MIAMI – A city-organized event scheduled to take place at a football stadium when Cuban president Fidel Castro dies will be toned down following outrage from some members of the Cuban-American community, city leaders said.
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said the event planned at the Orange Bowl is part of the local government's plan to accommodate overflow crowds in the event of Castro's death, but he said there will not be a city-funded celebration.
The intent is not to celebrate a man's death, but to provide an informal, friendly get-together, according to a statement released by the city Tuesday.
"Our past experience has shown us that the local community has strong emotions tied to any significant issues relating to Fidel Castro," the city's Office of Communications wrote. "The Orange Bowl has been designated by the county, as well as the city of Miami, as a possible site for people and community leaders to gather peacefully, if necessary.
The only tax dollars that will be spent on the event are for public safety needs, the memo said.
There was discussion of performances and commemorative T-shirts during a Jan. 23 meeting held by a citizen committee appointed to plan the event.
Miami Commissioner TomDas Regalado, who helped create the committee, said he believed Castro's death is worth celebrating, but he denied that the Orange Bowl event was dreamed up with the idea of a party.
"We need to clarify a lot of things. Never at any time did this commission vote for a carnival," Sanchez said.
The committee was expected to hold its second meeting Wednesday.