The Sanchez Solution
Ramon Saul Sanchez is an exile leader with charisma, style, and a strong sense of drama
By Kirk Nielsen
Follow the Leader -- as He Backs You into a Corner
Kirk Nielsen's article concerning Ramon Saul Sanchez, self-anointed exile leader and one of the men behind the Elian saga ("The Sanchez Solution," April 13), provides glimpses of the contradictions that exist between what he says and what he does, and more important, between what he allegedly seeks and what he ultimately achieves.
Mr. Sanchez says he doesn't want to do "anything chaotic, because that is how we will lose respect." As a Cuban American with 35 years in this country, I can assure you that our conduct over the last few months has already lost us the respect of the American populace, and much more. The shameful conduct of the few hundred exiles under the tutelage of Mr. Sanchez and a few others has undone decades of exile productivity and peaceful coexistence by the other 500,000 of us. It has, in fact, painted the entire exile community as undemocratic, if not fascistic. Furthermore this conduct has given the impression that we are an ungrateful community that does not abide by the law, about which Fidel Castro is quite happy. Most painful, however, is the display of anger and hatred toward this nation's leadership. The exiles hurl insults against our president (coward, traitor, communist) and against Attorney General Janet Reno (referring to her as "Shaky").
Leadership usually connotes long-range vision. But with the Elian issue and with many past battles, dubious leaders such as Mr. Sanchez always seem to take positions that lead us in only one direction: toward a dark corner from which we lash out with intolerance, intimidation, and indignities.
A Spanish saying goes this way: "Tell me who you hang with and I'll tell you who you are." A recent picture of our county Mayor Alex Penelas illustrates this quite well. There's our mayor surrounded by a bunch of exile "leaders" in front of the Gonzalez home. In this distinguished group, among others, appears a former Castro henchman condemned by many for killings during the beginning of Castro's revolution. Another smiling face nearby was tried for attacking a ship with a bazooka at the port of Miami. (He also was suspected of blowing up an airplane full of Cuban athletes.) A third gentleman penetrated Cuban airspace with his plane and gave Castro the excuse he sought to murder four young men over international waters.
Cynically almost all these men blame the United States in one way or another for Castro's ascendancy, for their crimes, for their failures, and for their cowardice in the face of danger. Yet they still are revered by an admittedly dwindling bunch of octogenarians as leaders fighting for democracy. With leadership like this, the only way true democracy will come to Cuba is when Castro finally dies in his sleep!
There's No Place Like Home
What is it Ramon Saul Sanchez hopes to change in Cuba by disrupting life in Miami? Why does he feel that running around organizing human chains has Castro doing anything but laughing his ass off? It's quite evident he never read anything about Gandhi, who resisted British rule in his homeland. Martin Luther King, Jr., was marching and demonstrating in his homeland. When Nathan Hale said, "Give me liberty or give me death," he was speaking in his homeland. Equating what Sanchez is doing to this level of activism is quite a reach.
Democracy will come to Cuba when the people who stayed in Cuba decide they've had enough and make a change. Until then tying up traffic and waving flags in Miami are useless acts of ego gratification by a guy who doesn't seem to have succeeded at much else in his adult life. I think his fifteen minutes are about up!
John E. Brown
via the Internet
Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words Will Never Hurt Me
You know, Jim DeFede, I liked "A Modest Proposal for Elian Gonzalez" (March 30), your article on killing the kid, so much that my compadres and I decided to grant you the same consideration. Specifically what does a professional gadfly and muckraking malcontent like yourself crave more than anything? Why, that would be ... martyrdom! So we came up with a few scenarios that might be appropriate.
Let's see, there's the obvious "Oswald" method. You know, you step out of the New Times offices on Biscayne Boulevard, casually noticing the light-color van parked just down the street, seeing the dark-tinted windows. One of the back windows doesn't look right, but you dismiss that. After all, it has the requisite cc number on the door. Just another contractor, perhaps.
Unfortunately for you the reason the window doesn't look right is because it's Lexan instead of regulation auto glass, and the gentleman inside holding the Springfield M1-A (national match grade, of course) is about to shoot through the fake window and put a 160-grain Spitzer boat-tail hand-loaded 7.62-mm FULL METAL JACKET round right through your left eye socket. Boom! Instant martyr!
