Letters from the Issue of February 13, 2003

Is Miami Beach secretly racist?

This was not an isolated event. The regime has a history of committing atrocities against fleeing Cubans. One year later a memorial flotilla for the victims was forced to turn back. At the moment that the hull of the lead boat was partially crushed, BTTR planes flew over Havana dropping bumper stickers that read, "Comrades No. Brothers."

Fidel Castro was humiliated and began to plot his revenge using his spies to gather information and develop a conspiracy that eight months later ended with Cuban MiGs blowing to bits two BTTR planes, murdering Armando Alejandre, Jr., Mario de la Peña, Carlos Costa, and Pablo Morales. Castro personally took responsibility for the destruction of the planes.

The goal was to destroy all three planes on that mission, and then have Juan Pablo Roque appear as the lone survivor to offer his "testimony." But with one plane's survival and recordings of routine communications with Cuban government air-traffic controllers, as well as the fact that the two destroyed planes' flight paths were outside Cuban national airspace, the conspiracy unraveled.

Cuban officials deny Roque was attacked in Havana by Comandos F-4, yet still Nielsen calls for an investigation where there is no victim. On the other hand, he gives a pass to the perpetrators of the above act of premeditated state terrorism.

Morality quiz #3: Cuban agents murder four Americans in an act of state terrorism. Fidel Castro admits prior knowledge and takes responsibility for the attack. U.S government authorities respond by tightening economic sanctions, and little else. Such an attack would be A) right, B) wrong, C) legal, D) illegal, E) something that would lead terrorists to think it is open season on U.S. citizens.

John Suarez, coordinator

Free Cuba Foundation


If You Knew Camilo Like I Know Camilo

Regardless of what you say, he is a gentleman and a true friend: Regarding Tristram Korten's article "A Friend Indeed" (January 30), the first time I heard the name Camilo Padreda was at a Latin Builders Association banquet. It struck me that every other phrase I heard that day was "mi amigo Camilo Padreda." Several years later I met him prior to starting work on his NW Seventh Street office building known as Airport Seven.

I gave him a price, and he did not chisel me nor peddle my price. He was never condescending, and (unlike Korten's article) was always respectful. He was a good builder, paid his bills in a timely fashion, and never invented backcharges. At the end of the project he never attempted to make the final payment with cents on the dollar. It became evident why people called him "mi amigo." I went on to work on about half the projects mentioned in the article. My regret was not working on more of them.

Through the course of time I met his wife and had to deal with his daughter on some progress payments. Both were excellent ladies! If he is seventy now, he must have been early fifties then; I was in my midthirties. One day I was picking up plans at his office with my teenage son. He marveled at the wall of the office and all the pictures of Mr. Padreda and other dignitaries.

When he went through his trials and stopped building, I lost touch with him. Then late last year I was having coffee one night at La Carreta and a voice from the past said, "Mijo [Cuban slang for mi hijo, my son]! How are you doing?" It was as if he had seen me just a week ago. Always a gentleman. So yes, a friend indeed!

Rafael R. Palacios


Miami: FM Radio Heaven

And if you believe that, you'll love the swamp acreage I'm selling: After reading Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column "Hip-Hop Till You Drop" (January 23), I ask: Do we really need another hip-hop radio station? I don't think so. Radio in this market sucks. Thank God for compact discs.

Only in Miami do you have a program director who's a hundred years old named "Kid" Curry and who says he decides what the hits are. Is this guy kidding? What a freaking joke! He wouldn't know a hit if one hit him.

Like many other people I know, I have sworn off radio completely. I refuse to listen to the crap they play. This market doesn't even have a real rock station. The two stations supposedly playing rock music suck! It's the same songs over and over and over. I guess that's the Clear Channel, Cox, and Beasley f@#$ing way.

As a former loyal radio listener I repeat: This market sucks. Please, let's have some damn variety on the airwaves.

Jimi Santoli


The High Price of Democracy

Fighting for your rights can take a toll, but it's worth it: I am one of the individuals at the vortex of the Ouster/DERM story written by Francisco Alvarado ("The Dumbing-Down of DERM," January 23). New Times had previously published a cover story ("Greed Stinks," November 15, 2001) that comprehensively described the saga endured by me and others as a result of the Ouster Corporation's soil contamination at their Redland facility. Both articles have shed an unyielding light on a most egregious situation and have demonstrated how truly important is the press to an informed public and a democratic and free society.

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