Letters from the Issue of November 15, 2001

The Fun-Loving Spirit of Miami's Caribbean Carnival: Price-gouging, pepper spray, and personal insults

What happened this year hurt my heart. Thousands of people traveled from across the globe, even after the tragedy of September 11. I heard so many disappointing stories from countless individuals who were mistreated at hotels, overcharged, maced, and disrespected. I myself got caught in the melee outside the carnival, where men, women, and children were pepper-sprayed.

After a weekend of renting cars, eating in restaurants, and spending outrageous amounts to attend the parties, you don't charge $15 to attend Carnival. What does a family of four or more do? The Miami Carnival would be nothing without the participation of the visitors from other states and countries.

Sunday night, after being pepper-sprayed and treated like a common criminal, I still made the attempt to attend a party at the Seville Hotel in Miami Beach. The promoter started the night charging $10 and ended up raising it to about $35. The parking for visitors was $20 per vehicle, although the sign out front claimed a lower rate.

These events will cause individuals to boycott future Carnival events in Miami. The amount of dollars spent, especially in times like these, will disappear. Governor Bush pleaded with people to fly again and support tourism. Well, the businesses, government, and municipalities have to do their parts as well.

Lisa Williamson

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