Letters from the Issue of December 12, 2002

Once upon a time there was this African-American surgeon...

Targeted Assassination Is Just Fine

But don't even think about stifling free speech: After reading Kirk Nielsen's article about Miami religious leaders seeking a pardon for anti-Castro Cuban exiles on trial in Panama ("Righteous Bombers?" December 5), two words come to mind: hypocrisy and arrogance. Anyone in full use of his senses knows that Fidel's rule in Cuba has been both inhumane and economically disastrous. I along with many other members of this community would like to see Castro deposed and his tyranny dismantled. Within the exile community there are numerous plans and opinions on how to achieve this.

The one thing that cannot be tolerated in the fight to eliminate Castro is terrorism. Seeing yet once more the picture of Emilio Milian lying helpless in a parking lot after a car bomb took his legs (and possibly shortened his life), I can only wonder why 26 years later there has yet to be a trial. It is unfair to the Milian family, which has suffered immeasurably from this cowardly crime. It may also be unfair to Gaspar Jimenez, who has lived in the shadow of guilt by being implicated in the Milian attack, but without the benefit of due process.

We must be consistent. Terrorism that claims the lives of innocents, impedes free speech, or damages private property is a crime no matter how worthy the cause is perceived to be or how despised the intended target. José Dionisio Suarez [who was convicted in the murder of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier] is right: "Cubans have all the right to ... eliminate this animal [Castro]." But what no one has a right to do is intimidate dissenters, destroy others' property, or kill innocents. To do so is to become the very animal you seek to destroy.

That four Cuban exiles with violent pasts are accused in Panama of trying to kill their tormentor by any means, regardless of the consequences, is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that Castro would set them up. What is almost beyond belief is the extent of the intervention in such earthly matters by a group of Christian clerics. They would be much the wiser, and the world a better place, if they would keep to their more divine pursuits. Besides, isn't God, according to these clerics, the ultimate judge?

Emiliano E. Antunez

Miami

Do Everyone a Favor and Take the War Home

Trust us, you'll feel better about yourselves: All I can say is, Cubans need to fight their war in their own country and leave us and others out of it. This they must do in order to preserve their dignity. Perhaps then we will learn to feel for their plight.

Alice Stark

Miami

Low on Integrity, High on Irresponsibility

And it's just not fair that all the good stuff about our blood bank was left out: I was disappointed in the irresponsible approach Eric Alan Barton and New Times took in dealing with the issue of blood services in South Florida ("Blood Money," November 28). I believe the use of "corporate thievery" and other sensationalistic terms, in addition to being irresponsible, may well be actionable.

I also think Mr. Barton missed communicating the fact that this organization and others like it save lives. There are many people out there who can attest to receiving this life-saving product and wouldn't be here to talk about it today if it hadn't been for blood banks and the donors who contribute to the life-saving process.

I believe the unbalanced article Mr. Barton wrote shows a lack of journalistic integrity. The positive aspects of blood-banking and South Florida Blood Banks' programs we told him about in our interviews did not receive fair representation. Growth and the advancements made in the blood-banking industry should not be represented to the public as negative, especially now that the safety of the blood supply is at its highest level ever.

Demand for blood is growing every year. Growth is inevitable in order to keep up with that demand. And keep in mind, in order for someone to receive blood, it first has to be available.

Kristina Krueger

South Florida Blood Banks

West Palm Beach

Okay, Here's Some Good Stuff About Blood Banks

It's about a true hero: Are you allowed to say anything positive when writing a letter about "Blood Money," Eric Alan Barton's fascinating exposé? I wanted to bring to readers' attention the name of Dr. Charles R. Drew, particularly in view of the many blood-banking concerns of minorities elucidated in Mr. Barton's strong article.

Dr. Drew was a leading African-American surgeon who in the 1940s pioneered research on the storage and shipment of blood plasma, and is credited with saving the lives of countless soldiers and civilians during World War II. His work helped create global awareness of the utility and practicality of blood-banking. He was director of the first American Red Cross effort during World War II to collect, type, and bank blood on a large scale.

However, after an official directive from the armed forces to segregate white blood from other human blood, and the acceptance of that directive by Red Cross officials over the objections of Dr. Drew and other scientists, he resigned in protest from the Red Cross Blood Bank Program directorship. Ironically Dr. Drew died of massive blood loss caused by a devastating auto accident in North Carolina in 1950.

Today a medical school in Los Angeles bears his name. He also is linked with distinction to an elementary school and a middle school here in Miami that each bear his name. These schools serve many children growing up in economically challenging conditions who certainly benefit from Dr. Drew's stature as a role model. I have personally served as a science instructor at Charles R. Drew Middle School and have tried to infuse some medical information into lessons, hoping no student will forget for whom their school is named as they strive for academic excellence.

Not all stories with a blood-banking connection need to be steeped in controversy. Charles R. Drew was a great physician, scientist, and humanitarian. And you can take that to the "blood bank."

Dr. Kenneth Gross

Miami

The Art of Omission

Hello? What do we have to do to get noticed? I read Alfredo Triff's article "Making the Grade" (November 28) with a lot of interest because I am a professor at the Ai International Fine Arts College, the Miami art university he omitted in his dialogue with representatives of other schools. Just like UM, we are a private school, and like FIU and UM and the New World School of the Arts, we are SACS accredited to award BFA and MFA degrees.

Since UM's Brian Curtis mentioned the names of three of my colleagues, Mr. Triff's piece would have been more interesting and more balanced had he also interviewed Mary Malm, Franklin Einspruch, and Kerry Ware. Perhaps he could do a followup, especially since our school is in the process of upgrading the studio facilities and gallery area.

Mari Conea-Rosenfeld

Ai International Fine Arts College

Miami

The Omission of Art

Get real -- Miami has been artist-unfriendly in a big way:I read Alfredo Triff's article and, as an artist, was very disappointed at the response of our "educators," or whatever they are, to the problems in our city. In Miami art is a second-class profession. Only the younger artists have come to the rescue, but that is despite art schools and galleries and dealers.

I have friends at FIU who have issues with that school and their programs, not to mention UM, which is very expensive for the service it provides to art students.

It's time to stop the publicity and tune in with the art community.

Tony Alvarado

Miami

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