The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

Has it occurred to you that you were done a favor by not being notified of the INS raid? What would you of done if you had been notified? Have you or Alex Penelas tried to uphold the laws of the United States? Or have you and Penelas contributed to this political circus that has and is continuing to enrage the rest of the citizens of this state? We may be but one e-mail to you right now, but remember that one can easily turn into two and so on. We are not alone in feeling indignant.

The Miami family was to blame for the raid, and you and Penelas have also a responsibility in the whole mess. As a leader you have failed us. We saw your interview on Channel 23 this morning and were disgusted by your intentions. We will be mobilizing many people to show the support of the Miami police chief and the city manager. Our hands are not tied.

The only positive angle to this whole ordeal has been the eye-opening experience for the voters of this city. We have now attained knowledge of our representatives and who is really running the mayor's office. Our voices will be heard. We are not alone.

Claudia Failla
Richard Failla
Miami

Joe Carollo had absolutely no grounds to fire City Manager Donald Warshaw. Nor would he have had grounds to fire the police chief if had had been able to. He is behaving exactly like the dictator he hates but obviously admires.

Jody Schenk
Miami

Jacob Bernstein and Victor Cruz's overview of responses to comments made by Mayor Alex Penelas ("You Have Mail!" April 13) should serve as a much-needed call to action for all citizens who are fed up with the constant turmoil and strife that has enveloped Miami-Dade County ever since Cubans decided to make it their new homeland.

Granted, Cubans have had a significant and positive economic impact and have added to the cultural diversity of our landscape. But these improvements have come at a price: a transmogrification of the democratic process via corrupt politics that spans everything from code enforcement to city management and now extends to the mayor's office.

It is reprehensible that Mr. Penelas had the audacity and poor judgment to let his emotions stand before his duty and obligations to serve in the best interests of this county. I wonder what the chief of police would have done, whether he really would have stood by and let innocent citizens and neighborhoods be imperiled by the mayor's absurd call to arms.

Mr. Penelas should have used his influence as an example to inspire the Cuban people to be more respectful and grateful that they have had the opportunity to live here freely and prosper. But rather than take a true leadership stance and ensure that peace is kept while our laws are observed, he publicly denounced our government and president. That should propel everyone to demand this man be removed from office immediately.

It's sad that this crisis has brought out the worst in everyone, not least of all the mayor. It certainly has brought out the patriotism in me, even though I am of Cuban descent. It has, however, also made me resentful that our tax dollars are being used to maintain the security of the Elian media circus while the City of Miami hypocritically tries to recover costs for protecting citizens who chose to see the Los Van Van show. Perhaps come election time, someone will run for office who can objectively put these issues in their proper place and vow to return a sense of order and harmony to Miami, which is still (barely) part of the United States.

If the Cuban exiles feel the need to continue this fight against Castro, perhaps they will muster the courage to return to Cuba and do it at the frontline, not from the cowardly comfort of their living rooms in the U.S.A.

Barbara Gonzalez
Miami

I have lived in Miami since 1957, when I left Cuba and obviously was not able to return. I had no choice but to accept that I now lived in a new country, and even though my sisters and other family members remained in Cuba, I embraced my new home with loyalty and respect and have done everything possible to live according to its laws and customs.

Over the years I have seen Miami gradually change, becoming more and more influenced by the Cuban migration. I was proud when Cubans started to become a powerful force in politics, and hoped this would have a positive impact that would shape our city into a wonderful place to live. But progressively things have only become worse, with corruption and greed nearly bankrupting us and turning our once beautiful Miami into a joke across the nation.

After enduring the scandals of former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez and former city manager and convicted felon Cesar Odio, I never would have imagined the day a Cuban mayor would embarrass and shame his own culture, and country, the way Alex Penelas has with his comments asking people to turn to violent behavior, willfully break the law, turn against this country, and do so with the tacit approval of the Miami police force.

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