Letters to the Editor

Trauma + Emotion = Sincere Sentiment
And Now This Word from Your Pinko Weekly
Beware confusing the message with the messenger:
In last week's issue, I was surprised to see a full-page open letter next to the regular letters section that appeared to be endorsed by New Times. It wasn't signed and it began: "The Times Demand...." After doing some Internet research on a Website mentioned in the letter, I found out that it was sponsored by Francisco Aruca, a person with business connections in Cuba who defends that terrorist state daily on Miami radio, a person who advocates absolutely normal relations with the Castro regime, a regime which, according to the U.S. government and many international organizations, provides moral and material support to the oldest terrorist regime on the face of the Earth: Cuba.

It is a government that for 42 years has promoted terrorism and plane hijackings, and that as little as one month ago admitted it was harboring IRA operatives who'd been caught in Colombia training the insurgents there. It is a regime that this year refused to sign an anti-terrorist declaration at the latest Ibero-American Summit.

New Times should have but did not indicate that this was an advertisement, a fact that I find more than coincidental. In the advertisement this individual demanded protection from terrorism even though every day for the past twenty years he has said whatever he wanted to on his Miami radio program, Radio Progreso. If this were such a terrorist city, Mr. Aruca would be dead by now. He has raised the bar on the hypocrisy level one more time. Now he implies that Little Havana is a terrorist state while the real Havana is cooperating with the U.S.

Only those who wear ideological blindfolds would fall for his totalitarian rhetoric, which unfortunately is facilitated by your publication.

Louis Cal

Editor's note: Mr. Cal is correct in arguing that the full-page message should have been clearly labeled as an advertisement. New Times regrets any confusion this oversight may have caused.

We Were Here First
Which should have entitled us to at least one lousy mention: In his article "What Art Thou, Little Havana?" (September 27), Gaspar González failed to mention the real art pioneers in the area. We set up shop on SW Sixth Street three years ago and created a gallery space to help bring art down from its altar to the people in Little Havana. The building we are in was practically abandoned. Our efforts were praised and supported by all local authorities. Others followed, such as the folks at lab6 and the Artemis Performance Network. Our studio was bombarded by these individuals and others who were interested in learning about our plans and looking for encouragement and advice. The people who now criticize Viernes Cultural (Cultural Friday) were very much the promoters of the events. This is a case of too many Indians wanting to be chief, which is why the project has failed.

When Viernes Cultural was just an idea simmering on the stove, we were approached to be present at the meetings. Based on our years of experience in the arts, we offered our input and assistance. Our offer was overlooked, and we simply removed ourselves from the entire scene and continued independent of what was going on along Calle Ocho. Our dream was to create something like what happened in New York's Lower East Side in the Eighties. To this day we have pursued our original plans to make our art exhibits a success, endeavors that have been documented in the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and New Times. We have done this out of our own pockets, without the support of any local, state, or federal agency.

Also, Mr. González did not recognize the efforts by the City of Miami to enhance the neighborhood. While the Viernes Cultural events may be on their way out owing to a lack of experienced leadership, one cannot diminish the efforts of the city's Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) that aimed to have a long-range effect in the community. If he had checked with the NET office, he would have learned these details.

With its quirky characters as well as nice, gentle people, Little Havana will live on with or without Viernes Cultural.

Adalberto Delgado, director
6g Alternative Space

Lessons in Media
(1) Truth trumps all; (2) Crazy deadlines are no excuse: Susan Eastman's article "1984 and Counting" (September 27) was a wonderful commentary and so important right now. She hit the nail right on the head. As a journalist who has been working in television news for almost ten years, I appreciated her bold statements.

I am currently teaching a college-level media-ethics course. Since the attacks I have been teaching my students about many of the issues Ms. Eastman wrote about, issues such as reporter objectivity, a reporter's responsibility to get all sides of a story even on a crazy deadline, and the importance of truth over sensationalism.

Freedom of speech is more important than ever. We can thank New Times for continuing the dialogue.

Laurie Stein
Miami Beach

Never Shut Up
Hell hath no fury like a pseudo-patriot scorned: I would like to congratulate and profoundly thank Susan Eastman for her journalistic masterpiece "1984 and Counting." I also thank New Times for printing it. Freedom of speech must never fall victim to the pseudo-patriotic fury of the pedestrian leadership in our present administration and their willing executioners in the media.

Thomas Mehrel

It's a simple equation too easily forgotten by cynics: Susan Eastman makes the point that the black Miami-Dade firefighters who objected to riding on fire trucks with huge American flags -- and who say the flag may not carry the same symbolic meaning for them as for others -- should not be penalized by their department or vilified by the public and the media. She's right, of course. The very essence of our freedom is the right to dissent from what may be the majority or favored view. And especially in these times it's important that we encourage rather than stifle all expressions of freedom.

My problem with her article was this: Why did she slam every public figure and public sentiment along the way to making her point? She chided Dan Rather for breaking down on David Letterman's show and Larry King for wearing red, white, and blue, implying that both reactions were somehow disingenuous.

She described the public's flag-buying spree as catering to a "market for schlock." When Katie Couric pointed out how, during the week following the attack, people were being nicer to each other (a truism), she accused Ms. Couric of "waxing on like a Hallmark card." She even had the audacity to imply that it was somehow Pollyannaish to hail the deceased firefighters and cops as heroes ("And suddenly we had heroes after decades where they all seemed to have gone the way of Joe DiMaggio -- 369 firefighters and cops who'd raced into the Twin Towers and lost their lives").

The vast majority of public reaction to the horrific events of September 11 is heartfelt. For Ms. Eastman to imply otherwise is patently offensive and cynical. My advice to her is that she wake up and check out the latest "What's Hot and What's Not" list. Cynicism is the number one "not."

Andrew Tramont
Coral Gables


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