Letters from the Issue of November 27, 2003

Anarchists and baseball and parrots and jazz

Quick Results, No Waiting

Thanks to the county for our rapid HIV test: On behalf of the board, staff, and most important, the clients of the South Beach AIDS Project, I would like to commend Rebecca Wakefield for her insightful and informative article about the new "rapid" HIV test now available on South Beach ("Sex and Consequences," November 20).

I would also like to add my thanks to the Miami-Dade Department of Health for making it possible to bring this revolutionary test to our clients. Under the leadership of Evelyn Ullah, the department has sought innovative ways (like this test) to bring both HIV prevention and testing services to the diverse populations of Miami-Dade. We at SoBAP are grateful to her and her staff for expediting the availability of the rapid HIV screening.

Kevin Garrity, executive director

South Beach AIDS Project

Miami Beach

They Remember Benny ...

... But I remember Joseito: I wanted to thank Celeste Fraser Delgado for writing such a wonderful story about Benny Moré and Generoso Jiménez ("I Remember Benny," November 20). I was born in Cuba and lived there until 1973. Though I've been gone for a long time, the music I grew up with has never left my heart or soul.

I enjoy tales of how some great Cuban songs were improvised on a moment's notice. I don't know if Ms. Delgado is aware that Joseito Fernandez Diaz wrote the music for "Guantanamera," a song that has become a second Cuban national anthem. Interestingly, if my facts are correct, it was improvised in a manner similar to "Elige Tú Que Canto Yo," except that it was done in a live radio broadcast. I remember seeing Joseito Fernandez, a tall, dignified figure walking around my neighborhood in Havana, and hearing my late mother whisper to me: "That's the guy that composed 'Guantanamera.'"

Alfredo Castro


The Difference Between Resume and Résumé

Put the accent on accuracy: I have always applauded New Times for accenting proper names, and I applaud Celeste Fraser Delgado for her excellent article "I Remember Benny." I just want to point out that the accent mark on Generoso Jiménez's last name was misplaced both on the cover and in the wonderful article. (In fact the issue of accenting proper names is number two on our "Myth/Reality" chart at www.sopreproc.org, and we are glad that New Times handles this properly as a general policy.)

Unless Sr. Jiménez specifically chooses to have people emphasize the first syllable of his last name (which would be quite unusual), his last name needs the accent mark on the second syllable, not the first.

Please keep up the excellent work, and fix Generoso's accent mark next time!

Allan Tépper

Coral Gables

FTAA: Here's My Message

Be afraid: I loved the New Times presentation on the FTAA, as it was informative and entertaining ("Free Trade Miami," November 13). The full-page map by Derf said it all!

My protest sign would read: "90,000 potential workers BEWARE: Miami and Florida have the highest home, health, and auto insurance rates in the U.S., courtesy of our compassionate legislature."

Steve Hagen


FTAA: Where's the Message?

Lost in the media frenzy, as planned: Last week's FTAA meeting and the demonstrations surrounding it started me thinking: Why were large numbers of heavily armed police on the streets? Why were unarmed civilians being gassed and arrested? Why was a very well-thought-out plan to stifle dissent, free speech, and the right to assemble being implemented? The fact that the public might actually learn something about globalization, privatization, and the exploitation of workers around the world really must have scared someone.

Thousands of people from across the country and around the world converged on Miami to focus attention on the problems associated with globalization. Tens of thousands of union members organized by the AFL-CIO, immigrant groups, and local antipoverty activists, among many others, took to the streets. Local officials and the media chose, however, to focus on a small handful of young people who were considered to be "anarchists." While some of these individuals may have indeed come looking to create violence, the vast majority of folks peacefully took to the streets.

The "anarchists" actually worked out an agreement with AFL-CIO organizers in which they promised not to infiltrate the union's Thursday march or have any activity during the march's scheduled times. The incidents on Thursday afternoon all occurred after the large marches had concluded. The police, though, chose a heavy-handed show of force before, during, and after the AFL-CIO event.

The cordoning-off of downtown conveniently blocked the arrival of numerous buses headed to the march. These union members would have swelled the event's numbers even more. Reliable sources within the AFL-CIO contingent told me that after the march, dozens of older participants ended up marooned in and around the Bayfront Park Amphitheater while large police deployments were facing off with small pockets of younger "anarchist type" activists. The group stuck in the amphitheater was harassed by police and sprayed on various occasions with pepper spray and/or tear gas.

The truth behind the massive police activity and the hostile attitude of the authorities toward protesters is simple. They wanted to shift the focus from the FTAA itself onto events in the street. By highlighting any small confrontation, playing up the large number of police personnel and perceived threats from small groups, the desired result was achieved.

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