Hispanic Voters Will Never Elect a Black Miami-Dade County Mayor

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Miami-Dade County Mayor's Office
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez once again has proven he doesn't care about African-Americans unless he needs our vote.

The county mayor was a no-show at a January 16 community meeting to address the epic gun violence that is plaguing Northwest Miami-Dade, home to a majority of the county's black residents. His honor didn't even bother to send a representative. That's how much lack of respect he has for us.

When he was seeking reelection in 2012, Gimenez showed up at every rally and black church to drum up endorsements. Though the black vote can push a candidate over the top in a countywide election, we somehow always select the best Cuban candidate. And once the Cuban candidate wins, he tosses the African-American community into the garbage. All we get in return is a giant F-you.

While African-Americans always give Cuban candidates the benefit of the doubt, Latino voters never do the same for black candidates for county mayor. President Barack Obama, who is the best black politician ever and won Miami-Dade in 2008 and 2012, would not win a mayoral race here. Hispanics will always vote for the Cuban, even if he turns out to be the Latino Trump. And it’s not just Cuban voters. Other Latino voters — Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Nicaraguans, and Colombians — always fall in line too.

The closest a black candidate has gotten to the county throne came in 1996, when the late Arthur Teele Jr. forced a runoff against Alex Penelas in a contentious battle that split along racial lines. Teele won an overwhelming majority of black voters but did not make a dent in Latino neighborhoods. Penelas garnered more than 50 percent of Latino voters for the primary. In the runoff, he almost doubled that output by winning 90 percent of the Latino vote.

At the time, former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré and Teele endorser said, “Obviously, the Hispanic community feels very strongly about having one of their own in office.” More than two decades later, that sentiment hasn’t changed. A major disconnect still exists between black and Latino residents.

So we get stuck with politicians like Gimenez, who appoint police directors like Juan Perez, who also doesn’t give a damn about the county’s black community. Perez was also absent at the anti-gun violence gathering.

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