Miami's Much Maligned Majority Moderates

Are They Unrepresented?
         Hugo Cancio is a Cuban-American moderate who has lived in Miami for 35 years. He is a successful businessman with offices in both Miami and Havana. He opposes the U. S. embargo against Cuba as well as other congressionally mandated U. S. laws supposedly designed to hurt Fidel Castro that actually have hurt, for decades now, everyday Cubans on the island while also enriching and empowering Cubans who are enticed to defect to the freedom of Miami. Cancio believes that he is among the majority of Cuban-Americans who are un-represented by elected officials who, to his reckoning, are anti-Castro extremists more focused on Cuba than on the needs and interests of Americans and Cuban-Americans in Miami.
        Miami massively dominates southeastern Florida and is a mere 100 miles or so north of Cuba. North to Hialeah and Miami Shores then south to Coral Gables and South Miami, the Miami metropolis has a population of about 5.5 million with Miami itself being home to about 418,000. East of Miami is Miami Beach, South Beach, Fisher Island, and Virginia Key -- where countless millionaires and billionaires reside.
This Wikipedia photo looks at Miami from the Virginia Key.
This Wikipedia photo looks at Miami from South Beach.
Tomas Regalado has been the Mayor of Miami since 2009.
Mr. Regalado was born in Havana in 1947.
Carlos Gimenez has been Mayor of Miami-Dade County since 2011.
Mr. Gimenez was born in Havana in 1954.
Esteban Bovo is the powerful Commissioner of Miami-Dade County.
Mr. Bovo was born in 1962 and his father fought at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
        Miguel Fernandez, shown above in a montage with his primary benefactor Jeb Bush, arrived from Cuba at age 12 in 1964. Mr. Fernandez is a billionaire who is legendary for donating huge sums to conservative Republicans, especially the Bush dynasty and particularly Florida's two-term governor and 2016 presidential contender Jeb Bush. The Bush dynasty for decades has been so tied to the Cuban-American power-brokers that most of them strongly support Jeb over even one of their own -- Miami's Cuban-American presidential contender Marco Rubio, a fact that Americans are not supposed to ponder.
       The depiction above, which I do not like to see in America, reflects the fact that many in Miami, like Hugo Cancio, are tired of an electoral process that so heavily favors white anti-Castro zealots -- such as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Marco Rubio. The Havana-born Ros-Lehtinen has been entrenched in the U. S. Congress from Miami since 1989 when Jeb Bush began his rise in Florida politics by being her Campaign Manager. Diaz-Balart is the son of Rafael Diaz-Balart, a key Minister in the Batista dictatorship that was overthrown in 1959 by Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. Rubio is a first-term U. S. Senator and highly funded Republican presidential candidate from Miami that many Miamians, including Hugo, believe has purely benefited from being born a Cuban-American in a Cuban-American city. Contrary to Rubio's political rhetoric about overcoming poverty in Miami, Hugo Cancio and others believe Rubio's fame and fortune has mostly resulted from financial and political advantages accorded Cuban-Americans in Miami via local politics and a Batistiano-aligned U. S. Congress that sends veritable pipelines of tax dollars from Washington to Miami to hurt Cuba, entice Cuban defections to Miami, and empower Cuban-Americans in both local and national {the U. S. Congresspolitical arenas.
         The above graphic created by Dale Stephanos was used this week to illustrate an almost book-length article in the New York Observer, both its print and online editions. The article was written by respected journalist Ken Silverstein and, in case you want to Google it, is entitled: "Poor Little Rich Boy Runs Into Real Estate Trouble" with this sub-title: "The Senator's Three Houses, Various Lady Friends, Assorted Con Artists Pals and Piles of Unexplained Cash." The first line was gentlest of all but stated: "When it comes to sheer brazen corruption, chicanery and dishonesty there is one candidate who stands head and shoulders above everyone else and he is the right-wing Cuban-American and Tea Party darling Senator Marco Rubio of -- naturally -- the great state of Florida." The rest of the article involves Ken Silverstein's investigative conclusions as to why and how Rubio emerged from Miami's political cauldron to the U. S. Senate where, in a display of disrespect for the exalted legislative body, he hit Washington running for President and -- too busy campaigning and begging billionaires for money -- is dead last among the 100 Senators when it comes to actually showing up to vote. The Silverstein article pulls no punches in forthrightly naming and displaying photos of controversial politicians and lobbyists who steered Rubio's abundant political pots. For example, Silverstein describes Rubio's connections to the ultra-powerful Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo, whom he described as the "notoriously corrupt Floridian and lobbyist named Esteban Bovo." Silverstein was no easier on such Rubio-connected politicians as David Rivera and Ana Alliegro as well as Rubio lobbyists such as Dana Hudson in Washington. The article was published in the New York Observer on January 18, 2016. I thought, within a day or two, Ken Silverstein and the newspaper would be inundated with lawsuits. But, it seems, apparently not. Yet, it begs the question: Why Marco Rubio, a controversial extremist? Why can't one of the moderate Cuban-Americans in Miami become a member of the U. S. Congress and, yes, a presidential candidate?
