BY SAM FIELDS
My daughter’s boyfriend sells framed artwork and posters. His territory includes Little Havana.
Far and away the most popular items are anything from Scarface.
“Say hello to my lil’ friend is the best marketing hook.
It’s a far cry from 1983 when they were filming the movie in Miami.
Back then almost every Cuban organization was vehemently objecting to the Marielito stereotype. Dozen of Cubans, blowing police whistles, tried to interfere with the filming.
Eventually the film makers moved most of the production out of Miami, costing South Florida millions of dollars.
Today, times have changed as evidenced by the popularity of Scarface merchandise in Cuban American neighborhoods. Nothing says immigrants have joined the establishment more then seeing them enjoy what were once negative stereotypes.
Think of the Godfather series. Today, the only thing embarrassing to Italian-Americans is Godfather III—Copolla must have really needed the money.
With the retirement of Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, we have the opportunity to see if the political development of the Cuban community matches the cultural development.
The Balart family represents the ultra-rightwing Batista segment of the Cuban community. Their father was a supporter of Batista and was part of the dictator’s government.
Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, rightwing Cubans like the Balarts opposed any dialogue with Castro. The most extreme elements — not the Balarts –even murdered and maimed political dissenters on the streets of Miami.
Flash forward to the 21st Century. Every poll shows there has been a major shift in the Cuban community attitude toward Cuba.
Most importantly, those polls shows younger Cubans open to modifying the failed fifty-year policy of isolating Havana from Little Havana.
In a bit of musical chairs, Mario Diaz-Balart, announced he will run this year in the U. S. House District 21 being vacated by his brother. That leaves Mario’s District 25 open.
District 25 is more favorable to Democrats. Mario Diaz-Balart won it in 2008 by just 15, 000 votes against Joe Garcia.
This election in District 25 will tell us a lot about the state of the Cuban community and South Florida politics.
The Republican Primary and the November General Election will reveal whether the Cuban community is willing to embrace new ideas the same way they have embraced Tony Montana.