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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Miami commission votes to withhold Latin Grammys money if Cubans invited

Posted May 09, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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Associated Press

MIAMI—Miami city commissioners unanimously agreed to withhold money from the Latin Grammys if organizers invite Cuban artists, but the music award show’s organizers said the show will go on and Cubans won’t be excluded.

Thursday’s vote is mostly symbolic. It hampers Grammy organizers from requesting financial support from the city for the Sept. 3 show, but the city will provide police and fire protection. Those were the only city services Grammy organizers requested.

Commissioner Tomas Regalado, the current resolution’s sponsor, said that the vote tells Fidel Castro’s government that its human rights abuses are not tolerated.

“Had it not been for the killings of the three men or the imprisonment of hundreds of dissenters, people around the world would have said, “Here we go again,’‘’ said Regalado referring to the executions of three men who hijacked a Cuban ferry April 2. “But after Cuba’s actions, the world has responded.’‘

Latin Grammy organizers said that despite the commission’s vote, they will invite any nominated Cuban musicians and artists. Two years ago, the show was awarded to Miami but moved to Los Angeles after Cuban exile groups threatened to protest because artists from the communist island were to perform.

“We are moving forward with having the show here. As a matter of fact, the show is looking much stronger than ever,’’ said Marya Meyer, vice president of marketing for Universal Music Latin America.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas called the resolution a “a major victory for free speech in this community’’ because it condemned Cuba’s politics without shunning the Grammys completely.

Commissioners Arthur Teele Jr. and Johnny Winton, the only non-Cuban city commissioners, said they voted for the resolution to keep the peace but expressed reservations. They said they didn’t see how the move had a direct affect on Castro’s regime, although they praised Regalado for raising the issue now rather than creating a controversy just before the show.

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