At Miami's Latinas for Trump Event, Cuban-American Fervor for Donald on Display

The poll numbers for Donald Trump among Hispanic voters are dire. Just last week, ABC found that 90 percent of Latin voters nationwide have a negative view of the Donald. Among Florida Hispanics, Hillary's lead has polled as high as 51 percent

So as Miami's own Latinas for Trump group mobilized for its second public meeting last night in Coral Gables, we had to ask: Who are these people? And are they really behind the guy who's own party has called him racist for his comments about a judge of Mexican descent? 

The short answer: Most of the attendees we talked to were older Cuban-Americans, and all argued that more Latino voters would support Trump if there weren't a stigma attached to his name. In fact, they billed their meeting as #ComingOutTrump. Holding wine glasses and sipping cocktails at Trust & Co., they proudly toasted the real-estate magnate.

“I really think he’s the one,” says Lilia Morraz, a Cuban native who came to the United States when she was 9 years old. “The other candidates running for office are corrupt, but Trump is transparent.”

It's not clear exactly how many showed up last night. Founders Ileana Garcia and Denise Galvez say more than 250 women are signed up for the group, and 89 RVSP'd for last night's rally. New Times counted a few dozen while we were there, but numbers may have grown later. 

Galvez says that poll numbers or not, the media is wrong to doubt that Hispanics in Miami would vote for Trump. 

“The usual reaction that people have towards us is that we’re either racist or crazy,” says Galvez, “but we’re a group that is giving people the courage to speak out against the hate and censorship that comes with being a Trump supporter. We are being placed under the same attacks as Trump himself, but we are growing by 400 percent each week.”
In terms of why they support Trump when so many Hispanics nationwide shun him, attendees praised the same no-holds-barred persona that has turned off others. 

“There’s a cliché that says we are responsible for what we say, but not for how others perceive it,” says Garcia, “and I think that applies perfectly to Trump. For the past eight years, we have had a president who speaks like Martin Luther King but delivers nothing. Trump is here to shake things up.”
Others at the rally even backed Trump for attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who's presiding over a civil case against Trump's for-profit university, over his Mexican heritage. 

“Trump has won his votes fair and square,” says Gina Sosa, a Cuban-American who is a longtime GOP voter. “While he may have said things that may have offended Mexicans, illegals, and women, he will be the Ronald Reagan of the 21st Century."

Lizz Wiegandt, who reverses the usual term to identify herself as an American-Cuban, agrees with Sosa. She says Trump's hard stand against illegal immigration is his best policy point. 

"Trump is a man of God who has raised incredibly successful children," Wiegandt says, "and I don't believe he is discriminatory. I am a Cuban who defends the American dream and think it's time we start playing by the books. We are a country of rules where there should be no such thing as political correctness. This is my country, and I can say what I want to say."
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Nicola Haubold
Contact: Nicola Haubold