Letters from the Issue of January 3, 2002

Nut Case #5: And thanks for reminding me why I left Miami

We do not have to apologize for our success, for our heritage, or for our language. We have proven that one can retain a great deal of heritage and still succeed here. There is nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with speaking Spanish. Accept that we are successful and will maintain our heritage and still be productive members of this country.

And please accept our right to protest. Sure we blocked a couple of streets. But that disruption was minor compared to most protests that take place in this nation and involve millions of dollars in destruction. Check out Seattle and Washington recently. In fact check out every time a college or professional sports team wins a championship. There is more property destruction and violence at these events than when the Cubans protested and blocked a couple of streets -- or worse, set fire to a couple of Dumpsters. Wow. Big deal.

Remember, it is not a crime to speak Spanish. It's not a crime to get ahead. It's not a crime to have protested the Clinton administration. It's not a crime to be a Republican. And it's not a crime to be proud of who you are and where you come from.

Maria Gonzalez
Miami

Nut Case #1
Excuse me for saying so, but there's a big blind spot out there: At the risk of being labeled a nut, I would like to respond to Maria Gonzalez's letter. I live in a city (Miami) and county (Miami-Dade) where the social climate is oppressive and fraught with conflict. Where the ruling exile elite, through their minions the Cuban American National Foundation, the Latin Builders Association, et cetera, choose the politicians deemed acceptable to run for office.

Where organizations and business establishments are threatened and harassed if they express an opinion contrary to exile orthodoxy.

Where upper- and middle-class exiles ignore and accept the widening schism between rich and poor. (Did I mention that Miami has sunk to the fourth-poorest city of its size in America under exile Cuban "rule"?)

Where the lower class's attention is kept focused on Cuban nationalism by Spanish-language talk radio and El Nuevo Herald while the same families who supported Batista (Ros, Diaz de la Portilla, Diaz-Balart) are running things here just like the old days in Cuba.

Did Cuba ever have a true democracy for longer than a few months? I could go on but, Ms. Gonzalez, you know all this already and, sadly, you accept it.

Most Cubans I know are hard-working good people, but they seem to have a blind spot when it comes to their leaders. They admire strong leaders, and as long as those leaders spout anti-Castro propaganda and talk about returning to the good old days in Cuba, they turn a blind eye to corruption. No, Ms. Gonzalez, it's not a crime to be proud of where you came from, but do you have to be so superior and arrogant given Cuba's history of government?

What brings out the "nuts" is the fact that you brought your failed systems with you to a country and to a people who welcomed you. And now you want to tell us how wonderful you are.

Larry Clark
Miami

Nut Case #2
If you're so prosperous, why is Miami so poor? I just read Maria Gonzalez's letter chastising Anglos for not being nice to Cubans because we are jealous of all the prosperity they have and we don't. What a load of crap. I have absolutely nothing against Cubans, but I am real tired of professional Cubans like Gonzalez bragging about the "wealth, prosperity, and opportunity" they have brought to Miami. The fact is Miami is the fourth-poorest city in the nation! That's a disgrace and surely nothing to brag about. And you don't need U.S. Census statistics to reveal how poor Miami is. Just drive around. There are vast swaths of poverty-stricken areas across the city (and the county), lots of them Latin areas too.

When I see prosperity, I'll begin to believe Gonzalez's argument. In the meantime I'll stick to the facts: fourth-poorest city in the nation.

George Machun
Miami Shores

Editor's note: According to recent Census Bureau surveys, Miami now ranks number one in poverty among American cities with populations in excess of 250,000.

Nut Case #3
Is there no limit to your arrogance? Dear Maria: It certainly is not a crime to speak Spanish or to get ahead or even to be a Republican, but it should be a crime to be as arrogant and elitist and -- yes -- ignorant as you are. Nothing turns my stomach more than hearing people of any nationality put themselves above the rest of humanity based on their heritage, passport, skin or hair color (remember those perfect Aryans?), or whatever it may be that makes them superior in their own eyes.

You mention other Hispanics, such as those lowly Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Central Americans, South Americans -- wait! You actually managed to put down every single Hispanic nationality except your own glorious Cuban one! And you wonder what irritates people about you. I have a lot more respect for pretty much all those "dumb, docile, and inferior" Hispanics, as you so kindly put it, than any arrogant Cuban such as yourself.

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