Letters to the Editor

From the issue of August 17, 2000

What matters are the basic human rights Biscet and others -- not Fidel or Raul, of course -- are denied. Maybe a Miami of Spanish speakers, Creole speakers, and English speakers united in denouncing that stupidity 90 miles away can help the stupidity we are all subject to here. And maybe we can help Haiti too, and Colombia. Why not dream? Why not hope? Why not work?

Miami is the gateway to a better future for many of the less fortunate in those nations, but it requires patience, cooperation, and dedication. Immigrants, exiles, blacks, and Anglos have a fantastic opportunity to learn so much about foreign politics, not to mention English, Spanish, and Creole, transforming themselves into the kind of commodity the world needs.

And hopefully then they wouldn't be subject to having their culture appropriated by those here who -- taking advantage of minorities and poor peoples' relative isolation -- would call them “uppity” or “intransigent” when they refused to see things as their “benefactors” do.

How sad that Brett Sokol wasn't around in the Thirties to wax euphoric over Leni Riefenstahl. There's a simple solution, of course: Denounce injustice where you find it. It doesn't take six million dead to make something unjust. One Elian, one Mumia Abu Jamal, one Biscet is enough.

One would hope New Times reporters would do something for free speech while in Cuba, but no such reportage has yet appeared in the pages of your hallowed publication. But if you do happen to be in Cuba, and if you see injustice there that you would write against here -- and Sokol's “Hip-Hop and Socialism” seems to imply it was found -- denounce it there. Do it over the PA system to a guaguancó at a Van Van concert if you like. But do so by any means necessary.

And then even the most conservative, rabid, racist anti-Castro exiles will listen to your views on the embargo. Until then you're just earning your living like so many others, and nothing else. Until then you have little right to speak ill of those who must act intransigently from afar to effect change in a militarily maintained semblance of order.

Manuel Fernández

Donkey Demise
Miami-Dade's Democratic Party is a shambles. Blame Joe Geller, candidate and chairman.
By Jacob Bernstein

Democratic Party Recipe
One part Israel, one part Bar Association, hold the unions:
What happened to the letters addressing Jacob Bernstein's article about Joe Geller and the county's Democratic Party (“Donkey Demise,” July 20)? Did you not receive any letters that differed from the point of view of the author? I suggest again that Mr. Bernstein made a myopic error to get so wrapped up in the ethnic makeup of the local party without addressing the overrepresentation of Jewish citizens and attorneys as activists in the Democratic Party.

I believe that while we lack any strong rank-and-file support by organized labor, the party's support of the State of Israel is as imperative to its support by our Jewish neighbors as the resistance to the Castro regime is for Cuban Americans in their politics. Avoiding this fact, as well as the impact of support by the Florida Bar Association to protect attorneys' unfettered right to litigate, is to miss two important cogs in the wheels that drive local party politics.

Mitch McMurry

You've Got Yours, So Why Vote?
When apathy is bliss:
Those who blame Joe Geller for the so-called demise of the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County are either drinking some very strong stuff or are in serious denial about the real reason things are not going well. It's called voter apathy, and the problem is not exclusively a Democratic one.

There are deeper issues involved here, each of them an extreme (reflective of the growing economic disparity in this country) and framable in the form of a question: What's there to fight for if you already have everything? And if you don't have everything, those who do will make sure it stays that way, so what's the use in trying to change anything?

I also found Jacob Bernstein's writing to be divisive. The intimation was clear that somehow being Cuban or thinking Cuban is antithetical to democracy and the American way of life. Those who think this way need to be reminded that not all Americans arrived on the Mayflower and that immigrants usually enrich the political process.

Is there a causal connection between political deterioration and a disdain for tyranny? Should it matter that tyranny is occurring 90 miles away? You no longer have your King George to contend with. We, on the other hand, have our Castro. But we are all Americans.

So what are we (Cuban Americans) to defend or feel passionate about? Disney World? Jerry Springer? There is your answer to the apathy. Frankly many Cubans feel that Americans as a whole have taken their freedom for granted, and therein may lie the dose of reality that many are refusing to swallow. Sprinkle in a little envy and it becomes a lot easier to “blame them Cubans.”

Maurice Ferré may be thought by some to be a political realist but he is dead wrong in suggesting that the Democratic Party should give up on the Cuban community. The truth is that most Cuban Americans don't see themselves as Democrat or Republican. They just love American freedom, a freedom most of us believe should not be sold on the auction block, or for any price, no matter how high.

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