One would expect that in a county with the largest population of exiled Cubans in the entire world, the local government would be sensitive to doing business with a foreign company that is business partners with the same Castro dictatorship that forced millions into exile. One would think that in a county where residents overwhelmingly voted against allowing taxpayer money to go to unscrupulous companies that partner up with repressive dictatorships, county commissioners would avoid siding with companies such as Brazil’s infamously sleazy Odebrecht, a company that has made billions in blood money as the preferred construction contractor for the world’s most murderous and vile dictators.
On Wednesday, the Miami-Dade commission voted on the fate of a dubious and questionable contract awarded to Castro dictatorship business partner Odebrecht back in 2008. Fortunately, six commissioners stood by their principles and the will of their constituents and stood firmly against allowing taxpayer money to go to an unethical and unscrupulous multi-billion dollar conglomerate.
However, commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Xavier Suarez inexplicably decided to take the side of Odebrecht instead. In doing so, they not only ignored the will and sentiment of their constituents, these two commissioners decided take a stand for a company that is making hundreds of millions of dollars in blood money through its business partnership with Cuba’s Castro dictatorship.
One can only wonder what would prompt them to take such an unpopular, unscrupulous, and unconscionable position. One thing we do know for sure, however, is that Barreiro and Suarez will have to explain to their constituents and fellow Cuban Americans why they are defending and promoting a business partner of the Castro regime.
Will Miami-Dade Commissioners Side With Odebrecht or Constituents?
In November 2012, 62% of Miami-Dade County voters stated that they no longer wanted their taxpayer funds going to unscrupulous companies who partner with tyrannical regimes, such as Cuba’s Castro brothers.
This was not a poll, but an actual vote. The voice of Miami-Dade’s electorate could not have been clearer.
Yesterday, the Miami-Dade County Commission considered the fate of a non-transparent 2008 deal cut between one of these companies, Brazil’s Odrebrecht, and former Miami-Dade Airport officials.
Six Commissioners stood with their constituents.
Kudos to Commissioners Rebeca Sosa, Steve Bovo, Javier Souto, Sally Heyman, Lynda Bell and Pepe Diaz for their leadership and moral compass.
Yet, sadly, some Commissioners chose the interests of this one foreign company, Odebrecht, over that of their constituents.
They are Bruno Barreiro and Xavier Suarez. Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Zapata didn’t vote.
Let’s be clear, Brazil’s Odebrecht is not a company that casually cuts a deal or two with tyrannical regimes. Odebrecht is the gold standard of companies that profit from repressive dictators throughout the world.
In the case of Cuba, Odebrecht is currently the Castro brother’s single-largest foreign business partner. From the Port of Mariel, to sugar, to biotech, Odebrecht has consciously disregarded the sensitivities of Cuban-Americans, and has doubled and tripled down on the Castros.
In the case of Venezuela, where courageous students are currently being killed by the Cuban-led government there, Odebrecht has been a key business partner, ally and public supporter of the Chavez-Maduro governments. Chavez himself used to tout Odebrecht’s ties to his government.
Unfortunately, the will of their constituents was of no concern to some Commissioners, including Barreiro and Suarez. Instead, they regurgitated the talking points of Odebrecht’s Miami-Dade lobbyists, who claim Odebrecht USA is “different” from Odebrecht Brazil.
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