There will be no “Chavismo” at Calle Ocho this year.
With the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Tuesday, Venezuelans in Miami, known to vehemently oppose Chávez’s socialist rule, took to the streets to celebrate his death.
But don't expect protests, rallies or celebrations at one of the country's largest street festivals, which is taking place this Sunday.
Sylvia Vieta, director of promotions of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, the non-profit organization in charge of putting together the festival, said while they respect free speech, they do not want to politicize Calle Ocho.
“Chavez will have no part of the festival this year,” she said. “This is art and art and politics don’t mix.”
About 21 percent of Miami’s population is Venezuelan, according to Reuters, and they certainly have a presence in Calle Ocho year after year.
Deemed the largest Hispanic festival in the country, Calle Ocho takes place in Miami's Little Havana and has become a celebration of Hispanic culture since 1978, when the festival was created to teach and celebrate Cuban heritage.
Vieta said all flags are welcome and “as long as everyone is in good behavior, there will be no problems.”
What will be permitted will be drinking. And lots of it. The Kiwanis Club is attempting to break yet another Guinness World Record, this time for having the largest Sangria.
The organization will be serving 500 liters of sangria in honor of Juan Ponce de León, the Spanish explorer, discovering Florida 500 years ago.
“We are the largest Latino festival and it’s an important place, we do like to break records,” Vieta said.
In 1988, the the record for the largest conga line with Gloria Estefan was broken at Calle Ocho. Last year, the record for the largest number of flags displayed also made history.
Jamie Panas, a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records North America, told Fox News Latino that last year’s record involved Cuban-American telenovela hunk JenCarlos Canela.
“The largest image created by flags was a No. 1 depicted by 422 flags,” she said. “The longest conga was the Miami Super Conga consisting of 119,986 people.”
Vieta said that attempting to break World Records at Calle Ocho, whether it’s for the largest piñata or the most people playing dominoes, is a serious business.
“Right after the carnival ends we start getting ready for the following year,” she said. “by October of the year previous to the festival we have everything planned.”
Vieta also said many people send in their suggestions to the organization and these are evaluated and discussed in the monthly board of directors meetings.