By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Politics and Parents
Mom and Dad, just want to thank you for blowing our chance at the big time: It is more than bitterly ironic that we've lost the Latin Grammys, as Celeste Fraser Delgado wrote last week ("Shake," August 23). It is also a shame. Why? Because of the lost opportunity for so many Miami musicians to shine for so many industry personnel. Miami artists had a chance at an audience of record-company executives, managers, and producers that doesn't come around very often. And now, because of our reactionary politics, we've lost that opportunity for all our native talent.
I am a member of The Voz, a musical group of young Cuban-American men who lost such an opportunity. We had an invitation to play a Latin Grammy-sponsored show, where we stood a chance of getting the attention we have fought so hard for. Now that chance is gone. We're talented musicians with a good repertoire. This might not have been our only opportunity to get such exposure, but it's so frustrating that the community we try to represent has practically scared off our chance.
Our music is very sympathetic to anti-communist causes while still representing our generational view of a lost homeland and the life we, as Cuban Americans, are trying to build. In layman's terms: We're a Cuban rock band. We were going to play an awesome show that might have helped us out a lot and put our generation in the limelight, but now we can't because of politics. Damn! So now our generation is suffering the consequences of our parents' reactionary politics.
Protest is our democratic right and duty, and The Voz encourages and applauds peaceful protest. But protest should not be a vehicle used to bend a society to a way of thinking. Protest should not invoke feelings of danger, of violence. Protest should apply in the classical sense: a voicing of concerns that pertain to given situations or government policies. Yet here in Miami we have elevated (or degenerated) the act of political protest to mob rule.
Thanks to the Cuban moms and dads. Thanks for bringing us here to the land of opportunity and then taking away those opportunities. Are you sure the lessons you're trying to teach us are having the desired effect?
Commies, Salsa, and Hackers
As the world swoons over Cuban music, Miami pulls the trigger -- on itself: I strongly object to the caption used with my photograph in Kathy Glasgow's article "The Salsa Wars" (August 16). The caption read, "Jacira Castro says she's a salsa lover, not a commie lover." I never said anything of the sort. I would never refer to myself as a "salsa lover," because I would not want to be associated with the dance school with a similar name. Also I neither love nor hate "commies," which is a word I would never use. I believe in respect for all political and religious affiliations, whether I agree with them or not.
My organization, SalsaPower (and its Website, salsapower.com), is bigger than all of Miami's petty backstabbing and infighting. The anti-Castro (Fidel, not Jacira) faction in Miami seems not to realize that the world at large adores Cuban music and is crazy about Cuban-style dance. Miami is one of the few places where you can't hear Cuban artists without fear of being pelted and jeered by throngs of right-wing reactionaries. The rest of the country looks at the radical exile community as an anomaly.
The Cuban American National Foundation hired some of the best public-relations firms in the nation to change its image after the Elian debacle, but the local community doesn't help matters when they continue to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot by running the Latin Grammys out of town. The Website-hacking incident described in "The Salsa Wars" is just more of the same tactics these folks use.
We fully understand exiles' motives in leaving Cuba, but that doesn't give them the right to run roughshod over the country that has so generously taken them in and given them the opportunity for a new start. Respect for a difference of opinion and the right to express it go hand in hand. I would say Miami's exiles need to add tolerance to their vocabulary. That would go a long way toward building a bridge across those 90 miles that separate them from their homeland.
Kissinger and Me: A Love Song
"Kulchur" should stick to culture and leave history to the big boys: While perusing what I considered to be quite an enjoyable article about Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs by Brett Sokol ("Mo' Money, Mo' Trouble," August 2), I was suddenly paralyzed by a line that was either the ends of a sardonic mind or the spawn of unfettered ignorance: the sudden attacks on Henry Kissinger found in the last paragraph of this now infamous piece of journalism.
Placing blame on Kissinger for the pain and suffering of Southeast Asians is absurd, sheer folly, and based on a false premise. The suffering of the citizens of Indochina began in the Thirties with Japanese expansion, was furthered by French imperialism until 1954, and continued with American intervention.