Letters for the Issue of November 23, 1995
South Florida's Favorite
Kathy Glasgow's article "Breach of Faith" (November 16) concerning radio commentator Emilio Milian merely whets one's appetite when it comes to the smorgasbord of incidents in which people are silenced because they fail to adhere to the official line of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). No matter who you are A whether a mere secretary, a student, or an executive A if you voice disagreement with the "supreme leader" of the foundation, its members will seek ways of marginalizing, if not ruining, you. It seems that the smaller and more insignificant you are, the more they enjoy it.
Unfortunately these primitive and cold-blooded tactics have now become firmly embedded in the fabric of Miami as a result of the silent complicity of past administrations and the agencies they control, such as the Federal Communications Commission. All have repeatedly looked the other way for purposes of political expediency while the airwaves are used to control, distort, and censor domestic public opinion. And all this in the guise of democracy, patriotism, and even public service. What brass balls!
Many of these mega-millionaires of the CANF rightly perceive themselves now as above the law. After all, they've successfully pushed the envelope here in Miami and in Washington for more than a decade, tripping up people, destroying careers, and bankrupting independent thinkers. Now they're running all over Latin America with front corporations and bogus joint ventures, scarfing up radio stations, cable companies, and contracts for cellular phone service through the same old tactics of intimidation and threats.
As in the past, the present administration in Washington sees nothing, hears nothing, and says nothing. In the meantime, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act collects dust, merely serving to stifle law-abiding American companies that are down there unsuccessfully trying to compete with these piranhas. Does Washington perceive the stifling of freedom of speech and competition in Latin America as being in this country's long-term interest? At best, it doesn't give a shit.
Hopefully, Washington will soon get the wake-up call from American businesses that are being shafted on a daily basis. Otherwise this clique will begin to seriously undermine Latin America's fledgling democracies and their embryonic markets, as they have done to varying degrees in Miami.
It is evident that this black fate may also await Cuba after Castro exits. What an irony for the Cuban people to rid themselves of one blood-sucking dictator and to suddenly end up at the mercy of the conclave of entrepreneurial Stalinist leeches who'll own all their radio and TV stations, their cable companies, and their phone systems, along with other essential industries. This is no joke, but it's a very real possibility if the U.S. government continues to play deaf and dumb. Ultimately anybody who wants to do anything in Cuba -- from opening his mouth to selling toilet paper to peddling Hi-C -- will first have to get permission from his majesty, Robin Hood, and his merry men from CANF.
Humberto Gonzalez, Jr.
Miami's Bungling Socialist Bureaucracy
Robert Andrew Powell's article "Technical Knockout" (November 16) exemplifies exactly what happens when asinine lawmakers gather to legislate their perverse sense of fairness. With regard to the City of Miami's minority-participation ordinance, three enormous inequities are evident to "right-thinking" citizens.
In a city with a 62.5 percent Hispanic and a 27.4 percent black population (source: Almanac of World Facts, Rand McNally, 1995), overall U.S. statistics on ethnic minority status should not be applied. Which jackass commissioner was it who thought Miami was the prototypical 85 percent white community? Why doesn't the ordinance match the local demographic -- i.e., at least 62 percent of all city business must go to Hispanics, et cetera?
In a free-enterprise system, successful entrepreneurs thrive by finding creative solutions to difficult problems. It seems as though [security company owner] Gabriel Adeife needs to lower his bid and shore up his "civic responsibility" category and gain his extra three points to win the next city contract. Instead he is whining about a system that was specifically designed to be skewed in his favor.
Finally, only in a bungling socialist bureaucracy would it be acceptable for officials to waste an extra $60,000 a year trying to prove they are not racists. They have ridiculously biased ordinances, cumbersome point systems, and countless lawsuits to ensure "fairness." Yet we are supposed to feel they haven't done enough until the taxpayers fork over more money for the same service just because of skin color. Now that is true racism.
D. Raymond Slaughter
Huizenga's Hand-Picked Trashy Scum
Ron Book is scum ("Crime and Politics," November 9). His accomplishments are not a measuring stick of his talent but rather a reflection of his willingness to ignore laws, ethics, and morals.
