Your article “A New Deal With Cuba” [Jan. 12/19] refers to a half-century of conflict. But it is important to recall the earlier days of Cuba, before the Castro brothers took charge. In 1944–45, as a flight radio operator, I helped fly returning combat veterans to Havana for rest and recreation. Such “recreation” involved houses of prostitution, rum factories and gambling casinos. Veterans and tourists spent money freely on the island. The profits were split between the dictator, Fulgencio Batista, and the Mafia. Why did we love Cuba in those days?
pompton plains, n.j.
Voice of Sanity
Patricia J. Williams echoes my sentiments exactly in her column [Jan. 12/19] exploring the role that untreated mental illness likely played in the murder of two New York police officers. Ever since Ronald Reagan cut off funding for the mentally ill and turned many helpless people into the streets to fend for themselves, our society has suffered. We now know that mental disorders are often caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and should be treated as a disease—and yet, because many of our self-righteous political representatives still subscribe to an “up by your bootstraps” philosophy, we continue to misdiagnose and mistreat mentally ill people, who often end up in our (for-profit) prison system. Williams hit the nail on the head in assessing the main reason we endure these tragic killings far too often. Thank you for your insight into the real problem.
st. cloud, fla.
Going Beyond Green
In his much-appreciated recognition of the People’s Climate March as the Most Valuable Day in 2014 [Jan. 12/19], I’m sorry to say that John Nichols missed a critically important point. That is, the expanded articulation of a climate-justice movement happened in no small measure because groups representing working people, low-income people and communities of color were at the core of the organizing. These groups included organizations like the Climate Justice Alliance, a collaboration among over thirty-five organizations uniting frontline communities around the country; the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, which links grassroots organizations, low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice; and a network of more than seventy labor unions and workers’ associations.