The massive turnout of the Cuban-American community, and of other Hispanic exiles and their descendants from Latin America, proved decisive in Florida’s 2020 presidential elections.
What motivated these voters? Only one of two answers makes sense:
- A majority of the Cuban-American community is confused about its own values and interests and can be manipulated into voting against them or,
- A majority of the Cuban-American community is not confused about its own values and interests, and votes consistently in alignment with them.
By helping to determine the key Florida election, they became the target of leftist insults and incorrect analysis.
Many “experts” appear to have chosen the former. Rather than accept that modern Democratic Party politics are unpalatable to entire ethnic communities, they have decided to believe that those ethnic communities simply don’t understand themselves. Their explanations clash with evident reality.
For example, commenting on the Cuban-American vote right before the presidential election, FIU sociologist Guillermo Grenier somehow concluded that Cuba policies were “the lowest priority for Cuban Americans.”
Others have tried to fault “wild conspiracy theories” for manipulating how a majority of the Cuban-American community expressed itself electorally.
Some went even further, launching grave attacks on the community. Comedian Jaboukie Young-White tweeted, “The KKKubans came out in full force.” That prompted Cuban-American actress Natalie Morales to tearfully apologize, also on Twitter, to her Hollywood peeps for how a majority of her fellow Cuban-Americans had voted: “They aren’t racist. They aren’t bad people who want bad things for the world. They are 10000 percent brainwashed.”
Reaching such a conclusion about Florida completely misunderstands the Americans of Cuban, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Argentine, Bolivian, and many other origins who in the past six decades have fled leftist chaos in their home countries.
Cubans, for example, are a minority with a remarkable political and economic success in the United States, with a record ten members in the U.S. Congress as of the 2020 election. They have the highest number of college graduates per capita and the highest per capita income of any Hispanic group in the country. It is offensive to dismiss these people as uneducated about their own identity or to dismiss their powerful experiences with totalitarianism.
Having fled nations destroyed or threatened by ideological lies, class hatred, and Marxism, they voted against such an ideology in the U.S. because the U.S. is their home and they want to avoid a similar fate here under the false flag of “equality and justice.”
The U.S. is the last refuge of the world’s politically persecuted and, once here, they have the right to choose their leaders without being insulted by those who never had to leave their loved ones and all their possessions behind.
They vote for American values that should be shared by both parties.
No other Hispanic community in the United States has felt as intensely and viciously as the Cubans the weight of communist oppression and the loss of freedom in their ancestral nation. The Cuban exile community closely monitors what happens in Cuba: the continuing repression and persecution against any who think and act differently from what the totalitarian state dictates.
The Cuban exile community knows too much about Cuba to believe in banalities about the “equality” and “justice” brought about by socialism in Cuba. They know that, in 61 years, over 2 million Cubans have fled the oppression, or died trying, imposed by one oligarchic family shielded by a brutally efficient secret police.
They also know that the only communist states that have been liberated are those where external pressures and incentives were applied to bring about change, such as the Reagan policy that helped to bring about the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland.
This dream of a free Cuba has been transmitted to younger generations in a culture where the fundamental moral and social value is family unity.
Cubans voted in impressive numbers because they do not want to go back to the failed Obama-era unilateral concessions to an economically bankrupt and politically illegitimate Castro regime. Biden had early on insisted that, if elected, he would return precisely to such a policy. The Obama policies had terrible results for the pro-democracy movement on the island.
Seeing the willingness of that administration to go to an unconditional opening, the communist regime in Cuba stepped up its repression of a growing resistance movement on the streets. Prominent leaders like Christian Liberation Movement leader Oswaldo Payá, who advocated for a citizen plebiscite in the island, and Laura Pollán – who led wives, mothers, and sisters of political prisoners known as the Ladies in White in pressing for their release – suffered still unexplained deaths. Leading human rights activist and grassroots leader Orlando Zapata Tamayo was murdered while on a hunger strike in prison by being denied water. The policy resulted in a near-record 10,000 politically motivated arrests of dissidents in Cuba in 2016. Feeling less pressure from the United States, the regime also strengthened its stranglehold over Venezuela.
Cuban-American reaction to Biden’s intent to return to the Obama status quo should send a very clear signal not only as to where a majority of the community stands but also as to what direction a principled U.S. approach to the island should take.
Cuban-Americans know that it is in the interest of U.S. security to maintain U.S. policy towards Cuba tied to the reestablishment of democracy on the island. As a community, they were deeply offended by the Obama Administration’s handing over to the Castro regime of convicted felons responsible for the massacre over international waters of peaceful Cuban American humanitarian activists. This heinous act – the shooting down of a rescue plane flying in international waters seeking to save Cubans fleeing communism on rafts – that took place on February 24, 1996, cost the lives of four young Cuban-American humanitarian volunteers. It was a brazen act of savagery carried out by Castro’s thuggish regime and abetted by its agents deeply embedded in the United States.
Cuban-Americans know that the coddling of the Castro regime will simply strengthen its hold over Venezuela, Nicaragua, and renew its subversion of other democracies in the region.
All of these are rational and reasonable demands and principles. The sooner the Democrats understand the reality of why Hispanics who fled socialist failure, hatred, and violence voted how they did, the sooner they can start understanding their newly influential fellow citizens.
Dr. Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat is a writer, educator, and co-founder and spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio). Directorio was part of the Patriotic Committee organizing October’s Anti-Communist Caravan in Miami.