After much thought we rejected this method. The temptation to take credit for the deed would be almost irresistible for the shooter. The instant celebrity among his peers and countrymen would be hard to resist. It's not like the good old days. It's really hard to find a totally committed sniper nowadays.
Likewise we rejected the van full of ammonium nitrate detonated by a homemade mercury-fulminate device (professionally made and utterly reliable, of course; those old CIA guys know their shit). Undoubtedly this would result in innocent people getting killed. Although the innocence of anyone in your building is a subject open to debate, it was rejected as not ... uh ... surgical enough, if you know what I mean.
Finally the consensus was that the proper method would be the simplest: the "Milian method." After all, the old ways are always the best, verdad?
Two kilos of C-4 taped under the driver's seat, connected to a digital programmable timing relay spliced into the brake-light circuit of your car, set to close the fourth time you tap the brakes. Think of it, you get in your car and start it. You back up and stop. That's two! You drive to the stop sign and stop. That's three! You turn left on to Biscayne and drive until you spy that cute-looking male prostitute who walks down the boulevard. As you slow down to pick him up -- BOOM!
Two kilos of C-4 detonate, driving the floor pan of your car up through the springs of the car seat and blasting the leather upholstery right into your ass! Boy, you have never felt anything until you've felt four and a half pounds of plastique blowing up your ass. (Then again, maybe you have.)
Anyway, what this would provide you is immeasurable in your chosen field. Think of it: blown to bits by radical right-wing Cuban fascists! By golly the Holy Grail of your brand of journalism! Best of all you will remain pure and uncompromised. In death you will always be the bitter, sad, strident little queer projecting his self-loathing on the rest of the world. Just as you were in life.
Editor's note: This response was sent to Ramgz@aol.com: "We'd like to publish your message to Jim DeFede as a letter to the editor but we need a name and city. I know this may seem strange, given that you basically threatened his life but I think it's important to give voice to the full range of opinions among our community of readers. And so I'm asking you to contact me directly by e-mail or telephone."
Ramgz's reply: I would dearly love to know why it is you think that I "basically threatened his life." Let me clue you in on something, you hypocritical snob. It's my understanding that the First Amendment -- that document that allows that idiot DeFede to write his vulgar little column every week and permits him to write a "satirical" little piece about offing that little boy -- also applies to your readers (and former readers).
The "satirical" tone of my letter is obvious to anyone who -- I don't know, reads DeFede's columns perhaps? If you disagree, feel free to bring it to the attention of the local authorities. Believe me, nothing would please me more.
As for printing my letter, I know what the twisted little liberal misanthropes who read (and write) your insignificant rag would do to it. Laughingly enough, that other bastion of free speech in this town recently "edited" one of my letters -- of course to reflect a totally opposite point of view.
Frankly for your purposes and transparently obvious intentions, I completely don't give a shit what you do with it. I, of course, will not read it. Nor do I believe you will present it in other than ANOTHER CRAZY CUBAN context. So in appreciation for your attention, EAT ME!
P.S. And by the way, Jim ol' buddy, I saw your boy DeFede on TV the other day assuring the rest of America that Miami isn't solely populated by loud, angry, rude, et cetera, et cetera Cubans. It's heartwarming to know that Joe Six-pack is now aware that Miami also has its share of precious little darlings like your reporter, who in full-blown denial and hypocrisy demands tolerance and respect while exhibiting neither. Print THAT, you sanctimonious asshole!
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Revolutionary Idea #14: Ask the People What They Want
It was interesting to read about the proposed relocation of the Miami-Dade County Building Department to Coral Way and the Turnpike Extension, which is not an intersection, by the way, but an overpass ("Riptide," March 23). The closest turnpike exits are Bird Road to the south and SW Eighth Street to the north. Not particularly accessible to the public, as no convenient public transportation runs there either.
In his letter responding to "Riptide," New Times reader Pat Hanson missed the point (read the letter). The proposed location does in fact meet all important criteria for site selection. It is isolated and therefore more autonomous and less susceptible to monitoring.
Some time ago the idea was floated that permitting functions and staff could be decentralized to Team Metro office locations, which generally are community based, accessible by public transportation, and located in many convenient locations throughout the county. An even more radical idea than that would be actually to ask the public where it would like to do business. Maybe if permits were easier to get, fewer people would do work without them.
Andrew "Stormy" Weathers