The Decline of Cuban Power in Miami

Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto tried to persuade his colleagues to derail an airport development project last week. The reason: The firm involved has business ties to Cuba.

The Bay of Pigs veteran and former State Senator showed he's a filthy bigot.

But the Bay of Pigs veteran and former state senator accomplished something very different. He showed he's a filthy bigot.

"The Latins here pay more taxes per capita than anybody else," Souto said. "And out of the Latin people, the prevalent community is the Cuban community. If you don't know that, you don't know where you're living." Miami is where it is today, he added, "because of the Cubans who came here."

Those comments prompted this response from Commissioner Dennis Moss: "That's part of what's wrong with Miami-Dade County. We're not about fairness. We're about power and money." Moss also noted, "Black folks built this community. To simply say that, well, Latins came to this town and all of a sudden this town is what it is — I resent that. My ancestors were helping build this county while other people were other places."

Indeed, Souto needs to bone up on his black history. Bahamians flocked to Miami in the early 1900s, and one of them, Dana Dorsey, was South Florida's first multimillionaire African-American developer.

A recent Atlantic Council poll shows Floridians and Miamians favor lifting the embargo on Cuba by 63 percent and 64 percent, respectively. And 52 percent of Republicans (Souto's constituents) now want normalization.

Cuban-Americans no longer represent the majority Hispanic voting bloc in Florida. Voters of Puerto Rican, Mexican, and other Hispanic origins represent two-thirds of the Latino electorate. Cubans are only a third.

Souto is the last of a dying breed of divisive politicians such as former county commissioners Natacha Seijas and Miriam Alonso, who tanked her chance to become Miami mayor in the '90s after declaring on Spanish radio that the seat belonged to the Cubans. Some members of this older generation stayed in power by spreading hate and separation among Miami-Dade's diverse ethnic groups.

Before, the only way to remove them from office was by indictment (Alonso) or recall (Seijas). Let's hope Souto won't follow the same route.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

 
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12 comments
Monty_Burns
Monty_Burns

I'm actually pleasantly surprised that Luke is now a writer. Kinda cool. But Luke, Don't be a hater. I'm from DR/PR but Cubans built this city and put it on the map and turned it into a world class city where the rich come to play and the poor, humorously, act like they're rich too. Blacks have contributed to MIA culture now and back in the 20s with the Jazz scene in 20s in Overtown but that didn't last too long and now Overtown just comes out on the first 48... Miami is known as an international city with a heavy Latin flavor and thats what makes Miami unique in the US.

cacf2
cacf2

As an Afro Cuban, I am especially happy to see, Afro Americans put these bigots in their place.  After fooling this community for decades, where they played the victim card, lied about the abuses they suffered in Cuba and that they fled their homeland in search of justice,  but they were very careful of talking about the abuses, murder, segregation and racism they inflicted on Afro Cubans up to 1959, they continue to believe, Miami is their private plantation.


I do not know or care to know Mr. Souto, but I do know the Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, sons of the United Fruit Company slave drivers in the Soweto-type plantation of Banes, where we were forced to live in huts without electricity, running water, sewer, schools, jobs, healthcare service and rampant deaths through preventable diseases.


With their hands dripping blood, suffering and deaths, these born-again God-fearing  hypocrites, are trying to give us lessons in Human Rights, justice and equality.


Have anyone of these pharisaical politicians being to Overtown, Liberty City, Opa Locka, Miami Gardens and try to help diffuse and stop the killing, despair, unemployment and ignorance?

Prometheus
Prometheus

Luke, maybe you should write editorials for the Miami Herald. Tired of reading the old and stale Cuban politics in that newspaper.

phhfund
phhfund

Indeed, Souto is part of the old guard, old politics, old thinking, old reasoning. I am Cuban and although I have never lived in Miami, there is no question that ethnic rivalries have benefited politicians more than the people. "Us against them"; is the oldest trick when it comes to the politics of ethnic affinities. I can read it between the lines in the editorials of La Opinion, for example, when they talk about Marco Rubio. He may be Hispanic but he is not "really" the kind of Hispanic they speak of in California. 


This is what the press and political elites do for political expediency. It is insulting and condescending. 

ghostwriter305
ghostwriter305

Exactly. Cubans made Miami what it is. Good or bad...thats why I left. 3rd generation Miami native..it just wasn't the same. Everyone blames "The Cubans" so really who can blame them for taking credit for the good stuff too? (And there IS good stuff) And thats how life is..new people come in to a city and things change. Move or get over it. 


Weird thing is that I have more Cuban friends here in Texas than even had in Miami. And I speak better Spanish than most of my Mexican friends..Thank you Miami Cubans! 

