David Beckham's Miami Soccer Partner Very Sorry He Tweeted Che Guevara Pic

There are a few nonnegotiable rules of doing big business in Miami: Speak at least a little Spanish. Learn to enjoy cigars. Never speak ill of the Estefans. And — this one is important — do not, under any circumstances, reveal your admiration for Fidel Castro or Che Guevara. 

Marcelo Claure, David Beckham's business partner, in trying to bring an MLS franchise to Miami-Dade County, failed that last test big time yesterday when he tweeted a photo of the famed Che sculpture that beams over Havana's Plaza of the Revolution.

After being assailed by Cuban-American politicos for hours, he promptly apologized.  
Claure, a Bolivian magnate who is now CEO of Sprint, has partnered with Beckham to try to bring top-level pro soccer to Miami. The pair is deep in negotiations with the city and county for a deal to build a stadium next to Marlins Park in Little Havana. 

The exec spent this past weekend in Havana, though, where his trouble began around 6:30 p.m. yesterday. That's when he tweeted a photo of the famed Che statue and wrote, "Hola Cuba. Happy to be here in La Havana, Cuba." 

Miami politicians were not amused.
At first, Claure tried to defend the tweet as a simple celebration of historic sites in Cuba:
But within a few hours, Claure had realized any argument over Che among older Cuban-American politicians in Miami is not an argument anyone would win. He deleted the tweet and apologized. 

It's worth adding a little context to the controversy, though. Claure is Bolivian, a nation where Che is still largely celebrated. After all, it was in Bolivia where Che was executed by a CIA-led team of spies.

And opinion in Miami might not quite be as universal as its politicians make it seem: A few years ago, a New Times editor tried to peddle Che T-shirts around Dadeland Mall to see how local shoppers reacted and found indifference was the order of the day.  

But then again, the rules are different when you're knee-deep in selling the county government on a new tax-exempt stadium deal. Time to go back to Miami-Dade business school, Marcelo.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink