Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) turns his back on Cuban exile community, promotes engagement with Castro dictatorship

No one can really say they are surprised by the questionable behavior of U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia. His entire public career has been marked by his inexplicable and inexcusable fascination with taking stands that fly in the face of his fellow Cuban Americans and directly or indirectly support the apartheid Castro dictatorship in Cuba. Naturally, Garcia did not run for congress in 2012 highlighting his fondness for turning his back on the Cuban exile community. But being true to his nature, sooner rather than later, the real Joe appears. A Joe that is seemingly more interested in promoting the interests of Cuba’s dictatorship than that of his Cuban American constituents.

Marc Caputo in The Miami Herald:

Rep. Joe Garcia, district are at center of Cuba clashes, policy changes

U.S. Congressman Joe Garcia speaks at FIU on April 22, 2013. 
Congressman Joe Garcia had to choose between two worlds.

At one end of Garcia’s district, an ally persuaded fellow Key West city commissioners to unanimously pass a resolution inviting Cuban diplomats to the San Carlos Institute — a Duval Street landmark steeped in Cuban history, as well as tensions between exiles and the Castro regime.

The Key West resolution was met with outrage by some near the northern end of Garcia’s district, in Miami-Dade. His two Miami Cuban-American colleagues and another House member penned a letter that urged the U.S. State Department to block the diplomats’ Sunday visit from Washington.

Garcia didn’t sign.

The diplomats canceled amid the controversy.

But questions now linger about Garcia’s exile bona fides and, more broadly, the direction of U.S.-Cuba policy amid South Florida’s shifting politics and demographics.

The San Carlos controversy marked the second time in as many weeks that Garcia ostensibly distanced himself from the rest of the Cuban-American delegation. Last Monday, the Miami Herald reported, Garcia became the only delegation member to help advocate for U.S. trials of a diabetes treatment developed by a Cuban regime institute.

“Joe Garcia is at a crossroads. We’re at a crossroads,” said Rafael Peñalver, an exile leader who heads the San Carlos Institute and led opposition to the Cuban diplomats’ visit.

“We have to decide, and he has to decide, if we’re going to advocate for an open Cuba with cosmetic changes by a repressive regime that uses the Cuban people as slave labor for a few business interests,” Peñalver said. “Or are we going to keep the pressure on for a free Cuba without the Castro regime and with true freedom for the Cuban people?”

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5 thoughts on “Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) turns his back on Cuban exile community, promotes engagement with Castro dictatorship

  1. Crossroads? Please. He’s decided already, and it’s obvious which way. He’s FAR worse than a Bill de Blasio, even if de Blasio flat out declares that the “revolution” is the best thing that ever happened to Cuba. This is a prime example of what Martí called “hombres sin decoro,” who have always plagued Cuba. Alas, they still do. If this slimeball won’t respect the San Carlos, hallowed by its connection to Martí (who called it “La Casa Cuba”), he’s WAY beyond the pale and should be rejected unequivocally. He’s absolutely repulsive, but while the dishonor is his, the shame is still ours.

  2. Martí had an exquisitely sensitive concept of decorum, as the following anecdote illustrates. While living in exile in New York City around 1891, he was invited by fellow exiles to see a performance by a Spanish dancer, Carolina Otero, who would go on to achieve great renown as “La Bella Otero.” At first, the theater where she was dancing put up a Spanish flag above the entrance, and Martí declined to attend because he refused to pass under Spain’s flag to go inside. The flag was later removed, and then he did go and wrote a beautiful poem about the experience, called “La Bailarina Española.” In the poem, he makes reference to the flag issue:

    Han hecho bien en quitar
    El banderón de la acera;
    Porque si está la bandera,
    No sé, yo no puedo entrar.

    The poem, however, is all about the captivating Carolina:

    Ya llega la bailarina
    Soberbia y pálida llega
    ¿Cómo dicen que es gallega?
    Pues dicen mal: es divina.

    Read the whole thing. It’s a marvel of refined sensuality. But back to my point: A sleazy, vulgar politician who would defile the San Carlos and trample upon Martí’s memory is an abomination: todo un asco.

  3. I’ve asked before but: How on earth did this guy become 2nd in command at CANF back under Jorge Mas in the 90’s? Who fell asleep at the wheel?…I’ve never heard an adequate explanation. I mean we’re talking a borderline Lesnick here?

  4. Humberto, ever hear of a chameleon? How about an opportunist? You think this guy carried on back then as he does now? You think he can’t tailor his persona to his target audience? You think he’s always been transparent? And yes, sharp people can be fooled. Remember “All About Eve”? I know it’s a movie, but you get the idea. And if you want something closer to home, remember Manny Díaz (aka “la gatica de María Ramos”), who made his name off being the lawyer for Elián’s Miami relatives, only to turn around later and endorse Hillary Clinton for president and, by extension, Bill Clinton for unofficial co-president? If it weren’t for so many shitty Cubans, there’d be no need for this blog or your books, and we wouldn’t even be here, but on the island. And btw, I hear García is now “encouraging” Díaz to run for governor. Imagine that.

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