MiamiFishing
MiamiFishing

Where are you getting some of your facts? I fail to see many Puerto Rican, Mexican nor any other person of Hispanic origin running for office. If your ancestors were here for so long, why didn't Miami become a booming city until after the Cuban migration of the 1960s? Coincidence? I am not Cuban, but I call them as I see them. Miami was a one horse town prior to the 19060s. What did anyone do to grow it into a metropolis? You are just upset that your ancestors never saw the potential in the place they lived for so long or didn't have the smarts or drive to do anything about it.



You are a smart cookie though, I'll give you that. I've read only a few of your articles because I usually can't get past the first paragraph. You just write something you know is controversial to get a rise out of people to in order to get them to comment and show this small newspaper that you are still relevant and that you deserve your $100 per article they throw your way.


Yes, I bit on this one but only because I was had a few minutes to spare you. So, how about you thank those that comment on your articles? 2 Live Crew forever!!!!!

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Thank You, dear Cubanos, for the cafe con leche. Aye carajo, stop whining already.

1cuban
1cuban

hey luke  i do agree with most of the stuff that you wrote about the cuban politicians , but i must add that before 1960s miami was a retirement for old people: miami was as boring as any town from north florida.

j_wonder2001
j_wonder2001

@Monty_Burns Saying Cubans built MIami is utter bullshit. When people think of Miami it's always South Beach and Brickell. That was built with Colombian drug money. Cubans just got a free ride because they opposed Castro and voted Republican. There is a huge difference between "GIVEN" something versus working hard for it. 

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@cacf2  

You lack originality.

All you have done is repeat word by word the talking points of your communist masters.

In this country, politicians are elected by the people to represent their interests. If they don't deliver, they're voted out of office. Our Cuban American representatives in Congress are re-elected every time. That should tell you something.


Too bad we cannot say the same about certain place in the Caribbean.


wmabdul
wmabdul

@MiamiFishing - " Where are you getting some of your facts? I fail to see many Puerto Rican, Mexican nor any other person of Hispanic origin running for office. If your ancestors were here for so long, why didn't Miami become a booming city until after the Cuban migration of the 1960s? Coincidence? I am not Cuban, but I call them as I see them. Miami was a one horse town prior to the 19060s. What did anyone do to grow it into a metropolis? You are just upset that your ancestors never saw the potential in the place they lived for so long or didn't have the smarts or drive to do anything about it."


I THINK IT'S A BIT MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT MIAMIFISHING.


Excerpts from a Time Magazine article (1981) "South Florida: Trouble in Paradise". 


"South Florida—that postcard corner of the Sunshine State, that lush strip of hibiscus and condominiums stretching roughly from Palm Beach south to Key West—is a region in trouble. An epidemic of violent crime, a plague of illicit drugs and a tidal wave of refugees have slammed into South Florida with the destructive power of a hurricane...


When the FBI issued its annual list of the ten most crime-ridden cities in the nation last September, three of them were in South Florida...


Over the past two decades, South Florida in general, and Miami in particular, lave undergone a Latin-flavored business boom that is putting much of the glitter back into the Gold Coast. ..


Yet to many Anglos and Hispanics, South Florida is becoming a nice place to visit—but. Indeed, some of the would-be visitors are staying home. ..


South Florida is just beginning to be the crime capital of the nation, but it has been the drug capital for a decade. Smuggling dope into the region is about as difficult as buying a souvenir in Miami Beach...


Anglos tend to work the marijuana trade, while the cocaine market is controlled by Colombians and Cubans...


The billions in narcobucks, as police have dubbed the drug money, allow its recipients to buy, in cash, $1 million waterfront homes, $50,000 Mercedes and $400 bottles of wine. One drug kingpin alone has bought up some $20 million worth of prime Miami real estate. Says Miami Financial Analyst Charles Kimball: “Criminals have become conspicuous buyers of some of the best properties in South Florida.”...


Most, if not all, of Miami’s 250 banks have drug money in their accounts. As many as 40 banks still neglect to report cash deposits of $10,000 or more, as required by law. And at least four banks, according to law enforcement officials, are controlled by drug dealers. Treasury Department investigators have long suspected that some smaller banks, known as Coin-o-Washes among both cops and criminals, were founded primarily to launder money for the drug trade ...


Perhaps the most valuable commodity bought by all that cash is freedom. Once caught, suspected drug dealers are often released on bail of $1 million or more. They typically pay it within hours, sometimes in cash, and skip town...


IN THIS COUNTRY, ONE CAN DO ALMOST ANYTHING, BUILD ALMOST ANYTHING WITH MONEY!


ghostwriter305
ghostwriter305

@1cuban  you are showing your newbiness as a Miamian. Miami has an interesting history. And was much more diverse than you portray. But yeah..it was kinda boring. And more of a "Southern" town as far as prejudices etc. 

 
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