DeSantis Stunt Faces Backlash from Florida’s Latino Community

As the fallout continues from Ron DeSantis’s latest political stunt, Venezuelan-Floridians and Latinos across the state are calling DeSantis out for using their communities, families, and even children as props for his Fox News political theater.

Read more below:

WLRN: “Venezuelan migrant advocates blast DeSantis’ ‘cruel political stunt;’ he calls complaints ‘a fraud’”

  • “‘It’s just of DeSantis’ cruel political stunt show — using human beings,’ Adelys Ferro, a Democrat who heads the nonprofit Venezuelan-American Caucus, told WLRN before a press conference in Doral Thursday morning that featured several Venezuelan-Americans and immigration activists.
  • ‘He’s using Venezuelans to galvanize his extremist base and to gain points for his run for the presidential elections.’
  • Ferro added it’s ‘hypocritical’ of GOP politicians to curry votes in the Venezuelan exile community by condemning the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela that so many thousands of Venezuelan refugees are fleeing, ‘only to turn around and then show, like this, that they really don’t want Venezuelans here.’
  • Venezuelan-American Maria Corina Vegas of the American Business Immigration Coalition said it was ‘shameless’ of DeSantis and Republicans ‘to traumatize Venezuelan migrant families instead of acknowledging that they make Florida’s economy stronger.’”

Actualidad Radio: “This is what Fidel Castro did.”

  • Translated: “‘In these images, you see people that have been thrown, with nothing but some small bags. My God, this is truly painful to watch. Holding small bags with what little they have, thrown there, and they just arrived. This is happening right now.’
  • ‘Truly, this is criminal. They are using human beings to advance political points of view. This is what Fidel Castro did when he wanted to clean the Escambray. During the cleaning of the Escambray, they took peasants from one place and sent them to another by force. That was one of the major denunciations, one of the worst horrors the Castro regime committed. Uprooting that population and taking them to Pinar del Río into those artificial towns they created to clean the Escambray. In other words, using human beings for political reasons is inhumane.’”
  • Original: “‘En las imagenes se ven esta gente que los han tirado allí con paqueticos, Dios mío es que de verdad que da grima esto, con paqueticos, con jabitas, con lo poquito que tienen, tirados allí, y acaban de llegar, esto está pasando en estos momentos. 
  • De verdad es criminal esto, como están utilizando seres humanos para adelantar puntos de vista políticos. Esto es lo que hizo Fidel Castro cuando la limpia del Escambray. Cuando la limpia del Escambray lo que hicieron es cogían guajiros y los llevaban de un lugar a otro forzados, y esa fue una de las grandes denuncias, de los grandes horrores que hizo el régimen castrista, desarraigar a esa población y meterla en Pinar del Río, en esos pueblos que hicieron artificiales para limpiar el Escambray, o sea utilizar seres humanos por motivos políticos es inhumano.’” 

Tampa Bay Times: “Venezuelans slam DeSantis after migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard”

  • “Venezuelan journalist Carlos Bohorquez, 37, of Tampa, said DeSantis is wrong. Bohorquez is among the 140,000 refugees or asylum-seekers across the United States who have left Venezuela as the once-stable nation deteriorates under the shadow of the late socialist leader, Hugo Chavez, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro.
  • ‘I don’t have a partisan view so I don’t care where an action like this comes from because I will always repudiate it,’ said Bohorquez. ‘Immigrants, especially in Florida, are a fundamental part of the local growth and economy. Trying to ignore our immigrants fleeing cruel regimes is an inhumane act.’
  • Adelys Ferro, director of the Venezuelan-American Caucus in Miami, said immigrants are at the heart of Florida and they’re not pieces of a political game.
  • ‘One in five Floridians is an immigrant,’ said Ferro in an email. ‘Stop using Venezuelans as props for your political games! You cannot rail against Nicolás Maduro and then despise Venezuelan immigrants when they seek refuge in your state.’”

Miami Herald: “‘A new low’: What some Miami Venezuelans think of migrants taken to Martha’s Vineyard”

  • “‘[DeSantis] likes to pander to communities like mine, traumatized by political persecution and violence,’ [Maria Corina Vegas, the Deputy State Director of the bipartisan American Business Immigration Coalition], said. ‘This is a new low, even for this governor.’”

News4Jax: ‘It’s shameful’: Sparks fly after Gov. Ron DeSantis sends planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

  • “‘Our governor is using Florida taxpayer money to transport people from other states all for political talking points,’ said Yareliz Mendez-Zamora with the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
  • Maria Corina Vegas, Florida deputy state director for the American Business Immigration Coalition, called the immigrants’ transfer ‘morally repulsive,’ noting that the flights took place the day before the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month and accusing DeSantis of ‘trafficking’ migrant children.
  • ‘As a Venezuelan-American myself, I was heartbroken. These are Venezuelan asylum seekers who are escaping the Maduro regime. This is a new low, even for this governor,’ she said.”

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