A rambunctious and reflective ramble through ""the capital of Latin America,"" by an editor at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Rieff offers few startling insights while chronicling his recent visits to Miami, but his high-octane narrative, careening in a crazy caramba from one subject to the next, successfully evokes the manic energy of the Florida city. Rieff prefaces his Miami forays with a dash through Miamian history (pointing out that the city's cocaine chieftans share a criminal heritage dating back to Al Capone, who vacationed there) and an amusing survey of the three N.Y. airports serving Miami (Newark gives ""the best value by far. . .invariably full of Latin men in leisure suits, darkgreen, bottle-thick glasses, and cowboy boots""). Then it's on to Miami, where, not surprisingly, he finds a city intoxicated with its new-found hip, bad-boy rep. Rieff expends much of his bountiful energy focusing on race relations: to him the Cubanization of the city, with the attendant decline of Anglo and black culture, is the key to understanding the new Miami--and its unparalleled shift from a Democratic Party bastion in the 50's to the solidly pro-Reagan city of today, where the Nicaraguan contras are almost universally revered. In a burst of shifting, kaleidoscopic sketches, he renders Miami's neighborhoods--Cuban mostly, but also Haitian (whose people are at the bottom of the social anthill), Dominican, Jewish, and black--speaking with inhabitants from waiters to ambassadors, capturing the hot racial tensions and exotic frontier spirit of a city, to judge from this report, more coked-out, confused, and colorful than any other in America. Like Miami's favorite drink, the Cuba Libre, flavorful, intoxicating, and ultimately vaporous.