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UPDATED: Little Havana fires up for Rudy

Older Cuban exiles dressed in traditional white garb and jamming to mambo greeted Rudy Giuliani in Little Havana Friday morning. After dancing several sets the senior citizens quieted down and let hizzoner do his thing. The loud Cuban music fired up the Little Havana Activities and Nutrition center. It has long been a popular spot for local politicians pining for votes.

Giuliani told the crowd he had seen a free Cuba in his dreams, drawing applause from the mostly elderly attendants. He also said he banned Castro from a UN celebration in New York when he attended the 50th anniversary of the institution. Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina introduced Giuliani, saying he had been loyally anti-Castro for many years.

Giuliani did not offer any fresh ideas to help promote democracy in Cuba, instead saying he would continue the hard line stance that the Bush administration has advocated. He praised Cuban exiles and Cuban Americans for helping to make Miami the city it is today, and compared them to his own Italian heritage. He said his grandparents came from Italy.

The director of the center tried to translate for Giuliani, but the mayor often forgot to pause, leaving many in the crowd scratching their heads because many did not speak English.

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