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A Jug of Wine, a Roll of Toilet Paper, and Thou
What a cast of characters in Elise Ackerman's article "Cuba Bound" (October 19). First there's Dave Shaw, a skipper living in a perpetual Budweiser commercial, whose political viewpoint -- "Cuba is wonderful, man. I think the Americans will ruin it like we do everything else" -- makes one wonder if we are talking about the same Cuba. In fact, it makes one wonder if we're on the same planet.

Then we have the ham, Nick Astafan, who has the gall to stand next to the American flag while posing as the Marina Hemingway's poster boy. Really, Nick, do you think this is going to get you points back at Lorelei's?

And finally an expatriate, Bob Winter, who lost at everything he has tried and now has taken up ass-kissing the Cuban government. What kind of business consultation is he giving American boaters -- directions on where the cheapest jineteras hang out?

When dealing with the issue of Cuba's freedom, it's a shame to find people with this attitude. Can't these men understand that they are nothing but puppets to the Cubans? They feel that by going to Cuba, they are standing up to the United States government, yet they do not see that they are supporting a Cuban government that will not allow its populace the basic freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I guess all they see is that with a roll of toilet paper, they can get themselves a pretty good piece of ass.

Yeah, someday in the future when I am able to return to my country and men like this are the backbone of our economy, I'll be the first one to yell, "Yanquis go home!"

Luis Bouzon
Coral Gables

That Would Be Groucho's Cousin, Right?
Because I have a special interest in unionism, my attention was drawn to Jim DeFede's article "A Less Than Perfect 10" (October 12). It was not surprising to me to learn about the news photographers' troubles with WPLG-TV (Channel 10). It is to be expected in light of the present state of unionism in the U.S. and throughout the world. Not only are groups of organized workers not getting any respect from employers, but it seems they are unable to command respect and support from broad sectors of the rest of the working class. Why?

Workers have often wondered why it is they don't have unions that truly unite them instead of dividing them into trades and crafts. They often wonder why their elected officials are so easily corrupted by the lure of bribes and rewards for collaboration with the employers. Just like the allegorical beasts in Orwell's Animal Farm, they look into the window and have a hard time distinguishing between the capitalists and the union leaders who have feathered their nests by betraying workers at every opportunity. In the case of Channel 10, its owners no longer have any use for the union. The job of keeping workers in line can now be done more efficiently with scoundrels like Dwight Lauderdale, who make no secret of their repugnant subservience to their masters and who show an unparalleled contempt for their fellow workers.

Maybe it would be too optimistic to expect workers to spontaneously realize that any union that accepts capitalism and the right of the capitalists to exploit workers is not a union worth joining. Like all other assumptions that tend to support the status quo, the one that accepts as a given the "brotherhood of labor and capital" should be seriously examined and rejected as a fallacy foisted upon the working class by those who stand to gain the most by its perpetuation.

Indeed, if the true mission of bona fide unionism is ever achieved, it will be because workers finally come to the realization that their labor unions must be revolutionary in nature. Their mission must be to unite all workers, employed and unemployed, of all occupations and across all industries, for the purpose of assuming complete, democratic control of all the industries of the land on behalf of society.

Precisely on this subject, Karl Marx once wrote, "They [the workers] ought to understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economic reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wages for a fair day's work,' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"

Chris Camacho

Dog to Jacob: Muzzle It, Pal
With regard to Jacob Dorn's latest letter (October 12): Mr. Dorn's labeling of my last letter as "dog shit" once again demonstrated his propensity for stepping in it.

Unlike Mr. Dorn, I can keep my cap on if someone calls me names (as he did me in his letter). However, inaccuracies and distortion of facts I cannot take. Therefore, and with apologies to anyone who has read enough about this topic, I would once again like to publicly educate Mr. Dorn, because he still doesn't get it (or for some reason doesn't want to get it).

