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BEST DISAPPEARING ACT Miami 2003 - Liz Balmaseda

Ever since the Miami Herald killed Balmaseda's column last June, the paper just hasn't been the same. Frankly, we miss the flood of woeful tales about hapless Cuban immigrants who pine for the homeland. Her weepy prose was like a warm blanket. We also miss the fact that when it was pointed out she wrote endless columns about hapless immigrants who miss Cuba, she reminded us she won a Pulitzer Prize. And of course we miss the way she injected herself into the story, like the time she joined a prayer vigil at Elian Gonzalez's house. But we understand, however reluctantly, that change is good and necessary, though Balmaseda is quick to point out she's still writing for the paper, as well as working on screenplays. There was a time when her writing had genuine intensity. And she did kick butt years ago with her immigration reporting. So here's hoping that a newly invigorated Balmaseda emerges from the ashes of the old one.

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