Letters from the Issue of January 16, 2003

This is Miami's musical moment!

The Wonders of Everglades National Park

Tourists as gator bait by day, billions and billions of stars by night: As Mike Clary noted in "Happy on the Outside" (January 9), Everglades National Park truly is an underappreciated treasure. My wife and I have lived here for more than 25 years and we are amazed by the number of South Floridians who have never been down to Royal Palm or have driven past Shark Valley without stopping.

We make three to four trips to Everglades National Park each winter. There is nothing that will clear the urban cobwebs from your mind like a stroll down the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm visitors center, or watching huge flocks of snowy ibis swoop in to roost at Eco Pond in Flamingo.

Then there is always the element of drama at Royal Palm, where you can watch European tourists try to get up close to an alligator to have their picture taken -- while you take bets on which one will get too close and, maybe, be eaten.

Speaking of eating, the food at the main restaurant in Flamingo is excellent. An added plus is that if you stay for dinner before heading back to Miami (only an hour away), you get to see the heavens in all their glory, without city lights to dim the stars. The ride back, with the top down or the sun roof open, is awesome.

Ira Loewy

Miami

Mr. Trotsky, Meet Ms. Glasgow

I'm sure you two will hit it off, especially when the subject turns to Cuba: Kathy Glasgow is right when she portrays Radio Martí as a waste of taxpayer dollars and a huge bureaucratic failure ("Bolita in Havana," December 19). It could be argued that maintaining Cuba's bolita gambling operations [by broadcasting Florida Lottery numbers] is the station's greatest accomplishment. Before concluding her story, though, Ms. Glasgow takes a decidedly left turn. Referring to "Carlos," her Havana source for information about Cuban bolita, she writes of his dream to live in America: "...He'll probably need the money [he'd make from bolita in Hialeah] more here than even in Cuba, where no matter how bad the economy gets he still enjoys subsidized rent and basic medical and dental care...." Leon Trotsky could not have provided a better defense of Cuba's failed socialist revolution.

Ms. Glasgow apparently believes that Cuba's current system provides more safeguards against economic downturns for its citizens than does the U.S. free-market economy. The truth is that the majority of Cuban housing is in deplorable condition. Then we must ask: Who subsidizes this substandard housing? The obvious answer for any good Trotskyite is: the benevolent Cuban government. The real answer is the Cuban people themselves, who spend most of their lives working for the government and getting paid less than $20 per month. Suddenly that subsidized housing may not look like such a hot deal.

In addition, the myth of the greatness of Cuba's state-run medical and educational systems is just that -- a myth. Cuba probably has the most doctors per capita in the world, but the system is so bankrupt and inefficient that a large number of physicians are driving taxis or busing restaurant tables. Though Cuba enjoys free trade with most of the world (with the exception of a porous U.S. embargo), the most basic medicine is scarce.

Emiliano Antunez

Miami

Brett and the Body Bags

Antiwar advocates get a little tough love: Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column "On the Left, Off the Wall" (December 12) has sent South Florida's antiwar movement scrambling for public-relations salvation. Most Americans at this point are probably fence-sitters in regard to war with Iraq.

The arms industry's efforts to have young men and women die for their bottom line is a cancer among nations. Their motto: body bags for profits. Mr. Sokol's message to Miami's antiwar movement: Get real if you want to convince the American public that a body bag for their son or daughter isn't warranted.

Clyde Cates

South Miami

Constipation and the Kooks

Antiwar advocates get a big laugh: While we know that tens of millions of innocent people were murdered by Leftists, it's still amazing that some so-called scholars can't get enough of that old-time communism. In "On the Left, Off the Wall," Brett Sokol did a great job covering some of the kooks in the Socialist Workers' Party. Their views about Israel being the real threat to world peace rather than Muslim jihadists were laughable. I'm surprised the commie pinkos Sokol interviewed and listened to didn't blame Israel for cancer -- or their own constipation. At best these self-hating failures in life are pathetic pond scum.

Harvey Slavin

Hollywood

Miami's Music Moment

We're witnessing an unprecedented burst of creativity, so get with it: Okay, let's see if I've got this right: New Times hires a guy to write a column about popular culture in Miami and winds up with someone, Brett Sokol, who apparently has a thing against rock en español. To quote his November 28 "Kulchur" column ("Resurgent Rock"): "Why settle for a watered-down version if you can hear the real deal?" His attitude is so ridiculous I almost don't know where to start.

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