Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of June 1, 2000

DeFede
Meet MIA's Own Barney Fife
By Jim DeFede

Rules Are for Chumps
I'm still laughing at Jim DeFede's story of the escapades of politico-schmoozer Nelson Oramas, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department security chief who lost his county vehicle and his weapon ("Meet MIA's Own Barney Fife," May 25). I guess the Keystone Cops are in the ivory towers at police headquarters and county hall.

Oramas has always gotten away with blatant disregard for rules that everyone else must follow, and nothing is going to change. Anyone who thinks otherwise believes that oceanfront property is cheaper at low tide.

Please don't print my name. The long arm of the administration reaches everywhere.

Name Withheld by Request
Fort Lauderdale

A Leery Lee Leaves Lee No Leeway
With a name like his, how could I not enjoy Lee Klein's restaurant reviews? But I take issue with one comment in his recent review of Tequila Sunrise ("Mariachi and Chips," May 25). I don't know what the Mayan calendar looks like, but the image in the photo accompanying the review shows the Aztec calendar. Anyone visiting Mexico can see the original at the great museum of anthropology in the capital.

Otherwise the review was a wonderful, if sometimes slightly sarcastic, work.

Lee Kline
Miami

The Return of Loco Joe
Miami's mayoral meltdown has a long and nasty history
By Tristram Korten and Jose Luis Jimnez

Free Weekly Sets Up Shop in Havana, Kicks Fidel's Butt
This is the second time I have picked up your cheap newspaper and it will be the last. If you like Fidel so much, why don't you try to print your cheap newspaper in Havana? If you do there what you did to Joe Carollo ("The Return of Loco Joe," May 18), you wouldn't be around for long. You have shown why you have to give away your paper. A rag is a rag is a rat.

I do not want my name published because it seems we are back in Havana.

Name Withheld by Request
Key Largo

Better Lake Than Never?
Officials insist the Lake Belt created by limestone mining in Northwest Miami-Dade will be an eco-panacea. Critics say that's all wet.
By Jacob Bernstein

So Audubon Has Rocks for Brains?
Thanks for Jacob Bernstein's lake-belt-mining article ("Better Lake Than Never?" May 18). Thousands of people like me who use the Florida Turnpike pass by the lake-belt site every day. While it may seem difficult to ignore something as big and ugly as that site, up until now most of Miami-Dade County has managed to remain blissfully ignorant of what's going on out there.

Perhaps most puzzling is how representatives of the Tropical Audubon Society could support this massive destruction of wetlands. Audubon surely is the answer to a rock miner's prayers.

John Cunningham
South Miami-Dade

Dear Miami Herald, Print This!
Below is a longer version of an opinion piece I submitted to the Miami Herald on May 15. I was informed today, May 26, that the Herald will not publish it. In light of New Times having reprinted Ryan Lizza's critique of the Herald from the New Republic ("Hackin' at the Herald," May 11), I thought your readers would enjoy a look at what goes unpublished by Miami's flagship paper:

A spate of recent "Otherviews" op-ed columns in the Miami Herald by Maria de los Angeles Torres (May 7), Sylvia G. Iriondo (May 9), Ninoska Perez Castellon and Victor M. Diaz, Jr. (both May 15), and Frank Calzon's "The Bigots' Game" (May 16) lament that Cuban exiles are now an aggrieved, persecuted minority. "No other ethnic or racial group in the United States is talked about with such sweeping generalizations," wrote Ms. Angeles Torres in her piece "Media's Stereotype of Cuban Exiles Shifts Yet Again."

In "Respect Will Heal Community," Ms. Iriondo complained, "The unfair way we have been portrayed by many in the local and national media ... continues to shock and dismay us."

Ms. Perez Castellon's outrageous "The Unbearable Darkness of Bigotry," written in her typically hysterical, maudlin style, states, "It's no wonder that a vicious campaign is being waged against Cuban Americans. It has become politically correct to trash us."

Aside from being amazingly ridiculous and astonishingly revelatory of a paranoid, self-pitying posture of victimization, these commentaries expose the degree to which the Miami Herald has allowed its editorial pages to serve as a soap box for the right-wing Cuban exiles' well-orchestrated public-relations campaign.

Despite these efforts, however, the charge of extremism sticks. These and similarly galling protests reveal a hubris among politically conservative Cuban-American exiles, who fail to recognize it is their politics, not their ethnicity, that is under attack. Whenever you have Ninoska Perez Castellon, Jorge Mas Santos, Marisleysis Gonzalez, Armando Gutierrez, and Joe Carollo as highly visible spokespersons, you'd do well to contact the public-relations experts at Burson-Marsteller. But good PR alone will not erase a national image of extremism. Forgive me for indulging in a worn-out cliché: "If the shoe fits, wear it." Substantive change is needed to overcome an image that is often richly deserved.

Examples of this negative image abound. Take the recent conduct of mostly Cuban-American anti-Castro demonstrators outside of the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. When "[a] young couple, Alice Chen and Jim Wolbrink ... unfurled a homemade banner that read: 'Free Elian from CANF,' a reference to the Cuban American National Foundation ... some demonstrators held back others who tried to strike the couple," wrote Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald. While attorney Greg Craig, representing Juan Miguel Gonzalez, addressed the media, many demonstrators shouted the all-too-familiar taunt "communist, communist, communist."

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