¡Cuba, sí! ¡México, no!

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Marco Rubio

Now that Santorum is officially out of the way, it’s time to start seriously considering a running mate for Mitt Romney. 

I have to admit, when I first started writing this column, I had an intent to prove that the GOP would be making a terrible assumption in believing that the selection of Cuban American and Tea Party favorite, Marco Rubio, would help them garner the growing Latino vote. 

Romney advisors probably think that Rubio represents the everyday José, with a compelling immigrant story, even if it has a hole or two in it. 

And, what timing! Rubio is working on an alternative to the DREAM Act, sans the part about a pathway to citizenship because that would lead to “chain migration” and we can’t have that! A recent New York Times editorial even described it as a “A Dream Act without the Dream.” But, whatever, he looks good!

I also wanted to point out that most Latinos may not identify with this guy and his alternative reality of a dream, and how he was for Arizona’s SB1070 before saying that he was against it. 

I was going to challenge the large percentage of Cuban Americans who are Republican and support laws like SB1070. I was going to argue that attitudes toward illegal immigration might be different if there were no  Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, or its revision in 1995, known as the “the wet foot, dry foot policy.” Land safely on U.S. shores and you’re in like Flynn.  

I was also going to make clear that Cuban Americans, while accounting for only three percent of the Latino population, have held significant political clout for some time now, and that some of those old-school views aren’t necessarily shared by younger, much more moderate, U.S.-born Cuban Americans. They may be more likely to resent a growing anti-Latino sentiment in America than resent American policies concerning Cuba. Heck, they probably like Juanes more than they hate Fidel.

I was going to delve into theories about how Cuban Americans ever even became Republicans when, at first, they were mostly Democrats. Was it the botched invasion of the Bay of Pigs that led to no mas JFK? Or, was it when Ronald Reagan promised to take a hard line with Castro, possibly even overthrowing him, and proclaimed “¡Cuba, sí, Castro, no!”

In a recent interview with Rubio, the “crown prince” of the Tea Party, Juan Williams asked him a poignant question, “Your family’s story is an amazing story, but as a Cuban-American Republican, the question becomes: Does it resonate with Puerto Ricans, with Mexicans, with Dominicans, or do they see you and Cuban Americans as a separate story?” 

Then I lit a cigar, put on some Buena Vista Social Club, and remembered how much I love the Cuban culture, even if I didn’t always agree with the politics of their U.S. brethren, and said “coño!”  

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