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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► We are very proud to offer you our 95th anniversary edition of La Gaceta. We have assembled articles that trace the history of Hillsborough County, Tampa and Ybor. We not only offer stories on our newspaper’s history but also on journalism in general.
My staff, especially my wife and partner, Angie, did a superb job in assembling this 148-page edition.
People wonder how a business like ours lasts 95 years and attracts the interest of three generations of a family to keep it going.
Upon reflection, we believe we’re blessed with a family and employees who treat their work at La Gaceta as more than just a job. It isn’t just this most current group, it’s been this way ever since we joined the newspaper in 1984 and we suspect way before.
People who come to work at La Gaceta buy into its tradition. It becomes a point of pride for them. They also start to think more politically and become more caring about the world around them.
They find that the newspaper’s crusades become theirs. Our mission is their mission.
It’s a process that seems to come about naturally, organically. It is certainly not that we are brilliant administrators. Manteiga publishers are more about passion than managerial prowess and financial wizardry.
Employees become family, which brings benefits and headaches but overall, it makes going to work feel good.
Because La Gaceta is a neat place to work, because of the buy in and the feeling of family, we receive a lot more from each employee than we pay. That goes from our full-timers to our part-timers, contributors and delivery people. This is what keeps La Gaceta going each week and each year. Love, hard work and pride are what keep a newspaper in print for 95 years.
That’s why we have outlasted the Tampa Tribune. Its employees certainly gave as much as ours. They bought into the mission and gave more than they were paid, but the owners didn’t and that won’t work. The publishers have to share the emotional load. You just can’t treat it like a business.
My father, Roland Manteiga, used to tell us La Gaceta was his crippled child. It needed more love and caring than the rest of the family and he devoted his all to it, as did my grandfather, Victoriano. Both stayed at the helm until their health would no longer allow it. No retirement plans or golden parachutes for La Gaceta publishers.
We bill ourselves as a family newspaper, and we are, but sometimes the word family is stretched into weird relations. My mother, Peggie Schmechel, has worked here for almost 30 years. We are blessed to have her. She originally worked here in the 1960s when she was married to Roland. She came back to work here in the 1980s. They were divorced for a long time and she was remarried when she came back. My stepfather worked for my father part-time.
My father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law have worked for me. Currently, my son-in-law’s father helps keep our computer system running. He bailed us out this week, working late and billing us the family rate.
Over the years, we have had cousins, aunts and our children work here. It’s a family affair.
We have two shout outs on the family front.
Angie deserves special recognition. She puts together the newspaper every week. While I am the face of La Gaceta, Angie is the whole body. She works longer and harder than me. She actually started at the newspaper before me. We’ve worked together for three and a half decades. We started dating in the 11th grade; she was my prom date. We got married out of high school and except for four or five years, we have worked together every working day. I don’t know a couple that has spent more time together than Angie and me. I have been blessed every day by her presence.
Having my mother work for both my father and me has also been a blessing. She has done our books for as long as I can remember and what a sense of security to have your mother handle the business’ money. You can’t trust anyone more than a mother.
And like a mother, she tries to make me a better person each day. Who could ask for more?
Over the years, we’ve had people who’ve worked for La Gaceta for what seems like a lifetime.
Julie Estevez, Harry Farris and Mike Salgado were here when we showed up. I think only Julie and Harry worked for all three generations of La Gaceta publishers. Donna Allen was a big part of modernizing the newspaper. Cousin Lisa helped teach me layout.
Rick Holt, Ed Pineda and Alberto De La Rosa did sales for years. Angelo Perez came to work for us after he sold Florida Printing to do our typesetting. Ruben Ramos and Sharon Osborne combined have delivered newspapers for five decades.
Edmundo Georgi and Henry Benitez followed my grandfather in writing the Spanish section. They were followed by Armando Suarez, Mayra Carreno, Leonardo Leon and Manuela Ball, to name a few.
