Three Florida theaters have canceled upcoming performances by Cuban music groups Cubanismo! and Irakere amid threats of protest from anti-Castro Cuban-Americans. The cancellations come just a week aft

Three Florida theaters have canceled upcoming performances by Cuban music groups Cubanismo! and Irakere amid threats of protest from anti-Castro Cuban-Americans. The cancellations come just a week after plans were announced to move the Latin Grammy Awards from Miami to Los Angeles over fears that Cuban exile protesters threatened the safety of attendees.

Cubanismo!, a Havana group featuring trumpets, flutes, and percussion, had spring 2002 tour dates booked at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne and the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

Steve Janicki, King Center executive director, said he canceled the March 30 show after receiving several phone calls and letters. The Kravis Center dropped Cubanismo! after meeting with leaders of local exile groups, director Judith Mitchell said.

Cubanismo! agent John Lochen said a planned U.S. tour, due to kick off March 26 in Mobile, Ala., and currently scheduled to last through a May 2 stop in Davis, Calif., will go on.

John Stoll, owner of the Carefree Theater in West Palm Beach, said he canceled a Sept. 8 performance by the Cuban jazz group Irakere because of protest threats. "Nobody's telling us they're going to hurt people, but how do you know?" Stoll said.

Irakere is due to kick off a tour Sept. 7 in Tampa, and visit Miami's El Rancho Gaspar two nights later. After playing several stops in California, Irakere will play a six-night run at Jazz Alley in Seattle, and close the tour with a two-night stand Sept. 25-26 at B.B. King's in New York.

Fernando Dominicis, a Cuban-American from Melbourne, said the Cuban government allows the U.S. tours to provoke Cuban exiles to protest. He said the demonstrators then "get a bad rap from the media when we try to point out the false pretense of these one-way 'cultural exchanges.'"

In 1999, batteries and eggs were thrown at ticket holders as they arrived for the Miami performance of the Cuban group Los Van Van.


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