As far as Elian Gonzalez goes, Gore's position, which I eventually came around to and which was advocated by spokesmen for "the Miami relatives," was that the matter should have been referred to family court.
Frankly I also don't understand why Cuban Americans are overwhelmingly Republican, although that is beginning to shift. What has any Republican administration given the anti-Castro movement other than rhetoric, and in the case of Reagan, eating arroz con pollo in downtown Miami? Kennedy badly flubbed the Bay of Pigs, and I can understand the bitterness over that; but he handled the missile crisis masterfully, causing the Soviets to back down. During Reagan's years in office, travel to Cuba was freely available (something I personally support) and even same-night air excursions to the Tropicana nightclub were being advertised on local radio. As far as the U.S. missiles removed from Turkey, they were just about obsolete anyway.
It was Bill Clinton who signed the Helms-Burton Act, and George W. Bush, just like Clinton, has consistently waived the one provision of the law that has teeth in it. Meanwhile it's Bush who has added gratuitously cruel new provisions to the Cuba travel restrictions. Thousands of Cuban and Cuban-American families have been victimized by it.
Castro running out of lifelines? The island is flooded with Canadian and European tourists, and Castro is forging new economic links with China.
Now let's talk about "sleepy little Miami." I arrived here in January 1960. The population of Greater Miami was approaching one million. Downtown was alive at night, with stores and the library open, and three movie theaters. I went to concerts put on by the Friends of Chamber Music, the University of Miami symphony, and the Opera Guild. Neighborhoods that are now totally blighted, such as Little River, were attractive and clean. The first-ever domestic air route using jets had just been established by National Airlines between New York and Miami -- that's how I arrived! We had a booming airport, two passenger rail lines, and two bus lines. New malls were going up. We had two English-language daily papers, a long-established black weekly paper, and the Spanish-language daily Diario las Americas had already been publishing for several years. The Julia Tuttle Causeway had just been opened, and the big Miami Beach hotels (and many of the smaller ones) were crowded, offering world-class entertainment. Ocean Drive was a retirement village, but Lincoln Road had just become a pedestrian-only street and was still a busy place, with high-end shops and two movie theaters. The beaches were just as busy then as there are now. Overtown was still an entertainment mecca, before new highways and -- ironically -- the Civil Rights Act induced its decline. Yes, like all the South, Miami labored under the curse of legal segregation, but as I recall, it was the Democratic administration of Lyndon Johnson that put a final end to that.
It would be nice to see an end to this ever-recurring "ethnic food fight" in these pages!
The "Best of Miami" is still fresh -- freshly offensive, that is: The use of print requires extreme responsibility, which seems to have been missing from the introduction to "Best of Miami" 2005 (May 12). The introduction contained this sentence about ballot-stuffing: "Eric Lampinstein, Miami Beach chiropractor..., managed to hustle 60 people into putting signature to photocopied ballot containing one and only one category, which we didn't and in the future definitely won't ask."
Earlier this year a patient came to my office and asked my permission if he could spend the day asking patients to fill out a "Best of Miami" ballot for your paper. He thought by having patients fill out this ballot it would allow other people to experience the same benefits he received under chiropractic care at my office. He personally sent these ballots to your paper using his own time.
You turned something good into something false and degrading.
Dr. Eric Lampinstein
Best Effort to Correct the Record
This "Best of Miami" is ancient history, but not for her: Regarding "Best Typo" in the 2004 "Best of Miami," actually the typo in Miami Today was the result of copyediting error in which the acronym HABDI (Homestead Air Base Developers) was replaced with the word happy. It was done while the final pages were being spell checked before going to press. The person doing production either replaced it because they thought it was a typo or their spell checker automatically replaced it.
I did not think I heard happy during my interview nor did I make the typo. I realize this was more than a year ago, but I would appreciate it if you could correct this.