Letters from the Issue of February 20, 2002
Love and Hate and Argentina
I may be a female Cuban American, but I sure sound like a pistol-packin' redneck: I was thoroughly disgusted by Javier Andrade's article about the February 8 soccer match between the Argentine and U.S. national teams ("Argentina 1; U.S. 0," February 13). Mr. Andrade began the article by mentioning all the wrongdoings the U.S. ever committed against Argentina, subsequently stating that Argentineans have a love/hate relationship with this country.
Aren't the Argentineans who attended that Orange Bowl event living in this country they have a so-called love/hate relationship with? Isn't it this great country that provided those transplanted Argentineans the chance to wear their colors and cheer on their team? Last time I checked, Argentina was still on the map. If it is so sorely missed by these fútbol supporters, they can always entertain the notion of cheering their team in their own country rather than root against the country that was kind enough to adopt them.
And by the way, I am sure it would please New Times readers to envision me as a gun-toting white man when I am in fact a Cuban-American woman who loves this country and the opportunities it grants the people lucky enough to live here.
Argentina was my birthplace, but America is my proud home: Just a brief note to balance the comments from the ungrateful Argentineans who proudly displayed the Argentine colors at the Orange Bowl, thereby showing utter contempt for the country that generously offers them an opportunity to survive and advance.
More than three decades ago I emigrated from Argentina to the U.S. It was a turning point in my life because it gave me opportunities that would have never been available in Argentina to someone from a modest background such as mine. Through hard work (not connections or affirmative action) I attended Georgetown University and Oxford University and was subsequently hired by a number of top corporations. Clearly, had it not been for this exceptional country, very few, if any, accomplishments would have occurred.
Thus I can only imagine the shock and disappointment of many Americans who witnessed this type of display. At a minimum the American flag should have been as prominent as the Argentine colors. That would have shown respect for this noble country. Can anybody conceive of 25,000 Americans flying the American flag in an Argentine stadium? They would have been "barbecued."
For future events my suggestion to any immigrant is this: Americans tolerate and accept your feelings of pride about your country of origin, but they will not tolerate (nor should they be expected to) disrespectful and ungrateful demonstrations against their country. Their welcome mat will quickly turn into a suggestion for you to go back home on the first available flight. In fact, I would be glad to pay for your ticket.
Free weekly advised to compensate for pro-Castro ideologues: In response to Kirk Nielsen's story about Rodolfo Frometa and Comandos F-4 ("Frometal Jacket," February 6), I understand his desire for journalistic neutrality. If in reading his article, however, I had a scale with pro-Castro on one side and anti-Castro on the other, I would say it tipped toward the pro-Castro side.
He begins with a little rhetorical quiz and ends his story cutesily with the quiz turned on its head. You see how the words "little" and "cutesily" imply that I didn't like the quiz? In a similar way, when he calls anti-Castro activists "terrorists" and writes things such as "Tony Blair or that tyrant Fidel Castro," "freedom or at least a free-market economy," and "Miami-Dade's legions of excitable anti-Castro voters," Nielsen makes plain his feelings -- the added words turn a plain sentence into a jibe. Perhaps he feels he is balancing extreme anti-Castro feelings in other publications. That's fine, but in the interest of journalistic neutrality, I suggest New Times also have at least one writer on its staff who believes Castro is an evil dictator on par with Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot, and is an enemy of the United States -- instead of only viewpoints such as Nielsen's.
Freedom fighters who fight for the liberation of Cuba are no more terrorists than freedom fighters in Europe who fought against Nazi occupation, American pilots who volunteered to defend China against Japanese imperialism, and revolutionary patriots who fought against colonial oppression. There is nothing I would love better than a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba without a single shot being fired. But just as the Declaration of Independence didn't lead the British to just say, "Okay, we'll leave," I suspect that peaceful opposition will not lead Castro to say, "Okay, I'm retiring, elections start today." Unfortunately, at some point or another violence might be necessary for a change in Cuba. At that point we might need "terrorists" such as F-4. Then again I could be wrong. After all, the Soviet Union collapsed without that kind of violence.
By the way, don't consider this to be hate mail from an "excitable" Cuban. I value and respect Kirk Nielsen's opinions and his work. Journalistic freedom is incredibly important in a free country and a right Cubans will hopefully hold in the near future.
