Grammys quit Miami to protect Cubans forces

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The Independent US

Organisers have decided to switch the venue of this year's Latin Grammy Awards from Miami to Los Angeles on just three weeks' notice because of fears that anti-communist Cuban exiles would try to disrupt the event.

After weeks of negotiations with the Miami police, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences concluded that they could not be sure of preventing a repeat of events surrounding a 1999 concert by the Cuban group Los Van Van, during which 3,000 protesters pelted concert goers with Coke cans, eggs and rocks.

"Our nominees from Cuba would have been singled out, and there could have been major risks for them," the Academy's president, Michael Greene, told the Los Angeles Times. The nominees include the jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, Omuara Portuondo of the original Buena Vista Social Club line-up, and the salsa singer Issac Delgado.

The decision was a slap in the face for Miami, which stands to lose about $35m in revenue from the 11 September event. The Latin Grammys will now take place at the Forum in Los Angeles.

Cuban exile groups and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticised the decision as an affront to the right to protest.