Very ugly words * Updated

The Sun-Sentinel has an article titled “Coast Guard returns 204 Cubans to homeland”. The story tallies up September’s interceptions and repatriations. No names, no human stories, just numbers. This isn’t going to be a post about the inhumanity of the wet foot dry foot policy. It is inhumane, it’s also obvious that tears, hang wringing and pleas from us are not going to change it. This post is not even about the Sun-Sentinel article, what I want to talk about are the comments left in response to the article. As of this writing, there are seventy-five comments.

Comments like this:

They should not provide them with transportation all the way back to Cuba…. they should take them halfway and let them swim the rest of the way… and they should let them swim either to Cuba or Florida, and wherever they make it that is where they should stay… and if they don’t make it… OH WELL!! maybe they should have stayed in Cuba to begin with and fight for their freedom until death… if things are so bad in Cuba then fight for freedom and democracy THERE… to come here and then complain about Fidel is being two-faced…. stay and fight, or leave and shut up and assimilate… learn English and be an American… not a Cuban-American… an AMERICAN!!!

And this:

Send all the Cuban cowards back–They don’t have the balls to fight for their own country.

And this:

they should use tow ropes behind them boats and bring all of those Cubans that came here since 1960 and make them waterski all the way back to Cuba.

Those are very ugly words; I wonder how much of this vitriol comes from current anti-immigrant sentiment and how much is just plain old bigotry. Whichever, it makes my stomach churn. It’s vile, and maybe it’s me, but I can’t help but note a strain of jealousy in the comments. It seems to me that hateful remarks about Cubans are somehow acceptable in ways that they aren’t for any other ethnic group. You can add your two cents worth here.

UPDATE: I sent an email to the editor at the Sun-Sentinel late last night complaining about the comments. I didn’t expect a reply but I just received this. I’ve already thanked her.

Re: Coast Guard returns 204 Cubans to homeland
Our comment-on-this-story function is offered via a partner,,
which moderates the comments. When we are alerted to a serious problems

such as on this board, which you called to our attention — we delete
messages or, in this case, the entire discussion.

Thanks for alerting us.

Bonnie Gross

18 thoughts on “Very ugly words * Updated”

  1. As a Colombian-American I can SO totally relate to the current rise in bigoted comments hidden behind a cloud of concern for illegal aliens entering our country. Honestly, I think it is bigotry that has found an acceptable (in their eyes) outlet.

  2. Ziva,

    Thanks for sharing this! Your comments are sincerely appreciated … since the posts are assigned random locations … I believe that many of this spewed hatred is being generated by a couple of “sad” ignorants. They don’t know the difference between “refugee” status and illegal. 🙁

    I wish you well 🙂 Melek

    “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” ~ Feynman

  3. Ziva,

    I agree with Melek. Comments like these just seem to breed more negativity. If we consider the source (ignorance), it’s possible to see how it inflames bigotry in others. What a shame!!

  4. I agree it’s probably a few people. That’s not the point. I find it extremely disturbing that there is no comment moderation at a major newspaper. The truth is, if this were an article about Jews or Blacks I guarantee you would not see this spewing of filth published. You just would not and that’s what really pisses me off. So I don’t care if it’s two people or a hundred, it’s unacceptable period.

  5. Prejudice isn’t new to America.

    Xenophobia has existed in the United States since early in its history. The first targeted were the Native Americans… Followed by: The Chinese… The Blacks… The Irish… The Italians…The Portuguese… The Poles… The Lithuanians… The Mexicans… The Cubans… etc.

  6. The grammar used in those racist comments indicates to me that these are people with little education. They despise the fact that Cubans arrived in this country with nothing nearly half a century ago and have made south Florida into a thriving community. These idiotic comments do not offend me because I know that stupid is as stupid does. Similar comments are also rife in the Miami Herald blogs.

  7. Well I never pay attention to those “escatofagos”. Thats what they are. As I was told by someone a long tie ago, “They hate Cubans because you are just like Jews, you guys stick together and have a history of being very successful.”

