A Bad Night for Cuba Sanctions Foes

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Over the summer, the AP cheerfully wrote:

"[Charlie] Crist's [gubernatorial] campaign will be the first statewide test of whether the trade restrictions are still a live wire for politicians in Florida, home to 70 percent of the nation's Cubans."

The test results are in: Charlie Crist failed.

Not only did Crist fail, but he lost by an even greater margin than Governor Rick Scott's opponent in 2010.

As such, no opponent of the Cuban embargo has ever won state-wide in Florida.

So set aside The New York Times editorials, push-polls and deceptive advertisements -- for facts speak louder than spin.

Meanwhile, in Florida's 26th Congressional District, where Cuban-Americans represent 35% of the electorate, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) lost to School Board Member Carlos Curbelo.

While Garcia generally supports the U.S. embargo towards Cuba, his policy nuances created distrust among the Cuban-American electorate.

In an interesting twist, during the last week of the election, Garcia attempted damage control by releasing a television ad featuring Cuban dissident leader Guillermo FariƱas, a strong supporter of the U.S.'s sanctions policy.

But it proved too little, too late.

Also, in West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, Alex Mooney (R) won his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mooney's victory will bring the number of Cuban-Americans serving in the 114th Congress to eight -- alongside U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), and U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep.-elect Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).

Of course, Cuban-Americans played little-to-no-role in this West Virginia district.

However, it strengthens the coalition of Cuban-American Members of Congress, who disagree among themselves on many issues, but are all lock-step regarding U.S. policy towards Cuba.

Finally, it's important to note that U.S. Rep.-elect Curbelo is a 34-year old member of the "new generation" of Cuban-Americans; Scott's Lt. Governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, is 40-years old; and U.S. Rep.-elect Mooney is 43-years old.

So much for that "theory" as well.

Welcome Carlos and Alex. Sorry Charlie.