The entire time I’ve been here, only two men have been editors of the Italian section, Fortune Bosco and Giuseppe Maniscalco.
Photographers such as Charlie Mohn, Henry Rod, Al Allen and Bobby Azmitia helped keep the paper stock full of pictures.
We’ve had a series of good English writers. Oscar Aguayo, Vicki DeSormier, Carrie Clewell, Paul Pearson, Paul Guzzo and Adam Jahr are just a few of the people who have worked in the office. We’ve been touched by hundreds of good people and just don’t have the space to mention them all.
We have also had great contributors, such as John Frasca, Cherie Troped, Bob Jerome, Len Buckwell, Arturo Rivera, Harvey Grajales, Cleon Capsas, Tedd Webb, Marta Mulen Romero, Richard Muga, John Spera, Lee DeCesare and the great Ferdie Pacheco, to name a few.
We’ve also had some invaluable volunteer help. For years, Willie Garcia came to the office to help edit this column. After he passed, his wife, Vera Garcia, took on that task.
Our present team is deserving of a bow for bringing this edition to you. We have Gene Siudut, Gabriel Cartaya, Leonardo Venta, John Schofield, Angie Manteiga, Peggie Schmechel, Donna Campisano, Randal Kelly, Richard Muga, Doris Weatherford, Tiffany Razzano, Joe O’Neill, Jesse Simpson, Yahima Hernández, Rufino Pavón and Carlos Camargo Vilardy.
We thank all of La Gaceta’s family, present and past, and especially you, our readers and advertisers. You can’t have a community newspaper without a community and many of you have been with us for decades.
We look forward to our centennial edition in 2022.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … I normally have a lot to say about the minutiae of my life, but when it comes to La Gaceta I don’t feel there is much more needed to be said. It is a 95-year-old institution in this town. I wouldn’t say I’ve been lucky to work here. I would say I’m happy I’ve worked here. This newspaper has had as much an impact on my life as anything else. To be able to work here for almost 18 years, well, you just can’t do something for that long by choice and not enjoy it.
In my time here, I’ve seen the power of this paper. It has brought smiles to many and pissed off countless others. For an old lady, she still has her wits – and her teeth. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► What to make of President Donald Trump’s blustery hint that he just might have had his own Comey tapes? At one level, it was business as usual: another day at the oval office for the prevaricator in chief who has morphed into the “Apprentice” host as president. It was a network tease. Stay tuned. Maybe even intimidation gamesmanship, although, ironically, if that were the case, it obviously backfired.
Much more worrisome than embarrassing, however, is that Trump’s pathological lying, which long predates “birther” charges and “wiretapping” accusations, has a ripple effect beyond our borders that reflects on much more than his proven, problematic character. It once again reinforces – to friend and foe alike – that the president of the United States cannot be taken at his word. Neither by Justin Trudeau, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, nor by Nicolás Maduro, Raúl Castro, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► The historical image of the South has so concentrated on Charleston, New Orleans, Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp and other low-lying areas that many Americans forget we also have mountains. Tampans are less likely to take that view because so many of our affluent families have sought refuge from summer heat over the years in North Carolina. Relatively few of us, however, go to Tennessee or north Georgia. These areas are indeed part of the Great Smokey Mountains, and Hubby and I renewed our acquaintance with them last week when we vacationed with family at a lake house south of Knoxville and drove back through the mountains north of Atlanta. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, by Tiffany Razzano, an interview with Ramona Manteiga

► … On more than one occasion throughout her career as an educator, Ramona Manteiga heard the words, “I’m going to have you fired for this.”
“I always told them, ‘Go ahead and try,’” she said.
As an elementary schoolteacher for Hillsborough County Public Schools, these threats, generally from parents, weren’t made because of her outside-the-box teaching methods. Instead, they were made because of her steadfast belief that she should always stand up for her students and uphold the notion of right and wrong.
