Why Ron Book Avoids Libertarians
I enjoyed Jim DeFede's article about Ron Croo...er...Book ("Crime and Politics," November 9), but I have a suggestion for future political coverage. Print an R for Republican or D for Democrat after each politician's name in order to designate the political affiliation of that individual and help readers identify political criminality.
In the Croo...er...Book article, there would have been a plethora of Ds and a good smattering of Rs (such as the one that should have been by the name of Carlos "Magic Marker" Valdes).
As a former Libertarian statehouse candidate, however, I hasten to point out that there would have been no Ls. Check for a good political compass and you will often find a good moral compass along with it.
James Milton Ray
Aruca: A Confused Little Man
Mike Clary portrays Francisco Aruca as the champion of tolerance in an intolerant Miami. I wonder if Mr. Clary has ever listened to Mr. Aruca's radio talk show and heard him cut off and hang up on listeners who disagree with him about Cuba. Some tolerance!
Mr. Aruca has become a pariah in Cuban Miami not because he has a different opinion about Cuba and Castro but because he has assumed the role of apologist for the Cuban government. He justifies and rationalizes every fault of the Cuban government while in the same breath attacking the Cuban exile community for not thinking like he does.
He is just a confused little man who wants to live in Havana but cannot bring himself to abandon the rights and privileges the U.S. affords.
Aruca: A Greedy, Grubby Hypocrite
Mike Clary's story on Francisco Aruca evidences that Aruca is a master dissembler ("Capitalist or Commie?" November 2). Mr. Aruca professes altruistic beliefs, yet he personally profits from the bloody and repressive Castro regime. He alleges a lack of open political discourse in the Cuban-American community and thus fears that he may be killed for his opinions and actions.
However, he conducts business freely in Miami and expresses his views without censorship over the public airwaves. Strangely, he is silent on the fact that in Cuba there is no political pluralism, the media are controlled by the state, human rights are routinely violated, and there are a vast number of documented cases of political imprisonment, torture, and murder.
Mr. Aruca indicates that he is a tolerant man, that he hopes to teach Cuban Americans the most "beautiful and traditional American values." But his tolerance is selective and applied only to the Castro regime, where the bedrock values of American society -- liberty, freedom, justice, equality -- are totally absent. Frankly, I find Mr. Aruca offensive, a man who by word and deed has repeatedly proven himself to be simply a greedy, grubby hypocrite.
Fausto B. Gomez
Aruca: A Loud-Mouthed Whore
It has taken me a while to digest the absurdity of Mike Clary's story about Francisco Aruca. But after getting over my incredulity, I marveled at the magnificence of this country. Where else could a man arrive from Cuba and prosper by going into partnership with the same government that would not allow him to declare himself to be a Christian Socialist?
Mr. Aruca states that he is not an agent of the Cuban government, but he sits down with Fidel Castro himself. He is allowed to conduct business with Cuba, keep his profits, and blatantly broadcast on his own radio program the same misinformation that is relayed by Radio Rebelde. He then turns around and declares that in Miami there is no freedom of speech!
Lack of freedom of speech is a slogan repeated by everyone who tries to dissuade Cuban exiles from their hard-line position against Castro's government. Please let's remember exactly who put Cuba in the predicament it finds itself in today. Cuban exiles intolerant? No way! On the contrary, because many exiles have family members back on the island, they have tolerated men like Mr. Aruca.
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, the plush life in Miami has softened Cubans to the point that all of us have given up hope of forcibly removing the Castro government. Today the Cubans on the island don't give a damn if the next meal comes from Washington or Moscow, or whether it is delivered by men like Aruca.
Following his father's death and his involvement in the unsuccessful counterrevolutionary movement, Mr. Aruca decided what side he was going to work for -- his own pocketbook. Since then he has successfully mixed political controversy (to get what he wants from the Cuban government) with the Cuban exiles' love of their family members who were forced to stay behind. Many must see him as a profiteer, a self-made, loud-mouthed whore.
