Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm Famous...Well Sort of

The Miami New Times has published another one of my letters. This one was in response to another reader's letter which I found highly offensive and just plain wrong. I posted the letter below. Keep in mind that the headline and the subheadline are written by the publication.

Sleepy Old Miami

It's gone forever, for which you can thank the Cubans: In his letter "Voting Republican Can Induce Delusions" (July 21), Ronnie Fox is all over the board in attacking Cubans living in South Florida, so I'll take his assertions one at a time. He seems to take issue with another reader's statement that Cuban Americans helped turn Miami into a vibrant, thriving city. He mentions overpopulation as if all of our city's troubles have to do with Cuban immigration. Miami is a magnet for people from all over the world and all over the nation. That is nobody's fault. It's ridiculous to deny the role Cubans had in transforming Miami from a seasonal resort town into a viable metropolis.

As far as politics go, Mr. Fox seems to think Cubans have a monopoly on corruption. Sure there have been corrupt Cuban-American politicians, but the truth is that Cubans did not create or perfect political corruption in South Florida. As far back as the days when Meyer Lansky and organized crime ruled, there were corrupt politicians down here. Before any Cubans had any real positions of power, we had scandals like that of schools superintendent Johnny Jones and his gold plumbing. The ongoing list of non-Cuban corruption among local politicos is a mile long.

Mr. Fox denies that the Cuban-American vote was instrumental in the election of George W. Bush in 2000. Let me remind Mr. Fox that Florida's electoral votes went to Bush by virtue of 537 votes out of almost 6 million. That means if only 269 Bush voters had voted for Gore or stayed home, he would have been president. Let me also remind Mr. Fox of the news reports, during the late Nineties, before Elian, that the monolithic Cuban-American vote was beginning to warm to the Democratic Party. Even if he doesn't believe that, he must recognize that the Elian Gonzalez affair surely induced a high voter registration and turnout effort among Cuban Americans. Perhaps Gore opposed sending the boy back to Cuba, but his ties with the Clinton administration, the failure to do anything about the Brothers to the Rescue shootdowns, and the catastrophic "wet foot/dry foot" policy all left Cubans with a nasty taste in their mouths.

Mr. Fox doesn't understand why Cuban Americans are overwhelmingly Republican. He says that "if it weren't for Kennedy, both Cuba and South Florida would have been reduced to a smoldering radioactive ruin." Let me give him a history lesson. Forgetting the fact that Kennedy abandoned the 2506 Brigade by pulling its air support at the last minute, we would have never had a Cuban Missile Crisis if Kennedy had not stopped the U2 flyovers of Cuba; instead he proved what Khrushchev already thought, that he was weak and inexperienced. Here a Soviet satellite state was being set up 90 miles away and we were completely surprised there were missiles in Cuba, even though "those crazy Cubans" had been saying it for some time. So President Kennedy got caught with his pants down and negotiated away U.S. missiles in Turkey and agreed to never invade Cuba or allow an invasion to be launched by others from the U.S.

The few Democratic administrations during the past 46 years have all been catastrophic for the U.S. regarding Cuba policy. Castro played Carter like a cheap fiddle, and I've already mentioned the disastrous Kennedy and Clinton administrations. The reason we're hearing more and more about lowering the embargo lately is because Castro is finally running out of lifelines. Cuba's credit rating is garbage; the regime owes money to every country with which it does business. Cuba is currently able to buy all the food and medicine it wants from the U.S. on a cashup-front basis. But embargo opponents want Castro to have credit, a farm subsidy boondoggle in which he and U.S. farmers win and Cubans and American taxpayers lose. No thanks.

Mr. Fox sounds like an uninformed hater who wants his sleepy little Miami back. Unfortunately for him there's no putting the genie back in the bottle. So he's either going to have to learn to live with and try to understand Cubans or he's going to be miserable.

Henry Gomez



Tremenda Trigueña said...

Oigan mis nenes! I JUST saw that you put my blog up as "La Tremenda Dama Caribeña" and I just wanted to thank you! Y Henry, mi hermano Gomez (mi apellido también) nice letter. Una pequeña clarificación: I am not caribeña aun que paso. Soy griega, siciliana y irlandesa pero vivi en puerto rico hace 7 años. Me identifico como latina en muchos aspectos de mi vida, y quisiera volver al querido caribe algún día. Solamente quería aclarar eso, sigo queriendolos igual. Saludos del bello estado de Massachussetts, estoy aquí con mi familia. Ciao!

Robert said...

Even though I've lived all my life in Miami, it still amazes me to read and hear some of the anti-Cuban comments in this town. You wuuld think by now all the anti-Cubans would have moved to Orlando. Instead, they want their little old Miami back where there were water fountains and bathrooms for whites and "coloreds".

Jose Aguirre said...

Excellent answer Henry! In your closing you could have given him a third option; move the fuck out of Miami, you racist!

Val Prieto said...


Duro y a la cabeza. Beautifully put, my friend.

Sirimba said...

Great article… I am still surprised after all these years people haven’t gotten the picture that Miami is different and the world thanks the Cubans for the change. From a quite little town it is now the US’s equivalent to the French Riviera. A busy multicultural cosmopolitan city thriving in tourism dollars, jobs and the international spotlight. If he doesn’t like all the Cubans in the city, maybe he should have spoken up when they screwed us over from fighting for our island.