The Dade County animal shelter is not supported by tax dollars from the general fund. It is self-funded by revenue the shelter generates from adoption fees, redemption fees, license tags (which ensure that lost animals will be returned to their owners if they turn up at the county shelter), and fees for services such as low-cost rabies vaccinations and spay/neuter operations. Therefore Mr. Dorn is incorrect to state that tax dollars were expended by virtue of the presence of county personnel at the Miami Beach rabies clinic.

Rabies shots do not "cure" rabies. They prevent an animal from contracting the disease. By his statement, "It is chilling to know the shots were not effective, as she is still rabid," Mr. Dorn once again proves he doesn't have any idea what he is babbling about.

Mr. Dorn stated that Miami Beach does not have a rabies problem. Once again, he misses the point. Rabies shots were provided free in Miami Beach not because there is a rabies problem there but because, like it or not, Florida state law requires that cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies. The county serves the public by providing these shots at low cost, or, in the case of the Homeless Animals Day event, for free.

The presence of county personnel and the county mobile unit at the event served a valid, useful, public purpose by not only providing free shots to the community's animals, but also by educating the public about the services they provide to the animals and people in Dade County. Also provided was information about the tragic animal overpopulation problem in this county, which results in a tremendous expenditure of the shelter's self-generated revenue, money that by law must be used to take in unwanted animals.

In addition, all of the animals brought to the event were adopted out. A picture of one of the dogs at the event, which appeared in El Nuevo Herald the next day, generated scores of calls to the shelter from people wishing to adopt animals, thus saving them from destruction. So having county employees participate in this event was time and nontax dollars well invested for the county.

The Homeless Animals Day was intended as a public event, not a media event, though we welcomed the media's participation in both publicizing and covering the event. If more "media events" were held at which the public had to face the facts, maybe this county would be a less cruel place for its unwanted animals.

If Mr. Dorn reads this letter and is overcome with the urge to take pen in hand again, I suggest he use it to write a check for a tax-deductible donation to the Dade County Animal Trust Fund and mail it to the shelter at 7401 NW 74th St., Miami FL 33166.

Maybe Mr. Dorn should consult with his dog before he mindlessly attacks those who are trying to help the animals and people of this community.

Goldie Lewis
Miami Beach

A Most Exalted Nomenclature
I enjoyed Elise Ackerman's article "A Most Exotic Exile" (August 24). I am a member of an Eastern Orthodox parish affiliated with the Orthodox Church in America.

Overall, Ms. Ackerman had a very informative article. But throughout, she referred to Father Daniel McKenzie as "McKenzie." This is not the proper way to address an Orthodox Christian priest! We have five orders of clergy; in ascending order they are reader, subdeacon, deacon, priest, and bishop. Some bishops are called "metropolitan" or "patriarch." Our clergy are addressed by their first names, preceded by a title.

Using the name Daniel as an example, it would be "Reader Daniel" or "Subdeacon Daniel." A reader or subdeacon can also be called "Brother Daniel," a deacon can also be called "Father Daniel," and a bishop might be referred to as "Metropolitan Daniel," "Patriarch Daniel," "His Grace Daniel, Bishop of XYZ," or as "Vladika (Church Slavonic for "master") Daniel."

To quote Ms. Ackerman: "The Eastern Orthodox Church, which comprises different Orthodox churches distinguished by nationality. . . ." This is a common misconception here in the United States relative to Orthodox Christianity. To refer to an Orthodox Church as an "ABC Orthodox Church" relates to the language that services are conducted in and to minor cultural differences in Orthodox expression, such as music and liturgical practices. It is the tradition to conduct services in the language(s) of the congregation; one does not have to learn Greek, Russian, Arabic, et cetera, nor be one in order to be an Orthodox Christian. Salvation is to all who believe, regardless of nationality, language, or race.

Robert Carter, Jr.
Carol City

Interesting Concept: Being Bombarded with No News
We are constantly bombarded with political garbage, no news, biased news, et cetera. New Times is a breath of fresh air in South Florida. I've shared the publication with friends who do not reside here and they love it, too.

Mary Smith
Miami Shores

Owing to a copyediting error, last week's article "Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman" was published without a byline. Staff writer Robert Andrew Powell wrote the story.


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