In Trump, I See Fidel Castro

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

I am a Cuban-American. I am also a senior and a part-time resident of Florida. My grown children are Florida residents – one in Orlando, one in Gainesville – who are also part Cuban-American. Florida is going to be one of the most crucial swing states come November 3rd. As a Cuban-American, I feel compelled to speak directly to those with the same background and heritage and warn them how detrimental another four years of Donald Trump will be.

I came to the U.S. at age 10 with my family. We didn’t have a choice. We were forced to leave my homeland because the business my parents had created was “nationalized” (I call it stolen) by Fidel Castro when he came to power. The younger generations of Hispanics or who were born in the U.S. with relatives from other Latin American nations will never know what it was like to have such an experience. It was incredibly frightening, being torn from everything you knew, cherished, and loved. Thus, my parents wanted me to grow up in a “free,” non-Communist country for precisely that reason. Thanks to them, I have. I went to school here, married here, had children, and now grandchildren here. They should all have the opportunity I had. I fear they will not if Trump is reelected.

Fidel Castro at MATS Terminal, Washington 1959

Fidel Castro at MATS Terminal, Washington 1959

If we have learned anything since 2016, the Hispanic population in the United States is not a monolith. While some Hispanic people are solidly blue in some places, polls show that many Cuban-Americans in Florida are considering voting for Trump. Some continue to vote Republican no matter what sort of person represents the party. I do not understand the present-day Cuban-American population. I want to shake some sense into them – particularly those generations that did not experience displacement firsthand. I want all people of Hispanic descent to understand that Trump is just like Fidel Castro. While it is true that their politics are nothing alike, they are similar in character and temperament. Trump is a wannabe dictator reincarnated for the 21st century, and as I watch the news, I feel pangs of deja vu reminding me of the forces that caused my family to leave my homeland decades earlier. It is frightening.

Trump only cares about Trump. Rather than keeping his worst tendencies in check, the GOP seems to follow and do everything he wants. They are his sycophants – without morality, independent thinking, and decency. His calling card is, has been, and will always be the lies and degradation of others. His guile is unacceptable and incredulous. 

Everyone that either emigrated to America or who are their offspring need to wake up. Voting for Trump is recreating all that we escaped from – a world where citizens’ freedoms and opportunities are repressed and sacrificed for a leader. While it is true that Trump is not nationalizing business, he has been just as bad for our economy. His response to the pandemic has caused a recession, destroying many companies without any prospect of proper relief.

Look at what we see occurring in Florida and across the country. Please turn on the TV and see Trump fuel social unrest, undermine a free press, manipulate the justice system, disregard science, and show an unwillingness to take any responsibility for the more than 8.6 million infected with COVID and the 225,000 who have died from it. We should see Fidel Castro all over again.

Put simply, democracy and our way of life are at stake. It is not a contest between Democrats and Republicans, but between a constitutional democracy and an authoritarian regime. As the saying goes, if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat it. As a Cuban-American, I dread the prospect of living in Cuba under Fidel Castro. To me, that is what another four years of Donald Trump looks like. Every other Hispanic person should feel the same way.

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