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Miami planning Party after Castro's death

Fish4Life

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Miami planning party after Castro's death
City commission looks at Orange Bowl stadium as venue

Updated: 1:33 p.m. ET Jan 29, 2007
MIAMI - With Fidel Castro seriously ill, the city of Miami is making plans to throw a party at a local football stadium when the Cuban president dies, complete with themed T-shirts.

The city commission earlier this month appointed a committee ? whose official job is to "Discuss an event at the Orange Bowl in case expected events occur in Cuba" ? to plan the party. Such a gathering has long been part of the city's Castro death plan, but the specifics have become more urgent since Castro became ill last summer and turned over power to his brother, Raul.

The Orange Bowl was the site of a speech by President Kennedy in 1961 promising a free Cuba, and in the 1980s it served as a camp for refugees from the Mariel boatlift from Cuba.

"(Castro) represents everything bad that has happened to the people of Cuba for 48 years," City Commissioner Tomas Regalado, a Cuban American who came up with the idea, told The Miami Herald newspaper. "There is something to celebrate, regardless of what happens next ... We get rid of the guy."

"Basically, the only thing we're trying to do is have a venue, a giant venue ready for people, if they wish, to speak to the media, to show their emotions. It's not that we're doing an official death party," Regalado said Monday.

The plans have been criticized on local Spanish-language radio, as many people would prefer to celebrate on the streets of the Little Havana neighborhood.

"This is not a mandatory site," Regalado said of the Orange Bowl. "Just a place for people to gather."

Ramon Saul Sanchez, leader of the Miami-based Democracy Movement organization, worries about how the party would be perceived by those outside the Cuban exile community. Even when Castro dies, his communist government will still be in place, he said.

"Although everybody will be very happy that the dictator cannot continue to oppress us himself, I think everybody is still very sad because there are still prisons full of prisoners, many people executed, and families divided," Sanchez said.

At the committee's first meeting last week, former state Representative Luis Morse stressed the need for an uplifting theme for the party ? one not preoccupied with Castro's passing.

The committee discussed including such a theme on T-shirts for the event.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

FreshFish

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wow. WTF. great way to use the Miami citizen's tax money
 

prinmemito

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That's sooo Miami

:plain

I agree. And it's so bulls***. I'm getting sick of it.
 

Fishfan79

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waste of taxpayers money.

It will be a good thing the man will be gone but I dont celebrate death.
 

Juanky

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Cheap ploy to try and maintain order when Castro dies.

95% of the party won't even make it to the OB anyways, so it's a futile exercise.
 

EricWiener

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It is a smart use of taxpayer money as it will direct some of the reaction into a controlled area.
 

BullDurham

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And people wonder why Tancredo calls Miami a "third-world city." Of course, he completely ignored the fact that about 70-80% of Spanish-speaking Miamians are Cuban and thus his constituency, but let's not get that in the way of people who separate Cuban from "illegal aliens", AKA all other Hispanics and Haitians. IMO, the anti-Castro crowd has just proved themselves to be as bad as Castro.
 

FreshFish

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And people wonder why Tancredo calls Miami a "third-world city." Of course, he completely ignored the fact that about 70-80% of Spanish-speaking Miamians are Cuban and thus his constituency, but let's not get that in the way of people who separate Cuban from "illegal aliens", AKA all other Hispanics and Haitians. IMO, the anti-Castro crowd has just proved themselves to be as bad as Castro.

wow
 

BullDurham

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Oh come on. He stifles dissent, they stifle dissent. He can be violent, they can be violent. They sometimes break the law, he creates his own laws. He can celebrate death, they're gonna celebrate death. Where's the difference?
 

JetsMania

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I just want him to die, and then get raul out of power so that we can start traveling to cuba. In the 1950's havana was the most visited city in the world.
 

BullDurham

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From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07031/758032-109.stm

Let's do the right thing in Cuba
We've tried everything else for the past 45 years, and it hasn't done us, or Cuba, any good

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Alejandro de la Fuente

Sir Winston Churchill said once that Americans eventually do the right thing, but only after they try everything else. There is, however, an exception to Churchill's dictum. That exception is Cuba. When it comes to Cuba, the U.S. government continues to do the same thing even after trying it over and over again. U.S. policies concerning Cuba have not changed in 45 years.

