Destaque Internacional - Year XIV - No. 365 - Interactive Editorial - Sept. 17, 2012 / October 03, 2012.

Original in Spanish: "Un punto de vista sudamericano (02) / Elecciones presidenciales: América latina dentro de Estados Unidos"

A South American point of view (2)

2012 US Presidential Elections: Latin America within the United States

Even though most Hispanic voters are mainly sensitive to economic problems and immigration issues, an active Hispanic minority is particularly interested in the American foreign policy towards Latin America and believes that Obama's policy towards the region has been a disaster for the cause of freedom

1. "In this coming elections, Latin voters will have the power to exert a stronger influence, to be a decisive factor in a greater number of political quarrels, and to cast more votes than ever before", said Javier Palomarez, chairman and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). This statement is far from being far-fetched, if one considers that Hispanics, or simply "Latinos", make up about 16% of the United States' inhabitants - 50.5 million of a 308.7 million total population. The number of Hispanic voters registered for the upcoming elections is up to 14 million, and constitutes about 11% of the total electorate. Out of these 11% Hispanic voters, 57% are inclined towards the Democrat model led by Barack Obama, whereas 28% prefer the Republican model led by Mitt Romney, while 15% are still undecided, according to a recent opinion poll carried out by Telemundo and NBC channels.

2. There are three States where the Hispanic presence is especially decisive: Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Given the fact that so far there is no considerable difference between Democrat and Republican potential voters, Hispanic voters belonging to those three States constitute a minority that may play a crucial role in the electoral outcome.

3. However, there is still another factor not to be underestimated. Even though most Hispanic voters are mainly sensitive to economic problems and immigration issues, an active enough Hispanic minority is particularly interested in the American foreign policy towards Latin America and believes that Obama's policy towards the region has been a disaster for the cause of freedom. Considering that, statistically speaking, as stated above, the voter's preferences are still even between the two presidential candidates, it does not seem out-fetched to ponder that the electoral outcome may eventually depend on this especially "ideologised" Hispanic minority that opposes Obama's concessive policy towards Chávez and Castro.

4. Here comes into full play the role of many American citizens who have their roots in Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua etc., and who are still suffering, or did suffer, either directly or indirectly, in one way or another, the effects of Chávez's and Castro's scourge in their respective countries of origin.

5. The above-mentioned considerations concerning the decisive influence of a particularly "ideologised" Hispanic minority are not the fruit of a mere speculation; quite the opposite, they are based on real facts, especially in regards to the State of Florida. Moreover, the present worries of Obama's campaign team are understandable due to the historically crucial role played by Florida in several past elections.

6. A few months before the 2000 US presidential election, former President Clinton sent back to Cuba the poor boat-child Elián González, as part of his concessive foreign policy. The whole United States was shaken by the brutal presidential gesture, but the quake's epicenter was the State of Florida, where over a million Cuban-Americans reside. Shortly after, the national election was defined precisely in the State of Florida. Democrat candidate Al Gore lost narrowly to Republican George W. Bush by a few hundred votes casted in Cuban-American districts, thus allowing the Republican candidate to win his first presidential mandate. Even Clinton acknowledged that the issue involving boat-child Elián González was crucial for the Democrat defeat. The State of Florida was again decisive for the Republican candidate's victory at the 2004 presidential election, although this time the difference in his favor was much wider, by a margin of 381,000 votes. And now Obama's campaign coordinators foresee that Florida will again be decisive for the upcoming US elections of 2012.

7. Economy and immigration are not the only issues at stake in this presidential election, although their importance shall obviously not be belittled. There are also some underlying ideological issues appealing to a particular electoral sector that is smaller yet influential. This minority perceives the crucial need for the United States to have a foreign policy intended to curb the regional leftist movements in Latin America, as the very future of the United States depends to a great extent on such a policy. In this regard, the Cuban-American community of the State of Florida holds again a tremendous historical responsibility towards the United States, Cuba, and Latin America. This historical responsibility is nowadays shared by communities coming from the other aforementioned Latin American countries that have suffered and are still suffering under the yoke of leftist governments.

8. Cuban-American and Latino voters in Florida and other States with a large Hispanic population ought to make every electoral effort at their reach in order to prevent Obama's victory. This will constitute a decisive help to the country that welcomed them and provided them with a new home. In the case of Cuban-Americans, it is also a moral obligation towards the cause of freedom in Cuba.

9. The upcoming US presidential election presents a paradox in regards to voters of a Hispanic background. For decades, except for some honorable exceptions, many successive American presidential candidates of all tendencies and their respective governments have ignored Latin America. All of a sudden, the current presidential candidates opened their eyes and realized that the ignored continent has penetrated the United States - and to such a point that voters of a Latin background may have such a decisive electoral role.

10. Therefore, not only the future of the United States, but of the three Americas, depends to a great extent on Latin voters and upon where they tip the scales of this great nation. Finally, another interesting question is to what extent some religious and moral issues raised by active pro-life movements, and that are currently giving rise to remarkable debates in a wide range of the American public arena, may also weigh upon the vote of that specific sector of the Hispanic and Latin population of the United States.

Previous Editorial on this issue:

" A South American point of view (1) / The United States presidential elections, Latin America, and Cuba"

(The most disastrous example of Obama's bet on the pseudo-moderates has been Obama's support to former Brazilian President Lula, whom he praised as a model of a reliable ally).

Editorial anterior sobre el tema:

"Un punto de vista sudamericano (01) / Estados Unidos: elecciones presidenciales, América Latina y Cuba"

(El ejemplo más desastroso de la apuesta obamista en pro de los seudo "moderados" fue el apoyo de Obama al entonces presidente Lula, del Brasil, a quien llegó a elogiar como un modelo de aliado confiable)