MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade County Auditorium is packed Thursday night, but not for the typical reason.
The Cuban band Buena Fe is performing at 8:30 p.m. Even though the event is sold out, more people showed up. Those extra bodies were there not to support the group, but to protest the concert.
Protesters started lining up outside of the auditorium well before the start time to show disdain for the band.
The protesters believe the musical group is cozy with the Fidel Castro government, which is a taboo for Cuban exiles living in Miami.
Julio de Castro, a member of the American Missile Crisis Veteran Association, showed up to protest the band’s appearance.
“They are not welcomed in Miami. Miami is that capital of the exile community and we don’t want them here,” de Castro said. “We feel offended by this group of performers that they don’t respect the right and the feelings of the exile community.”
The band not only performed at Hugo Chavez’s funeral, but participated in Fidel Castro’s birthday party earlier this year. This “evidence” of communist sympathy has riled up protesters.
Maura Barrbi, another protester, said, “We don’t agree that they’re here, they’re communists. You (Buena Fe) come here to get your money, but you go back to Cuba because you agree with them, you work for them.”
Protesters were calling for the cancellation of the event, but Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez released a statement which detailed why he couldn’t.
According to the statement, the county could not cancel the event because it had contractual obligations and cancellation would clash with First Amendment rights.
“Anyone in the community who does not support the appearance of Buena Fe in Miami is free to not attend the event. We also respect our residents’ right to peaceful protest,” his statement read.
This is not the first time there is controversy in Miami over a Cuban musical group coming to play. In 1999 Los Van Van were met by more than 4,000 protesters.
Even in the midst of controversy, Cuban bands kept coming. In 2010 Los Van Van, Buena Fe and La Charanga Habanera performed in Miami.
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