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A number of Cubans are gathering money and want political change!

You might assume this is happening in Miami and their main goal is the overthrow of Fidel Castro, along with the return of Elián. You would be wrong.

The group is the Broward American Cuban Political Action Committee, and they are light-years removed from Cuban exiles in Miami. Clue 1: Their first action was to raise money for a black candidate. Clue 2: Look at their name.

Notice the juxtaposition of the Cuban/American thing. And notice the name of the county.

One of the PAC's leaders, Jose "Pepe" Lopez, says that Cuba and its politics are a concern to the group's members, but their first priority is Broward because that is where they live and they are Americans first, Cubans second.

"We are not going to make friends in Miami with that statement, but we have to tell the truth. In reality we can't do much about what is going on in Cuba, so we plan to take care of where we live now first. I'd like to see Castro hang, and I care about Elián, but I'm interested in what affects me here."

Lopez and 50 of his friends and business associates (most born here) held their first meeting three weeks ago and are opening a bank account. It's a bit unusual for a PAC in that it is a nonpartisan group with varying allegiances and ideas on what makes a good candidate.

The group is united in fighting the image, again born in Miami, that Cubans don't get along with blacks. Its first fundraiser last week gathered $2000 for black candidate Pat Larkins, who is running for Broward County Commissioner in District 9. The group is also supporting Diane Wasserman, who is of Cuban ancestry.

The message? "We're here, we're involved, and yes, we're Cubans, but we're nice, mainstream people.

When the Tribune Co. Stock Drops, People Stop Talking
"What is going on with the stock price of the mighty Tribune Co., the owner of the Sun-Sentinel? It plunged from a 52-week high of 61 to just 33. The third-largest newspaper group in the country must be doing something wrong; after all, the corporation reported profits last year that soared over $700 million.

Could it be that its voracious appetite for potentially profitable media properties has produced some indigestion?

We do know that some 50 people at the Sun-Sentinel's Community News Group in Miami weren't feeling too good when we called last week. "There's no one willing to talk; they're busy carrying their stuff out," said the receptionist.

The Tribune Co. closed 13 weekly papers because of "unsatisfactory financial performance." The newspapers were owned for just two years. The slash killed six Spanish-language el semanel publications.

Apparently the biz whizzes at the Sun-Sentinel hadn't learned their lesson from the last multimillion-dollar Spanish-language foray into Miami-Dade, a disaster ironically called Exito!

What do the owners and operators of the papers have to say? They didn't return phone calls. We weren't allowed to talk to those who were just laid off.

The Tribune Co. boasts it has $6 billion in annual revenues. It must not be enough.

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Tom Walsh
Contact: Tom Walsh