With Mandela's Death, It's Time Miami's Leaders Said They Are Sorry For the Snub

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke recalls Miami's shunning of a great late icon.

As world leaders memorialized Nelson Mandela last week in Johannesburg, Miami media outlets -- except New Times -- have tried to put a positive spin on the snubbing of Madiba by Miami-Dade elected officials during his visit to the Magic City on June 24, 1990, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison.

They were upset the former political prisoner expressed solidarity with Fidel Castro, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat in a TV interview.

Then-Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez and then-city commissioner Victor de Yurre withdrew their support for a resolution honoring Mandela as "a champion of human rights in his country." Suarez also joined the mayors of Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Sweetwater and West Miami in denouncing Mandela because he wouldn't condemn Castro. When Mandela gave his speech at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Suarez and company were no-shows.

It was a slap in the face to the African American community, which organized a nationwide three-year boycott of Miami's tourism indusrty called the "Quiet Riot." Yet some opinion makers want to pretend the incident is water under the bridge.

Suarez, who is now a county commissioner, recently told Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago that Mandela was a "great man." If he really means it, Suarez will hold a press conference with his former colleague de Yurre and the other four ex-mayors to apologize to black Miami for dissing Mandela.

That would be more sincere than the token concessions that came from ending the boycott in 1993 -- like providing blacks with student internships in the tourism industry and getting an out-of-town black developer, R. Donahue Peebles, to open the first African-American-owned hotel in Miami Beach. Of course, he sold it in 2005 to a pair of white Chicago investors for $128 million.

Now Peebles is the go-to-black guy whenever someone needs a "minority developer." Him and the black lobbyists that made their names organizing the boycott are the only ones who actually benefitted from it.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of African-Americans visiting Miami Beach during Memorial Day weekend quickly realize their black asses are not welcome in the city. And in Miami-Dade, the black community continues to grapple with a high unemployment rate, gun violence, and more people infected with AIDS/HIV than any other ethnic group.

The boycott did nothing to improve the lives of African-Americans in Miami. The Quiet Riot was all noise and no action, just like the politicians who turned their backs on Mandela.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @UncleLukesEmpir.

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These mestizos here are afraid that the rest of the world will see their true colours. Poor things.


I'm white and from the northeast. It's disgusting how openly racist people here in Miami are towards blacks. I don't know if it's a latin-american cultural thing. but you guys need to stop being racist towards actual citizens, learn english, and start accepting all people like we do here in the civilized US. or just move back to whatever racist crevice of the world you are from. We wouldn't miss you at all:)

frankd4 topcommenter

.................MANDELA did what was best for him and his people which meant at times siding with unsavory characters who ARE reponsible for denying people their freedom so therefore NOT everyone will side with MANDELA who could do nothing for the CUBAN people under CASTRO

forgive ? okay


Cary Marshall Felton
Cary Marshall Felton

Christian we don't need your civics lesson. This country was built by the blood of my ancestors. Masquerader You do not chose our leaders.


Just from the read, Mandela didn't support their cause, so how can one expect support from a Cuban-American community when that person has zero compassion for their cause which they feel is every bit as noble as Mandela's ?

Peebles, this article portrays him as an opportunist ? When the tourism boycott was over, he simply became part of the tourist industry and held that property from 1993 to the tail end of the real estate fraud bubble in this miserably corrupt city ? Yeah, 2005 would be the height of the real estate flipping era where properties doubled, tripled and quadrupled from 2000 to 2005 and that was a major driver for the largest bailout in US history.

That said, what is this article really about ? A bunch of players that used whatever means they could to parlay wealth. They had their own causes and milked/worked them for what they were worth.

OK, 90 year olds die eventually, what does anyone owe them when they are opportunistic and build fabulous wealth for themselves on a humanitarian cause ? I mean, we have Clintons & Bush ex Presidents that really did little in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake as another example ? The African American community looking for validation from others over their cause after an icon passes away ? You don't have to go offshore from Miami, FL to find the oppressed at home ?

I.m. Masquerader
I.m. Masquerader

Mandela was a buddy of Castro and Arafat, real nice guys....

dantevida topcommenter

we're deeply sorry, and it will never happen again. the commish

miamitrev2 topcommenter

Luke (or whoever writes this tripe for him most likely) keeps trolling and for some reason people still feel compelled to respond


Its a known fact that many of the Cuban politicians here are overtly racist against blacks, which has contributed to the creation of walled in ghettos, and other discriminatory policies, ranging from policing to schooling. We need more people like Uncle Luke to raise awareness against these hypocrites that are glad to divide us along racial lines. Please run for mayor again (or council/commissioner), in all seriousness

Christian Fabian Robotti
Christian Fabian Robotti

What apology? To who? The African-American community are American first. This means they should respect the Constitution. Which means they should uphold the 1st Amendment. And I hope I don't have to explain what that means.

kirkslade1 topcommenter

@bella6379 You state that you are from the northeast. So am I. Does that mean that you have special powers? What does "I'm from the northeast" grant you? You should also notice that if being from the northeast makes you different, couldn't it be possible that blacks from the northeast are not the same as blacks down here??? 

miamitrev2 topcommenter

You're Native American?

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