How the Encyclopedia of American Immigration by Salem Press Favorably Manipulates Fidel Castro's Image

From: Edit
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 6:57 PM
Subject: RE: Essay for Encyc. of American Immigration

Professor  de la Cova, we received your essay and the attachment opened fine. Thanks Much!

Brett Weisberg
Editorial Assistant


From: []
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2010 8:04 AM
To: EP Salem Press Edit
Subject: Re: Essay for Encyc. of American Immigration

Dear Dr. Weisberg,
  Could you please tell me if the Encyclopedia of American Immigration containing my essay on the Elian Gonzalez Case has been published? If so, could you please send me a pdf of the front page of the encyclopedia and the pages containing my article?
  Thank you.

  Antonio de la Cova


From: Mark Rehn
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 4:54 PM
Subject: RE: Essay for Encyc. of American Immigration

Dear Dr. de la Cova:

Yes, the Encyclopedia of American Immigration was published last month. The offprints sit in boxes in my office, staring at me daily. My assistant Brett Weisberg is no longer with the company. I will get the offprints out as soon as I can. Thank you.


Mark Rehn
Acquisitions Manager/Contract Administrator
Salem Press
A Division of EBSCO Publishing
131 N. El Molino Ave., Suite 350
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 584-0106


Sent: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 4:39 PM
To: Mark Rehn
Subject: Re: Essay for Encyc. of American Immigration

Dear Mr. Rehn,

  Thank you for sending me the offprints of my article on the Elian Gonzalez case for the Encyclopedia of American Immigration. I was shocked and dismayed to see that the article had undergone significant editing and that all my "Further Reading" citations had been changed, without previously notifying me. I am unhappy with the modifications, grammatical errors, and the lack of professionalism in failing to work with me on the revisions. The title of the article was originally "The Elian Gonzalez Case," as per the email I received from the press, and in print it appears with the insignificant title "González Case."

  Since 1996, I have contributed three previous article published with Salem Press that were not radically changed.

  I do not agree with the offprint version of my revised essay. I am therefore requesting that the Encyclopedia of American Immigration publish it in its original form or pull the article from print and I will return the stipend I received for it. I am also requesting that Salem Press send me no further offers for essay submissions.


  Dr. Antonio de la Cova


From: R. Kent Rasmussen
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 10:58 PM
Subject: Elian Gonzalez essay

Dear Dr. de la Cova,

As the project editor who worked on Encyclopedia of American Immigration, I'm sorry to learn of your displeasure with the published version of your article on Elián González. However, after reading your note, I carefully compared the published article with your original draft and fear I don’t quite see what you mean about "radical changes" and grammatical errors. Your original article was very good, and our edited version follows it closely. Yes, we modified the wording of some sentences and added some information for the sake of clearer transitions. However, we made no radical changes.

We retitled the article "González case" because articles in encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically and  article on persons cannot be entered under the first names of their subjects. However, readers who consult the encyclopedia's index will find this entry: "Elián González case. See González, Elián."

We substituted different entries in the article's bibliographical notes because we prefer not to list self-published books if other titles are available. Yes, it would have been better for us to have contacted you about these changes, but we don't always have time to do that, and we didn't regard the changes as major. We should also point out that we place contributor bylines before "Further Reading" notes partly to indicate that the contributors themselves are not necessarily responsible for what follows their bylines.

In view of the fact that the encyclopedia has been printed and distributed,"pulling" your article from print is impossible. We can, however, remove your name from the article or make changes in later printings, should they occur. Let us know what you would like us to do. However, before doing that, please reread the printed article. We believe it is very good as it is and makes a strong contribution to the set. Also, if you still insist on our removing your name from our mailing lists, we shall, of course, comply with your wish.


R. Kent Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Editor, Salem Press


Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 2:05 PM
To: R. Kent Rasmussen
Subject: Re: Elian Gonzalez essay