  8. Firefly, you’re right, xenophobia isn’t new to America. But, unlike early last century, after the civil rights movement, hate speech in America is no longer acceptable, not against Jews, Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, not against any ethnic group and not against Cubans. The Sun-Sentinel owes the Cuban American community an apology for permitting this filth. That’s what I think, and no I’m not holding my breath waiting for that. I did send them an email, I’ll be surprised if I receive an answer.

  9. Ziva , aren’t you going to far? We don’t have to look at those comments as “hate speech”. Did you forget about freedom of speech and expression. Let take those opinions as kind of “personal point of view” of some people who have the right to express their opinion. I don’t agree with everything they say but, hell, they are free to say what’s on their mind. By the way, I would like to see more Cubans with “cojones” to stand up and do something in Cuba.

  10. Okay… this is the kind of crap we had recited to us on a daily basis growing up here in Miami in the 70’s and 80’s. I get it. This is America; never said it wasn’t.

    Let’s analyze the comments, shall we?

    The first one you posted is an “Americano” who probably used to live in his dad’s house in Shenandoah, and was “forced” to move to Ft. Lauderdale by the Cuban horde back in the 80’s.

    The second one… hate to think it but sounds South American. Some SA’s are under the impression that Cuban exiles ran away and didn’t fight for their freedom. My grandfathers were both imprisoned, my uncle was assasinated in the States, and many friends were held as political prisoners; their lives shattered. Don’t judge what you don’t understand. Cuba’s story is a complicated one.

    The third one – definitely Davie; definitely trailer park trash…

  11. What a bag of assholes. Cubans are just trying to escape a tyrranical government, just like any East German during the Cold War.

  12. dariusz, Please tell us what exactly Cubans in Cuba can do to “stand up and do something.” They aren’t permitted to assemble, neighborhood spies tattle on any “anti-revolutionary” whispers, and dissenters are jailed for the express purpose of preventing people from banding together to overthrow the rotten castro clan. The people have been stripped of everything yet you accuse them of being cowards, of not having the guts. But maybe they just missed thinking of something; they haven’t thought of the silver bullet so maybe you can enlighten them.

    I also recall that a certain American president was too cowardly to keep his promise of being the Cubans’ ally when they did stand up to fight early on. He betrayed them, and they’ve suffered ever since.

  13. When some one leaves their home, family, friends and everything they knew behind and risks death to come to America “coward” is the last word that is applicable.

    American cannot help everyone. We cannot end all tyrannies or liberate the world. But when someone comes to you asking for refuge from oppression, asking for your help in securing his liberty and you send him away for no other reason than that his foot never touched dry land you are as guilty as any dictator in his oppression.

  14. Ziva,

    I’m glad that they replied to your e-mail. However, I have mixed feelings on having the entire discussion deleted. If discussed with respect, the subject matter (Coast Guard returns 204 Cubans to homeland) was a good topic to discuss. I feel they could have taken the time to delete those comments which were insulting, denigrating and just full of ignorant hatred, on both sides of the argument. By deleting the entire discussion, Ms. Gross took the easy way out … it kept the newspaper from having to take a position … or a “moral” stance.

    I was also troubled by some of the comments, but I believe that in a way it was a “rude awakening” on my part … we tend to forget that there are people out there, like those in the comments … we need to be reminded of their existence … so we can “educate” them one at a time.
    This reminds me of an incident I experienced while working at Coke years ago … I answered my phone with a friendly greeting and my name, only to hear the following at the other end (from somewhere in Florida): “First, I don’t know if you can help me because you have a foreing name and a foreign accent!” Wow! … I was really shocked at her blatant display of prejudice … After a couple of seconds, I told her to “give it a try” … not only did I handle her call profesionally, by the end of the conversation, she had a totally different attitude and was extremely apologetic … at the end, I politely told her that having an accent and a foreign name did not imply lack of competency or education …

    I wish you well 🙂 Melek

    “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming” ~ J. W. Von Goethe

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