CBS (Miami), May 11, 2011
A Miami-Dade mayoral candidate along with students are expected to protest a campaign forum Wednesday to express their outrage and disapproval of FIU hosting a Spanish-only event.
The debate, held at FIU’s Wertheim Theatre, broadcast by Univision radio and set for rebroadcast by Univision channel 23 television, was open only to candidates Julio Robaina, Marcelo Llorente, Carlos Gimenez and Jose “Pepe” Cancio.
“I was appalled,” said Luther Campbell, a former rap star and African American candidate for mayor. “The university is having a Cuban-only forum, which is wrong to the students, because the students are from all different races and all different cultures and all the students don’t speak only Spanish.”
In its release announcing the forum, Univision said the “participants were selected based on the amount of funds raised” by their campaigns. The four top fund-raisers are the only Hispanics in the race. Cancio–in fourth place in fund raising–is a distant fourth.
A spokesperson for FIU said the school was only providing a location for the debate, and was otherwise not involved.
Roosevelt Bradley, another African American candidate told CBS4 News he was “outraged” that FIU’s president would allow such a “polarizing and divisive event” to be held on the campus of a public, state-run university. Bradley said “this turns the clock back 50 years” on race and ethnic relations in the community.
We have a large Hispanic community, but this is Miami and we like to celebrate our diversity here,” said student Esra Erdogan. “I don’t think it’s right to exclude any candidate.”
Other candidates vying for the spot as Miami-Dade mayor include Eddie Lewis, Farid Khavari, Jeffrey Lampert and Gabrielle Redfern.