The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

It is time for the paternal rights of Juan Miguel Gonzalez to be recognized. Furthermore it is time that we recognize the moral responsibility we all share for thousands and thousands of Cuban children, just like Elian, who are victims of obsolete policies such as the U.S. embargo. It is time to find ways to put an end to that embargo of the island; and also to find the proper political climate in Cuba so that the embargo imposed by the Cuban government on some precious freedoms can be lifted.

Thousands of Miami Cubans do not feel they are represented by a vociferous minority that controls some of the local media. There is an evident divorce between these self-appointed leaders and a silent majority that travels to the island for family visits and defies rhetoric by showing generosity to those relatives left behind. This should send a clear message to Washington. The time for change is here.

Eloy Guitérrez-Menoyo, president
Cambio Cubano

What was the point of your "Elian Nation" issue (April 27)? Was it to show how ignorant and blind to the facts is the Cuban community? Well, good job. I get the point. Like the ridiculous arguments spouted by Cubans all over Miami, your stories were one-sided and had nothing to do with the facts of the case. I thought reporters were supposed to be impartial and unbiased when covering a story.

I didn't know that New Times was owned by Radio Mambí and is published just to spread Cuban propaganda. In your stories people repeatedly referred to the return of a son to his father as "kidnapping." The boy was kidnapped twice, but not by the federal government. First his mother kidnapped him and fled the country without the father's permission. That is kidnapping. Then the Miami relatives held him for ransom, saying they would not return the boy to his father until their demands were met. That is kidnapping. Reuniting a father and son is not kidnapping.

In your articles we read that many Cubans felt they were lied to and manipulated by the government. We did not read about how the Miami relatives lied to and manipulated the government. First they said they would return the boy to his father if he came to the United States. He did, and they made other demands. Then Marisleysis was supposedly hospitalized and too ill to fly with the boy to Washington. Miraculously, a few short days later she was on a plane to Washington to try and spoil the reunion of Elian with his father. She didn't look very sick when she was ranting on television for the next couple of days. (Maybe sick in the head.)

Had the family returned the boy when they were supposed to, none of this would have happened. As far as I am concerned they broke the law and should have to stand trial. But that would just upset more trouble-making idiots like the guy called "Chocolate" in one of your articles. Then we would have to endure these protests and the one-sided media coverage even longer. And Joe Carollo might fire the few non-Cubans left who still work for the city.

Soon this will all go away and we will never hear about the Miami relatives again. They had their fifteen minutes of fame. I know they are upset. They won't have celebrities and politicians hanging out at their house anymore, and they will have to go back to work (if they ever did have jobs). But they will get over it and Elian is back with his father, where he belongs. I guess there are happy endings after all.

Greg Napier

I offer my sincere thanks to New Times for taking a sane and reasonable look at the big picture of what is happening in our city due to the Elian Gonzalez crisis. I cannot tell you how pleased I was to read "Elian Nation" and Jim DeFede's columns. To see everything brought forward in such a clear manner is wonderful, especially after suffering through lengthy biased exposure from local TV news and the Miami Herald. It is shocking to learn how our frightened elected politicians are pandering to the exile community. I thank you for helping me confirm my suspicions about this with your investigative reporting.

Ann Petrina Aguila
South Miami

As a Cuban American, I am offended by Jim DeFede's claim that Elian Gonzalez has proven to be the single greatest destructive force in South Florida since Hurricane Andrew. The case of Elian Gonzalez has brought to the attention of the world the basic rights of individuals to due process under the law, and it has raised the question of basic freedoms. If you cannot see this on its merits, I feel sorry for you.

Maybe if the world had not been blind during the Holocaust, it might have been avoided. Cubans want world attention on human-rights violations in Cuba. Sending the boy back would be an unforgivable crime.We believe New Times's articles about Cubans are filled with bigotry. Open your eyes, bigots.

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