R. Kent Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Editor, Salem Press

Dear Dr. Rasmussen:
  Thank you for your prompt response. The following are what I consider unacceptable radical changes to my essay, "The Elián González case":
  I wrote: "on a 17-foot boat with his mother and twelve others seeking freedom in the United States."
  It was edited to read: "on a seventeen-foot boat with his mother and twelve others hoping to reach the United States."
  The two adult survivors told the news media that they had all left Cuba seeking freedom in the United States. This point was reiterated by President Clinton when he spoke about this case: "We have to let the court cases be decided but I think the main thing is I hope that all the people there who say they came to the United States because we have freedom and the rule of law will observe the rule of law." Clinton was quoted in:
  By removing the words "seeking freedom" Elián, his mother, and their companions fleeing political persecution in Cuba are reduced to the status of economic immigrants, like Mexican undocumented aliens, and not political refugees. The Castro dictatorship purports that everyone fleeing Cuba are economic emigrants and not political refugees. To deny that Elián's mother and the other victims were not seeking freedom in the U.S. would be to dishonor their great sacrifice and memory and play into the hands of Communist propaganda. I consider this a radical change in the focus of my essay and I am left wondering about the editor's intention in removing "seeking freedom."
  I wrote: "Cuban leader Fidel Castro demanded that the “kidnapped” boy be given to his father in Cárdenas. Castro issued an angry ultimatum for Elián's return within 72 hours and threatened to cancel U.S.-Cuba migration negotiations scheduled in Havana."
  It was changed to read:
  "Castro threatened that if Elian were not returned to Cuba within seventy-two hours, he would cancel the U.S.-Cuba negotiations on migration that were scheduled to be held in Havana."
  The editor removed "angry ultimatum" from this sentence. The headline "Castro Ultimatum" was on the front page of The Miami Herald on December 6, 1999, in an article that stated: "An angry Fidel Castro on Sunday threatened mass protests and a boycott of upcoming U.S.-Cuba migration talks unless Washington agrees to return child rafter Elian Gonzalez within 72 hours." It can be read here:
    The word "kidnapped," which I quoted, was also deleted from my essay. That is how Castro has referred to this case since the start. Since then, to the present, the Communist-controlled news media continues to refer to Elián as having been kidnapped. Here is what Castro said to CNN on December 6, 1999: "The father is asking for the child and the U.S. is keeping the boy kidnapped." It can be read at:
  In 2002, Cuba's official Granma newspaper continued to purport that Elián had been kidnapped.
  Castro's irrational perspective, that the boy was kidnapped, is indeed a radical change of an important part of this story. I am also left wondering why the editor omitted Castro's irrational and extremist statements to present a kinder and gentler dictator.
  The grammatical error in that sentence is in "Elian were not" which should read "Elian was not."
  My other objectionable change is that I wrote:
  "In November 2000, angry Cuban Americans massively voted against Vice President Al Gore, whose presidential defeat narrowly hinged on Florida."
  It was changed, without abiding by the 600-word limit, to the thrice wordier:
  "The Clinton administration's handling of the Gonzalez case greatly angered the large and strongly anti-Castro Cuban American community in Florida. When Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, ran for president in November, 2000, Florida's Cuban Americans voted heavily against him. Their votes may have cost Gore the presidency. He lost narrowly, and the election hinged on Florida."
  The inserted "the large and strongly anti-Castro Cuban American community in Florida" is a biased stereotype that I would never use to describe my own community. I am sure that your press would likewise never print: "the large and strongly anti-Muslim Jewish community in New York" in relation to a Palestinian refugee article.
  That the Cuban American votes "may have cost Gore the presidency" plays into what President Clinton said a month after the election, trying to obscure the facts:
  The Cuban American community in Miami are registered as 70% Republican voters and 30% Democrat voters, and they have voteg along those lines since 1988, except on two occasions. In 1994, after Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Act, he received 60% of the Cuban American vote during his reelection bid. In 2000, five months after Elián was returned to Cuba, the overwhelming majority of the 60,000 Cuban American registered Democrats "massively voted" against Al Gore, who lost the state of Florida and the presidency by 30,000 votes. Had the Cuban American Democrats voted according to their traditional pattern, Gore would have received more than the 30,000 votes he needed to win. The Elián González case, in fact, instead of "may have," did cost Gore the presidency.
  You have apparently overlooked my point about the title of the essay which simply reads "González Case." In the original press announcement to contributors, it was headlined, as I correctly wrote in my paper: "González, Elian, case." You even indicate in your email that the encyclopedia index has the entry "See González, Elián," and not "See González case" as it now appears. I consider this error misleading and poor editing.
   I can understand that you prefer not to cite self-published books in the "Further Reading" section. However, since I was asked to cite books specifically dealing with this case, the two that I named are the only ones published regarding this topic. I would have provided other citations that are more appropriate and less biased about the Elián González case than those used by Salem Press. For example, the editor added, without consulting me: "De los Angeles Torres, Maria. In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States," which demonstrates poor editing. The correct name citation should be "Torres, María de los Angeles," which shows that the editor has no knowledge of Spanish names. I object to using this citation because in the Cuban American community María de los Angeles Torres is known as an activist and apologist of the Castro dictatorship since 1978, as depicted in this article
 Her academic work reflects this bias and I would never cite it unless it is to indicate its slanted viewpoint in favor of the Cuban regime.
 I should have been notified by the editor about these and other changes so that I could have found other references and discussed everything I have just indicated here. Failing to do so is poor professionalism on the part of the press. As I indicated before, I have previously submitted the following published articles to Salem Press:
  "Cuban Refugee Program (1961-1981),"  in vol. 2 of The Latino Encyclopedia, edited by Richard Chabran and Rafael Chabran, 1996, pp. 424-426.
  "Zapotecs Build Monte Alban," in vol. 1 of Great Events from History: The Ancient World Prehistory -- 476 c.e, edited by Mark W. Chavalas, 2004, pp. 422-424.
  "Mariel Boatlift," in The Eighties in America, edited by Milton Berman, 2008, pp. 618-620.
   There were hardly any editorial changes nor was the focus of key phrases as distorted as with my latest essay. I have never had this problem with Salem Press before nor with any of my other published scholarly works. Apparently the fault lies in an editor at the press, especially one who decided to insert their own political perspective on the Castro regime and the Cuban American community into my essay.
    I cannot accept your offer of merely deleting my name from my essay in future printings of the encyclopedia. The essay is my intellectual property and should not be used in a reprint as is. Either you publish my article entirely as it was submitted or pull it from all future printings. I will be checking future printings to make sure that the press complies with my request.
  There is no guarantee that these frustrating, misleading, and time-consuming errors will not occur again with my future submissions to Salem Press. You have also offered me no remedy to what you have published without my permission. Therefore, I am reiterating my demand that you remove my name from your mailing lists, as I no longer wish to be associated with whom I consider to be poorly informed, biased, and unprofessional editors, who do not consult writers about radical changes to their work before publication.


Antonio de la Cova, Ph.D.