The history of debate in Miami about Cuba and US relations has unfortunately been shaped, for a long time, by a dichotomous divide: anti-Castro or Castro apologist. Within this incompetent paradigm, frustration are obviously littered with insults as people cross both sides. The sides are mainly drawn by positions on specific US policy towards Cuba, and the insults usually originate when the sides disagree.
I've had such debates on BabaluBlog before I was essentially banned (my comments are now reviewed before being approved for posting), and had always received insults, somehow due to the fact I must have been offensive. Even though my intentions were not to be offensive, it is the audience's perception that matters most. In these cases, the unintentional insult should be retracted, clarified, or altered. These are options that I think Ana Menendez should consider.
But, in this climate of heated debate one can become hesitant to change their comments, especially since there's little trust for both sides. On May 18th, Alejandro Armengol on his blog commented [in Spanish] that these condemnations on Menendez were nothing new, but part of ulterior motives. "I've already said that every seventh day in this city an excuse is used so that certain instigators of public opinion justify their cultural and political incompetence with new calls for persecution."
That same day, Ileana Curra, a former Cuban political prisoner, posted her reply to Menendez on the Baracutey Cubano blog. Despite being someone who has suffered real political persecution, her condemnation towards Menendez was no different than Perez-Castellon's. Curra concludes that Cubans should not purchase the Miami Herald "until they comprehend, one day, that they must respect us." Curra, just like Perez-Castellon, supports the Cuban family travel restrictions under the same arrogant premise asking the "extreme left" : "Where were they protesting" when repression occurred in Cuba? The false moral argument. Curra also has articles on the Cuban Liberty Council website.
There's little trust, and little respect around here. The two replies to Ana Menendez at BabaluBlog were not without insults themselves. Val Prieto timidly avoids calling Menendez an "asshole" and her work a "hemorrhoidal schtick," and Henry Gomez directly describes Menendez as a "coprophagic (excrement eating) columnist." Rick, from Stuck on the Palmetto, did not received Prieto's cautious wit, and was called an "asshole" directly.
So not everyone has a clean record here, especially those condemning Ana Menendez. But, this reciprocal mud-slinging has a remedy. It begins by agreeing that insults have no place in debate, and that retractions or clarifications are always welcomed in a discussion. I think Ana Menendez should consider these options, and the same advice should apply to her critics. This is where trust will begin to flourish.
But, someone has to make the first move.