While you're at it, maybe you can give the cops a tip or two: Thanks to Brandon Dane for writing his article about dogfights ("Dogfight Club," January 23). Although it was very disturbing, now it is out for all to know -- that is, those who want to know. I find it strange that Brandon could find his way to a fight but an undercover cop can't. Obviously they need to do more regarding this menace. They are failing on both fronts: protecting the animals and stopping criminal activities.
I remember the cockfights, so now I'm curious: I have to say "Dogfight Club" left me with a sense of disgust, but also a strange thought that I would like to witness such an event. I grew up in the Republic of Panama, and throughout my childhood I was taken to see cockfighting, which is perfectly legal. In fact I can remember one place that was a bar of sorts, with a small fighting ring and bleacher-style seating, and it seemed exactly like dogfighting described by Brandon Dane.
I was used to seeing the street dogfighters but not the organized kind. Fantastic story, though again, it has left me torn between disgust and curiosity.
She was a brutalized, innocent victim: My friend who resides in South Miami returned home from work to find her front gate open and her two pit bulls, Baby and Dolly, gone. Her seven-year-old son was grief-stricken.
Miami police found one of the dogs the next day following a dogfight they broke up. The dog stood in the rain, bloody and listless. My friend didn't recognize Dolly at first. About a week later someone returned Baby unharmed, for a reward of $500.
My friend spent weeks nursing Dolly back to health, hand-feeding her stew and trying to settle her nervous shaking. Her son did not comprehend why his dog had been stolen or why it was returned in such grisly condition. Her son cried every night before bed because his "doggie was in such pain." Two weeks ago Dolly was stolen again. And once more she was returned bloody and beaten, the apparent victim of a one-sided dogfight. Dolly died three nights later.
And yet the author of your article on dogfighting, Brandon Dane, has the audacity to write that organized dogfighting is "not really" making the world worse, and that he "can't honestly condone it or condemn it." Do me a favor, Mr. Dane. Come tell the little boy who is traumatized by the unnecessary and brutal death of his dog that the world is not worse because of dogfighting.
New Times will feel the backlash for having published such an irresponsible, reckless, and callous piece of "journalism."
Send that guy out to explore Miami's mean streets: Just when I was afraid that New Times had lost its edge, you guys had the genius to hit me with "Dogfight Club" -- and it was great. I particularly liked the witty reporting style of author Brandon Dane, and found his brand of smack to be quite refreshing.
Miami is fertile ground for a man with Mr. Dane's talents. As they say, there are eight million stories in the naked city. Let's send Brandon Dane out to tackle another one.
Union, New Jersey
Yes, I broke the law, and I'll do it again: I read with dismay Kirk Nielsen's story about the ordeal of Will Adams and his trip to Cuba ("The Will Adams Embargo," January 9). It is amazing that we still let a few crazy militant exiles dictate our foreign policy. Contrary to what our ignorant president believes, the Cuban Americans were not instrumental in getting him elected to office. Blame our Supreme Court and those folks in Palm Beach County who couldn't read a ballot.
Mr. Adams should keep in mind that nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted for simply going to Cuba. Most people were only scared into paying fines. He should log onto www.cubalinda.com for more information on how to avoid paying fines.
I traveled to Cuba twice illegally and spent lots of money. And I will go back again. I challenge Office of Foreign Assets Control to come get me. Please use my full name and city.
Deutsch carries a heavy load of hypocrisy: How Draconian! Will Adams is impaled by the Office of Foreign Assets Control for merely behaving like a tourist, while the bent-over-double-with-hypocrisy Rep. Peter Deutsch is allowed to visit Cuba secretly, violate Cuban law, distribute propaganda, and engage in farcical behavior -- all with the blessing of the U.S. government because he obtained a Treasury Department license.
The lesson learned is this: Your behavior doesn't matter. It's how you maneuver the bureaucracy that really counts. And all Representative Deutsch can offer when asked to intervene on Will Adams's behalf is: "I regret that circumstances preclude a more favorable reply." Machiavelli couldn't have said it better.
In Alfredo Triff's "Sounds Like Art" (February 13), artist Edward Bobb, a.k.a. Needle, was incorrectly referred to as Bob Needle. New Times regrets the error.
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