With Diaz-Balart’s Departure, Cubans Voters Can Reject Right Wing Past

Guest Columnist

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.

7 Responses to “With Diaz-Balart’s Departure, Cubans Voters Can Reject Right Wing Past”

  1. Frank White says:

    15,000 votes is a whole lot

    I’m answering for Sam Fields.

    Indeed it is a lot of votes. Mario won by about 6 percent.

    But his margins have been decreasing since he first won in 2002, when he had a 37,000-plus vote win. In 2006, he won by 18,000.

    That’s why Mario is moving to the other district. His current district is becoming more Democratic.

  2. Dave R says:

    Why would young cubans want to back to Cuba? They have never experianced life there.

  3. Dave R says:

    But then again, let us move Sam Fields there for S & G’s.

  4. Thunder says:

    If the voters in District 25 realize what the Democrats are trying to do to them, they’ll vote Republican.

  5. Defiant to the Bone says:

    It is more than just Diaz-Balart’s family ties to Batista. It’s that Fidel Castro is Liconln and Mario Diaz-Balart’s uncle. Their aunt Mirta was Fidel’s first wife and that marriage did not end well. So there is hatred there well beyond the normal hatred that most Cubans in the US harbor for Castro.

    There is good reason to be an “anticastrista.” For better or worse, Fidel Castro traded the liberties of the people of his imprisoned island so that all of them could enjoy about the same level of poverty that they have now. His philosophy over the past 50 years has not caught on in the Western Hemisphere. His brand of communism, socialism whatever you want to call it, has not resulted in prosperity for the Cuban people no matter if most of the island’s very poor are living somewhat better.

    Cuban communism has been a failure and the entire world knows it. All we are waiting for now is for Castro to die so that Cubans in Miami will have no more excuse to stop the inevitably smart conclusion from happening: Open up the borders, allow American influence to again infiltrate the island, and watch democracy take hold again.

    The Diaz-Balart group has been guardians of the embargo for decades. They hate Castro, there is no doubt about that. But in supporting the embargo, they have served as Castro’s best friend. They have elongated his tenure of influence on the island well beyond, possibly decades beyond what it could have been. By denying the influence and presence of capitalists and democracy on the island, they perpetuated communism and separatism on the island.

    If they truly want Cuba to be Libre, then the thing to do is end the embargo and let Americans go there. Just like we did with the USSR. Just as we are doing with China. Just as we did with Vietnam. Change will then come.

    You don’t have to bury Castro to kill him. That’s too much trouble and it takes too long. The best way to kill Castro is by allowing the Cuban people to turn their backs on him of their own free will. This is exactly what will happen when they realize, through day to day contact with Americans, that we are not the evil empire that Fidel has brainwashed them into believing that we are.

    It is time for the Diaz-Balarts to go away and allow fresh thining Cubans to rise up and fix the problem. They have not fixed the Cuba problem they’ve made it worse, they’ve made it last.

  6. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Defiant


  7. Floridan says:

    The Balart’s didn’t do too well in fostering democracy in Cuba when they were in charge. Why should we belive they have any insight (or interest) in how to get it back now?