My vote for Donald Trump explained

donald-trump-2016

I’ve had some friends lately who have questioned my vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Others have felt let down and assumed the tenuous hold of my core principles. And one Mexican-American friend stated that I had ignored what The Donald had done to “his people.”

First, a little history about my trajectory. I was a Democrat in the past, and I voted for President Obama in the 2008 and the 2012 elections. When making my final decision on who to vote for in these elections, I thought that he would make a better president. I was totally wrong in my decisions. In retrospect, I now know that U.S. Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney would have been better choices for the top job in our nation.

Nevertheless, the turning point for my assessment of President Obama came on December 17, 2014. On this date, President Obama issued a statement to change the relationship between the United States and Communist Cuba. Subsequently, with a month left before Americans voted in the 2016 election, the President issued a directive lifting the $100 limit on the amount of cigars and bottles of rum that US travelers were allowed to bring back from Cuba, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers declined to oppose a U.N. resolution condemning the American trade embargo against Cuba. These were definitely not smart decisions if the President hoped to get Cuban-Americans to vote for Hillary. When I heard former U.S. Secretary of State and Presidential Candidate say that she supported “the President’s efforts to move the relationship forward [with Cuba],” there was no question in my mind who I would vote for. In the end, 30+ precincts in Miami-Dade County with the highest concentration of Cuban-American voters gave their vote to President-elect Donald Trump won by over 58%.

I do not view the fact that I was once a Democrat in the past as a character flaw or an act of opportunism. Former President Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat, too. I think that he would agree with me that we did not leave the Democratic Party, but, instead, the Democratic Party left us. Most voters have one or two non-negotiable issues before they exercise the right to vote. For some, it’s the right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For others, it’s the right to have an abortion. For most Cuban-Americans, it’s the implementation of a U.S. foreign policy that embraces a hardline posture against Communist Cuba. In my opinion, President-Elect Trump’s views on this matter are better aligned with my own.

Regarding the anger expressed by the Mexican-American friend at the alleged disrespect that President-Elect Trump had shown towards “his people,” this is a false construct disseminated by liberal media outlets. Then-Candidate Trump was not maligning all Mexicans — only those who were illegals and committed additional crimes. Ours is a nation of laws, and it is not insensitive to demand that immigrants wanting to enter the United States do so via the legal process. Moreover, minority communities with a high number of individuals with low-skill sets are hurt the most by illegal immigrants. It would be unfair to have these U.S. citizens lose out in the job market to illegal immigrants who win out in the end by driving down wages. This sentiment was best expressed by the late civil-rights icon and politician Barbara Jordan when she said that there was no national interest “to import lesser-skilled and unskilled workers to compete in the most vulnerable parts of our labor force. Many American workers do not have adequate job prospects. We should make their task easier to find employment, not harder.” The late Barbara Jordan recognized the harm done by illegal immigrants to “her people” – that cohort within the African American community. She was right!

Those who question my loyalty to my core principles have underestimated me. I have been consistent in expressing my strong opposition to the systematic oppression of Cubans by the fifty-seven dictatorship of the Castro Brothers in TV interviews, radio interviews, letters-to-the-editor, and op-eds. And I can make a promise now: I will not flinch in the future from continuing my campaign to restore freedom and democracy to my homeland.
There is no better way to explain why the majority of Cuban-Americans voted Republican in the 2016 election than to compare the statements issued by President Obama and President-Elect Trump on the demise of Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016.

President Obama indicated the following: “Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.” This is simply outrageous! How can you pretend to care about the well-being of the Cuban people and overlook the 5,600 Cubans that Fidel Castro executed by firing squads? How can you offer an olive branch to a regime that has liquidated at least 1,200 in extrajudicial murders? How can you turn a blind eye to a government that has dispatched tens of thousands to forced labor camps? How can you offer your condolences for the death of a tyrant who drove a fifth of the Cuban population into the sea or fled the country in terror?

Cubans know full well that President Obama’s Cuban policy has bolstered the coffers of the Cuban Government. Cuba’s political detention rates have skyrocketed, and the average monthly salary for Cuban workers remains unchanged at $25. Cubans have shown their disillusion by emigrating in record numbers to the U.S. During the first 10 months of fiscal year 2016, 46,635 Cubans entered the U.S. – already surpassing full fiscal year 2015’s total of 43,159 — according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Fiscal 2015 was a surge year and was up 78% over 2014, when 24,278 Cubans entered the U.S. These totals are significantly higher than in all of fiscal 2011, when 7,759 Cubans came into the U.S. Cubans have opted in record numbers to vote with their feet after concluding that President Obama’s Cuba policy is nothing more than a bunch of promises, promises and lies.

And in stark contrast, President-Elect Trump said the following: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.” It is too early to tell whether a President Trump will keep the promises that he made to the Cuban-American community, but we have to give him a chance to deliver. Nevertheless, he is up to a great start with the appointment of Mauricio Claver-Carone to his transition team. Mauricio is the executive director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee and an outspoken Cuban-American advocate for a Cuba Libre.

November 25, 2016 will remain a date that I will always remember. I was at a funeral parlor in Cuban Mecca Miami attending the viewing for my 94-year mother. It was a day of great sadness for my immediate family. On the other hand, it was a day of celebration for Cubans and freedom-loving people after hearing the announcement that Fidel Castro had died. These were joyous celebrations in Little Havana – as they represented a dream that lasted fifth-seven years in the making.

I’ve been saving a bottle of Dom Perignon 1998 vintage champagne to celebrate this momentous occasion. My only regret is for those dear individuals who are not around to partake in this celebration: both of my parents, the late Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz, the Cuban Human Rights Fighter Oswaldo Payá, and the spokeswoman and leader of the Ladies in White Laura Pollán. Their contributions to the cause of freedom will never be forgotten!

I pray for President Elect Trump to fulfill his dream of making America great again. I also pray for him to make Cuba great again.

1 thought on “My vote for Donald Trump explained”

  1. My vote for Donald Trump explained: to keep the Clintons out of the White House, where they never belonged and which they’ve already befouled.

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