The national political co-president of the campaign of Democrat Michael Bloomberg, Cuban Manny Diaz, said that US President Donald Trump is “hypocritical” with Cubans and Venezuelans because he speaks ill of the “dictatorships” of both nations but deportes them and take away health insurance.
The former mayor of Miami (2001-2009) spoke with Efe this Saturday after inaugurating the Miami headquarters of Bloomberg in Little Havana, the first to install one of the candidates to compete for the presidency in the most important city of Florida, a state almost always decisive in the final election results.
Born in Havana 65 years ago and “raised” in that neighborhood of Miami, the heart of Cuban exile in the US, Diaz said it is “okay” to speak against the Cuban and Venezuelan dictatorships but also improve the immigration and health situation of these citizens and not repatriate them to those countries where they are in danger.
“That is important (rejecting dictatorships), but at the same time you cannot be hypocritical. If you really care about that group of people, those residents, you have to help them here in the United States,” he said.
He denounced that there are some “20,000 Cubans on deportation list to send them to Castro, to Cuba” and that the Trump Government has not approved a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans, who also face repatriation.
He also regretted that Trump, in his attempt to end Obamacare, as the Obama government’s public health insurance is known, has affected thousands of beneficiaries in South Florida, many of them Cuban and Venezuelan.
“Here is an area of Miami where there are more Obamacare participants than anywhere else in the United States,” he said.
On the other hand, the Democrat said that “without a doubt” the Democratic Party can win next November the vote of the Cubans in Miami, despite the support of this community for the hard-handed policy towards Trump Island and the rejection they generated the approaches promoted by Barack Obama, president in the period 2009-2017.
Díaz, who was accompanied during the event of Donna Shalala, who represents Little Havana in Congress in Washington, explained that Bloomberg’s policy towards the island is punishing the regime but without affecting ordinary Cubans with travel restrictions and remittances.
He said Bloomberg intends to “keep sanctions” on Cuba as long as the violation of human rights and intervention in Venezuela does not cease, “but the punishment must be directed at those who benefit from that system, the military, the government, not the village”.
He said he will establish a remittance plan in which shipments of less than $ 500 must be free, a measure that is part of an immigration plan that will be disclosed next week.
The former mayor explained that in addition to being the policy advisor to Cuba of Bloomberg, he is his bridge with the “important” Hispanic electorate in the United States, that this 2020 has a record 32 million people eligible to vote.
He said that “a difference of 100,000 Latino votes can determine an election” in hard-fought states and that it is an electorate that focuses more on the candidate than on the party.
“If there is a candidate that they want, that they respect, they would vote for that candidate, despite their party,” he said.
Díaz seeks together with Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York, to turn around the states that gave Trump the victory in 2016, including Florida, as well as Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan, mainly.
In that sense, he pointed out that “it is a problem” that the other Democratic candidates “have not left Iowa”, who voted Republican, and New Hampshire, noting that the primaries there and those of the rest of February only represent in total 4 % of the delegates of the Convention, which is the one chosen by the party candidate.
“The focus of us has been the rest of the country, with special emphasis on those six to seven states that will determine the final result” in November, he reiterated.
“If those voters become Bloomberg, we win,” said Diaz, who said he has known the millionaire Democrat for twenty years.
Former Mayor Diaz told Efe that Bloomberg will visit Puerto Rico and plans to open several offices there with a view to the March 29 primaries.
“In Puerto Rico’s primary, more delegates to the convention are elected than in Iowa and New Hampshire,” he said.
He stressed that Puerto Ricans both on the island and in Florida and New York tend “traditionally” to be more Democrats and are disappointed with the treatment given by Trump when they were hit by hurricanes and tremors.
In that sense, he said that the Bloomberg platform foresees the promotion of investments in Puerto Rico, especially in infrastructure, and that the island becomes the 51st state of the nation “as long as the Puerto Rican people want it”.