August 24, 2001

The Latin Grammies Make Last Minute Move from the East Coast to the West Coast

"Due to serious concerns for the safety and dignity of our 10,000 guests, nominees, performers and sponsors from across the globe, and the threat of disruption during the telecast itself, the Latin Academy, along with CBS and Cossette Productions, has been forced to make a very difficult and unfortunate decision - to move the 2nd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards show from Miami to the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles on September 11.

For months we've been working with the City of Miami, along with our partners from the AmericanAirlines Arena — specifically Eric Woolworth, Bill Senn, Alex Diaz, Eric Bresler and the rest of the staff — as well as Mayor Alex Penelas, Jorge Mas Santos and our South Florida Host Committee, on a variety of programs and strategic issues.

Two months ago, the Academy, its partners and the City of Miami reached an agreement establishing the security perimeter around the Arena that was needed to ensure everyone's safety.

Last week, that approved safety zone was abruptly changed by officials from the City of Miami. To further compound this problem, we then learned that more than 100 Cuban-American groups now would be allowed to demonstrate in a high-traffic area for GRAMMY activities, potentially putting our guests at serious risk. Further, the Academy was made aware that protestors had secured tickets to the show and were organizing a disruption to the live telecast itself.

Our obligations are to ensure the safety of the guests, artists and sponsors who will attend the event, as well as to maintain the production integrity of the live Latin GRAMMY telecast.

In a final effort to keep the show in South Florida, we tried to relocate the event to the National Arena in Broward County, but today the Florida Highway Patrol and the Broward County Sheriff's Department said they could not guarantee our guests' safety.

The Academy understands that some people in Miami hold strong and heartfelt views about the inclusion of Cuban National nominees resulting from the Latin GRAMMY voting process. And while we support everyone's right to express individual views, our mission is to celebrate excellence in all recorded Latin music, regardless of who produces it. The safety issues and reliability of delivering a live international telecast were the determining factors. We will begin work immediately to try and resolve these issues and bring the Latin GRAMMYs to Miami in the near future.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Mayor Alex Penelas, Jorge Mas Santos, the folks at the AmericanAirlines Arena and the members of the South Florida Host Committee for their diligence and Herculean efforts to help keep the show in Miami. I want to especially commend Jorge Mas Santos and Mayor Alex Penelas who have been unfairly criticized. Their efforts have been selfless and, I believe, represent a noble attempt to build bridges of understanding, not to mention bring more than $35 million of Latin GRAMMY economic benefit home to Miami. They have my respect and humble thanks.

Our staff will be working closely with members, invited guests, performers, artists and sponsors to accommodate this unfortunate, but necessary transition. We will have a new schedule of activities that support this year's show in a few days. The 2nd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast on CBS, September 11, as scheduled.

—Michael Greene, President/CEO, the Recording Academy, and Latin Recording Academy.

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