Except for perhaps Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren and especially former President Bill Clinton, Day Two of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, seemed to lurch forward at a snail’s past — kind of like the economic recovery
Wait. I feel as though I’m missing something…. Oh, yeah!
Cristina Saralegui, the famed Cuban-American TV personality and former host of the widely-watched Cristina, took to the stage Wednesday night to talk about her experience as a Cuban immigrant chasing the American Dream.
For many Latinos who grew up watching Cristina — and who will always refer to her as simply “Cristina” — her appearance in front of the DNC last night marked a special occasion. As she noted, the former TV host — is it safe to call her the Latina Oprah? — is not known for her politics. In fact, it’s Cristina’s apolitical nature that lends more weight to the speech she delivered last night in favor of President Obama.
Cristina’s support for Obama and the Democrats also does much to negate the likes of Senator Marco Rubio and all the other Florida Cubans who tend to vote Republican.
In an article yesterday published by Fox News Latino, a distinction was drawn between Senator Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro based on their separate nationalities and the politics perceived to originate in those nationalities. It’s a widely-held but misconceived belief that Cuban Americans all come from wealth and vote Republican, and that Mexican Americans all come from poverty and vote Democratic. Moises Venegas, a retired Mexican-American educator and Latino community activist in New Mexico, believes the same:
“The Cubans have never been one of us. They didn’t come from Chihuahua or Sonora in Mexico and from poor backgrounds. They came from affluent backgrounds and have a different perspective. The Republican Party also has opened doors just for them.”
Yet, here we have Cristina, a famous Cuban woman — una habanera, no less — who, unlike Senator Rubio, was actually born on the island and who supports the Democratic platform.
Cristina may have revealed her reason for finally voicing her political stance when she said:
“On immigration, Governor Romney’s views — this really freaked me out — his views could not be more extreme. He says that we should make life so unbearable for 11 million people that they simply ‘self-deport.’ What is that? He said that Arizona’s immigration law should be a ‘model’ for our country. [crowd boos] Don’t boo. Vote.”
She went on to explain that the difference between Romney and Obama is that one man sees the undocumented as “illegal aliens” while the other sees them as “DREAMers.”
It’s great to see a Cuban American from the island stand in favor of progressive values. The myth about Florida Cubans being a synch for the Republican Party is just that — a myth.
And let’s not forget about Gloria Estefan, who also opposes the Republican immigration position and who held a Democratic fundraiser back in 2010 where President Obama himself was in attendance.
Estefan is also famously Cuban — y una habanera, no less.