Slaves to the Ritmo

It was a grand evening of poetry and song at the James L. Knight Center. So why did Radio Ritmo pull its sponsorship of singer Alberto Cortez?

The party line at Radio Ritmo is equally distanced, but far more convoluted. When asked to comment about the canceled sponsorship, Amancio Suarez begged off completely. "I don't know anything about what you're telling me, sir," responded VivAmerica's chairman of the board. "I will have to check with the promotions department." Martha Fernandez said she recalled the incident, acknowledged the letters and their content, but refused to comment. Betty Pino, a Ritmo talk-show hostess and a personal friend of Cortez, did not return phone calls requesting comment. Enrique Landin, VivAmerica's general sales manager, did call, saying he'd been ordered by Suarez to explain what happened: "The reason was monetary," he said. "We couldn't cover all the expenses for the concert."

When he was reminded of Martha Fernandez's letters to Latin Promotions, Landin said curtly, "I don't know anything about those letters. That is our answer. Thank you for your attention." Then he hung up.

Nestor Rodriguez Lacoren remains convinced that the exile community's ultra-conservative political leanings are at the heart of the Ritmo rebuff. "But let me tell you something," says Cortez's agent. "It's one thing to be right-wing. It's another to be an imbecile.

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