May 17, 2011


A Miami mayoral debate that excluded any non Spanish speaking candidates has caused outrage among fellow hopefuls and Florida International University students where the meeting was held.

The debate was broadcast by Spanish language TV channel Univision, who invited only four out of 11 candidates running for the mayorship of Miami-Dade- all of whom were Spanish speaking.

The controversy comes after it was announced last month that the Hispanic population in the U.S. went up by 42 per cent in the last ten years to hit 50.5 million - making one in every six Americans Latino.

Speaking to CBS Miami, Luther Campbell - a former rap star and African American candidate for mayor - said he was appalled at what he called a 'Cuban-only forum'.

He said: '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.'

Roosevelt Bradley, another black candidate, said  he was 'outraged' that the publicly funded university allowed what he called a 'polarising and divisive event' to be held on the campus.

He said: 'This turns the clock back 50 years on race and ethnic relations.'

The university hit back at allegations of racial bias, saying they were not involved in running the event, and acted merely as a venue for organisers Univision.

Mr Campbell however said this was not true, as the university had advertised the event to students with letters saying inviting students to attend.

An invitation from FIU Vice-President Sandra Gonzalez-Levy posted to students 'We encourage you to attend and be part of the political process taking place in our community.  Be involved!'

Univison responded by saying they invited Hispanic candidates Julio Robaina, Marcelo Llorente, Carlos Gimenez and Jose 'Pepe' Cancio because they were the four highest fund-raisers in the campaign.

Students and commentators reacted angrily to the debate, saying it ignored the city's ethnic diversity.

Student Esra Erdogan said: 'We have a large Hispanic community, but this is Miami and we like to celebrate our diversity here.

'I don't think it's right to exclude any candidate.'



I'm going to have to side with Luke and the students on this one.  I think Univision needs to be hit with a '' on that foolish that they invited the highest fundraisers.  This is just like if BET held a debate in Atlanta and only invited the black candidates.  Can you imagine the headlines if that happened?  This is the same case with what is going on in Miami.  I don't understand how you can exclude candidates from a debate beause they don't speak Spanish.  Univision can say whatever they want to say about their critieria but at the end of the day this is how it appears.

On a side note...

Strip club, Uncle Luke?  Seriously?  How am I supposed to defend you if people can't take you serious as a candidate?  Come on man.  Give me something to work with.  I'm trying to help you out...SMH!


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