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Miami Board of Education Wants Book About Cuba Banned

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Court Hearing on 'Vamos a Cuba' Children's Book
Miami-Dade School Board wants book banned
ACLU claims banning the book is unconstitutional
Judge not expected to make decision until next week

Evan Bacon
Reporting

(CBS4/MIAMI HERALD) MIAMI No decision was made Friday following a court hearing on an effort by the Miami-Dade County school board to ban a controversial book on Cuba from school libraries.

U.S. District Court Judge Alan S. Gold heard both sides of the debate over the children's book "Vamos a Cuba" ("A Visit to Cuba") but he is not expected to rule until next week on whether it should stay on library shelves in 33 elementary and middle schools.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Miami-Dade School Board presented evidence Friday morning at the U.S. District Court in Miami.

Last month, the school board voted to remove the book from its elementary schools after a parent of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas Elementary School student complained that the books depiction of life in the communist nation was misleading and offensive. The board then expanded the order to all 24 books in the series on children living around the globe.

The ACLU has asked the court to declare the boards banning of the book unconstitutional, arguing the decision violated students' constitutional right to free press.

"Vamos a Cuba," by Alta Schreier, targets students ages 4 to 8 and contains images of smiling children wearing uniforms of Cuba's communist youth group and celebrating the revolution.

Judith Krug, head of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said overtly political complaints against books are rare. These days, the books most frequently requested for removal tend to deal with sexuality, profanity, gay issues and witchcraft.

The 10 most challenged books in 2005 included: "Forever" by Judy Blume; "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. J.K. Rowling, Poet Laureate Maya Angelou and Mark Twain have also made the list in recent years.

"The typical censorship issues aren't the typical censorship issues in Miami-Dade County," agreed ACLU of Florida director Howard Simon.

But Simon said the battle over whether to keep the books on the shelves is part of a larger fight over free access to materials in schools and freedom of speech. "Sadly, the battle to rid Cuba of its dictatorship and bring some semblance of democracy to the country has too frequently become a war on the First Amendment in Miami-Dade," he said.

Other leaders in Miami's Cuban community hesitated to get involved, but in recent weeks some have reluctantly taken a stand. Alfredo Mesa, executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, said book banning is wrong. "This is a difficult issue. But at the end of the day, this is America," he said. "We respect freedom of speech and everyone's right to exercise it freely. This is what we want for Cuba in the future."

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved
My children read a similar group of books when they were in elementary school. So because these children are smiling and celebrating the revolution, that's not accurate depiction of Cuba? Isn't that what they do in Cuba? And because the children are smiling andCuban, its unnatural? I really think that those white Cubans in South Florida need a reality check. I truly believe that they think that Cuba is this horrible place that they remember when they left there, that would be under Batista's regime....
They need to get over it.
This reminds me a bit about some of the complaints about Micheal Moore's Fehrenheight 911.

I recall somebody in a forum complaining about the scene where Iraqi children were flying kites. The person complained that in Saddam's Iraq, children didn't fly kites.

The scene reminded me of Colombia, actually, where kite flying is quite popular, much more so than here in the USA. I couldn't think of any reason why the same might not be the case in Iraq, Saddam or no Saddam. (I have no idea how popular kite flying is in Cuba.)

What was really objected to was, of course, the presentation of Iraqi children as children. As human beings. It makes that "collateral dammage" thing harder to justify and to swallow.
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
So the book doesn't make Castro out to be an evil monster that must be vanquished.


You got it. Come on, we all know that Commies are 3VIL!!!11!!1!

If you portray one as a heroic figure, you're an America-hating, terrorist-hugging, Stalin-worshipper!!1!11!! lol


While not a supporter of Castro and his regime, the notion that one should ban books because they don't paint a horrible picture is scary. I have noted on this board before that if it was not for the Cuban lobby in Florida some semblance of normalize relations with Cuba could have happened by now. I think most Americans would support it and obiviously the business interests of this country would love to do business with Cuba.

Utterly amazing that in this time when we have normalize relations with Libya and are doing business big time with Vietnam that we let a small group of people hold normalizing relations with Cuba hostage to get their way.
quote:
I really think that those white Cubans in South Florida need a reality check. I truly believe that they think that Cuba is this horrible place that they remember when they left there, that would be under Batista's regime....
They need to get over it.


The last time I was in Miami [doing Haitian Refugee work], I found that the most rabid anti-Castro folks, had never set foot on Cuban shores; they were relying on the tales told to them by their parents or [more, likely] grand-parents and/or the anti-Castro media. Roll Eyes

Granted, this was not a scientific sampling; but annecdotally, it was quite educational.
quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
quote:
I really think that those white Cubans in South Florida need a reality check. I truly believe that they think that Cuba is this horrible place that they remember when they left there, that would be under Batista's regime....
They need to get over it.


The last time I was in Miami [doing Haitian Refugee work], I found that the most rabid anti-Castro folks, had never set foot on Cuban shores; they were relying on the tales told to them by their parents or [more, likely] grand-parents and/or the anti-Castro media. Roll Eyes

Granted, this was not a scientific sampling; but annecdotally, it was quite educational.


Honestly, I've heard that before that a good deal of cubans never been to cuba, yet didn't/don't like Castro. A Pan-Afrikanist name Randall Robinson spoke to this in a book, "The Debt: What America owes the blacks".

...Interesting how Cuba, with its one-party system and suppresses dissent, still has a better record with respect to human rights than many Latin American governments the United States has steadfastly supported: Guatemala, Argentina and Chile among them - including Batista's Cuban regime, during which police and soldiers tortured and killed thousands of its opponents.
quote:
Originally posted by jazzdog:
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
So the book doesn't make Castro out to be an evil monster that must be vanquished.


You got it. Come on, we all know that Commies are 3VIL!!!11!!1!

If you portray one as a heroic figure, you're an America-hating, terrorist-hugging, Stalin-worshipper!!1!11!! lol


While not a supporter of Castro and his regime, the notion that one should ban books because they don't paint a horrible picture is scary. I have noted on this board before that if it was not for the Cuban lobby in Florida some semblance of normalize relations with Cuba could have happened by now. I think most Americans would support it and obiviously the business interests of this country would love to do business with Cuba.

Utterly amazing that in this time when we have normalize relations with Libya and are doing business big time with Vietnam that we let a small group of people hold normalizing relations with Cuba hostage to get their way.


Exactly...

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