The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

As long as so-called Cuban exiles insist on using motherless little boys and useless embargoes to combat Castro, they absolutely are guaranteed to fail. When the old man dies, the next dictator will retain a tight grip using speeches about starvation at the hands of the Americans. But by then, fourth-generation Cuban Americans won't even care about Cuba. It'll be just another Third World country over which their deceased relatives obsessed. Mayor Penelas, as a patriotic American of Latin descent I want to say I have never supported you. Janet Reno may have let you off easily, but like Ted Koppel, the rest of us in Miami-Dade County won't let you get away with it. It's time we all stand united for a truly diverse South Florida!

M. Cordero
Hialeah

An open letter to Mayor Alex Penelas:

Allow me to thank you for providing to the world a perfect example, caught in a photograph for the history books, of what is wrong with Miami. Our "leaders" have no concept of democracy and one's obligations as elected officials in a democracy. Our "leaders" (you and the rest of the mayors who stood with you in front of the whole world on March 29) announced that in Miami the Cuban-exile community is not bound by or subject to the Constitution of the United States, and that if the exile community should be incited to violence (by your political cronies) it would be the fault of President Clinton and Attorney General Reno, and local law-enforcement agencies would do nothing to assist federal government in enforcing the law against the wishes of the exile community -- at least that segment of the exile community represented by the large number of consultants, advisors, attorneys, parasites, and other hangers-on who attached themselves to the Elian fiasco.

Well done, Mr. Mayor. In one brilliant moment you appalled and alienated the entire nonexile community, a good percentage of the exile community, the rest of the United States, and the entire world, while at the same time flushing your political future down one of those $8000 MIA toilets.

Howard F. Scott
Miami

To Alex Penelas and Joe Carollo:

You, the Miami politicians, are the ones who should be indicted for inciting this behavior, for disregarding the law and tolerating this behavior from your community. I am sick of being an American and "living" in Cuba. I am embarrassed to say you are the leaders of our community. You should be ashamed! Both of you made the whole situation worse, and I can see clearly that you both only cater only to your Cuban constituents and couldn't care less about the rest of the community. There is a non-Cuban community here, if you didn't notice.

I am scared for my safety, and you two do nothing to reassure me. Cuban exiles and their leaders I beg, please stop disrupting our lives! You are all bullies. The Gonzalez family is sick, literally. Their dependence on that child, their unstable behavior and lawlessness -- Penelas and Carollo stood by their mistreatment of Elian in spite of the Miami family's obvious exploitation, because all you two care about is your Cuban vote. You are the ones who made this all about politics.

I would not consider either of you for re-election and I'm ashamed of you, Mr. Penelas, a man I could have seen as president one day. No more!

And Mr. Carollo, thanks for being so nonbiased, nonviolent, and for not playing the race card. Thanks also for supporting your own police officers.

None of this has been about freedom or family. It's been about politics and votes. I am appalled that you two mayors participated. Neither one of you has any business in public service. I see no public service, only provocation of an already angry community.

I have always loved the Cuban community but now feel that if I express my opinion, I will be threatened and degraded.

Aimee Fournier-Kitchens
Miami

An open letter to Mayor Joe Carollo:

As a citizen of the City of Miami, I am deeply troubled by your recent trip to Washington, D.C., to investigate the Cuban diplomatic mission attack on Cuban-American protesters. This has nothing to do with the governing of Miami. And I am appalled at your behavior during the entire Elian Gonzalez affair.

Are you so delusional that you think Janet Reno has deputized you as a federal investigator? As an elected official, you represent all of Miami, not just the Cuban Americans. This trip has made it clear to many, not only in this city, that your true mission lies in furthering your political agenda, not with the operations of the city.I will surely not vote for you, and I will urge others to do the same.

Tom Cook
Miami

An open letter to Mayor Joe Carollo:

Your lack of leadership and respect for the rest of the city's citizens is appalling. You need to concentrate on the tasks at hand, which should be the unification of this city and not the divisive attitude that you are encouraging by adding fuel to the fire. Are you only representing the Cuban-exile community? The police have been doing a wonderful job in keeping the peace and minimizing vandals from taking advantage. You have the gall to criticize such an extremely difficult job that they have!

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