his plane and gave Castro the excuse he sought to murder four young men over international waters.

Cynically almost all these men blame the United States in one way or another for Castro's ascendancy, for their crimes, for their failures, and for their cowardice in the face of danger. Yet they still are revered by an admittedly dwindling bunch of octogenarians as leaders fighting for democracy. With leadership like this, the only way true democracy will come to Cuba is when Castro finally dies in his sleep!

M. Gonzalez

There's No Place Like Home
What is it Ramon Saul Sanchez hopes to change in Cuba by disrupting life in Miami? Why does he feel that running around organizing human chains has Castro doing anything but laughing his ass off? It's quite evident he never read anything about Gandhi, who resisted British rule in his homeland. Martin Luther King, Jr., was marching and demonstrating in his homeland. When Nathan Hale said, "Give me liberty or give me death," he was speaking in his homeland. Equating what Sanchez is doing to this level of activism is quite a reach.

Democracy will come to Cuba when the people who stayed in Cuba decide they've had enough and make a change. Until then tying up traffic and waving flags in Miami are useless acts of ego gratification by a guy who doesn't seem to have succeeded at much else in his adult life. I think his fifteen minutes are about up!

John E. Brown
via the Internet

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words Will Never Hurt Me
You know, Jim DeFede, I liked "A Modest Proposal for Elian Gonzalez" (March 30), your article on killing the kid, so much that my compadres and I decided to grant you the same consideration. Specifically what does a professional gadfly and muckraking malcontent like yourself crave more than anything? Why, that would be ... martyrdom! So we came up with a few scenarios that might be appropriate.

Let's see, there's the obvious "Oswald" method. You know, you step out of the New Times offices on Biscayne Boulevard, casually noticing the light-color van parked just down the street, seeing the dark-tinted windows. One of the back windows doesn't look right, but you dismiss that. After all, it has the requisite cc number on the door. Just another contractor, perhaps.

Unfortunately for you the reason the window doesn't look right is because it's Lexan instead of regulation auto glass, and the gentleman inside holding the Springfield M1-A (national match grade, of course) is about to shoot through the fake window and put a 160-grain Spitzer boat-tail hand-loaded 7.62-mm FULL METAL JACKET round right through your left eye socket. Boom! Instant martyr!

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