Miami Hispanics Hold Festive ‘Protect the Vote’ Protest in Support of Trump

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

A largely Hispanic crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in front of La Carreta, an iconic Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho, in Miami Thursday to demand investigations into potential voter fraud in swing states and support recounts in states with tight vote counts like Georgia and Wisconsin.

Footage from outside the restaurant showed supporters waving Trump campaign flags alongside Cuban, Venezuelan, and Israeli flags and playing loud salsa music. Among the staples played was the “Trump Song” by Los 3 de la Habana, which has become a Trump campaign staple, and “Nuestro Día (Ya Viene Llegando)” by Willy Chirino, a song written in the 1990s predicting the fall of communism in Cuba shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall.

Miami’s Cuban-American community has traditionally used restaurants along Calle Ocho, the heart of Little Havana, for political events. In light of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Miami experienced several socially-distanced caravans attracting tens of thousands of cars and boat parades along the shoreline this year in opposition to socialism and favoring Trump. Challenger Joe Biden’s ties to socialist members of Congress and the display of communist symbols during Black Lives Matter parades became key election issues in Florida this year, as a significant percentage of those in the Hispanic community there are refugees from communist and socialist states.

At press time, vote counts in the 2020 presidential election continue in key swing states. President Trump has announced litigation to begin recounts in several states, most prominently Wisconsin, while experts predict that the small number of ballots determining the winner so far in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona may result in more recounts. Widespread but unconfirmed allegations of fraud, particularly ballots allegedly belonging to deceased people counting in Biden’s favor, have also surfaced. Some media outlets have proclaimed Biden the winner; Trump has not conceded.

The Florida Hispanic vote, particularly that of Cuban- and Venezuelan-Americans in the greater Miami area, helped secure Florida as an early victory on Tuesday night for Trump. Trump lowered the Democrats’ lead in Miami-Dade County by 23 percent compared to 2016 and made significant gains with Mexican-Americans in Texas and other key Hispanic-American constituencies.

The Spanish newswire service EFE estimated that about 100 Trump supporters attended the spontaneous march, despite inclement weather that resulted in some participants removing their shirts and dancing in the pouring rain. The crowd went silent to listen to Trump’s remarks on Thursday evening announcing he would not concede.

“The Democrats are trying to steal this election, overthrow this country, and take down the president. To me it is wrong and as patriots, we have to fight this, because we want to see every ballot,” one participant told Reuters.

“A lot of us – I think everyone here is probably Cuban, even I’m half-Cuban,” another participant said. “We know what happens when you get kicked out of your country and communism starts to creep on it. They’ll take what they want, whenever they want.”

The protest featured many people dressed in American flag-themed clothing and signs reading “stop the fraud” or “stop the steal.” One sign read, in Spanish, “this is a fraud.”

Local news outlets reported that the protest began around 3:30 p.m. local time but extended deep into the night.

Both supporters and opponents of the president are eagerly awaiting the results of multiple legal processes to confirm the outcome of the election in at least three swing states. Speaking on Thursday, Trump promised “a lot of litigation.”

“We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof, it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land, you’ll see,” he told reporters. “We think there’ll be a lot of litigation, because we cannot have an election stolen like this.”

“We want openness and transparency – no secret count rooms, no mystery ballots, no illegal votes being cast after Election Day,” Trump asserted.

The “secret count rooms” comment appears to be a reference to the chaotic scene in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, where poll workers boarded up the room in which they were counting mail-in ballots and reportedly expelled multiple observers.

Some of the windows remain blocked off. I asked a few people who taped them up and why, no clear answer. A few poll challengers/workers tell us they feel there wasn’t a fair number of (Republicans and Democrats) in this room,” Fox News producer Matt Finn reported at the time.

The expulsion of observers resulted in a growing crowd of civilians rallying outside the boarded-up center demanding to be let in to freely observe the count.

Trump’s note on “mystery ballots” appeared to be referencing the growing number of mail-in ballots that states like Georgia and Pennsylvania have been reporting in the coming days. Despite continuing to count them, for several states, ballots kept surfacing, presumably arriving in the mail as the days passed. Litigation will concentrate in part on attempting to invalidate ballots that arrived after the agreed-upon window after Election Day.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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