Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Susan Lucci, Sep/Oct 99
(continued from page 5)
It took a lot of courage for your managing editor, Gordon Mott, to get on the radio recently with the Miami Cubans, but he survived. I imagine you and he will receive a lot of hate mail. No matter what kind of mail you receive, my advice to you is to investigate the facts carefully, since the Cuban way of "proof" is not the American way of known facts. This I learned the hard way in the past year.
As a Connecticut citizen for 33 years and now a Miami resident, I was amazed at the control that the Cuban people here in Miami, represented by a group called La Fundacion Cubana, have on everything that is written about Cuba. Here, this is accepted, and the so-called "Foundation" is feared, as I believe it has a lot of power in this county (not to say country). I personally do not fear them or anyone here, as freedom of speech has been part of my life since birth and I refuse to be intimidated by anybody, especially exiles, who as a favor were given the privilege to enter this country but now want to run it according to their interests. Intelligent non-Miami Cubans (even as close as Broward County) and others from the rest of the U.S.A. know about this organization but are not as affected by them.
The Sun-Sentinel in Broward County has printed a few "lift the embargo" stories that only radio station director Francisco Aruca has had the nerve to read on the radio. As you may know, Francisco Aruca has been labeled as a Communist and Castro lover. I wanted to hear him, to form my own opinion (as my brain is not yet owned by the Foundation) and I am still indecisive on exactly what he is. I have asked him via correspondence and received no reply. His program does portray Castro in a different light, but he also dissects local corruption, so sometimes he is worth listening to. We must have both points of view, not just one, as always.
I am for the lifting of the Cuban embargo. I am not a Communist, never lived under that regime nor want to, but I am now engaged to a Cuban man and his plight is my plight. I want his son to be able to have a decent job, food, an apartment, be able to visit us here, if he chooses. I have analyzed the Cuban problem as an American rather than a Hispanic. I feel that the people here in Miami against lifting the embargo are those that came in the 1960s, the elite, and are acting emotionally rather than practically.
Their hate for Fidel Castro (which is understandable, don't get me wrong) blinds them on anything else that may be on the table. They have never read about the art of negotiation, nor do they realize that this great country of ours has succeeded in negotiating problems worse than the Cuban problem. Most of the younger Cuban generation and the Cuban exiles that have just arrived in floats have a different point of view than those 1960s exiles and their descendants, but they are afraid to speak without retaliation. (Remember that these people came from a communist country where they could not speak, and it's hard to break that tradition.) Take your magazine, for example: some exiles thought they had the right to ban it from the Miami airport! They actually thought they could get away with it. You have lawyers; imagine the little guy. Don't think for one glorious minute that the woman official at the airport who has been made the scapegoat in this incident made that decision.
Additionally, the '60s exiles prohibit any Cuban from visiting the island and/or sending money to their families (and condemn them as well), reason being that this helps Fidel Castro maintain his leadership in the island. They use themselves as examples of not providing Castro with dollars and say that if they did it, why not the recent arrivals? The answer is this (in my humble opinion): the 1960s exiles usually were the very rich and either sent their kids first and at a later time finally were able to leave, or the most fortunate were able to get their whole family out.
The latter exodus (a.k.a. Marielitos and balseros) were lucky if one family member was able to depart, leaving their family behind. I mean their whole family, i.e. wife, children, mother, father, brothers, uncles, etc. How can these people turn their backs on their family? That would be cruel, mean, despótico, plus--something the earlier exiles keep forgetting--these are matters of the heart; these are loved ones, not just acquaintances. So again I ask you, who is the cruelest of them all?
Everything here in Miami has to do with Cuba. No wonder the Americans left this town a long time ago. I now know why most of the other Latin countries are not sympathetic about the Cuban cause. Cubans have forgotten about anything else but their own fate.
I know this is a long letter, but I just want to ask you to please, as a journalist, do not be intimidated by the Cubans in Miami. They have done enough harm rather than good for Cuba. After 40 years of emotional jargon, it is time for Plan B, and our government must take control of the situation to protect us Americans who still believe that this is our country and as such we should run it the way we see fit. What happened to our rights? Nobody is watching out for us.
Thanks for listening to this frustrated American here in Miami. I don't hate the Cubans--I live with one--but I do hate their persistence on keeping an embargo that has not done anything for their cause (freedom?) in 40 years. If they are hardheaded, Castro is worse, but they have the same mentality. Who will beat whom? It is a vicious cycle.
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