Letters from the Issue of April 15, 2004

Persecution and Profits

Why let a little torture stand in the way of cold cash? Great article by Kirk Nielsen on selling cattle to Cuba ("Cows to Cuba," April 8). It appears that Mr. John Parke Wright IV, like many other capitalists, does not mind profiteering from the Western Hemisphere's oldest tinhorn dictatorship. I guess the fact that many of its citizens have had close encounters with a cattle prod in those numerous Cuban jails is of little importance to him, especially when the price is right.

I wonder if Wright would have considered selling cattle to South Africa when apartheid was still in effect.

Frank Resillez

Key Largo

Change Your

Perspective: Visit Cuba

Enough of the old agenda, let's try something new: Bravo to Kirk Nielsen for exposing the other side of the Cuba trade issue. If each of us swallowed our Cuban pride a bit and took a trip back to Cuba at least once or twice a year, as John Parke Wright suggested, there might be some improvement and a personal change of perspective.

Castro has shown time and time again that he will not change. So where does that leave those masses of people indoctrinated by his regime, people who have seen nothing else? As a young American woman born of a Cuban family, I thank Mr. Wright for not falling into the agenda of an older Cuban generation that is so full of ego and pain they've ceased to pay attention to human rights and instead view the denial of basic needs as a legitimate means of combating the Castro regime. Instead of getting on a political soapbox, we need to help the people of Cuba person-to-person.

Alma Martinez-Amores


Greetings from Havana

It's time to bypass the politicians: Some months ago Kirk Nielsen and I had discussions on the reopening of economic relations between the United States and the Republic of Cuba, in the context of U.S. law and Florida's historical trade and cultural relationships with our Cuban friends to the south. His story "Cows to Cuba" has further opened my eyes to the need for human kindness and special understanding of the feelings and needs of Cubans in Cuba today, as well as their families and friends in Florida. With this inspiration I have returned to Cuba for further agricultural negotiations and to attend Mass on Easter Sunday with friends.

Cuba and Florida stand so close and yet are divided by resentments and anger. Our prayers today at the Catedral de la Habana were for peace, understanding, and loving care for each other. The ravages of a failed "blockade" and the misery brought by politicians and their egos can make me angry and sad. This is now about the welfare of people, not politicians.

Thanks to Kirk Nielsen and New Times for bringing attention to the opportunity for a peaceful change of heart in our own back yard. In these times, good deeds speak louder than any words, and so as a Floridian and friend of Cuba, I will sail on across the Gulf Stream, in the face of any storm, political or otherwise.

John Parke Wright

La Habana


Editor's note: Owing to reporting errors in Kirk Nielsen's article "Cows to Cuba," the following facts were misstated: President Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, signed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. Also Cuban agricultural officials and veterinary specialists did not visit Florida this past January. The trip was postponed because of concerns surrounding mad cow disease. New Times regrets the errors.

Criminals with Paintbrushes

Their moral arrogance is stifling: Great article in "The Bitch" column about Daniel Fila and Erin ("Ass Good As It Gets," April 8). My wife, my child, and I drove by the painting every day and found it very enjoyable -- bold and refreshing. It is great to see urban-style paintings done in a classy and tasteful manner.

As a society we've come to a sensitive place (or maybe we've always been here) where people are scared to death to talk to their children about anything that is even slightly uncomfortable. It saddens me that the arts are stifled by a few close-minded individuals who deem their morals and standards to be the law we should all follow. The individuals who covered Daniel Fila's painting with their "blank" graffiti are just as criminal as those who defile our road signs, walls, and fences.

Tim Orrange


It May Look Like a

Bizarre Obsession

But you'll see -- it's really an art project: Regarding "Dark Obsession" by Humberto Guida ("BuzzIn," April 8), Nicodemus Hammil is my friend, albeit a weird one. (I have always enjoyed the company of bizarre characters.) Carmel Ophir is also a good friend, and he's not weird at all, which shows that I'm open to all kinds of people.

As a friend I have asked Nicodemus and Anitra Warren to drop this nonsense against Carmel and crobar and get on with their lives, but to no avail. Whatever real or imagined thing the club or Carmel did to them, it is not enough to justify the obsession, the anger, the harassment. They've told me their grievances over and over again, and the whole thing is so lame I can't even remember exactly what it is. It doesn't make sense. But then again, one should not expect Nicodemus to be reasonable.

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