Ironic Dade County

The school board in Miami, Florida just voted to remove a book from the school’s library – “Vamos a Cuba / A Visit to Cuba” – because they consider it ideologically incorrect. This story has been developing for a while, but today’s news is about the actual vote of the school board. One school board member, who is personally opposed to the ban, admitted that he voted in favor of it out of fear for the safety of his family… so full of hate (and so passionately in love with democracy?) are certain parts of the Florida Cuban expatriat community.

5 comments on “Ironic Dade County

  1. To be fair, we should consider the probability that many Cuban Americans who support a more democratic Cuba would also oppose this attempt to ban books or to physically intimate people holding differing views.

  2. It’s not just an issue for Cuban Americans because it affects children throughout the school district who are being denied access to information. I’m not familiar with the book (have ordered a copy through ILL), but a Reforma member and school librarian from Los Angeles said that when the series came out a few years ago she reviewed it and it was approved for a large district in Los Angeles. She also said that having visited Cuba, the book on Cuba was accurate and informative for children. I have brought up the issue on Reformanet and I hope that we can take some action. Stay tuned.

    Meanwhile the ACLU of Florida is calling on librarians and others to get involved:

    ACLU Statement RE: Miami-Dade School Board’s Vote to Authorize the Censorship of the Book ‘Vamos a Cuba’ in the Public School System

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Brandon Hensler, Communications Director, 786-363-2722 or 786-208-7203

    MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida today released the following statement which can be attributed to Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida and Virginia Rosen, President of the ACLU of Florida, Greater Miami Chapter:

    Lawyers and staff of the American Civil Liberties Union are now preparing a legal challenge to today’s regrettable decision of the Miami-Dade School Board.

    Parents, educators, librarians and others with standing in this matter who are equally concerned about the School Board’s disturbing decision should contact the ACLU to discuss becoming a part of this challenge so that book censorship does not become the official policy of the Miami-Dade Schools.

    It is unfortunate that the School Board ignored the professional advice of both the Superintendent and the overwhelming finding of two committees of educators, parents and librarians.

    Today’s precedent – if allowed to stand – opens the door to yank virtually any book off the shelf of a school library at the whim of a single parent and a school board judgment that there is some inaccuracy or omission in a book.

    The answer to controversial or unpopular speech — as the U.S. Supreme Court has said over again — is to add more information with different viewpoints, not enforce censorship. That is a cure worse than the disease.

    The fight for freedom in Cuba cannot be waged as a war on the First Amendment in Miami.

    About the ACLU of Florida
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our Web site at:

  3. On a slightly related topic, does anyone have any advice for a new librarian, such as my self, who has a background in Middle East studies? I am finding that instead of being my biggest asset, my Middle East studies background is a significant disadvantage. I have been asked several times during interviews if my references have “American names” and even my local public library refuses to have anything to do with my applications (I do not even get rejection letters and can get no explanation from them as to why.) My local library has a reading guide titled “Current Fiction from Asia and the Mid-East” that has zero Middle Eastern authors on the list (not a single author on the list is Turkish, Arab, Israeli, or Persian). Plus, their collection has no history books about any modern Middle Eastern countries other than Israel and Iraq (all books on Iraq deal with US military operations in that country, there are no general histories). I would think that my background would be useful to them (unless, and I hate to say this, their lack of Middle East materials is due to intentional design and not because of lacking expertise or budget.) I have applied for a great number of different jobs at many different libraries and I keep getting passed over. Many times, perhaps most of the time, it is simply because they have a more experienced candidate or someone who is a better match for the position but, sometimes, it is my Middle East studies background that stops me from being hired. What am I supposed to do? Remove all the things related to the Middle East from my resume, which would be almost all of my education and a fair portion of my work experience!? Any input that anyone might offer is greatly appreciated.

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