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Cuban Music Festival Canceled, ACLU Files Suit

MIAMI (CBS4) - The cancellation of a music festival featuring artists from Cuba may have violated the event organizer's right to free speech.

The Fuego Cuban Music Worlds Festival had been scheduled for April 9th at the Homestead Miami International Speedway. On Wednesday organizers announced a decision made back to February to cancel the event. They also filed a civil suit in Miami-Dade County Court against the Homestead Miami International Speedway, where the event was to take place.

On Wednesday the American Civil Liberties Union filed its own suit which questioned the involvement of local officials in the concert's cancellation.

Many exiles in South Florida have mixed feelings about Cuban artists who receive support from their communist government. According to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, county Commissioner Lynda Bell, who represents Homestead, said on a Spanish language radio program that she would defend the right to free speech but not when public money and facilities were used. She also reportedly said she would do everything in her power to stop the event.

The concert was to take place one week before the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, the failed attack by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro's fledgling government.

ACLU Miami President John de Leon told the paper Bell had the right to protest the festival but could not participate in her official capacity in shutting it down.

"In the name of freedom in Cuba you cannot undermine freedom in the United States," said de Leon.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)


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