They Get Letters

And boy are they doozies sometimes!
Here is a collection of letters to the editor compiled by The Miami Herald regarding Bush’s speech and Herald comedian-slacker-Jimmy Buffett-wanna-be Carl Hiaasen’s rebuttal column.
(A quick warning: the first letter is from none other than Miamian castro-appeaser Silvia Wilhelm. Make sure you haven’t had your breakfast before reading this).

I was in Cuba on a humanitarian mission while President Bush delivered his latest Cuba policy address.
There are no words to express the disbelief, sadness and, in many instances, laughter I saw in so many sectors of Cuban society in reaction to the speech.
As a Cuban American who made the difficult decision to visit the country of my birth and the land of my ancestors, I was appalled that Bush could be so detached from Cuban realities and could deliver such a misguided and arrogant speech. If the administration’s goal was to try to influence or facilitate Cuba’s evolution into a more-democratic society, this rhetoric at a crucial juncture was counterproductive and damaging — not only to the process but to the image of America abroad.
Having read national and international responses to Bush’s speech, I feel a sense of relief that this new Bush policy continues to be rejected by thinking and caring people all over the world and by the majority of Cuban Americans living not only in South Florida but around the globe.
SILVIA WILHELM, Puentes Cubanos, Miami

Here are the rest.

In his Oct. 28 Issues & Ideas column, Bush on Cuba: Same old macho speech, Carl Hiaasen takes a cheap shot at President Bush’s announcement of ”creating an international fund to help rebuild a democratic Cuba.” Hiaasen’s belief that no other government is interested in helping the Cuban people is simply not true. The president mentioned the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, nations that suffered under Communism and support Cuba’s courageous opposition.
When Harry Truman announced the Marshall Plan, many criticized him. But the Marshall Plan helped rebuild Europe. Shouldn’t we wait to see if the international fund proposed by the United States gets some nations’ support? It is true, as Hiaasen says, that Bush’s support for freedom in Cuba is not new. If ”newness” is an issue, what about Hiaasen’s old and tiresome hostility toward the president?
MARIA C. CRUZ, Coral Gables
Cuban Americans should be concerned about proposals for abrupt change in Cuba. Abrupt change was deliberately engineered in Iraq and post-Katrina New Orleans to create enormous profits for Halliburton and Blackwater.
These companies, which are big contributors to the Republican Party, prey on the unstable conditions inherent in such disasters at the expense of the interests and lives of the common people.
If it had been a soccer match, it would have been Castro’s Cuba 1, United States 0. But it was a self-goal. On Oct. 14, President Bush gave a ringing anti-Castro speech at the State Department.
Castro’s media actually broadcast and printed large portions of it for the public. The reason they did so was perfectly clear. They knew that in less than a week, on Oct. 30, the U.N. General Assembly would, for the 16th time, pass a Cuban resolution strongly condemning the almost 40-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba, the centerpiece of U.S policy.
It did so by a vote of 184-4, with one abstention, in a session replete with supporting statements from delegates representing U.S. allies. What can we learn from this? Either that the president’s handlers have no sense of world public relations and should be sacked or that his administration does not give a whit about the United Nations anyway.
AMBLER MOSS, professor, international studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables
How does Carl Hiaasen know that, ”It is safe to assume that Raúl Castro isn’t exactly shaking in his boots,” and that, ”There are no signs that Cuba’s armed forces will suddenly turn on him, or that the citizens will spontaneously stage a revolt” (Bush on Cuba: `Same old macho speech,’ Issues & Ideas, Oct. 28)?
It is impossible to make such predictions, just as it was impossible to predict the collapse of Communism just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Cubans, like Americans and others around the world, want to live in freedom.
Hiaasen’s message is, as usual, simple: President Bush is always wrong, Cuban Americans are out of line for defending freedom in Cuba and the Castro dictatorship is a minor nuisance that will be around for a long time.
We have heard it before and can recognize bigotry when we see it.
AIDA BRANA, Boca Raton
Carl Hiaasen should get acquainted with what other world leaders besides Bush have said about Castro’s Cuba.
Hiaasen seems to believe that after a certain time it is no longer appropriate for the world to pay attention to Cubans’ suffering.
Former Czech president Václav Havel, who spent time in Communist jails, disagrees. Havel has said that the democratic world must support representatives of the Cuban opposition as the regime clings to power. Havel’s views on Cuba merit at least as much attention as Hiaasen’s.
LAIDA CARRO, Coral Gables

4 thoughts on “They Get Letters”

  1. I doubt that she listended to the speech from a Cuban publicly broadcast TV as that was not allowed. I am curious as to how she heard it.

  2. Pototo,
    She probably didn’t hear squat over there, just as she never acknowledges the dissidents who are the true heroes in this battle. I mean, when was the last time she uttered the name Oscar Elias Biscet in public?

  3. I think Wilhelm’s letter does an extraordinary job of illustrating just how much people like her are more interested in securing and aiding the communist dictatorship in Cuba than they are in obtaining freedom for all Cubans. The funny thing is that as she wrote her letter, she tried to come across as someone who is deeply concerned with the plight of the Cuban people and is afraid that Bush’s speech will somehow prolong their agony.
    Alas, like a true appeasers, try as they might, they cannot hide their true intentions.
    “If the administration’s goal was to try to influence or facilitate Cuba’s evolution into a more-democratic society, this rhetoric at a crucial juncture was counterproductive and damaging — not only to the process but to the image of America abroad.?”If the administration’s goal was to try to influence or facilitate Cuba’s evolution into a more-democratic society, this rhetoric at a crucial juncture was counterproductive and damaging — not only to the process but to the image of America abroad.?

  4. Hiaasen is definitely on my “Do Not Cast Pearls Before Swine” list. He is what he is, and he’s not likely to change his tune unless his situation were to deteriorate significantly. He’s firmly entrenched at the Herald, where he’s apparently treated as a minor deity, to the point that he could go over the head of the paper’s president and publisher and get away with it. He’s also probably sufficiently well off from his books that he doesn’t really need his Herald salary. In other words, he’s bound to feel quite secure, not to say untouchable, and I expect that negative feedback from the Cuban-American community is not only blown off but relished.
    When someone is offensive, it’s typically in order to offend, to provoke a reaction, not to go unnoticed. He’s not writing his column to be ignored or overlooked. In effect, regardless of his intent, he serves as a conduit for the thinly veiled (when not overt) resentment felt by many against the exile community, and I think that is the basis for much of his popularity with a certain segment of Herald readers. Just as Castro, despite being a monstrous tyrant, has long gotten major mileage out of “standing up to those Americans,” Hiaasen can profit locally from “standing up to those Cubans.” As long as there’s enough of an audience for what he sells, well, remember this is capitalism, where even blood-stained “Che” merchandise is fair game as long as enough people buy it.

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