Miami School Board Bans Cuba Book
The bullying tactics of the hard liner Cubans in Miami is nothing new. Beyond the dozens of bombings and threats of bombing to shut up people they don't like, Cubans have long used censorship and coercion to rid their city of insufficiently anti-Castro music, art and books. In Miami, one always had to be very brave to stand against the hard liners. It appears that pressure was too much for these "Hispanic" Board members.
If you don't believe me, listen to School Board Member Robert Ingram who said threats from the exile community left him thinking board members "might find a bomb under their automobiles" if they voted to keep the book. "There's a passion of hate," Ingram said. "I can't vote my conscience without feeling threatened -- that should never happen in this community any more."
By Emilio San Pedro
BBC News, Miami
Educational authorities in the US city of Miami have voted in favour of removing a controversial book about Cuba from the city's school libraries. The book sparked protests from some in the Cuban exile community, but its removal could lead to a legal battle.
The Miami Dade School board voted six to three in favour of removing the 32-page geography book A Visit to Cuba from public school libraries.
It follows months of campaigning by Cuban exiles to have it removed.
They say it portrays an idealised view of life in Cuba - and fails to reflect what they describe as the harsh conditions Cubans have lived under since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union has already reacted to the move by describing it as a flagrant act of censorship which violates the US Constitution. They say they are going to launch a legal appeal against the ban to force the school board to put the book back in school libraries.
Like so many of these issues relating to Cuban politics in Miami, the vote was divided along ethnic lines - with Hispanic board members voting in favour of the ban and all others against.
But not all Cubans in Miami support the ban.
Some who spoke in favour of it remaining on the shelves accused conservative Cuban exiles of becoming the mirror image of the totalitarian system in Cuba they oppose.