Letters from the issue of May 1-7, 2003

Invoking Osama bin Laden and remembering George Zirwas

But the issue last week contained a home run, an article that is a sure contender in the race to be the silliest bit of nonthinking ever printed in the pencil press: Tristram Korten's proposal to exchange imprisoned Cuban civil-rights activists for Cuban spies caught working against the United States ("Proposals with Punch," April 17). Yeah, right. Did the Castro crowd actually plant that idea with Korten? In this case, are you guys an actual stalking horse for the Red regime?

Let's see. A fair exchange implies a trade of similar things of equal value, right? Well, in America we have in custody a few members of Fidel's espionage service who spent years stomping around the United States collecting military information (and breaking the heart of at least one nice woman). Certainly their intent was to do the United States (and that decent lady) no good. The sneaky bastards were caught, tried, and sentenced -- all fair and square. The lucky fact that they were both incompetent and stupid does not mitigate the malevolent intent of the murderous dictator for whom they worked. These are the bad guys.

On the other hand, in Cuba you have more than 50 writers (aren't they your colleagues?) who have had the courage to say out loud in Havana that people and even newspapers should be free. How long are their sentences? Twenty years? More? These admirable people were sent away for terms longer than your typical homicide suspect on Law & Order. These Cuban nationals are the good guys.

And you say: "Let's exchange these two groups"? Exchange (and thus equate) military spies for people who are evil enough only to own a copy of the Bill of Rights? Let's pay the extortion? Let's set a precedent that in the future would allow bully boy Fidel to get any of his thugs out of prison by simply scooping up innocent civilians and offering them as a swap? The part I really loved was when Señor Korten suggested that "the dissidents could even stay in Cuba" after the swap. God. This brand of low-wattage brain power is usually found in pot-filled college dorm rooms. What are you folks smoking down there in South Florida?

No sane grownup can ever again take seriously the muddle-headed leftist agenda of a pseudo-journalist like Tristram Korten. From a child, Korten's ideas would be regarded as cute juvenile rebellion. From an adult, they are pathetic.

Coke Johnston

Lubbock, Texas

Buju Unveiled

Reggae fans lap it up: As a reggae lover who used to produce the (now defunct) Vermont Reggae Festival, I want to thank Celeste Fraser Delgado for a well-paced article ("Winding and Long," April 17). It provided truly interesting peeks into Buju's private life, fun times on the road, and factual information regarding the VP/Atlantic power on the scene.

Susan De Leon

Hollywood

Are You Guys Amateurs or

Drives people like me crazy when: How about some quality control in your shop? You can begin by at least printing your writers' articles in their entirety. Case in point: Gregory Weinkauf's film review of The Good Thief that began on page 58 of the April 17 issue and then disappeared into oblivion. No jump to another page. No nothing. The article ended without a hint, in midsentence. Most annoying and unprofessional!

Is this any way to run a newspaper? Get your editing, writing, and production people on the same page -- literally. Please show your writers and readers the respect they deserve. Finish what you start!

David Finkelman

Kendall

From Detroit to Kingston

Berry Gordy, meet Glen Washington: Greg Doherty hit the nail on the head ("Hungry Mob," April 10). Reggae is the real soul music of today. I have always said that today's reggae is like the old Motown -- it has quality and is fresh. Overall it maintains a high standard. In my opinion, the crossover hits of Sean Paul and the like are diluted and of poor quality. Music like that is just bland, trying for the mass market. Thank God for singers like Luciano, Sanchez, and Glen Washington, who will most likely never cross over to the American mass market.

Simon McDonough

Miami Beach

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