LatinaLista — While Spanish may be considered the one unifier among all Latinos, it will be politics, now more than ever, that will divide the Latino electorate.
This became painfully obvious before and during the Republican presidential candidate forum on Univision.
Prior to the forum, Republican candidates such as Mitt Romney played up to the traditionally Republican Cuban-American community by saying, “I can tell you my inclination would be to say as many Cubans as want to come here should come in.”
Cubans illegally arrive on US sand.
A stark contrast to demanding “other” Latino immigrants, who arrive illegally, be deported as soon as they’re caught.
During the forum, each of the candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, further courted Cuban-Americans by denouncing Castro and speaking against normalizing any kind of relationship with him.
Yet, when it came to the “other” immigrants, namely Mexican and other South American immigrants who arrive by way of the Rio Grande/Bravo or the Arizona desert or any other point along the southern border, the hard stance we’ve come to expect from the Republican candidates return in all its fury.
As the Republican Party sees it, there are two kinds of Latinos with two distinct points of illegal entry into the United States — one is to be forgiven; the other is to be crucified.
The trouble is, that in an ironic twist of fate, the case between illegally-arrived Cubans and Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, etc. will be a lot harder to make because Cubans are foregoing their usual method of entering the country – by boat or floating in shark infested waters – and are opting to follow the less salty lead of their Central and South American hermanos.
The US Customs and Border Protection reports that nearly 90 percent of all undocumented Cubans who make it into the United States travel by land, rather than water.
Point of entry? Through Mexico.
In fact, Mexico is having a heck of a time with violent smuggling rings responsible for this new trend with Cuban immigrants.
But what makes this really newsworthy is that these smuggling rings are being financed by the very demographic Republicans are openly courting — Cuban Americans.
“This has been legally proved, that people of Cuban origin but who are citizens of the United States are involved, financing these people-smuggling operations, obviously with the complicity of Mexicans,” Mexican attorney general Eduardo Medina Mora said.
“This has to do with U.S. policy toward Cubans,” he said. “Those who make it to (U.S.) territory by their own means can get automatic refugee status, so that policy serves as an incentive” to smuggle Cubans here.
Under the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy, the U.S. turns back Cubans intercepted on the seas but grants asylum to most who make it to shore. To avoid capture by U.S. authorities before making it to land, many Cubans decide to go through Mexico.
Cubans are choosing to steer their boats to the Yucatan Peninsula which is only 130 miles away from the island nation and just a tad farther than Florida.
The capture of undocumented Cubans is overwhelming Mexico’s immigrant detention centers where it’s standard practice to hold people who illegally arrive in the country for 90 days at these centers. Afterwards, most of them are released with only one-third repatriated back to Cuba.
Yet, because of this lucrative smuggling ring, violent gang-style murders have resulted — on top of all the other violent gang-style murders the country is enduring because of the drug cartel violence — courtesy of American financiers.
But the lucky Cubans who can make it out of Mexico join the thousands of other undocumented whose goal is to sneak across the border and make it to home-base before being caught.
With Cubans now entering our southern border with the rest of our southern neighbors, it wouldn’t seem to be as easy to justify their illegal entry and not that of the others too.
After all, each group faced the same risks, hardships and challenges in crossing the border.
Each group fled an economy that was failing them and their families.
Each group wants to live in the kind of freedom that allows them to create a sustainable future.
Each group speaks Spanish.
Each group is on the political radar .
The only difference is Cuban Americans can deliver something Mexicans nor any other Latino sub group can — enough votes for a Republican win.
It’s reported that Florida’s 300,000 Cuban Americans make up 10 percent of the votes in a GOP primary. Since Cuban Americans tend to vote in blocs then it makes sense that Republicans would be courting Cuban Americans.
It just doesn’t make sense that Republicans would be caught lying in bed with some who are fueling the one issue Republicans would use to divide Latinos.