The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

One last thing: "Lawless violence and intimidation" have not been the "hallmark" of the Cuban-exile community. The hallmark of this community has been that 700,000 Cuban immigrants generate $10 billion of wealth every year, while 11 million Cubans back home generate only $3 billion, of which $800 million comes from their brethren in the exile community.

Another hallmark is its political success, as lobbyists and as candidates, in this country. Some non-Cubans in this community refuse to so much as acknowledge, much less appreciate, these historical footnotes. In fact I think deep down they must resent it, because otherwise they would not be constantly harping that we apologize for this or for that as a means of putting us in the place they think we belong.

Eduardo J. Navarro
Miami

Jim Mullin conveniently forgot to mention the violent history of the most violent people on earth. The people who murdered all the Indians upon arriving in this continent. The people who enslaved blacks. The people whose country was the last in this hemisphere to make slavery illegal. The people who lynched and murdered thousands and thousands of blacks in this country as recently as the early 1960s (sporadically it still occurs in different forms). The people who murdered hundreds and hundreds of Chinese-Americans after they finished building the railroads in the West and demanded certain equal treatment. The people who killed millions and millions of Vietnamese simply because they have a different ideology. The people who created bigoted names such as Spic, wetback, Guido, Mick, and Kike as part of their vocabulary (when no one is looking). The people who create serial killers more than any other group. The people who go to their high school and murder their classmates by the dozens. The people who rioted in Seattle and riot after each football or basketball championship.

I could go on, but you get my point. These people are the real violent ones in our society. I think this puts into perspective the Cubans blocking a little traffic and turning over some Dumpsters. Unfortunately I am sure you don't have what it takes to print some or all of these very real facts. It probably hurts you too much.

Maria Gonzalez
Miami

It is extremely ironic that New Times constantly criticizes the Cuban-exile community for its lack of objectivity, among other things. New Times, however, shows no objectivity at all when writing on "Cuban issues."

I looked closely at the acts of violence by the Cuban exiles cited in "The Burden of a Violent History." I found most of them to be threats and minor acts of vandalism. In fact I counted a total of five deaths as a result of the violent acts cited. The last one was more than seventeen years ago, and that was a self-inflicted accidental death. The next violent act that led to a death was more than 24 years ago, in 1976.

You have approximately two million people in the U.S. of Cuban descent and more than 40 years of exile activity fighting a "cold war" and that's all that you can come up with? It seems to me the Cuban people are actually quite peaceful considering all the circumstances over the last 41 years. Sure, there has been some violence by some Cubans, statistically speaking. That is expected and applies to all people of all races, ethnicity, and origin. If you look on a proportional population basis, you will find that Cubans have committed fewer acts of violence and criminal acts than the U.S. national average.

There has been more violence and death at the hands of the two Columbine High School students than the "violent acts" cited in Jim Mullin's article. You should concentrate on the much more violent acts that are presently occurring throughout this nation than the random and infrequent violent acts of Cuban exiles twenty-plus years ago. Print that!

Juan Gonzalez
Miami

I am writing to protest the constant hyperbolic generalizations of New Times against the Cuban community. The use of innuendo goes all the way to the top. This week's prize goes to editor Mr. Jim Mullin and music editor Brett Sokol for portraying the Cuban exile community as uncivilized, violent, and lawless, and thus contributing to a climate of Cuban-bashing.

In "The Burden of a Violent History," Mullin states, "Lawless violence and intimidation have been hallmarks of el exilio for more than 30 years. Given that fact, it's not only understandable many people would be deeply worried, it's prudent to be worried." If he does not explain what he means by the singular token-term el exilio, he is then alluding to a whole community referred to by that term. In fact that's how the expression is commonly used. When someone talks about el exilio, one is referring to most people in the exile community.

In the next paragraph Mullin states, "Of course it goes without saying that the majority of Cuban Americans in Miami do not sanction violence, but its long tradition within the exile community cannot be ignored and cannot simply be wished away." With this second phrase he sends a veiled "downplayer." Though the majority of Cuban Americans do not sanction violence, they are guilty by association of a tradition of violence perpetrated by some within its ranks. Why am I guilty of "violence" because of what a negligible minority within my community may do? Is the Italian community an extension of La Cosa Nostra, or are African-Americans intrinsically violent because of some incidents of violence within a minority in the ghetto?

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