It's been three weeks since Ana Menendez wrote about the "rabble-rousers" in Miami, and having heard and read the reactions carefully, I can say that I have learned a valuable lesson: insult and calumny, which are prevalent in Miami from opposing groups, have hindered constructive action on policy towards Cuba.
The moment I read that Menendez article on May 16th, and ran across those dreaded words, my eyebrows leapt off my face. She had come to a new level of provocation I thought, but I had no idea the amount of backlash she would receive. Sure her harsh descriptions were followed by a sarcastic remark ("I miss them already"), but most of the article was riddled with taunting phrases like:
- "That's right, swallow your pain."
- "Where are those who crusaded against the dangerous children's picture book Vamos a Cuba?"
- "Oh wow. Sure showed them."
As I posted before, the condemnation that Menendez faced was found throughout the local blogosphere, and with equal cruelty. Initially, I thought that her harsh wit would go unnoticed by some, but its seems that those who also read the arrogant and disparaging wit of Humberto Fontova (who uses descriptions like the "worldwide Media/Academia axis" or the "mainstream media-Democratic National Committee axis"; god forbid he begins to use "mafia" instead of "axis") still have a heart to be offended.
But, the lesson that dawned on me came when I heard the response by some Cuban exiles within the following days. Many called in to Radio Mambi to simply excoriate Ana Menendez at all levels, with sometimes explicit approval of the host. I found it quite hysterical (in both meanings of the word), and upsetting.
One memorable response came that same day(May 16th) on Marta Flores' Radio Mambi show, with guest Guillermo Martinez (former Univision vice-president of the news department) . A caller suggested that "we go one step further" and give Menendez a public slapping for her work. Despite its absurdity (quickly noticed by Flores and Martinez), the caller's frustration became apparent as she expressed her sorrow of "50 years" that has resulted in the "poor elderly who have lost their youth" in exile. Such a tragedy, however cruel, doesn't deserve to end with such inhumanity. Guillermo Martinez, nevertheless, suggested that the solution lies in a debate where Menendez "pays dearly for the barbarous words that she is saying."