Letters to the Editor

From the issue of September 13, 2000

 Emilio: Convenient Target
Free weekly nukes another Cuban success story: I've got to hand it to New Times. You certainly don't discriminate among Cuban Americans. You go after Cuban politicians, businesses, athletes, and now musicians like Emilio Estefan ("Los Producers," September 6). If only your own biases and insecurities wouldn't get in the way, one day you might do an objective article on something Cuban. I don't know what your newspaper would be like if not for Cubans. You'd have nothing to write about.

Unlike any of the entertainers, singers, and musicians Celeste Fraser Delgado mentioned in her article, Emilio Estefan started from the ground up. He literally started his empire (worth more than $350 million today) with little money from any outside source. He has done it without scandal for more than 25 years and has maintained a beautiful relationship with his wife and family in an industry that is full of drugs, sex, tragedy, and obviously envy. He has spawned so much "Cuban-Hispanic culture" in mainstream America that he should be admired by all groups.

Mr. Estefan, I applaud you for your humble background, business skills, and keeping to your roots through good and bad times. When you reach a level of success as you have, there will always be plenty of piranhas and envious people trying to bring you down. The continual attempts by New Times and other media outlets in South Florida to bring you down parallel their constant efforts to also bring down and divide the Cuban community. Owing to our significant economic prosperity and rich culture, the media must find some way of criticizing Cuban exiles. So they are left to attacking notable figures in our community and our zealousness toward a free Cuba.

Ms. Delgado's article failed to mention what Kike Santander and others who have worked for Emilio Estefan and then left have in common. They all came to Emilio, as opposed to the other way around. They all were unknown prior to being associated with him. In an industry where appearances matter, this association and exposure is priceless.

Mr. Santander, Emilio gave you your big break, as he has done for many others. Sure he also has prospered from that, but you knew that going in. It's a business. Your exposure to him and what you have learned from him, if applied correctly, will bring you much financial wealth in the future, as it has already. If not for him, your career may have not developed and today you might have been picking coffee beans in Colombia as bombs explode in nearby fields. It is obvious he has done more for you than vice versa.

Apparently you have a contract with him through the year 2002, no different from an athlete with a professional sports team. Be a man, honor the contract, and then go out on your own with the knowledge and contacts you have acquired through him.

This case will probably settle out of court, and you two will shake hands in front of the media. I wonder if you will last as long as Emilio Estefan has, and how soon it will be before a young songwriter employed by you acquires your knowledge and contacts and then files a lawsuit against you. Life is ironic.

Juan Gonzalez

Emilio: Career Crasher?
Free the Chirino sisters! I've been waiting for a CD from the Chirino sisters for about two years now, after seeing them perform at the Rhythm Room and Señor Frog's. My itsy-bitsy, one-man record label, Sheikin Records, could have racked, packed, and sent those ladies out on tour a long time ago. So whoever is holding them back is costing them millions in sales and radio royalties.

There must be some other element missing from Celeste Fraser Delgado's story regarding the real deal there: family money, beauty, musical abilities. Ever hear of the Osmonds? Why do these ladies from Miami's Cuban wealth need outside money? Strange.

Al Reyes

Lincoln Road: Where the Elite Meet
Good riddance to the execrable beggars and hawkers: After reading Juan Carlos Rodriguez's article about Lincoln Road ("Strike Up the Bland," September 6), I wanted to relate this story: Last month I received a campaign solicitation letter from Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman in her run for Beach mayor. I informed her that I will not vote for her because as a commissioner, along with all the other commissioners, she voted to bureaucratize and severely limit the self-employed artists, vendors, and performers who have adopted Lincoln Road as a venue for their expression and fledgling attempts at capitalist ventures.

She e-mailed me back, stating that the commission was trying to separate the "true artists" from the "commercial beggars and hawkers." I gleaned from this not only an elitist attitude among commissioners and some Lincoln Road merchants but an official frown upon anything that might freely compete with their essentially closed and high-rent fiefdom.

The losers in this will include not only those artists, artisans, and performers who are literally disenfranchised, but everyone who visits Lincoln Road who now will be denied the freedom to choose from among a variety of entertainments.

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