The Coastal Post - July 2000

Report From Miami: All Elian All The Time

By Stephen Simac

Media criticism is in fashion these days, so I want to start with my mea culpa. I confess I'm a hypocrite, let's get that out of the way up front. I flew back east to Florida last month, not by flapping my arms but in a jet, one of those environmental disasters exposed in the CP.

The affordable alternative was too horrible to contemplate, three days on a Greyhound, crammed beside a succession of large, sweaty people, none of them fascinating. Even air rage seemed preferable.

A friend was getting married. I hadn't been back since my dad died, it would let me see my family with at least a temporary escape clause. Too cheap for a hotel, I'd sleep on the couch at my family home. That would be an adventure in itself.

He was a getting married for the first time at forty one, so at least there'd be one party. It would be for someone else which are the best ones, you don't have to clean up. I don't get invited to many parties these days, could be from the last wedding, I don't recall.

Inner Tube Travel To The Stars

I landed in Ft. Lauderdale, fifty miles north of Miami, days after little Elian, the Cuban kid, was rescued at gunpoint from a bad soap opera. The kid and the uncle, hysterical Marisleysis and Donato the fisherman show was like a cranked up telenovela on all the local stations. The papers were loaded with articles, opinions and reactions to opinions.

The lines had clearly been drawn between the Cubans in Miami and vicinity, and nearly everyone else. The Cuban mayor was firing everyone who'd defied his attempt to secede from the country, and Cuban flags were waving over burning US flags. Rednecks were waving confederate flags to show that they supported the feds.

The Cuban's hollow defiance of federal authority in rallying round the kid, their rioting after the raid, arrogant comments in Spanglish, burning the flag, and forty years of dislike for the pushy immigrants who had taken over Miami, had pissed off just about everyone else in south Florida. Miami Cubans were on the barbecues of the other ethnic groups in the Gold Coast of Florida.

Natives of south Florida blame the corrupt Cubans for almost everything gone wrong in Paradise, what's left over they blame on the New Yorkers. Truth is, Florida has always had pushy, ugly visitors who move in and take over, just ask the Indians. The place has been marketed as the Fountain of Youth, since the days of Ponce deLeon, who invaded from Cuba. It's welcomed every kind of development, the more destructive the better.

America's Been Very Good To Me

Immigrants from Haiti and other Caribbean countries complained about how unfair the treatment of Cuban refugees is compared with theirs. A Cuban with an inner tube can get one foot on shore in Florida, start work at the car wash the next day, and become a citizen in a year and a day. English, nada. That's in addition to the tens of thousands of Cubans who come over legally every year with the same special privileges.

Naturally this rapid process leaves out some of the fine points in their education, like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Miami Cubans don't understand that freedom of speech doesn't mean just theirs.

They're fond of bomb threats and actual bombs to keep the rest of the community in line. Several businesses which stayed open during their one day Cuban strike in Miami were shut down with bomb threats by the afternoon.

One of the local alternative papers printed a long list of the known, terrorist activities of the anti-Castro Miami Cubans over the last forty years, including airline bombings, assassination and invasion attempts, mail bombs, arson and murder. You have to wonder if Janet Reno shouldn't have rounded up all the leaders and deported them back to the island they claim to be so eager to get back to.

Cuba: Columbus' Continent

Of course, Cubans can't be deported, unless they riot in prisons and hold hostages. Cubans have enormous power in this country because we don't like communists with beards, but they're still pissed at Americans because Kennedy didn't provide air cover for their Bay of Pigs invasion.

If government in Miami is any indication, their cherished reconquista of Cuba would replace one dictator for an even more corrupt and brutal regime. Anyway Fidel may never die, now that he has the boy, some kind of Santeria prophesy. The religious smoke was getting pretty thick, the virgin Mary had been sighted in a mirror, priests were signing letters to protect Elian from Castro, prophesies were being fulfilled and hysteria was thicker than the humidity. The hypocrisy of the Miami Cubans over Elian is even greater than mine over flying, no more than that of the average environmentalist who would like to save the earth, if it's not too inconvenient. That's why we're in favor of opening Cuba up to ecotourism, not ecoterrorism..

I wouldn't want to live in Cuba, they don't have any alternative papers. It's definitely better than Haiti or many other countries in the Caribbean economically if not politically, superior in education and health care for all it's citizens than this country and in promoting organic farming. Regardless, if we let everyone in the Caribbean or even Cuba float to Florida just for a better life, which is debatable, it would probably sink, but not before total environmental disaster, which it's already in the middle of.

The fact that American citizens can't even visit Cuba easily, while we give China most favored nation trading status is hypocritical. Any ways free trade only means destroying huge chunks of Paradise Lost in the pursuit of profits. Americans want the freedom to destroy Cuba and China with Consumerism and Tourism.

Love American Style

The day before Johnny's wedding, his friends all offered him advice on how to call it off gracefully, but he ignored us and took the plunge. That's the problem with getting married after forty, optimism wanes. Of course he is the most likely of all his friends to stay happily married, it's just that he's wealthy, handsome, still got his hair and loves the ladies. His wife will have to keep him on a choke chain, until he gets fat. Or perhaps they'll just have an understanding marriage, which is in vogue now, after the Clinton's.

It was a Catholic church wedding, with a mass. I gazed up at the dead guy on the cross, and wondered again how that image was supposed to inspire the faithful. No wonder attendance is down.

The mass dragged on and the priest was a sarcastic tyrant with a brogue, but finally they said their vows and posed for photos. The party began at a nearby club on the Intracoastal waterway. My sister had come with me. We had a good time, ate, talked, danced, and didn't fall down. Luckily the party ended around the time she blanked out. I don't drink anymore, affects me like Teddy Kennedy. Stick to the smoke, lose smaller chunks of memory.

I was trying to cram all my old friends in on a five day visit. I didn't quite succeed, but maybe next funeral or wedding.

Coastal Post Home Page