Consider the scenario. Fidel Castro's health has deteriorated. His brother Raul has been forced to assume the functions of government, a role that he has performed since last July in a restrained manner. In a sense, the transition in leadership already has occurred and probably is irreversible.

What have we done? Absolutely nothing. We have ratified the same old policies of yesterday, made in the 1960s: an economic embargo that most Americans oppose, rules preventing Cuban Americans from visiting their relatives on the island, the same old prohibitions for Americans to travel there.

Meanwhile, officials in the Bush administration have criticized what outgoing Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has called "a soft landing" -- efforts by Cuban authorities to maintain control and a sense of normalcy under these difficult circumstances. Is "a soft landing" in Cuba contrary to the interests of the United States? The alternative would be civil strife, chaos and violence 90 miles away from our shores. What would Cubans do if faced with such an eventuality? Die in peace? Endure repression?

They would take to the sea. They would call on their brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, mothers, fathers and friends on the other side of the Florida Strait and ask for their help. Tens of thousands would try to reach U.S. territory, in many cases with the assistance and support of relatives in south Florida. Such a landing in Cuba would be hard ... on us.

Yet Mr. Negroponte has declared, literally, that "a soft landing" in Cuba is contrary to U.S. interests. "From the point of the United States policy, we don't want to see that happen," AP quoted him as stating. "We want to see the prospects for freedom in that country enhanced as a result of the transition." Does the director of national intelligence really believe that the prospects for freedom will increase with a violent transition in Cuba? That violence will sow the seeds of Cuba's freedom?

It takes my undergraduate students only a few hours to realize what the director of national intelligence denies: that a violent change in the island would represent a massive challenge to U.S. policy makers. But blindness is not a disease of this official alone: Blindness is official U.S. policy.

Raul Castro has issued statements that any government other than the one in Washington would have read as positive. Speaking on Dec. 2, the day his brother Fidel was supposed to address the Cuban people and celebrate his 80th birthday, Raul Castro declared publicly: "We take this opportunity to once again state that we are willing to resolve at the negotiating table the long-standing dispute between the United States and Cuba -- of course, provided they accept, as we have previously said, our condition as a country that will not tolerate any blemishes on its independence, and as long as said resolution is based on the principles of equality, reciprocity, noninterference and mutual respect."

In November and December, four well-known dissidents, including one who had been imprisoned since the crackdown on activists in 2003, were released from prison. And in a speech to university students in December, Raul Castro called on Cuba's youth to debate "fearlessly" and acknowledged that the rule of his generation was coming to an end. "We have to give way to new generations," he declared.

The administration responded to these overtures by claiming that hardliners were rising to key positions in Cuba. Any hopeful sign given by Cuban authorities has been summarily dismissed as meaningless. The head of the State Department's Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau declared that the regime was becoming "more orthodox" and that the resumption of a dialogue with Cuba was contingent not only on the release of political prisoners, but on other significant changes, such as elections, protection of human rights and the establishment of independent organizations.

In other words, Washington expects Cuban authorities to surrender power and transform the island's political structure in order to talk with the United States. Then, and only then, would a dialogue be possible.

There are at least two problems with this approach. It is unlikely that the Cuban leaders will follow this path of self-destruction. And if they did, there would be nothing left to talk about.

In the meantime, the U.S. government surrenders the little influence it may have to contribute to a peaceful democratic transition in Cuba. All we can do is wait. Almost 50 years have passed, Fidel Castro is dying, and we are still in the midst of Churchill's "everything else."
------------------
Alejandro de la Fuente, author of "A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba," is an associate professor of Latin American history at the University of Pittsburgh (fuente2@pitt.edu).
 

CTMarlinsfan

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does this really need to be celebrated. I'm just glad

1) I'm not a taxpayer
2) I go to school in CT away from this madness
3) I will not live in South Florida after college

I'm sorry, but it's bad enough when I work and one out of every 2 people speak spanish and 1/2 of those speak olny spanish and expect me to do the same.

Please, all due respect to Spanish-Americans and Spanish people in South Florida, but a celebration for Castro's death...ugh.
 

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