Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Herald round-up

Not surprisingly The Miami Herald is trying to sweep Tom Fiedler's Chihuahua comment under the rug. El Nuevo Herald on the other hand has printed close to (if not more than) 20 letters from outraged citizens.

Today a column by Armando Gonzalez was published in El Nuevo Herald. Translated below for your review:

To rectify mistakes is a trait of wise people

It was the best of times,

It was the worst of times…

Charles Dickens

A tale of Two Cities

It was an unforgettable September for all of us in The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald family. One lamentable decision in the writing of The Miami Herald caused another lamentable managerial decision. The combination unleashed the most genuine public protest that I have witnessed in more than thirty years.

In my previous column [What a shame, September 25] I lamented the error committed and I expressed my desire for a rectification. Today I write with immense satisfaction. The company recognized its error and has begun the rectification. Those of us that criticized The Herald harshly must now give it all the credit for demonstrating the great courage that is required to, publicly, recognize an error and move to rectify it.

Clearly that rectification has not been easy nor free of pain. The resignation of Jesus Diaz Jr., publisher and president of both newspapers, is something very lamentable. Jesus is more than a friend of many years. Jesus is an honest man, a first class professional, that was trapped in the middle of circumstances that he did not create, but for which he had to take responsibility. His subsequent decisions were not the best ones. And Jesus decided to pursue the only honorable option: to resign.

But while the decision already made and implemented by the company satisfies the first requirement for a rectification, it's not complete. The reputations of the other eight journalists were stained and I do not see a way to cleanse them in the short term. But The Miami Herald would set another great example of courage and professionalism if it published a genuine and heart-felt apology to those reputables professionals who do not carry any guilt for the tragedy that has ocurred. A high-level apology that removes all doubts regarding the deep honesty of the rectification. An apology that extirpates the term ''amnesty'' and instead proclaims the term ''reintegration''. In this way, The Miami Herald would close the case professionally and honorably. Unfortunate individual commentaries that have been made as of the writing of this column must be responsibility of those individuals and not of the company. But the internal process of purifying continues to be the responsibility of the company. We Cubans do not like to be compared to lap dogs.

What's left then is the other side, the Cuban exile community that was united in a memorable effort of support for the affected journalists. That community has reason to feel euphoric. The best of that community must rejoice because of the triumph of reason, rights, and justice. But we know that another part of our community derives its rejoicing from the fact that ''we beat the Herald this time''. And this would be a lamentable manifestation of that arrogance of ours that isn't satisfied by simply ''winning'', but that only understands victory in terms of squashing and humiliating the opponent.

That attitude would be a manifestation of our worst instincts and would turn our accomplishment into a short term victory . If we humiliate the defeated, we encourage ''payback". But if we are magnanimous in victory, we could initiate a new stage where, with lessons learned, the possibilities community harmony, of civic respect would be greater than ever before and the high price paid would be justified.

Let us hope that one side has learned the price of disrespect to the Cuban exile community. And, in what concerns us, may we set a historical example of one of the great gifts of western civilization: magnanimity in the victory.

1 comment:

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

There are two kinds of foes: the honorable enemy and the dishonorable enemy. The land of Martí has never been as lucky as the land of Washington and Lincoln in this regard: our enemies have always been dishonorable enemies. There are no William Pitts or Robert E. Lees in our history, just Castros and Weylers.

So, forgive us, Mr González, if we hold-off with the magnanimity for just a while. That is, until we finally find an enemy deserving of it.