If Trump wants to be re-elected, he must make a great deal of effort for it. Winning the votes of Florida Latinos will be an arduous task for the Republican in this presidential race.
Latino voters in Florida will play an extraordinary role in the 2020 presidential election
No Republican president since 1924 has secured the election without winning in Florida, and Latinos are one of the most powerful voter blocs in a state where elections are won by the smallest margins.
The trapdoor to catch us has been set by the Republican Party: socialism.
Donald Trump is looking for a 2016 replay, and the only way he has handled such a bad and chaotic pandemic that has cost nearly 200,000 American lives, and has sunk the economy into unusual depths, can win again, is by appealing to people’s worst fears.
Republicans, and more stridently among Hispanics, Cuban-Americans, are presenting President Trump as the savior of the kind of socialism we left behind as they paint Democrat Joe Biden, a centrist throughout his political career, as a leftist.
“Something I learned from the Communists: The key to getting followers to forgive you any excess or immorality is to convince them that the alternative is unacceptable,” says Guennady Rodriguez, 39-year-old Cuban editor of the “23 and Flagler” political blog and podcast in Miami. “Everything… is immediately pardoned trump… as soon as he conducts his prayer he will say to the ‘communism’ that threatens us.”
But Latinos should weigh the facts: Who is the real dictator?
In Florida, a substantial bloc of voters like me is marked by the experience of fleeing totalitarian regimes. And that’s precisely why I’m afraid, not Biden, but four other years of authoritarian Trump, whose antisocialist rhetoric is a sham.
Over the past four years, I’ve seen Trump resort to dictatorial tactics that are too familiar to me: constantly lying, ignoring constitutional mandates, and having Americans stand up to each other for their own benefit.
My family and I lived through all that and more, for 10 years under Fidel Castro’s regime.
Trump and his supporters sell this pronouncement vehemently: If you don’t vote for Republicans, you’re a socialist.
Where have I heard that before?
In Cuba, where if you weren’t “fidelist” they would tell you that you were no longer Cuban, that you were not a person, and that’s how they treated you. That’s why, when we left the country, they sealed “Null” your passport to nullify your existence.
Requiring people to show allegiance to a party—or being labeled anti-Americans—is undemocratic, not to mention a completely false preference.
As Americans, we have the right to question power. Looking for that freedom was that we came here.
LATINO SUPPORT FOR TRUMP
However, some political investigations indicate that Hispanic support for Trump is real and stronger than in 2016, despite Trump’s offensive behavior and policies that focus on Latin American immigrants and disproportionately affect them.
According to the latest polls, Biden leads Trump with 48% vs. 45% in Florida.
But two out of three Venezuelans, a group Trump has laved out profusely in Miami, told North Florida University pollsters that they would vote to re-elect him.
Under Biden, Venezuelans would obtain the coveted TPS, Temporary Protected Status, which would allow them to work legally and prevent them from being deported as long as it is dangerous to return to Venezuela.
The Democratic-majority lower house passed legislation granting TPS to Venezuelans, but Republicans in the Senate blocked it. And Trump has refused to protect them by executive order.
This is another trait that identifies a dictator: say one thing to earn approval and disguise the real agenda, and then do another.
Trump says one thing in Miami to mobilize Cuban and Venezuelan exiles and another in Washington.
The president had no qualms about telling that he would meet dictator Nicolás Maduro. Facing a backlash over the contradiction with his own politics and opposition support, his team backed down and said Trump only intended Maduro to leave the country.
Venezuelans suffer the same ailment that has tarnished the judgment of too many Cuban-Americans: believing that the American right is going to bring democracy to their homeland, when it has become strongly far from it in the United States.
TRUMP LOVES PUTIN
Hispanics who support Trump ignores the fact that the candidate who has professed affinity and admiration for dictators like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin is not Biden, but Trump.
It was Trump who received communist Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife in Mar-a-Lago in 2017, lavishing praise and attention on the dictator, despite his government’s violent crackdown on that country and the security risks Trump exposed to our nation.
Russia played a key role in the destruction of Cuban democracy. Never trust Russia, any Cuban would have told you before Trump. The best thing for Russia is to keep the island as a satellite 90 miles from the United States.
To this day, Putin sustains Cuban and Venezuelan regimes. Trump has refused to sanction Russia for interfering in our elections or for attacking our soldiers in Afghanistan.
The joke of the moment among Hispanic Democrats in Miami is that they were left waiting for Putin to perform at the Republican National Convention.
“Let’s not get confused. If Fidel Castro were to rule in Cuba in its fullness, [Trump] would admire him in the same way as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un,” he wrote on his blog “Habanara soy yo” Uva de Aragón, a retired professor who ran the Research Center for Cuban Studies at Florida International University. “He has a passion for strong men. He’s a frustrated Hitler.”
No doubt Trump would negotiate with Castro if that would benefit him.
He’s already done it.
It was recently revealed that his former campaign manager who has ties to Russia, Paul Manafort, traveled to Cuba to meet with one of the Castros’ sons, and Trump attempted to build a golf course in Varadero and a Trump Tower in Havana, in violation of the U.S. embargo.
This has been documented and reported and I also confirmed it during an unofficial interview in 2016 with one of the Cuban-Americans involved in the tower project.
NOT A SAVIOR FOR HISPANICS
No, Florida Hispanics, Trump is not our savior of socialism.
He’s the warlord we ran away from.
He is a populist, a strong man who seeks to silence the independent media that have been the backbone of democracy since the nation’s founding.
Where did I first hear journalists call “the enemy of the people”?
In interviews and conversations with Cuban exiles, especially Cuban journalists who had fled Fidel Castro-style communism. They worked in both Cuban and U.S. media, such as cable news services, which Castro closed or confessed and refuted for their purposes.
The weakening of the media was a key step in consolidating absolute power in Cuba.
Crushing and expelling the media that keeps elected officials at bay by asking difficult questions is also what Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro have done in Venezuela. I haven’t heard Biden say the Fox News license should be withdrawn as punishment for his right-hand tilt.
So why do Latinos support Trump?
Out of partisan loyalty.
It’s as strong in Miami as it is in Havana or Caracas. As strong in Orlando as in San Juan.
The idolatry of the warlord is a cultural evil—it is fine, as long as he is our leader and intends to serve us.
That’s why Fidel Castro so easily won power in Cuba. He was popular. It was fiery. He was a reality show star long before Trump.
And now, Hispanics also support Trump out of fear.
Complicit Republicans have convinced them—against all evidence, given voters’ rejection of left-wing candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—that the Democratic Party is embracing socialism.
But who is he who says he wants to serve beyond constitutional boundaries?
It’s not Joe Biden. It’s Trump.
Socialism is a lie, and lying is the trademark of the aspiring American dictator.