Letters from the Issue of January 3, 2002

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

Oh, by the way, I am of Spanish and Anglo descent, speak Spanish, and do not envy you in any way. I do not feel superior to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, South or Central Americans. In fact I rather prefer their company, food, culture, graciousness, and class to that of arrogant idiots such as yourself. So why don't you get off your self-erected pedestal and realize that arrogance and megalomanical claims of superiority will not gain you any goodwill among Anglos, not to mention among all your Hispanic brethren or anyone else outside your small, exclusive circle. Then again, you probably don't care.

Christine King
Miami Beach

Nut Case #4
Thanks for the rhetorical spitball: Maria Gonzalez ends her letter to New Times by saying it is not a crime to be proud of who you are or where you come from. But her tolerance of pride appears to exclude any group but Cubans. It especially excludes the Americans who invited her to live in our country. For example if English-speaking American writers fail to flatter Ms. Gonzalez's racist vanity, well, they are "ignorant and biased" and "full of hate and envy." She does have Anglo friends and no doubt believes there are some good ones. Their views are presumably not "paranoid and ignorant" because, of course, they complement her own.

Cultured as she is, Ms. Gonzalez must know she cannot excuse the crimes of her own group by citing the crimes of others. But she does this anyway. She seems to confuse the right to speak freely and assemble peacefully with crimes like falsely imprisoning others by blocking traffic. They are not the same. She has to know that the rights of one person end where the rights of another begin. Exiles' rights of political expression do not include forcefully obstructing another person from going to and from work, the grocery, the doctor, or anywhere else. And no person has the right to deny a caring father the custody of his own son because of the man's nationality or political beliefs. Despite the intensity of our loathing for Castro, we do not have that right. And thanks to the wisdom and sacrifice of our forefathers, the government of the United States does not have that power.

If Latinos from other nations really wished to follow the Cuban achievement, as Ms. Gonzalez claims, then they would go to Havana, not Miami. But they do not go to Havana. For all their struggle, Cubans are a people who never knew real freedom until they came to America. The freedom they enjoy here is a culture bestowed upon them by the American people. The Cubans themselves never succeeded in gaining and sustaining fundamental human liberties.

But Cubans have done well here, and I personally believe that most Americans admire Cubans for their economic prosperity. We want people to be successful. And a new sense of caring speaks well of any community, as does active opposition to the tyrant. But our culture does not condone child-snatching, even from our enemies. Yes, there is resentment of the exiles' politically blighted leadership. The politicos seem to view American freedom as an inexhaustible gift to be bombed and assaulted in manic, self-righteous frenzies whenever their personal desires and interests conflict with democratic principles and institutions.

No number of bombings or protests can alter the fact that the exiles did choose to run from Cuba rather than fight and die for their own nation. Without fault, that is history. But their children are not exiles; they are Americans. And like others before them, they will eventually turn from the dictates of the old guard and embrace the freedom of Anglo-American heritage. And unlike Ms. Gonzalez, their gratitude will not take the form of labored, one-dimensional verbal saliva in our faces.

John D. Smith
Hollywood

Nut Case #5
And thanks for reminding me why I left Miami:As an Anglo American who resided in Miami-Dade County for 22 years, I find Ms. Gonzalez's letter most educational. Her attitude epitomizes the very reasons I picked up and left Miami-Dade last year. She writes, "Please come to grips with the Cuban community." Her arrogance astounds me. I didn't move to Florida and ask the people of Miami-Dade County to "come to grips" with me and mine.

The Cuban community came to this country and was welcomed to our shores and given every advantage, in some cases more so than any other group of immigrants. Yes, they certainly have the constitutional right to assemble and bear arms, as do all Americans. But Ms. Gonzalez's statement about helping the downtrodden black citizens of our city is a joke. The Cubans have stepped on the black community at every turn.

When I moved here more than two decades ago, I had every intention of learning the Spanish language, but the longer I stayed the more adamant I became that the national language is English and immigrants should be expected to assimilate.

The problem in this community is this: The political leadership survives on and the media thrives on our divisions, and those divisions were exacerbated by the Elian Gonzalez issue. We Anglos were embarrassed by the behavior of the Cuban-American leadership -- Alex Penelas, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Joe Carollo, et al. Doesn't Ms. Gonzalez recognize that Miami-Dade County became the laughingstock of the country? There has been no meaningful dialogue about this.

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