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Cubans for TrumpThe Batistafication of Florida
Wayne Madsen Report, March 1-2, 2021, Orlando

Thanks to the Central Intelligence Agency, which made Florida a safe haven for Cuba's moneyed and military classes to settle after Fidel Castro's rise to power some sixty years ago, and the Republican Party, which has catered to the right-wing whims of the Cuban expats and their offspring, Florida has turned into an oligarchy resembling that of fascist Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, ousted by Castro in 1959. The political and social effect of the Cubans in south Florida and Miami's "Little Havana," has resulted in the "Batistafication" of Florida.

The Cubans and their outsized political influence have propelled the political careers of Republicans like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, himself a Cuban, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, both having presidential ambitions. Other right-wing Republican politicians in the state, with aspirations for higher office, include Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Florida Senate Majority Whip Anitere Flores. Attempts by Republicans to continue to gerrymander electoral districts in the state have an important insurance policy in state Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, a Cuban and a Republican. The Cubans also helped deliver Florida's electoral votes to Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. Florida has become the new home base for Trump and his family, some of whom harbor their own political plans. Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach has attracted members and guests from the Cubans' right-wing political network throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. These include expat billionaire businessmen and bankers involved with narcotics trafficking from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Brazil, and Honduras.

The Batistafication of Florida was spurred by a moribund Democratic Party, which has abdicated its role as a serious contender for political power in a state that has become a virtual one-party political unit. The Democrats permitted a non-Democrat, Bernie Sanders, to influence the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2018, resulting in a seriously flawed mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, to wrest the party's nomination from former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, the daughter of Florida's popular Democratic ex-governor and senator, Bob Graham. Gillum, the subject of a criminal probe at the time, lost to DeSantis, the Trumpiest of all the GOP candidates. Today, Florida suffers under the far-right policies of DeSantis, including having one of the highest death rates from Covid-19. DeSantis, whose political base is the Cuban and other Latin American right-wing diaspora in south Florida, governs in the same manner as Batista, including dispatching state police to arrest and harass his critics.

Florida and national Democrats have badly miscalculated in believing they could make inroads with the newest generation of Cubans in the state. They are just as right-wing and fascist-inclined as their parents and grandparents who escaped from Cuba with the wealth largely earned off the backs of poor Afro-Cubans and mestizos on the sugar cane fields. Neither Rubio's parents nor Ted Cruz's father escaped from "communism" in Cuba. They arrived as economic refugees while Batista was in power. Today, Rubio and Cruz would deny economic and political refugee status to thousands of Amerindians from Central America, the victims of narco-cartels and fascist regimes supported by the Cubans of Florida.

The Cubans expats and their descendants are largely of white European ancestry. They share that trait in common with oligarch expats from Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, and other countries. These right-wingers not only serve as a base of support for Trump, DeSantis, and Rubio, but also for fascists like current Colombian President Ivan Duque and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, both linked to the Medellin drug cartel, and phony Venezuelan "President" and opposition leader Juan Guaido. It is not surprising that Florida's poorer Afro-Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Haitians, and others who have suffered under their homelands' fascist regimes, refer to the fascist-aligned white Cubans as "gusanos," which is Spanish for "worms." The gusanos of south Florida and their Spanish-language media outlets are currently some of the most prolific traffickers of disinformation regarding "antifa" and "Qanon."

Florida's "worm" infestation has helped to give the state the likes of Rubio, DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott, Representatives Matt Gaetz, Greg Steube, and other pro-insurrectionists. There is a way for Florida's Democrats to regain power in the state. The Euro-Cubans, as a voting bloc, must be written off as unobtainable. They are far too rooted in the fascism of their old hero, Batista, and new hero, Trump, to be of political use to a progressive political party. Instead, the Democrats should concentrate their voter registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts on the Afro-Cubans, many who arrived in Florida in the El Mariel boatlifts in 1980, as well as working class Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Haitians, Bahamians, Jamaicans (America has a Vice President of Jamaican descent), Trinidadians, Afro-Colombians and Afro-Venezuelans, and Amerindians from Latin America.

Florida sorely requires a political "de-worming" and that process should begin with the Democratic Party.


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