On May 27, Ana Menendez made it clear to everyone that she too was offended by some of the reaction received, especially those who claimed that she must not "understand" the pain of Cuban exiles.
As a response, Menendez removed herself from the role of columnist and revealed her intimate background as a daughter to "el exilio Cubano." She illustrated well her feelings about "understanding." But, unfortunately, Menendez did not reply to those who condemned her for the use of the word "mafia," or justified her use of the word or any other provocations that were essential to her original piece. Instead, Menendez chose to concentrate more on the Bouygues Travaux Publics (BTP)/Cuban Liberty Council connection.
There's no question that Menendez had made a good point about the absurdity of some of the anti-Castro organizations: wasting their efforts on more vulnerable individuals instead of larger systematic violators. Also, as a consequence of the attention of her first column, the Cuban Liberty Council (CLC) forced the resignation of one of their members (Ignacio E. Sanchez) because of his connections to BTP, a French company whose subsidiary works with Cuba.
But, was it all worth it? Did Menendez have to speak generally about some groups in the Cuban exile community just to make a point about the CLC? I don't thinks so.
In this respect, the use of words like "lunatics" or "mafia" don't seem justified, even if written with sarcasm. The better column would have been simply addressed to Ignacio E. Sanchez and the CLC to let them know that their hard-line stance is fraudulent. Instead, by not justifying her use of defamatory words aimed at unspecified groups in exile, Menendez has helped strengthen the position of new enemies.
Menendez wrote about how she tried to reach Sanchez and other members of the CLC, but met some roadblocks. Sanchez couldn't say much "citing his relationship with his client [BTP]" and far less was said between CLC member Ninoska Perez-Castellon and Menendez. Menendez seems to describe that Perez-Castellon had abruptly hung up on her, but Perez-Castellon recalls it differently.
On the 29th, on her Radio Mambi show, Perez-Castellon tells her listeners that she spoke with Menendez very angrily on the phone telling her that she had nothing else to say except that she was defamed and that her comments were in response to the defamations by Menendez. She then hung up. Just like Menendez, Perez-Castellon sees no need to explain her equally defamatory language. Instead, Perez-Castellon makes it very clear that Menendez has only herself to blame for all the denigrating replies her column received, and gives full support to all the slanderous remarks that callers have made about Menendez on Radio Mambi.
Robert at the 26th Parallel had similar sentiments. On the 27th, he concluded that there is "room for vigorous debate and even indignation from those whom you offend," but of course an indignation that is "within the law" he adds. Unfortunately, Robert's condescending advice is only aimed at "Ana Menendez and those who share her ideology." It has no universal value, and neither does the position of Ninoska Perez-Castellon.
Circumstances now show that both sides have draw lines in the sand, neither willing to honestly criticize the errors committed by opposing sides, or reflect with some objectivity. An apology or movement towards fair reconciliation seems distant, actions that people have a hard time exercising. Even the most "honorable."