Miami to host Latin Grammy Awards

The Latin Grammy Awards will be livin’ la vida loca in Miami this year.

The city will host the second annual Latin music awards ceremony, scheduled for Sept. 12 at the American Airlines Arena, Academy President Michael Greene said Wednesday.

Miami lost out last year to Los Angeles because of the city’s anti-Cuba stance. The city, along with Miami-Dade County, has tried to prevent Cuban performers from using its public venues.

The city is the home of such artists as Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, who choose to live in the oft-described Latin music capital of the world to keep closer to their roots. “The Grammys will further solidify the fact that Miami-Dade County is the home of Latin American music,” said David Perez, Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas’ media relations representative, said Thursday.

Bringing the Latin Grammys to Miami makes even more sense considering that the city and the county are “home for most people in the industry, such as musicians, producers and Latin American record labels,” Perez said.

The county expects the event to generate revenues of $35 million to $40 million for the county.

With the excitement and high expectations of the awards show comes apprehension, since the city was rejected last year because of its policy against Cuban performers. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, however, struck down a Miami-Dade law banning the county from working with groups with business ties to Cuba.

Several Cuban-American organizations have expressed concern if Cuban performers participate in the event. In the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Michael Greene, president and CEO of the academy, expressed his concerned about the Cuban exile community for their violent protests against Cuban artists who have performed in Miami in the past. Cuban nationals may attend and participate, he said

Penelas also expressed concern if Cuban artists attend the event, saying he would not roll out the red carpet for them.

The problem boils down to the fact that event organizers, government officials and members of Cuban-American groups in Miami are not against Cuban Grammy nominees performing, but of those who plan to attend the event because of political reasons.

Among the people who plan to protest is Laura Vianello, a member the Cuban-American organization Vigilia Mambisa.

“The artists will not be musicians that represent the people of Cuba…they are chosen by the government of Cuba,” Vianello said Thursday in the Sun-Sentinel.

“This is a community of victims of a repressive regime…But most of all what this community represents is freedom of expression,” Mas Santos, chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation, told the Sun-Sentinel.

Last year’s inaugural show marked the first time a Spanish-language music event aired during primetime. With more expectations, this year’s event will be seen on CBS and internationally in more than 120 countries.

The Latin Grammy nominations will be announced in the summer.