Editor's note: The photograph of Francisco Aruca being received by Fidel Castro in April 1994 was taken from a videotape provided by Channel 23. Credit was inadvertently omitted.
To Serve and Protect and Throw Smart Alecks in Jail
Given the recent article about Victor Van Gilst's troubles with the Miami Beach Police Department (October 19) and the subsequent letters from readers (November 2), I felt I had to write my own story to try to pressure officials to change the current situation.
I was arrested October 10 after being pulled over for driving on a one-way street. On police computers, my license showed up as being suspended. I had my license, registration, and all my insurance papers. It seems Tallahassee had not yet cleared in their computer a past insurance mixup. I was on my way to work at 8:30 a.m. when I was pulled over; after five minutes, two additional police cars and one motorcycle officer showed up. I had the feeling something was wrong, but I said to myself, "I am legal, I am American, I don't carry drugs, hadn't killed or robbed anyone, and I vote in every election." It must be that it's early and all is calm on the Beach and police like to socialize. Wrong!
Ofcr. Armando Torres asked me to step out of my car because it was going to be towed because I didn't have insurance and my license was suspended. I said, "Officer, this must be a mistake. I have insurance and I can prove it and I need to get to work." He said, "I'm sorry, that is what the computer shows." At this time I told him it was a mixup and asked if there was any other way we could settle this. He pushed me on my car and said, "Okay, now you're getting smart. I am going to arrest you." I was put into the police car. My car was towed and I was taken [to the Dade County jail] for processing.
I was handcuffed and chained together with drug dealers and drug users, muggers and robbers, women abusers A basically a group of people I normally would not choose to hang out with. All this time I was the only person in business attire. The only good part was that I was able to see a judge, who dropped all charges after he listened to my explanation. I finally got out of jail at 5:30 p.m. Of course, I would have preferred to be given a citation and then gone to work. This could happen to anyone at any time in another country, but in the United States? In Miami Beach? This has to stop.
Chief Richard Barreto must clean house and check the department's ability to use proper judgment in dealing with people who may be foreign tourists or who are a different color or who have a different sexual preference. The officers must not abuse their power.
The police department needs to focus its energies on stopping the drug dealing, mugging, car break-ins, and speeders in our residential neighborhoods.
Manatee Death by the Numbers
In the July 13 issue, New Times printed a letter I wrote about manatee deaths. The August 31 issue had a rebuttal by Mary Truchelut of Wilton Manors. This is my response.
First, the pollution created by two-cycle marine engines in the United States is very serious but not relevant to this discussion. Second, a careful re-reading of my original letter will reveal that I was addressing manatee mortalities in Dade County, not throughout Florida. The charts for statewide mortalities do in fact indicate that boats are the larger killers, but current charts prepared by Dade County's Department of Environmental Resources Management show that that over the past twenty years, boats have killed 27 manatees in Dade County, while South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) flood gates have killed 46. Over the past twenty years, SFWMD officials have known what they were doing because many people have told them, myself included.
I accept the fact that many boat operators, like automobile operators, are careless. I have no more sympathy for a speeding boater who might kill or injure a manatee than I do for a hit-and-run driver in an automobile who might injure or kill a human. They should both go to jail. But it is unlikely that any boat or individual boater has killed more than one manatee. This is not to justify the existence of the selfish and careless, but rather to provide contrast: The State of Florida has always been the owner of the floodgates.
After twenty years of killing manatees, the SFWMD is trying to convince a caring public that something is being done about the floodgates. Recently, however, a manatee was killed, stabbed by the contact fingers that were supposed to stop the gates from closing. The "engineers" at the SFWMD were surprised to find that in saltwater, such things as grasses and barnacles grow and that they could stop anything from operating as designed.
Check the charts again for Dade County only. The bottom line is that we know who killed the 46. If they had lived and had been able to procreate, the manatee today might not be on the endangered list.