It has been going on for decades: pundit after pundit declaring a “generational shift” from an intransigent and hardline Cuban exile community to a “sensible” and “pragmatic” Cuban American community that prefers engagement and reconciliation with Cuba’s vile apartheid dictatorship. They insist that Cuban Americans who hold on to the anachronistic, “cold-war mentality” of the historic exile community are severely out of touch with the majority of Cuban Americans. And naturally, the media is all too happy to help them promote this theory, blindly quoting “Cuba Experts” and Castro regime supporters as well as presenting fatally flawed push polls as scientific evidence of this shift. True to its propaganda nature, this narrative is repeated over and over again without any challenges in the hopes that if it said often enough, the American public will accept it as gospel.
Now we can go point by point of this Generational Shift theory and thoroughly debunk its proposition, but there is a much easier way to expose this myth. If there is truly a generational shift in the way the Cuban American community views American policy towards Cuba, the first place it would manifest itself is in who this community elects to represent them in congress. If a generational shift has taken place, one must assume Cuban Americans would then support and elect candidates who represent their views. Not only is that not the case, these Cuban Americans who have allegedly shifted away from the intransigent and hardline positions of their parents and grandparents continue to elect intransigent hardline candidates to represent them in congress.
Riddle Me This: On Cuban-American Politics
There are only two majority Cuban-American Congressional Districts in the United States — Florida 27, represented by U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Florida 25, represented by U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).
(In case you are wondering, Florida 26, represented by U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL), is not a majority Cuban-American Congressional District.)
U.S. Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart are among the strongest supporters of maintaining and strengthening sanctions towards Cuba’s Castro dictatorship.
Critics of U.S. Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart argue that they are “out of touch” and too “single-issue focused” on Cuba.
For example, The Tampa Bay Times’ [unprofessional and disrespectful] Editorial Board wrote about them recently, “the vitriolic responses […] by two Cuban-American members of Congress from Miami are predictable, outdated and out of touch with generational and demographic changes.”
Yet, last Friday, May 2nd, was the filing deadline for candidates for the U.S. Congress in Florida and their vitriolic foes could not find any viable opponents to run against them.
Because they would be too tough to beat.