Manteiga recalls meeting with the parents of three classroom troublemakers. “I told them that their children were bullies and that they were going nowhere in life,” she said. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … Un ángulo interesante de las intensas relaciones de La Gaceta con Cuba se relaciona con el nivel de cercanía que su fundador, Victoriano Manteiga, desarrolló con personalidades relevantes de la historia de la Isla. Su intercambio epistolar o conversacional con Eduardo Chibás, Ramón Grau San Martín, Fidel Castro y otras figuras que jugaron roles descollantes en la política cubana a partir de la década de 1920, son pruebas inequívocas de la implicación permanente del periodista de Tampa en las causas cubanas.
Hurgando en las páginas viejas de una publicación que llega a los 95 años con toda vitalidad, encuentro una prueba más de los estrechos vínculos de Victoriano con cubanos ilustres. Esta vez, me refiero a sus lazos con Fernando Ortiz, el sabio cubano de mayor universalidad en el campo de las Ciencias Sociales, quien como antropólogo, etnólogo, jurista, historiador, geógrafo, arqueólogo, periodista, editor, creó una obra imperecedera. Tantos aportes hizo Ortiz a la cultura cubana, al conocimiento de sus raíces, sincretismos y composición nacional, que se le ha visto como un segundo descubridor de la Isla, un término más exacto que el otorgado a Cristóbal Colón.
En una nota que apenas se propone presentar un intercambio epistolar entre Fernando Ortiz y Victoriano Manteiga, sólo quiero señalar que el intelectual cubano era ya una de las figuras más descollantes del ambiente científico y cultural de la Isla y sus publicaciones llamaban la atención en Europa y Estados Unidos, cuando conoció al periodista tampeño. Ortiz, comprometido con la lucha antimachadista, vivió exiliado en Washington entre 1931 y 1933, desde donde jugó un papel importante en el derrocamiento de aquella dictadura. En ese ambiente se origina la relación entre Ortiz y Manteiga y las cartas que presentamos son un reflejo del aprecio que sintió el uno por el otro. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … En 1920, la ciudad de Ybor contaba con 12 mil tabaqueros. Junto a ellos despuntaron también los lectores, que, como el nombre lo indica, leían y comentaban a los torcedores de tabaco –mientras trabajaban– los diferentes diarios y las obras más notables de la literatura universal. En ocasiones, se las ingeniaban para hacer traducciones improvisadas al español de textos en inglés.
El inmigrante cubano Victoriano Manteiga, al segundo día de su llegada a Estados Unidos, en 1913, comenzó a trabajar como lector en una fábrica de tabacos de West Tampa. Ese mismo Victoriano, 9 años más tarde, fundaba La Gaceta, semanario que celebra este 2017 su onomástico número 95 con una edición especial la próxima semana.
Ya para la fecha en que se fundó La Gaceta –la única publicación trilingüe de los Estados Unidos y, a su vez, la más antigua en manos de dueños minoritarios– Victoriano y su esposa Ofelia compartían la alegría de su pequeño Roland de 2 años. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Desde mi escritorio, por Arturo Rivera

► … El Estado Islámico, también conocido como Daesh en su acrónimo árabe, es sinónimo de atrocidades. Desde que irrumpe en el escenario internacional, este grupo terrorista se caracteriza por la brutalidad de sus acciones, lo mismo en el campo de batalla en Siria, Irak, como en la manera que sus lobos solitarios han sembrado el terror en Europa. Utilizan las redes sociales como medio de propaganda, de reclutamiento y muestran su brutalidad degollando a sus prisioneros frente a las cámaras, para que el mundo sepa sus acciones contra los infieles.
Un sector que ha recibido el ataque despiadado del Estado Islámico es el pueblo yazidi, compuesto por una minoría religiosa formada originalmente por 400 mil personas que vivían en el norte de Irak y Siria …(to read more, buy a paper)

To catch up with what’s happening in La Gaceta, pick up a paper at one of our distribution points or subscribe by calling 248-3921.