Letters to the Editor

From the issue of August 10, 2000

The Perfect Cop
He never ever makes a mistake and he's definitelynot Rolando Bolaños: As a retired federal investigator, my attention was drawn to two articles in the July 27 edition of New Times, both dealing with law enforcement. The first, “Prosecuting the Police” by Jim DeFede, noted the number of police killings that are declared “justified” during a coroner's inquest. DeFede obviously was alarmed by the fact that “in more than 98 percent of Miami-Dade inquests held since 1982, the police officer was cleared of wrongdoing.”

What figure was he hoping for? It would be interesting to know what percentage he would find acceptable for such a sensitive issue. I think most law-abiding citizens of South Florida believe most of our police officers use force only when needed, and then use it at the appropriate level. While Mr. DeFede may be uncomfortable with the 98 percent justifiable rate, most of the rest of us would be uncomfortable with anything below that number.

Earlier in the same article Mr. DeFede naively asks why a specific officer couldn't just say that her shooting incident was accidental. He might as well ask why we don't dangle a foot with a small cut in shark-infested waters. In our litigious society, where the media and the legal establishment demand perfection from police officers, doctors, and other select professions, to admit that an accident could have occurred would be an act of lunacy and financial ruin.

That brings me to the second story that caught my eye, “The Chief's Retreat” by Tristram Korten, regarding Rolando Bolaños, chief of the Hialeah Police Department. Korten originally tipped your readers to this scandal back in February with his story “Boys Will Be Boys.” By now everyone with at least a double-digit IQ knows that Chief Bolaños's two sons are thugs who used steroids and stole cars and who were still considered qualified to be police officers in Hialeah. On top of all that, Chief Bolaños had the gall to tell the media, the citizens, and the State Attorney's Office (under oath) that he had no knowledge of his sons' criminal activities. Of course multiple credible witnesses have shown that Chief Bolaños lied to everyone with his pathetic denials, and if it had ended there, the damage to professional law enforcement would have been significant.

But of course it didn't end there. In a recent interview printed in the Miami Herald, Bolaños went the extra mile to remove any doubt that he would ever act in a moral or ethical manner. After again denying he had lied under oath, he ensured his legacy by saying, “If it came down to saving my son or telling the truth [under oath], I would have been happy to lie. I'm a father. I don't owe anything to [the State Attorney].” How about owing something to the people he took an oath to protect, or was he lying then too? Is it any wonder his sons turned out the way they did?

The people I truly feel sorry for are the fine men and women of the Hialeah Police Department. They are dedicated, honorable people who are rightly embarrassed by their chief's actions. They deserve better. Mayor Raul Martinez has been given a golden opportunity to show the rest of South Florida that, contrary to some opinions, he will not condone or tolerate this type of corruption and arrogance from his top law-enforcement official. He needs to fire all three of them!

Michael H. Boyle
Miami Shores

e-Cuba
One guess who'll control access to the Internet
By Brett Sokol

If at First You Don't Succeed
Try setting up shop in Cuba and ripping off the locals:
I wish to comment on “e-Cuba,” Brett Sokol's article about the Internet in Cuba (“Kulchur,” July 27). British businessman Stephen Marshall is one of many Europeans who cannot make it in their own countries and so move to impoverished Third World nations to exploit their citizens. I went to Cuba in 1997 and saw many Europeans there.

Mr. Sokol reports that Fidel Castro's main fear of the Internet is pornography. If that's true, then why does the Cuban government make sure that prostitution -- an attraction for many Europeans -- continues to thrive? I know. I was there and did my research!

Mr. Marshall is the kind of person who would exploit his own mother in exchange for the all-mighty buck.

Frank Donates
Miami

Cuba, Land of Nymphomaniacs
One look at Playboy.com and you can kiss the revolution goodbye:
According to Cuban technology expert Arnaldo Coro, a puppet of the Castro government, ordinary Cubans cannot get on the Internet because they are “sex motivated” and might fall into the indecency of pornography. This statement is an attack on the dignity of the Cuban people, who are deprived of the most fundamental rights as human beings. For one thing they are not allowed near a computer or a fax machine and are unable to receive free information or news from the outside world.

In a country where all newspapers are government owned, access to the Internet would be like freeing the minds of its citizens -- an invitation to new ideas, a link to Cuban exiles and other forms of government. This freedom will not be allowed.

Silvia M. Karman
Miami

Internet Access the Cuban Way
Socialism or death or don't even bother:
Brett Sokol's story about Cuba and the Internet made it obvious that the Castro government continues to control information to all its slave-citizens. (A new Ministry of Informatics and Communication?) It's pathetic that Cuban bureaucrats can prohibit Internet access to anybody they think is politically incorrect. This is not the real Internet; it's just another totalitarian tool.

Nothing in Cuba is like we have it here, and won't be until there is democracy.

Alice Rodriguez
Miami

Cuba Wired
It's just a cable away:
Brett Sokol mentioned with a soupçon of skepticism claims that development of the Internet in Cuba has been restricted by the U.S. economic blockade (since passage of the Helms-Burton Law, blockade is the correct term in international law). His skepticism was not justified.

There are impeccable sources where one can discover the frustration of U.S. companies trying to break the blockade to improve Internet access to Cuba. Browse the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Website ( http://www.cubatrade.org/2000hlights.html) to find statements from the latest company, Quest Net Corp. of Aventura, that gave up after months of struggling to acquire licenses from the U.S. government to lay fiber-optic cable across the Florida Straits.

I can't provide a link to the precise article because the site doesn't have separate URLs for individual articles, but it's fun browsing. The article's headline is “Quest Net Corporation Discontinues Fiber Optic Cable Project” and it's more than halfway through the page.

Cassandra Dean
Ontario, Canada

Local Music Scene Snuffed Out by Cruel Calendar Editor
"That damn swamp is next on my hit list," she vows:
It's been a very long time since I've read such an irresponsible piece of so-called journalism as Nina Korman's “Rock for the Glades” calendar item (“Night & Day,” July 27). I wonder if she took into account the fragmented nature of our already tenuous local music scene? Did she not know how detrimental her comments were in a community that already lacks cohesion?

Ms. Korman's sarcastic comments also have a negative effect on environmental groups involved with endeavors like “Rock for the Glades.” Doesn't she realize the fundamental importance of such events? They raise awareness of environmental groups and issues among a wider, younger, more-diverse audience. The old saying still rings true: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Helena Zafiropoulos
Miami Beach

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