            The Washington-based Ken Silverstein is not your run-of-the-mill, easily dismissed journalist. He has carved out quite a reputation as a former editor of and still a reporter for Harper's Magazine as well as a star journalist for the likes of the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press. Therefore his aforementioned excoriation of Marco Rubio as a product of Miami's unique Cuban-saturated economic and political structure will probably not get him sued by either Marco Rubio or the myriad of other players that he aligned by name and photos to Rubio's ascendancy.
         Day after day and month after month, the brilliant wisdom of all the Talking Heads on television news programs in the United States have grossly misled the American people about how and why a pompous non-politician -- Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman -- has dominated the ongoing Republican presidential race. Americans, often belittled for their political expertise and general intelligence, apparently are smart enough to have tired of a money-crazed, bought-and-paid-for political system that caters to the millionaires and billionaires who so easily purchase politicians who, in turn, lavish favors on the extremely rich at the expense of everyone else.
         Incredibly, two first-term Cuban-American U. S. Senators -- Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas -- are two of the top three in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. Both hit the Senate running for President and, when they have shown up, they have achieved nothing -- except venting their anti-Castro vitriol, vowing to shut down the government if they didn't get their way, etc., etc. Both launched their Senate bids by, first, latching onto the Bush dynasty and, secondly, latching onto the Tea Party. Both have unabashedly and successfully seemingly begged every conservative, right-wing, Jewish, and religious billionaire for money to grease their paths to the White House where they would also be Commander-in-Chief and where the next U. S. President can be expected to appoint from one to four Supreme Court justices. If you think this week's article by Ken Silverstein in the New York Observer excoriated Marco Rubio, you REALLY SHOULD READ the scathing January 20th editorial in the New York Times entitled: "Two Sides of Ted Cruz: Tort Reformer and Personal Injury Lawyer." The NY Times editorial pointedly explains why, earlier this week, Republican icon Bob Dole said that a Cruz victory in the Republican primary would be "cataclysmic." CRUZ? RUBIO? HEY, WHY NOT A CUBAN-AMERICAN STRAIGHT-SHOOTER??
          Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have used their first terms in the U. S. Senate to strictly run for President and assail every positive aspect of Barack Obama's two-term presidency -- such as normalizing relations with Cuba, providing affordable health care for even poor Americans, trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill so the slaughter in U. S. cities will at least slow down, using diplomacy to deal with international problems instead of carpet bombing or sanctioning everyone who has an opposing viewpoint, etc. Disrespecting President Obama is one thing, but disrespecting democracy and the office of the presidency is something else altogether. 
        My passion for Cuba -- as opposed to, say, my passion for Jamaica -- relates to the fact that my primary passions are America and democracy. I believe the Cuban Revolution, 1953 till 1959, and Revolutionary Cuba, since 1959, say a lot more about the United States than they say about Cuba. One thing they say is...the world's greatest and strongest democracy can be vulnerable to cancer-like attacks from within unless greed, thugs, and criminals are overruled or at least held in check by the supposedly sane, decent, and patriotic majority. In 1952 apathetic Americans let the U. S. team with the Mafia to support the vile Batista dictatorship in Cuba. That was undemocratic and anti-American. But the supposedly sane, decent, and patriotic majority that let that happen also has, in two generations since, not been sane enough, decent enough, or patriotic enough to deal democratically with the remnants of the long-ago flirtation with the Mafia and Batista in Cuba.
        That brings me back around to Hugo Cancio, one of Miami's much maligned majority moderates. Hugo is a Cuban-American who has lived in Miami for 35 years and, like most of his peers, is not an anti-Castro zealot. He travels frequently to Cuba and tries to help Cubans on the island, not punish them in the guise of hurting Castro while hiding behind the might of the U. S. Congress, the U. S. treasury, the U. S. military, and the right-wing Tea Party. Hugo says that he and the majority Cuban-American moderates in Miami like him are not represented by Miami's Banana Republic-style political system. DOES HE HAVE A POINT? I think he does. Now...if a moderate Cuban-American gets elected to high office in Miami-Dade County, or if a moderate Cuban-American is sent from Miami-Dade County to the U. S. Congress, that would show that Miami's Cold War mentality regarding Cuba had taken a democratic turn.
     When or if Miami is ever capable of sending someone like Hugo Cancio to the U. S. Congress, America and democracy will be much obliged, I think. As a lifelong democracy-loving conservative Republican, I would support a Cuban-American such as Hugo Cancio for President in a heartbeat. But on a national level, the Cuban-American political contribution comes from Ros-Lehtinen, the Diaz-Balarts, Rubio, Cruz, etc. That leaves moderates like Hugo Cancio out in the cold in what he considers a cruel and undemocratic fashion. Hugo is a Cuban-American businessman in Miami, not a politician. He just wants to be represented by politicians.

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