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Biden appoints ex-congresswoman accused of insulting Cubans as Summit of the Americas adviser

The White House announced this week that President Joe Biden has named former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) and former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) as official advisers for the upcoming Summit of the Americas.

The Summit of the Americas, a regular event bringing together the leaders of the countries of the Organization of American States (OAS), is due to take place in Los Angeles in July. The last two iterations of the conference – in 2015 and 2018 – were the first to feature the presence of the Communist Party of Cuba.

The OAS requires all of its members to be democracies in its official rules, but following President Barack Obama’s decision to erase much of the US embargo on the island dictatorship, the OAS invited the country. Cuban officials then disrupted the conference by assaulting and heckling human rights leaders and pro-democracy dissidents present at the event on both occasions.

While Cuba’s presence at the summit this year, given that America is hosting it, remains unconfirmed, the communist dictatorship’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests last year is likely to be a main talking point.

Mucarsel-Powell represented the largest Cuban-American community in the country when he was in Congress. She lost her position in 2020 to Cuban-American Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), then Miami-Dade County mayor, in a campaign that featured a controversy in which Cuban-Americans expressed outrage over to a video of the congresswoman bragging about defeating her state’s “Cuban republican establishment” through a megaphone.

“Senator Dodd and Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell are confident that President Biden will renew and strengthen the collaboration and respect essential to a bright future for the Americas at the upcoming summit in Los Angeles in June,” the House announced Monday. White. “The Summit of the Americas, the only gathering that brings together leaders from North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean, will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the Americas at a critical time in our history.

Former President and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and then Vice President Joe Biden embrace during a conference May 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Dodd is used to promoting friendly ties with the Castro regime and has visited the island and its tyrants on several occasions. Mucarsel-Powell — who is Ecuadorian-American, a country that has faced its own struggles against socialism — has no such history. In Congress, she openly sentenced Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for his public praise of socialism and Fidel Castro. Mucarsel-Powell also slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for echoing the Castro regime’s talking points on the embargo.

The August 2020 incident in which she appeared to target Cubans while her political rivals nevertheless sparked outrage in the Cuban-American community and led to calls for her to apologize. During a campaign stoppage that month, Mucarsel-Powell praised his own team for defeating his predecessor, former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), a Cuban-American.

“No one thought we would be able to take on the Cuban Republican establishment that has taken over Florida politics for over 20 years,” Mucarsel-Powell proclaimed into a megaphone.

The organization Facts About Cuban Exiles (FACE) released a letter to Mucarsel-Powell demanding an apology, lamenting that the then congresswoman appeared to define members of a specific ethnicity as adversaries.

“If she had simply referred to the Republican establishment, FACE…would not have written this letter. But she widened [it] to make sure people know that she was speaking not only of the Republican establishment but of the Cuban Republican establishment in a pejorative tone,” the letter read in part.

“The fact that many Cubans are Republicans is their right, just as it is for Democrats. “The Establishment” means voters have established in power those they wish to represent, and Cubans and non-Cubans voted alike in elections in Florida,” the group continued.

“By this means, we are asking Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell for District 26 to immediately recant and apologize for her dismissive comment toward the Cuban-American community,” the group demanded.

Gimenez, then a candidate for Congress, condemned Mucarsel-Powell for being “one of the most partisan legislators in the United States Congress”.

“Once again Debbie Mucarsel-Powell insults our community with her divisive words,” he said in a video responding to the incident.

Babalú Blog, a Miami-based site covering Cuban affairs, linked his comments to the general contempt for Cuban-Americans that the exile community has known for decades.

“The Cuban-American community heard you, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell,” said writer Alberto de la Cruz. “Many of us live in your congressional district and we always knew you had nothing but contempt for us. Yelling it through a megaphone really wasn’t necessary.

Mucarsel-Powell’s spokesperson responded to a request for comment on the matter from Miami-based AmericaTeve at the time, noting that the congresswoman was “the first South American woman elected to Congress and the only Latina representing Florida” and arguing that his policies benefit Cuba. -Americans.

“The MP represents the most diverse district in the country, including the Cuban community – who support her because they know she is working for them and to reopen the Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP) which was shut down by the Republican President Donald Trump,” the spokeswoman said, dismissing the controversy as “an absurd attempt to distract voters from realizing that the Republican leadership has failed to control the coronavirus pursues its intentions. to cancel medical care and led us into the worst economic recession since the Great A depression.”

Mucarsel-Powell lost to Gimenez and has since focused on fighting the would-be Spaniards”disinformation» journalists and conservative media, that she blame for his defeat.

The former lawmaker’s nomination comes amid a catastrophic drop in support for Democrats in the Hispanic-American community. Several recent polls have found that across the country, Hispanic voters are leaving the party and supporting Republicans in growing numbers. A national survey released in March by Democratic firm Impact Research and GOP firm Fabrizio, Lee & Associates found Republicans leading Democrats among Hispanic voters by 9% after polls found the parties were essentially tied in november.

Another poll released in March by RMG Research found that 48% of Hispanics supported Republicans nationally, two percentage points more than those who supported Democrats — a 42% swing to Republicans in four years.

According to polls, among the top concerns about Democrats among Hispanics are support for socialist policies and failure to contain inflation.

Democrats have further alienated Hispanic voters through a variety of bizarre moves over the past two years, including calling for a boycott of beloved Hispanic food company Goya, imposing the unpopular and phonetically vexing term ” Latinx,” and most recently reported that President Joe Biden is considering buying crude oil from socialist Venezuela.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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