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

Miami

The Difference Between Resume and Résumé

Put the accent on accuracy: I have always applauded New Timesfor 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

Miami

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.

We heard little about the massive exodus of jobs from the United States to other countries and less still about the exploitation of workers throughout the hemisphere. Little or no attention was paid to the environmental catastrophe going on in the Amazon basin and other threatened areas. The systematic corporate takeover of agriculture and the dire straits of education were ignored. Rampant corruption, privatization, and exploitation across the hemisphere were completely forgotten.

Go ahead, ask someone about the FTAA and its impact. You'll see that the shift of focus was very effective. FTAA? Oh yeah, you mean that riot thing downtown, right?

Pablo Gomez-Rivas

Miami

FTAA: Offenders Without Borders

No country is above insult:Kudos for "Free Trade Miami." It was the best collection of feature articles of 2003. Maybe of the decade. Award-worthy! Long live Miami New Times, the only alternative, politically incorrect, equal-opportunity offender for the Magic City's unconventional lifestylers.

Joanne Tomarchio

Coconut Grove

FTAA: Cliffs Notes

Protester gets up to speed:I really appreciated "Fair Trade Hot Buttons" in the FTAA issue. It was the clearest document on this subject I have found. Thank you very much for helping me see why I should be protesting.

Mike Fink

Miami

Merrick Park Profile

A place so ritzy only drug dealers can afford it: In reading Pamela Robin Brandt's comments regarding the very high-priced Merrick Park, I'd say she hit the nail on the head ("Graze Merrick Park," November 13). My wife went there one afternoon and brought back her survey.

My opinion: The shopping center was built and marketed to Miami-Dade County's elite groups, particularly drug dealers, high-priced doctors and attorneys, and those born with golden spoons in their mouths.

Roy O'Nan

Palmetto Bay

Extend Palm, Apply Grease

Essential steps in selecting the site for a new Marlins ballpark: Francisco Alvarado's article about the search for a site on which to build a new Marlins baseball stadium was right on the mark ("Neighborhood Bully," November 6). Remember that the $73 million being contributed by Miami-Dade County applies to the entire county, not just the downtown Miami movers and shakers who'll make money from a new stadium.

I hope the Marlins, Marlins fans, and taxpayers get the best deal possible for a state-of-the-art ballpark, but I'm very, very worried that Miami politics will put an overpriced and underperforming stadium in a location that is hard to get to and less than the best choice. Given all the interest in this subject, we need to let some sunshine into the process before the right grease is applied in the right place and the big guys make up their minds for all of us.

So why not create a Website with chat rooms that will open the decision-making and provide a one-stop shop for suggestions and criticisms of potential locations. Bring power back to the people while helping local leaders understand that this is a serious decision with political and financial consequences if they screw up.

The downtown Park West site and the Orange Bowl area are receiving most of the attention, but I'd like to see many other areas given consideration. For example, maybe the Miccosukee tribe or the Seminoles would want to become players. Personally I'd like to suggest:

The transportation hub being planned just east of Miami International Airport (known as the Miami Intermodal Center), and including Grapeland Heights Park and the publicly owned Mel Reese golf course.

The southeast corner of the Opa-locka Airport.

The apparently abandoned Hialeah Race Track.

These three sites have good and bad points for both the stadium and the community, all of which should be considered in a fair and impartial decision matrix -- along with Park West, the Orange Bowl, and the many others I've not thought of.

Michael A. Uhorchak

Palmetto Bay

Squawk: Problem Parrots

We're here to set you straight: I write to express our appreciation for Humberto Guida's article "Our Feathered Friends" (October 30), which highlighted the inherent problems associated with keeping exotic wild birds as pets. This issue is one of the Animal Protection Institute's main advocacy areas, and we have several available resources (http://www.api4animals.org/doc.asp?ID=996).

We would be happy to provide any materials needed in the event of follow-up coverage of this or any other animal-related issue. Thanks again to New Timesfor its great journalism!

David DeWitt, communications coordinator

Animal Protection Institute

Sacramento, California

Squawk: Politicized Parrots

When money is on the table, anything can happen: I can only assume that Humberto Guida has given us a general picture of the new Parrot Jungle. Jungle? It sounds more like a Third World zoo. Nothing good can be said about allowing this sort of thing not only to be built but to be legitimized by politicians looking for the almighty dollar. Anyone caring about animals must be appalled at this clear disregard for their welfare. I urge the citizens of Miami to rise up in protest of this inhumane treatment of intelligent creatures. Where is the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals?

Dr. Bern Levine, like any other citizen, should be held accountable for any cruelty to animals. Shame on the local government for letting this happen in the first place, and then condoning it by giving in to Dr. Levine's demands. This is a sad reflection on our times in this country.

Suzy Delisanti

Lakewood, Washington

Jazz: Hear It Live

Can't find it on 91.3 FM? Try this joint in the Gables: Regarding John Anderson's article "Tuning Out" (October 23), about WLRN-FM canceling Steve Malagodi's long-running jazz program The Modern School of Modern Jazz and More, I'd like your readers to know that jazz is alive and doing very well in Coconut Grove (if not so well on WLRN). For the past four years the Tuscany has presented world-class jazz. Fine artists such as Randall Dollahon, Brian Murphy, Danny Burger, Matt Bonelli, and Kathleen Donato have performed every recent Thursday at 8:00 p.m. In addition the legendary Ira Sullivan is a regular, along with other guests such as Dante Luciani, Greg Gisbert, John Georgini, and Hank Bredenberg.

Unfortunately there are few other choices in Miami, so don't miss an opportunity to catch jazz at its best.

Joe Donato

Miami Springs

Editor's note: Steve Malagodi has taken his Modern School of Modern Jazz to community-supported WDNA-FM (88.9), where it airs Saturday from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

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