Letters to the Editor

From the issue of February 22, 2001

Anyway thanks for hearing me out, and thanks for being here.

Joanna Kadi
Pinecrest

I'm Just a Visitor from the Big Apple
What the hell do I know from Third World? Kathy Glasgow's well-written "A Cuban Idyll" describes a slice of country life in Cuba today as if it were the Third World, as she herself says. Yet within the text of this interesting and compelling story, Ms. Glasgow recounts admissions to a hospital with successful treatment. The patriarch of the family owns his own land since the revolution -- imagine that! They have electricity, a solid house, available potable water, and they apparently have more than enough food -- at least enough to throw a fine party. In addition they have security, being able to hike a long distance without fear in a sparsely populated countryside.

This is typical Third World? Three billion people living on less than two dollars per day might disagree, knowing full well the hellish worlds in which they must somehow survive.

Ms. Glasgow also reveals that (1) Cuba does not tolerate the growing of drugs; (2) Cuba has a working mass-transportation system that is affordable; (3) blacks can move into formerly white-only neighborhoods and establish friendships with whites; (4) education at higher levels is available free of charge; (5) illiteracy is rare, not at all common; (6) there are those in Cuba who do have hope for the future; (7) young men and boys have time, energy, and health to play competitive games.

Hardly "Hell in paradise," as Ms. Glasgow puts it. The reality is that Cuba has indeed made tremendous strides in giving its people -- all its people -- elemental human rights in spite of the unrelenting U.S. blockade: housing, food, medical care, education, potable water, electricity, security of the person and family, and, yes, hope for the future.

Martin Theodores
Manhattan

I Live in Miami Beach
So allow me to make an observation: Kathy Glasgow's story carried this subtitle: "The soul of the island resides in the quiet dignity of its people."

Fistfights in the parking lot at Radio Mambí. Flying tea caddies. Machismo. That's what resides here in Miami. Castro's socialist dictatorship, which we so often vilify, has somehow left its peoples' soul the room to flower. Can we say as much about the Cuban community in Miami? Or indeed about ourselves?

Paul Waters
Miami Beach

Leave My Carlyle Alone
It's a swell place, and I should know: Two times now Lissette Corsa has trashed Carlyle on the Bay, an assisted-living facility where I am a resident ("Home Is Where the Hurt Is," October 26, 2000, and "There's No Place Like This Home," January 25, 2001).

I think it is totally unfair for Ms. Corsa to write about Lourdes Franco as an uncaring individual. Lourdes is a very loving, caring individual and is always there when the residents need assistance or just a shoulder to cry on, so to speak. Her portrayal of administrator Rose Wilson is not fair either. We have a very caring and helpful staff here at Carlyle on the Bay, and I should know since I am a resident.

We would not have state agencies looking us over if the management did not have to hire union or agency workers, with whom they must "put up or shut up" for a certain trial period of employment. But about 90 percent of the employees here are always working around the clock to make this a much better place to be. We have very good, wholesome food and the best doctors, nursing staff, and medicine that any psychiatric or geriatric resident could ever want. They are not abusive in any way, shape, or form.

If you are going to trash an assisted-living facility, you should look elsewhere, because Carlyle on the Bay is a cozy, warm, and friendly environment for almost anyone.

Ronald S. Ouellette
Miami

Carlyle? You Want to Hear About the Carlyle?
It's not exactly pleasant: In late spring of 1994, with my father in failing health and living in West Palm Beach, his health plan recommended Carlyle on the Bay as a place to bring him so he could be closer to me and get good care. He rented a one-bedroom apartment overlooking the bay for $2000-plus.

As soon as I moved him in, I found the care questionable and began looking for another facility within a week. Unfortunately my father's health deteriorated, and he did not want to move. He complained that there was not enough programming downstairs in the activity areas. The library/activity room was dirty. The food, in my opinion, was not of good quality. The hallways were poorly kept. His health-care aide was unpleasant, and the supervisor downstairs didn't want to hear of any complaints. I visited Dad every day, and they were not too pleased with my oversight of his care. One supervisor admonished me for coming daily!

But the issue that has plagued me was an uninvited visitor my father had one night. My father was on oxygen and had his own daytime private nurse. But at night the Carlyle had its nurse or health-care aide look in on Dad. His door was left unlocked but closed. One night there was a knock on the door, and my father welcomed the visitor, even though he was unknown to him. He was young and was smoking and carrying a paperback book. He asked Dad if he wanted to buy the book. My Dad told me he was scared. The man seemed agitated, and of course he was smoking while my Dad was using oxygen.

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