The arts, hurricanes, and Haiti's humanitarian crisis: a look back at this year
On this week's South Florida Roundup, we revisited some of our favorite segments of the year.
MDCPS students blocked from seeing 'Anna in the Tropics'
Cuban native Nilo Cruz came to Miami as a child and became a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. He won the Pulitzer for Drama in 2003 for the play Anna In The Tropics.
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That play has been shown to students at Miami-Dade schools for years now. But this year, the school district objected, saying the subject matter is inappropriate for high schoolers. This happened in the midst of laws and guidance from the state dictating what can be taught.
Michel Hausmann is the Artistic Director of Miami New Drama. He told the South Florida Roundup that students shouldn’t be prevented from seeing pieces of art and culture.
“How many Aurin Squires, Nilo Cruzes are we aborting by not allowing the students to encounter world-class theater,” said Hausmann. “They don't have that in school because art funding has been completely scrapped and we are filling in the void. And now they're not even letting us do that.”
Hausmann said this decision left Cruz in mourning, as he is a graduate of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Five years since Hurricane Irma
The peak of hurricane season is around Sept. 9, which in 2022 also marked five years since Hurricane Irma made landfall. The storms eye arrived in Cudjoe Key as a 130 mph Category 4 storm. The center of Irma then made landfall on Marco Island as a Category 3 with 115 mph winds later that same day.
According to estimates, Hurricane Irma ranks number 7 on the all-time costliest hurricane list at $59.5 billion. This also makes it the second costliest in state history, surpassing Hurricane Andrew and right behind Hurricane Ian just two months ago.
"The thing is, in the Keys, [we] were already fragile — we are kind of out here and without, really, any real protection. But it had been about 12 years since the Florida Keys had a significant hurricane. It's almost like Irma made up for that," said WLRN’s Key West Reporter Gwen Filosa.
Following Hurricane Ian, Filosa told the South Florida Roundup that parts of the island chain experienced heavy rain, storm surge, flooding and had some scattered debris.
“We have maybe 150 [to] a couple of hundred people dealing with loss and water damage and losing all their stuff. Then you have a lot of the other city [intact] — it’s as if it didn’t happen," she said.
Haiti’s humanitarian crisis
Haiti’s political and economic climate has been spiraling for some time — but now it seems to be at a breaking point. Insecurity, the fuel crisis and the rising cost of living have led to large protests that halt activity in major cities for hours. Cholera returned to the country and has already killed more than a dozen people, in part because of a lack of clean water.
Some prominent figures have been calling for foreign intervention while others have been opposed to it.
Dan Foote, the former US special envoy to Haiti, told the South Florida Roundup that ignoring what Haitians have to say about their situation — in particular their opposition to de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry — is what led to his resignation.
“When I saw that the U.S. government, my colleagues, were ignoring a civil society federation of groups and political opposition parties and folks from across the country representing a lot of Haitians — in favor of Ariel Henry… I just couldn’t look myself in the mirror and be a part of that anymore," he said.
Foote added that he believed the situation in Haiti is now worse than it was before.
On the show, we also took a look back at our discussions on the city of Miami’s Decision to take over the management of the beloved Tower Theater in Little Havana and the legacy and Impact made by conductor and musician, Michael Tilson Thomas.
Listen to the full episode above.