Gang Related

Mass transit trouble and coked-up greyhounds

In the wake of much eulogizing in el exilio about Ronald Reagan's heroic role in the anti-Castro struggle, retired banker and voluble dialoguero Bernardo Benes believes one of the Gipper's little-known legacies will inspire some Cuban Americans to vote Democrat this fall. At the behest of President Jimmy Carter, Benes met secretly with Fidel Castro as part of a mission to open a dialogue between the U.S. and Cuban governments. Benes met with Castro more than a dozen times. His negotiations in late 1978 led to the release of 3600 political prisoners. Hard-line exiles in Miami branded him a communist for merely sitting down with the dictator.

But Benes points out that, to be fair, Reagan must be considered a traitorous dialoguero as well -- Reagan also sent the former banker to meet with Fidel. During a 1985 trip to Havana, Benes relayed an offer: The U.S. would normalize relations, end the trade embargo, and guarantee Cuba a quota of sugar sales if Castro would stop exporting his revolution. According to Benes, the bearded comandante agreed. But as soon as Benes returned to Miami, the Reagan administration launched Radio Martí, beaming anti-Castro propaganda to the island and scuttling the diplomatic opening.

Benes concedes that hardliners would likely only applaud Reagan's trickery because, in the end, he double-crossed Castro (and created a lot of radio jobs for exiles).

Eric Oriol says bus drivers in Miami Beach won't stop for him when he wants to rack his bicycle
Jonathan Postal
Eric Oriol says bus drivers in Miami Beach won't stop for him when he wants to rack his bicycle


Fifteen years ago, a young English cancer patient named Craig Shergold announced his desire to collect enough greeting cards to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. By May 1990 the boy (who lived) had more than 16 million cards and a record that Guinness retired. Since then chain letters have circulated the country, sometimes referring to a little boy with AIDS, sometimes to a young man with a tumor, always asking the recipient to send a business card to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at a fake address, and pass the letter along. This year the letter -- soliciting business cards on behalf of poor, fictional Craig Shepherd ("a 7 year old who has a brain tumor and is very sick with little time to live") -- made its way to South Florida.

It is unclear which local municipality was the first to receive the missive, but so far it has passed through Islamorada, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Medley, Miami Springs, Opa-locka, and the Village of Key Biscayne.

Conchita Alvarez, Key Biscayne's clerk, says she spent about an hour of her time forwarding the letter to twenty other municipalities and mailing the business card. "It didn't take too much time with the computer and all, but it's terrible because your heart goes out to this sick kid," she says. "You know, I sort of remembered maybe getting a letter like this years ago, but I wasn't sure."

The Bitch objects to this scam on so many levels: Children with brain tumors aren't anything to joke about, taxpayer money gets wasted, and besides, what kind of scam is it when nobody makes bank?

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