Letters from the Issue of April 4, 2002

More sideline heckling over cheating at University of Miami

A Window to the World

We at Radio Martí are proud to provide an opening in a closed society: Every year Kathy Glasgow rakes Radio Martí over the coals. I'm not sure what her deal is, but no matter who is in charge of running the station, Glasgow feels the place isn't worth the money, and with the aid of disgruntled employees she spews forth her poisonous venom. What's sad and ironic about Kathy's muckraking is that while she's free to do this, the people we serve are not. According to dissidents on the island of Cuba, they've never experienced as much repression as they have this past year, and they've never needed Radio Martí more.

For the past fifteen years I've dragged my ass to work, and when I'm lucky I get to talk to those Cubans on the island who are shocked over the possible dissolution of the Martí stations. They use us as their own sounding board, a respite from the embargo, and see us as a source of strength, a place to go and speak freely of their troubles. When a guy like Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, someone many extremists have claimed is "soft" on Castro, tells me that the dissidents have never experienced repression of the kind they've seen this year, and that Castro's Cuba offers no such thing as freedom of expression, it kills me. When a woman like Tania Diaz Castro, after her internment, offers her own take on Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" by defiantly declaring, "I know no fear. We know no fear. He can't hurt us any worse than he already has," it emboldens me and I don't want to give up the fight.

To a lot of us it's not so much about making sure our rhetoric is right in the eyes of Kathy Glasgow as it is about keeping hope alive and the information flowing to some very brave dissidents and 12,000,000 damned souls. That's the irony of old faithful Kathy: She's free to dis us all she wants, but the people we serve are free to do nothing. I wish I could get them here to dispute her claims. I'm very proud when we can report about blind dissidents in Oriente responding to government hecklers dumping garbage on them by saying, "That's okay. Garbage from garbage does not bother me."

Contrary to some claims, the people on the island are not stupid. They can sift through what we offer and decide for themselves quite easily what's worthwhile and what isn't. But the main thing for them is that we offer what many view as their own personal radio station, and through it a window to the world. In our own surprisingly functional and nonhostile way, we try to offer the people of Cuba life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What can possibly be wrong with that?

Hector Carrillo, producer

Radio Martí

Miami

Government Broadcast Station Lost

Radio Martí missing, Washington bureaucrats shocked: Regarding Kathy Glasgow's article about Radio and TV Martí ("Incessant Static," March 28), I would have included that the "Mambízation" of Radio Martí arrived with former radio director Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera. Readers of "Incessant Static" might assume it was current Office of Cuba Broadcasting director Salvador Lew who initiated this. On the contrary, the unabashed criollo trend started when Rodriguez-Tejera arrived at Radio Martí in the fall of 1997 and swiftly employed choice friends and followers to fill the juiciest slots and assignments.

Sadly even veteran journalists with an institutional memory as to our broadcasts and policies while the Martí stations were in Washington, D.C., were complacent as Mambí transformed Martí.

Ms. Glasgow's article is most important in that it sheds light on the institutional indifference to and abandonment of Radio Martí by supervising agencies in Washington.

Carmen-Maria Rodriguez

Staten Island, NY

Obsessive Behavior Signals Serious Mental Disorder

Can't let go, can't let go, can't let go, can't let go: Can Kirk Nielsen please explain his motive for continuing to push for University of Miami football player Andre Johnson to receive a harsher penalty for academic dishonesty? He and New Times seem determined to not let this issue go away ("Punt," March 21 and "End Run," March 7).

The most recent article seems to imply that the UM football program soon will be out of control. That is not true. I can't understand why Mr. Nielsen cannot enjoy the success of the team on the field and allow the university administration to handle issues like this as they see fit. I know of other students who have been caught plagiarizing papers and none of them has been kicked out of school for an entire year. Is New Times going to begin printing stories on a regular basis about the penalties students are receiving from UM? This issue has been handled. New Times just needs to let it go. You are only trying to create a story where there simply isn't one.

Issues such as this are supposed to be confidential. I believe the people commenting or writing about Andre Johnson are being very unprofessional in that respect.

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