A month ago, EthnoCuba denounced the homage to Orlando Bosch at the University of Miami. Subsequently, a letter of protest was made public at the initiative of UM alumni Isabel Alfonso and the media, very slowly and half-heartedly, picked up the story.
A few days ago, Prof. Lillian Manzor sent an update: the Latinamericanist faculty at UM responded, decrying and rejecting that homage in a letter that is reproduced below. The University administration, however, has said nothing. The Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies where the event take places apparently alleges that they merely rented the building space for the homage. I would think that the rental would not include the banners of the University and the Center, which were clearly visible in pictures and videos of the event. Here at the University of California there have been many debates about what privatization means. If universities, private and public, are in such dire straits that they need to rent their facilities to outside groups, should not they, still, exert some judgement as to who and for what? Should a university rent its facilities to, say, the Ku Klux Klan? That begs the question: what is the price for which community principles are abandoned?
In any event, here is the response of the University of Miami Latin American Studies faculty.
[For an eloquent discussion in Spanish, with University of Miami's Prof. Lillian Manzor, you might listen to Edmundo Garcia''s show La Noche Se Mueve of last November 16th. ]
November 10, 2010
To Our Colleagues in the Academic Community and Friends:
On October 12, 2010, Orlando Bosch, an internationally known and convicted terrorist, was paid homage at an event held on the premises of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) of the University of Miami. The U.S. Department of Justice has called this individual “a terrorist unfettered by laws of human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims.”
The undersigned faculty affiliated with the University of Miami’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLAS) wishes to declare that our Center and students had absolutely nothing to do with this event and firmly opposes holding such events and any other activity glorifying, condoning, or praising inhumane acts or violations of human rights, regardless of the alleged justification.
The Center’s mission is to promote the study of Latin America and the Caribbean in accord with principles of academic freedom, scholarly excellence, and respect for fundamental human rights. Ours is a Center devoted to educating students about the essential importance of tolerance and open-mindedness while pursuing high-quality research and community outreach throughout the Americas.
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Miami, which has recently been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Title VI National Resource Center, reaffirms its commitment to path breaking scholarship in the humanities, social sciences and related areas of academic research while also initiating new and innovative projects of broad public interest in partnership with fellow scholars and universities in the U.S. and throughout the hemisphere.
Thank you for your attention to this letter.
Signatures (in alphabetical order)