It is no wonder Wayne Huizenga, the king of garbage, would rely on a piece of trash to do his bidding.
As far as the debate regarding whether to remove his name from the public athletic field in North Miami, how about a compromise? Let's just change a couple of letters and call it the Ron Crook Athletic Field?
Name Withheld by Request
Nature's Hottest Pan-Ethnic Cure-all
It was with amazement that I read "Cat Scratch Fever" by Elise Ackerman (November 9), in which she criticizes Hispanic reaction to an herbal supplement called Cat's Claw, or Una de Gato.
Ms. Ackerman depicts local Hispanics as being "delirious" about the drug. First of all, Cat's Claw is not a drug and does not have to be approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Cat's Claw is a dietary supplement made organically from a climbing vine that has been proven to contain several active principles and alkaloids that have a beneficial effect on those who take it.
Is Ms. Ackerman trying to ridicule Hispanics by focusing only on their reaction to this herbal supplement? Is she trying to discredit Pedro Sevcec's show on Telemundo or is she simply ignorant?
Forbes magazine, November 6, 1995: On the cover, one of the headlines is "The World's Best Small Companies." The article refers to Americans having a new love affair with herbal medicines. A company called Nature's Sunshine, with billings of $200 million this year, sells medicinal herbs and vitamins exclusively -- and not just to local Hispanics. Of more than 450 products they represent, their best seller is Cat's Claw.
Newsweek magazine, November 6, 1995: On the cover, "The Melatonin Craze." Obviously people other than local Hispanics are becoming delirious with another type of supplement. In the article, Cat's Claw figures as number two among "Nature's Biggest Sellers." This is among the Anglo market, in the entire United States. I doubt Newsweek based these figures on local Hispanics.
Let's Live magazine, October 1995 (America's foremost health and preventive medicine magazine since 1933): The article inside, "Herbs for Health," dedicated exclusively to Cat's Claw, cites incredible experiences and results by people other than Hispanics.
Health and Healing magazine, May 1995: Newsletter published monthly by Dr. Julian Whitaker, head of the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, reports, "Take Una de Gato for All-Around Immunity."
A very long list of American doctors and certified nutritionists are now strong advocates of a healthy, nontoxic approach to living a healthy life. They all endorse alternative forms of medicine. Herbal supplements are nature's way of taking care of her children without the chemicals in conventional medicine. Many hospitals around the country are making these supplements available to their patients, because obviously the demand is there.
This is not just a local Hispanic pharmacy aberration. If Ms. Ackerman does not believe in natural and organic forms of health care, she is entitled to her belief, but do not attack Hispanics for believing differently. Why doesn't she attack melatonin or shark cartilage or any of the other multiple forms of alternative health-care supplements that are available in all health food and nutrition stores around the country?
Cat's Claw is not just a Hispanic craze. The fact that people buy it and continue to buy it (and not only Hispanics) must prove that there is some value to it.
Zeida Cecilia-Mendez, president
Millenium Natural Products, Inc.
Austin's Stud-Puppy Prose
Tom Austin blows my mind. I secretly crave our weekly rendezvous. Almost every session of literary verbal abuse gets me right to the top before the first paragraph is finished.
As he mind-fucks my libido with innuendo, I reach a level of sensuality that only lovers share. His intertwining recitals of love and madness keep me at the edge. Allowed only to observe, I am teased with each next position he describes. The final lines leave me exhausted yet satisfied and yearning for more.
Keep that stud puppy on his leash and don't let go!
Anthony's Weekly Venom
Todd Anthony is becoming the John Simon of South Florida movie critics. It's getting so one can hardly wait to see what venom unscrolls from his pen each week. He doesn't seem to like anything Hollywood puts out (granted, most of it is pretty bad), but goes gaga over amateur auteur flicks and pretentious foreign stuff.
I now have a routine: After Anthony I read Siskel and Ebert (who were likely reviewing films while Anthony and his goatee were still in diapers), then I see it myself and make up my own mind.
There was a play or film some years back about a nasty critic who was offed by a mysterious killer. Think there's a story there, Mr. Anthony? Guess it depends on the acting.
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