Letters from the Issue of March 13, 2003

I Cheat Death Therefore I Am

They're passionate in ways you'll never understand: While Tristram Korten's article about free-dive champions Pipin Ferreras and Audrey Mestre had tragic overtones, I did enjoy reading it ("The Last Deep Dive," March 6). The photography on the first couple of pages was remarkable.

Being an avid auto-racing fan, I understand the risks these professionals take, and I'm aware that some may view them as crazy. But many people are so caught up in their little urban lives they cannot comprehend being so passionate about something that you would risk your life for it.

Thanks to Tristram Korten for bringing something interesting into my life. I'll look for any other articles he writes.

Jerry Higgins


Trading with Cuba? We're on Top of It

Clever county officials outwit business competitors: In reference to the story by Kirk Nielsen about Miami-Dade County's approach to trade with Cuba ("The Cuban Kong," March 6), I hope Leslie Herren, Mayor Alex Penelas's international trade coordinator, saw the recent Associated Press story that announced: "United States Becomes Cuba's No. 1 Source of Imported Food." That was followed later in the week by: "Cuba Wins Support to Join EU Trade Pact." Then came a Tampa Tribune article ("Legal Trade with Cuba Gains Favor") that reported: "In a sudden about-face, Tampa Port Authority members say they will begin aggressively marketing trade opportunities with Cuba and will visit the island nation this year. George Williamson, the authority's chief executive officer, said he expects a business contingency to go to Cuba after an April seminar the port plans to host on Cuban trade."

To the average citizen it would seem that things have been busy on the international-trade front. It's a good thing we have a professional like Ms. Herren, who "... usually hear[s] everything related to international trade ...," and can sort out what all this activity may mean for us. We certainly wouldn't want Miami-Dade County to miss out on any opportunities, now would we.

Scott Sutherland


Not Enrique and Not Ricky!

Only the hearing impaired wouldn't love him: I'm outraged at Juan Carlos Rodriguez for his article concerning The Hot, Wet Miami Beach Show ("Live Reality TV!" March 6). First of all, he should get his facts straight. The correct name is J.C. Andersen, not J.C. Andrews. Second, the audience loved him in Miami, and he was not imitating Enrique Iglesias or Ricky Martin! He was performing in his own style.

Everyone knows that when people start out in their musical careers they sing cover songs. Of course some of it may sound like the original performer, but you can't help that, especially if you're a good singer like J.C.

And we do think Hispanic people embrace a non-Hispanic who is interested in their culture and music and is able to sing it so well, as J.C. does. This was clearly shown by the audience's reaction to his performance.

What gives Juan Carlos Rodriguez the right to be a music critic? Apparently he has no qualifications, and he has a hearing problem! Perhaps Mr. Rodriguez should pay more attention to the audience than his own personal opinions. The vote that really counts is the public's.

Jessica Williams

Clermont, Florida

I Once Met a Cabbie Who Wasn't a Jerk

Hard to believe, I know: Rebecca Wakefield is a good writer, but not even she can convince me to sympathize with Miami-Dade County taxi drivers ("Cabbie's Crusade," February 27). Yes, all cab drivers are not bad. But unfortunately the vast majority of the ones I've dealt with in my eight years here are jerks with no understanding of customer service.

Nothing ruins a homecoming more than taking a cab from the airport. Nothing is more stressful than anticipating the reaction of the cabbie who, upon learning we are going to the north Gables, quickly calculates he or she will only earn $16 (before everyone takes their cut) to drive me down Le Jeune Road. Nothing is more exciting than hearing that cabbie mutter incomprehensible but obvious obscenities as he speeds toward my home in his rolling deathtrap, endangering the lives of everyone around him.

I do not care that cabbies are having a tough time because of door-buying at hotels. I have to suffer their horrible attitudes whenever I take a cab home from the airport. They are perfectly happy taking me to the airport, even for the meager fare, because they have visions of arriving tourists and beaches dancing in their heads. My sympathies to the passenger who gets in the cab after me if he or she wants a ride to somewhere other than the beaches.

Nice try, Ms. Wakefield. I hope you're able to pick a more sympathetic subject for your next story.

Michael Galex

Coral Gables

Give Peace a Chance

Surely there are others who feel the same: I really enjoyed Steven Dudley's article "How to Organize a Peace Protest in Little Havana" (February 27). I've been wondering why is it that a large antiwar protest or march hasn't been organized in Miami as in other major cities around the world. I'd like to help organize one. It's true we couldn't count on Little Havana's Cuban population, but there are other Cubans like me who are not only Democrats but who are very much antiwar and who played active roles in the anti-Vietnam war movement.

With the help of the story's subject, attorney Rafael Velasquez, maybe we could come up with ideas to let people know of a date and time to meet. Maybe by distributing flyers or publishing an announcement in the paper with ample time. I really don't know, but I am sure English-speaking radio talk shows can get people out there just like the Cuban radio stations can. Let's get it going!

O. García

Coral Gables

Editor's note: Concerned People in Opposition to War in Iraq and other antiwar activists are planning events scheduled for Saturday, March 15, and Saturday, March 29, in Miami. For more information visit or contact Rafael Velasquez at [email protected].

Dump the Dancing Boys

And cool off Carmen Miranda: I am the producer of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which recently closed at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. I love Ronald Mangravite! Out of the three reviews that appeared for this show, his was the only one that was literate, incisive, and helpful ("The Avenue He's Takin' You To," February 27). He saw the flaws I know have existed all along as we brought this show to fruition.

For example, I was always unhappy with the Carmen Miranda number, and I fought to have it without dancing boys and with our Carmen not dancing but rather moving as the real Carmen did in her movies. I also know we need a stronger, less confusing opening. How I wish I'd had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Mangravite in person and discuss the show. His review will greatly help improve the production and, we hope, move it on to bigger success.

Corky Hale

Los Angeles


Owing to a reporting error in staff writer Kirk Nielsen's article "Dialogue: The Final Frontier" (February 20), Alianza Martiana leader Max Lesnik should not have been identified as el exilio's only liaison for a meeting with Cuban officials in Havana this April. Approximately ten local Cuban exiles are acting as liaisons in planning the meeting, among them Sylvia Wilhelm, Alfredo Duran, and Antonio Zamora.