By Brenda Murillo
In recent months, there has been an increasing rise to prominence and visibility of agitations in the media by the relatively obscure Republican congressman for the 25th District of Florida, Mario Díaz-Balart, the supposedly presentable face and representative of the anti-Cuban mafia in the United States Congress, where he has followed in the footsteps of his brother, the unnameable Lincoln, who resigned from Congress for reasons that are not yet clarified but which are dogged by allegations of connections with acts of corruption. But let’s focus on Mario Díaz-Balart, who wants us to know he is very “concerned” about what is happening in Cuba and is one of the most frantic and vocal in calling for a US military intervention in our country. He has used numerous public events, accompanied by his puppet María Elvira Salazar, to fire up the anti-Cuban, extremist hordes and to exhort them to continue acting to pressure the Biden Administration into increasing hostility against Cuba.
The one notable thing about these public events is that they have gathered crowds of people together without any types of protection against the Covid-19. This kind of irresponsibility should not surprise anyone given the opportunism of these anti-Cuban politicians, who are always more interested in advancing themselves than in working for the benefit of their constituents, and who have had a such negative impact on Florida which is buckling under its accelerating waves of cases of Covid-19 infection.
You always have to consider the extent to which these politicians work for the benefit of their main donors, those who finance their political campaigns. It is no different in the case of Díaz-Balart, who faces elections in 2022, and whose motivations at the moment are to represent the interests of his main financiers, such as the company General Dynamics which is one of his main sponsors. Most of the $1,007,741 that Díaz-Balart has raised so far comes from this company and from other financiers in the military sector.[i]
As you would expect, Díaz-Balart, like the rest of the Republican specimens of Florida who are fervently pro-Trump, opposes the presidency of Joe Biden and is working to sabotage this administration and seeking to prevent Biden from winning Florida in the mid-term elections in 2022 and in the next set of presidential elections in 2024. If we review how he has been voting in the House of Representatives we will see that he has opposed most of the bills that benefit millions of Americans, including his own constituents. But that’s no real surprise!
We can briefly point to just some of the most important instances of the damage his voting record does to his own people: he opposed the legislation aimed at “Allowing the Federal Trade Commission to recover money for victims of illegal business practices”, the one aimed at “Providing money for transportation and water infrastructure” and the one called “Revoke a rule that changed the resolution process for discrimination in the workplace”. In a state with so many migrants, he also opposed the bill to “Require that people detained while trying to enter the country have access to legal aid” and the so-called “Limit the authority of the president on immigration restrictions.”
As a fervent Trump fan, he voted against the approval of the projects aimed at “Providing money for the security of the Capitol in response to the attack of January 6” and the “Establishment of a commission to investigate the attack of January 6 on the Capitol of the United States”. Of course, most of his voter base are extremely right-wing Trump supporters, so his agitations against the Biden administration are unsurprising. But even by those dismal standards, his own political essence is best expressed by his most significant vote against the bill aimed at “Providing $1.9 billion for the relief of COVID-19”, legislation aimed at helping the millions of US citizens who have been victims of the pandemic. Taking into account the callousness of this particular vote, it is little wonder that he continues to call for mass events agitating against Cuba amidst a new wave of infection in the pandemic, while at the same time he remains complicitly silent in the face of mounting criticism of the COVID-19 response (or lack thereof) by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
Díaz-Balart’s worldview is distilled by his refusal to approve the bill entitled “Expanding Voting Rights, Changing Campaign Finance Regulations and Strengthening Ethics Rules.” Why don’t you want voting rights expanded in the US? A fear of being defeated at the polls through genuinely more equal and fair elections? Why wouldn’t you want political campaign finance regulations changed and ethics rules strengthened? Unless of course there’s something very murky at the core of the anti-Cuban mafia of Cuban origin present in the US federal Congress that its representatives are obliged to hide. Mario Díaz-Balart’s seat in the legislature is up for grabs at the next election in 2022 and I believe that the voters of the 25th District of Florida should know how he has been prioritizing the interests of his financial backers and allies over the interests of his constituents. In light of this, all of those voters should have the right to be in a position to cast their vote of punishment fairly and remove him from Congress. Díaz-Balart has two priorities, one is to continue enriching himself from his position as a politician and the other is to continue attacking Cuba. That being so, there’s already more than enough of that ilk in Congress.
Translation: Aaron Kelly
For more on the records of other anti-Cuban politicians, see Brenda’s analysis of the likes of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carlos Giménez, and María Elvira Salazar on her blog: https://cubanoypunto.wordpress.com/2021/08/17/ted-cruz-y-su-desprecio-hacia-sus-votantes/comment-page-1/#comment-3841