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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Miami school board bans Cuba book
By Emilio San Pedro
BBC News, Miami

Cuban leader Fidel Castro
Opponents say the book does not reflect reality in Castro's Cuba
Educational authorities in the US city of Miami have voted in favour of removing a controversial book about Cuba from the city's school libraries.

The book sparked protests from some in the Cuban exile community, but its removal could lead to a legal battle.

The Miami Dade School board voted six to three in favour of removing the 32-page geography book A Visit to Cuba from public school libraries.

It follows months of campaigning by Cuban exiles to have it removed.

They say it portrays an idealised view of life in Cuba - and fails to reflect what they describe as the harsh conditions Cubans have lived under since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.

Legal appeal

It first came to the attention of Cuban exile leaders after a young Cuban American student brought the book home and showed it to her father - a Cuban dissident who had served time in prison on the island.

He demanded the book's withdrawal, saying it was biased and full of lies.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union has already reacted to the move by describing it as a flagrant act of censorship which violates the US Constitution.

They say they are going to launch a legal appeal against the ban to force the school board to put the book back in school libraries.

Like so many of these issues relating to Cuban politics in Miami, the vote was divided along ethnic lines - with Hispanic board members voting in favour of the ban and all others against.

But not all Cubans in Miami support the ban.

Some who spoke in favour of it remaining on the shelves accused conservative Cuban exiles of becoming the mirror image of the totalitarian system in Cuba they oppose.

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