FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13, 2013
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, (786) 363-2737
MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is requesting additional records from Florida International University (FIU) in order to determine if the cancellation of a reunion of former players from a Cuban baseball team scheduled for this past weekend at the FIU Baseball Stadium violates the First Amendment rights of the players, sponsors and ticketholders.
A previous public records request submitted on August 1st 2013 requested documents related to the cancellation of a July 2013 contract between FIU and Somos Cuba Entertainment Group which allowed for the baseball games to be played at FIU’s stadium on August 10th and 11th of 2013. The revised public records request, sent to FIU’s general counsel on Monday August 12th, stated that the documents provided to the ACLU after the first request were “spectacularly uninformative,” and requests additional information to determine the motivation for the cancellation of the contract. Because FIU is a state university, the First Amendment prohibits the university from favoring one political viewpoint over another or curtailing expression to avoid an adverse reaction.
The following statement on the cancellation may be attributed to Howard Simon, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida:
“Once again, the political forces in Miami that have been intent on isolating not only the government of Cuba, but the people of Cuba have succeeded in keeping friends and family members who live on either side of the Florida Straits apart– this time with the complicity of Florida International University. FIU should be embarrassed by their misguided decision to enter into a contract and then, in the apparent face of political pressure and threats of demonstrations, cancel the contract at the last minute.
“Lawyers for Somos Cuba, along with the ACLU, are continuing to review the matter, and promoters are exploring alternative locations for a possible baseball game. The misguided decision by FIU to cancel the contract for the reunion and the baseball game does not reflect how much Miami has changed – politically and generationally.
“What is so sad here is that denying a venue for a reunion of old friends and teammates from the Los Industriales baseball team in Havana – some residing in Cuba, and others relocated to the United States -- is a throwback to decades-old failed tactics and has such little impact on hastening an end to the Castro Regime.
“It does not help to foster democracy and civil liberties in Cuba by making war on First Amendment values of freedom of speech and association in Miami.”
A copy of the second public records request is available here: http://aclufl.org/resources/updated-public-records-request-fiu-cancelled-cuban-baseball-reunion/
More information on the cancellation and the ACLU’s investigation is available here: http://aclufl.org/?p=4211
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