Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Let me count the ways....

The Republican candidates want to court the Cuban American vote. The problem is that they uniformly like the embargo, with the exceptions of Brownback who voted in favor of travel to Cuba, and Ron Paul, whose libertarian philosophy leads him to oppose the embargo entirely.

So how to break from the pack and love-bomb Calle Ocho with real impact?

Let’s recap.

Giuliani is the most endearing; he professes a love for Cuban food and says his wife is learning Spanish. Thompson loves Gloria Estefan and quotes her with ease, but that may be problematic now because she has Carlos Santana on her new CD and Santana wore a Che Guevara t-shirt, and you can read Babalu for the rest (see 7/24 here). So he may have some work to do.

Mitt “Patria o Muerte” Romney, playing a little catch-up, was in Florida over the weekend making good sense on trade but avoiding an ethanol subsidy question like the plague. From the AP account of his visit:

Romney also spoke to veterans of the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion at their small museum in Miami‘s Little Havana neighborhood and promised to seek out their intelligence expertise on Cuba if elected president.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

But seriously, there’s a real chance that candidates will move beyond symbols and gestures and promise real change in policy as the election nears, or if McCain drops out and his supporters are up for grabs.

Will one promise to repeal wet foot-dry foot? (I still wish someone could confirm that Giuliani promised that on his last trip to Miami.) Will one promise to add a second plane to broadcast Radio/TV Marti from the U.S. airspace south of the Keys, or to fly the plane over international waters, right up to Cuban airspace?

This is a serious question. What is left for them to propose, to promise?


Ernesto said...

Hi Phil, why don't you send this questions to the CNN-YouTube Republicans debate? this could be interesting...
You can see the last Romney on Cuba "live" here.


Mambi_Watch said...

It's an excellent question.

I'm guessing they will wait a little while longer, perhaps for some serendipitous event associated with Cuba.

Or, maybe they will concentrate on other non-Cuban issues. Since the results of the Bendixen and FIU polls of Cuban-Americans showed that Cuban-Americans have much greater concerns instead of Cuba, then perhaps this will be the focus: health and security like the rest of America.

I kinda doubt that Giuliani would make any bold statements on wet foot/dry foot, given his opposition to other immigration reform. The Miami Herald article from his last visit in Hialeah didn't mention it, and they would have reported it if he had.


Also, I was watching yesterday a local Spanish TV channel where they did a non-scientific poll of their viewers' Presidential picks.

The station is Telemiami, and the show was "Buenos Dias Miami" with Tomas Garcia Fuste, a well-known Cuban commentator and former manager at WQBA who at one time headed a fundraiser for Orlando Bosch's release from federal detention.

Anyway, Fuste took a poll of his viewers on who they plan to vote for. I was astonished at how many said Hillary. The results were:

Giuliani with 54%
Clinton with 42%
(and the rest were for the other candidates)

I swear I thought I heard more "Hillary" than "Giuliani" but so there it is.

Also note that the viewers of this program are very much anti-Castro and anti-Chavez. So there are other issues at play.

leftside said...

The math is simple. To win in Florida one needs to win the most Cuban-Americans. Anything to the right of Hillary's status quo line will deliver votes when it matters. The primary Cuban vote will go to Guiliani. He reminds me of Florida Cubans.... forgive me for the generalization.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with your generalization. You also remind me of the former communists of the DGI I knew in Cuba, forgive me for the comparison.