14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Mario Penton, Havana/Miami, 8 November 2016 – With the presidential election this Tuesday, not only is the fate of the United States in play. Its results will also affect the future of the island. In Miami, the South Florida city that Cuban exiles have turned into their capital since the sixties, the Cuban-American community will go to the polls very early to exercise their right to vote. Jorge Guillarte, a 30-year-old Cuban-American, doesn’t care for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. He explains that, although he is going to vote, he prefers to do it for local candidates and to use his vote for things that change his own community. “If we had a candidate like Michelle Obama, I would vote for her,” he adds.
“I am a Republican, I am Cuban, we defend the rights and freedom. We want Clinton to leave and Trump to get in to live a little better, with peace and security, with more jobs and more prosperity for the American people,” Enrique de la Cruz, a former Cuban political prisoner, told 14ymedio.
The New York magnate promised to be tough on the government of Raul Castro if he comes to power. In an attempt to win the Cuban vote, traditionally Republican, but shifting among younger voters, Trump promised to reverse the opening to Havana maintained by President Barack Obama.
“The United States should not protect the Cuban regime economically or politically as Obama has done, and as Hillary Clinton plans to do. They do not know how to make a good deal. She is as bad as him, if not worse,” Trump told the veterans of the Bay of Pigs at a campaign event at the headquarters of Brigade 2506.
Others, however, choose the Democratic option. Such is the case with Ventura Soto, a retired Cuban who was born in the territory that today corresponds to the province of Granma.
Soto explains that he is going to the polls to support everyone who is a Democrat. “Starting with Patrick (Murphy) and doing away with his opponent (Sen. Marco) Rubio who is swarthy,” he says.
In the face of a “racist” speech by the Republican candidate, he is choosing continuity. “He doesn’t want us,” Ventura Soto affirms.
Ileana Cabrera, another Cuban who has spent 22 years in exile, is worried. “We Cubans have experienced monstrosities in our country, it costs a lot of work to believe that in this beautiful country that has accepted as that there are political problems as serious as those facing us,” she adds. “We have to unite, because Cubans divided us.”
In Cuba, the opinions seem to be marked by the influence left by the visit of President Obama in March. Vicenta, a woman selling crafts in Old Havana, believes that the best option for the US is Hillary Clinton, because she seems “fair” and “better person.” Antonio, a retiree, shares this view and, although he was not able to remember the name of the Democratic candidate, he predicts her victory.
Despite the limited access to the internet on the island, Antonio says that judging “online, she” will be the winner.
A young sophomore in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Havana also expressed an opinion in favor of Clinton and evaluated her victory as a “preferred” way out, adding it would be “among the negative [choices], the better one.”
Only one of those interviewed predicted Trump would be the winner, “with the money he has, he’s going to win.”
On Tuesday morning, Cristina Escobar, the commentator on international issues on Cuban National Television, without venturing a prediction about the possible winner, concentrated on detailing the scenarios for Cuba in either case.
The journalist explained the real estate moguls unstable position with regards to Cuba, saying he has shown a proclivity to open businesses on the island, and also met with the veterans of the Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506. The Republican candidate also promised to reverse the diplomatic normalization promoted by Obama, she said.
On the former First Lady, Escobar predicted that she would maintain the steps toward a thaw taken by the current administration. However, she clarified that Obama considered the issue of Cuba an important part of his “legacy” but Clinton did not seem to give it much importance.