The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

The reason the blacks and "other" groups have the respect of the government (actually it's fear) is because the minute a "human right" has been violated they take to the streets to burn, sack, and murder wherever they are. And they get what they want.

I pray to God and all the saints in heaven that the same will happen here in Miami.

Rosamaria Paniagua
Miami

New Times and most of the media have been participating in a stone-throwing party with its target being the Cuban-American community. Jim DeFede's poor attempts at satirical comedy are cruel and insensitive, and heartlessly disregard Elian's plight. Jim Mullin's conviction of Cuban exiles for acts of violence without a trial mirrors Stalin, Mao, and Castro's view of due process.

The truth is that if it weren't for people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others who participated in acts of civil disobedience, immoral segregation laws might still be around today.

The basic fact is that Elian's father, either by force or conviction, has given away all his rights, including his parental rights, to the Cuban government (a.k.a. Fidel Castro). Now, just because Juan Miguel is either a) a mindless twit, b) scared out of his mind, or c) a sado-masochistic commie, does that mean we must at all costs toss Elian back across the Florida Straits? Just because some people who have taken up this cause have done it for the wrong reasons, or said the wrong things, does not erase the fact that this is about a six-year-old's life.

Janet Reno, Bill Clinton, Hillary, and Fidel discussing the rule of law. Now that's comedy.

Emiliano Antunez
Miami

I want to ask: Why would Cuban exiles believe that someone who thinks differently than them must hate them? In this shameful saga of Elian Gonzalez the whole world has been against them, not because the world hates them but because the world hates ignorance and evil hidden behind a mask of "good intentions." Most people saw with horror that the Cuban Americans were cowardly using an innocent child to fight Castro, using any dirty trick to impose their will.

Where are their moral principles? How much are they worth? They obviously didn't learn from their experience with Castro. The opposite of a tyranny is not another tyranny in the opposite direction, as they want to establish in Miami, where one wins only by imposing his own rules.

The opposite of a tyranny is democracy, which means the enlightened coexistence of opposite opinions, where everybody wins. Obviously they are not used to dissent. They either rule or are ruled upon. They misunderstand freedom as their chance to establish their own rules. Elian's mother died because the world needed to know this truth -- all the bias, the manipulations, the pettiness, the demagogic politicians, and the corruptibility of the media in Miami. All this for the sake of wisdom for everybody, Americans, Cubans, and Cuban exiles. So nod your heads, shut up, and grow up.

Myriam Ensling
Miami Beach

I'd like to share some thoughts regarding life in communist Cuba, important to know and understand prior to formulating further opinions on the Elian Gonzalez case, or life in the Island. In totalitarian regimes, whether they be of a rightist or leftist persuasion, children do not "belong" to their parents as they do in free, democratic societies like ours. Children are wards of the state. Period. The state decides everything, including schooling, when they stop drinking milk (seven years of age in Cuba), career choices, and job opportunities.

In Cuba, for example, at the age of eleven children must leave their homes for periods of time, unaccompanied by their parents, and are forced to do "voluntary" work for the regime. This may happen even earlier. One need only note the ease with which Castro offered to send children from Elian Gonzalez's first-grade class in Cardenas for a 30- to 60-day period stay in Washington, D.C., or Havana -- without their parents.

It is stated in today's Cuban constitution that parents shall raise their children within communist ideology. Any divergence is dearly paid for. Government-organized rowdy crowds (brigadas de respuesta rápida), for example, are organized and directed by the regime to harass families suspected of anticommunist ideas or behavior. Stones are thrown at the "culprits'" homes, breaking windows, in many cases causing physical harm to their victims, and derogatory and insulting remarks are painted around their dwellings, making their lives pure hell -- for adults at work as well as for their children at school.

Regarding the large crowds we see in Cuba via television, it is very difficult for someone who has not experienced life in a totalitarian regime to imagine, but those concentrations of people are government-organized and controlled to the tee. Participants report at certain times and places, where they are picked up by vehicles made available by the regime so they can be transported to wherever rallies will be held. Records with names and addresses are neatly kept. For participating in these rallies, people score points with the government, the goal being to obtain "luxuries" such as a refrigerator, a fan, government-controlled food, or clothes, to name a few.

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