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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

Dear Marvin,

In reply to your article "City of Exiles" in the August 2000 issue, written by Jonathan Kandell, I would like to make the following correction for the record.  

At the time of the April 22 pre-dawn raid by federal agents of the González home in Little Havana, members of our group were outside the home, as we had been throughout the day. We were hopefully waiting and praying for a resolution that would take into consideration the child's emotional well-being and best interests, as well as a true family reunification. At the time of the assault, good faith negotiations were ongoing inside the González home between the relatives' legal team, prominent civic leaders of our community and Attorney General Janet Reno on the telephone from Washington.  

I was not there "intent on preventing federal agents from taking custody of Elián," as the writer states. I was not blocking any entrance nor offering resistance. Television coverage clearly shows this and the unwarranted use of violence by the storm troopers, despite the administration's assertions to the contrary. There is news footage and dramatic shots of one of the members of our organization--Mrs. Rosa de la Cruz--being carried out by some of us, after choking and falling down unconscious in the street as a result of being gassed in the face by federal agents.  

I stand by my statement: "Our organization will abide by the ruling of the courts." When that ruling came about--after all legal recourses and remedies were exhausted--we abided by the ruling. To imply otherwise is a misleading and incorrect statement.

Sylvia G. Iriondo, President Mothers & Women Against Repression
Coral Gables, Florida

Dear Marvin,  

I must congratulate your magazine once again for being so thorough in your coverage of U.S. policy toward Cuba. In your profile of Miami's Cuban exiles you zero in on why that community will eventually fail in their efforts on the Cuba issue.

Your discussion of the trials and tribulations of Miami's Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture points to the Cuban exiles' fundamental problem as policy proponents and advocates: they just don't get the First Amendment. Whether it's their targeting of this museum or lodging threats against former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence, the Cuban exile community demonstrates its outright rejection of one of America's most cherished principles. In failing to embrace the First Amendment, the Cuban exile community loses all opportunity to engender support among a broad spectrum of the American electorate (their paranoia--taping of their own interviews--speaks for itself).

 The Cuban exile community would do well in learning from the American Jewish community. American Jews have succeeded in securing broad support among the American public for their spiritual homeland because they have never buried the First Amendment. They have always understood that generating American support for Israel can never come at the expense of American ideals.

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