Letters to the Editor

Letters for May 3, 2001

 Us vs. INS:
With interest I have read several times "Elián Plus One" (Chuck Strouse, April 19). Many of us of Cuban descent or national origin have maintained for years that the enforcement arms of the Department of Justice, be they the INS, the FBI, or the Border Patrol, are inherently racist and that a prerequisite for advancement is to reflect the racist views of his bosses.

Years ago, I remember, the director of one of U.S. Customs' departments who was supposedly engaged in the suppression of drug-related activities had in his office a sign proclaiming: "So many Colombians... so little time." As your article well states, these sentiments of ethnically or racially exclusionist nature predispose an official to behave badly toward people of the targeted background whether they are guilty or not.

I sincerely doubt that anything will come of the INS promise to investigate the allegations of Mr. Ramirez or of anyone else other than a perfunctory statement that racist attitudes are not tolerated in the department or are, in any case, not widespread. At the same time you can look forward to the promotion of those officials who entrenched the mentality of "us vs. them" and who encourage the sniggering and winking at racist jokes or attitudes.

J. Martinez-Alegria
via the Internet

Keep on exposing:
I am writing to commend you on your willingness to expose the tactics used by the federal government against its own employees when they dare to speak the truth about what is going on in the federal agencies.... It is worse than a shame that in our country, the United States of America -- that holds itself out to be the world leader in human rights and was founded on the premise of free speech -- our very own governmental agencies are intolerant of cultural diversity and actively seek to destroy the lives of those federal employees who stand up for what is right. Discrimination is rampant in all federal agencies.

The [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and its processes are fraught with loopholes that successfully protect the agencies against 97 percent of complaints. The upshot of Title VII is a fanning of the flames of discrimination. My heart goes out to Ricardo Ramirez and his family. I know of far too many cases where federal agencies have destroyed the lives of federal employees (and their families) who have spoken out against the agencies. I hope you will continue to expose the tactics used by the government to silence the truth so that we Americans can move our country and our government to the point that cultural diversity is honored. And to the point that we truly achieve our forefathers' vision of free speech.

Helen Phillips
North Carolina

The Herald had the guts but not the speed:
I like this article very much. The Herald did not have the guts to print such an important article. This could happen to anyone, any family, in this community or any other community in the United States. The INS threw ethics out the window.

I congratulate you for this article.

Maricarmen Dominguez

Expose them before they expose themselves:
With computers and unlimited communication worldwide, deadbeat parents should be tracked down by the Secret Service or IRS and their wages should be garnished ("The Deadbeat Goes On," Amy Roe, April 19). Otherwise sentence them to an on-the-job program to pay up!

Since young girls are most likely to be victimized by smooth operators, some time during the school year, when teens all take a required course, deadbeats should be exposed with posters, videos, drama, and computer programs, et cetera. Meanwhile my church, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, has Samaritan Gardens, a home for unwed mothers and other destitutes. Parents and relatives will continue to take in the virtual orphans until law enforcement "kicks in."

Marvin Doudna
Palm Beach

This writer's no goody-goody:
Well, it has been interesting to read the letters in response to "Backyard Stupidity" ("Backyard Bloodbath," Bob Norman, April 5 and 12), which have referenced John Ulloa and friends and their uncaring parents. When the article first came out, I was sickened by the picture on the cover. After a week of nightmares, nausea, and images that would haunt me, I finally called the editor, whom I spoke with personally. He informed me that the second half of the article would be hitting the stands that day and asked me, if I could stomach it, to read the article. I read most of it, then called the DCF abuse/neglect hotline. I am not surprised at how something like this could happen when most of the letters said "someone should do something." Who is that someone? Obviously everyone says its somebody's job, but nobody wants to do it. It takes a village to raise a child -- start treating our neighborhoods that way.

It's obvious these kids have no parental guidance or love and most likely never had. I monitor my kids' TV and radio stations. We have all [movies rated] PG-13 and beyond blocked on our cable; PG-13 is subject to content approval before the kids watch it. We don't use curse words -- ever. And we also taught our kids how stupid these words are, because cussing is basically a substitution for words when your vocabulary is limited. Honesty is expected; kids and parents are respected. When I was a teen, I wasn't a goody-goody. When I ran away from home my parents, out of love, found a place to put me so I would get the care I needed. I have loving parents, I love my kids, and I teach them out of love. If my neighbors' kids were pulling that stuff, I would see to it that something was done.

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