No “Vamos a Cuba”

Supreme Court turns down Cuban book case:

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a case challenging a Miami-Dade School Board decision to remove a controversial children’s book about Cuba from public schools, the court announced Monday.

In February, a federal appeals court ruled the board did not breach the First Amendment when it pulled Vamos a Cuba from school libraries in 2006.

The majority opinion said the book, part of a series of books on two dozen nations, presented an “inaccurate” view of life under former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the high court on Monday declined to hear the case.

Board member Perla Tabares Hantman, who supported removing the book from school libraries, said she was pleased by the news.

“We were right and we prevailed,” Hantman said. “This is a great victory for the School Board and for Cuban-Americans.”

But Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, called the decision a blow to the First Amendment.

“‘Frankly, this clears the path for the Miami-Dade School Board to remove the entire series of books against which there was not a single protest,” he said.



8 thoughts on “No “Vamos a Cuba”

  1. WHAT??????!!!!!

    You mean Cuban-American parents have the same rights as all other American parents?!

    To wit:

    According to the American Library Association, over the past two decades, EVERY SINGLE YEAR sees between 400 and 600 such schoolbook protests in the U.S., much of it over material considered “racially insensitive,” as when “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was yanked from an Illinois school library.

    In brief, attempted “book bannings'” identical to the one in Miami-Dade, have occurred at a rate of over one a day for the last two and half decades, from sea to shining sea. In most of these incidents the ACLU and the mainstream media have been conspicuously mum.

    more here:

  2. Yes! If I remember correctly, comments on this issue became pretty heated here at Babalú, and I´m very happy that as correctly stated by Humberto that ¨Cuban-American parents have the same rights as all other American parents.¨

  3. None of these books should have been banned. They are in an academic institution, where freedom to learn should be permitted. Only in Cuba and other totalitarian regimes is this acceptable. In the USA, this should never occur.

    My position is that the book should be allowed, but — shocking statement here — the teachers should TEACH and parents should GUIDE the children. Teachers should do their job and parents should take responsibility. And EDUCATE children on things like bias, politics, and the realities of Cuba and communism.

    I expect China and Cuba to ban books. Not this country.

    I grew up in a liberal area — northeast NJ — and went to some pretty liberal schools. But I had family who survived the horrors of the castro regime, and they taught me about it when I was a kid… which gave me a lot to contribute when my classrooms had free and open debate about political systems.

    Let’s not mimic casto & co, who ban books that disagree with their ideology. Let’s go with this instead: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  4. Dave,

    Incorrect. First, said books was placed in the reference section of libraries. Second, said libraries were in elementary and middle schools.

    Id have absolutely no problem with the book being placed in a fiction section, or the fantasy or science fiction section, but when placed in the reference section it s assumed that everything within that book is factual.

    Moreover, the book was just banned from said libraries, any American interested in purchasing the bullshit ladden thing can do so quite easily.

  5. David,

    The book was flawed. I read the book and it was full of propaganda and misinformation. Removing the book was not an act against freedom of expression, but rather a sensible act in favor of academic accuracy.

    Example: if I have a science book on the shelves that claims that the earth revolves around the moon and that the sun is smaller than mars, and a math book that teaches incorrect formulas, then removing these books from the shelves in my opinion would be the correct thing to do.

    This wasn’t an issue of opinion either. The book is historically flawed and removing it from the shelves is the only right thing to do. Should we keep a book on the shelves that says that blacks in 1940’s Alabama lived lives no different than you and I live now? That little black boys and girls used to go to schools just like you and I did as children?

    This is what that book does. It says that indoctrinated “I will be like el Che” Cuban boys and girls go to school just like you and I… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many outrages in that book that I can’t even remember.

    By the way, librarians make decisions all of the time as to which books to keep in a library and which books to remove. It’s called “weeding.”

    This entire book banning thing is nothing more than a trumped up charge, a smoke screen.

    It’s a pity that the pro-Castro ALA turned this into a cause celebre. Notice how quiet they are now!

  6. No parent anywhere should have to put up with his child being fed false or misleading information at school, especially when the the parent’s tax money is paying for the school in question. There is obviously a double-standard at work in this whole matter, since there’s absolutely no question that if a book whitewashed slavery or Nazism, its removal would be not only approved but demanded by everyone who defended this book. They know it and I sure as hell know it, and I resent yet another insult to my intelligence. Having it both ways is NOT acceptable.

  7. Haha… science fiction is right. Look, I agree that the book is bogus. Obviously. What I disagree with is the approach. In an academic setting, I think it’s the responsibility of the parents and teachers to use this book as an opportunity to teach about bias, and to prepare children to enter into a debate. We have to train our children how to use reason, logic, and facts properly against people who distort facts, or simple bias in articles. We can’t just ban it and expect it to go away.

    These types of books are out there, castro apologists are out there, and we can’t ignore them. They will continue to be out there when these students grow up and enter the real world. They will continue to be out there when these students become voters.

    Let’s prepare these students to confront this type of bias head-on. Don’t ban the the book; instead, use it as a teaching lesson, and let’s train our youth to use their minds to defeat this type of bias and inaccuracy. Bring the facts to light and discredit the book on its (lack of) merit — but not by censoring it.

    As I said, my family taught me about their firsthand accounts of the oppression of the castro regime — they did their job, and that’s the most important education I received. So whenever I came across books with obvious bias (which I did, often), I was able to cut through the BS and raise well-reasoned objections. Shouldn’t we teach our kids how to object and confront bias?

    * * *
    The ALA is a joke, an absolute joke, for their lack of support of Cuban independent librarians. Even the most left-wing of NYC newspapers, the Village Voice, condemned the ALA for their lack of support of Cuban independent librarians. I emailed the ALA president and her response justifying their position was so poorly reasoned it’s not even worth mentioning. Pitiful.

  8. There’s a time and a place for subtlety and finesse in education, and elementary school is not it, not for the sort of thing we’re talking about. Look at how many highly educated and supposedly highly sophisticated adults don’t get it–at all–regardless of how much and how often people who DO get it try to enlighten them. Schools are there to teach the truth, plainly and squarely, FIRST, with as little confusion as possible. Sorry, but if it involves my kid/s, there’s no way I want this sort of bogus misinformation in their curriculum, just as I wouldn’t want toxic chemicals in the food they got in the school cafeteria at lunch time.

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