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Cuban-American support for Obama in Florida divided

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 30th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While the Latino vote in the United States overwhelmingly supports President Barack Obama in the United States, among the large Cuban-American community in Florida - a swing state, support is mixed. Cubans living here traditionally tend to vote Republican, as they see that party as being stricter with the Castro regime in Cuba and being more fiscally conservative.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In such Floridian communities such as Little Havana, many Cubans here are political refugees who fled Fidel Castro's communist regime. The largest Latino group in Florida, they remain a strong political force in the state.

Armando Alba, like the majority of Cuban-Americans says that he strongly supports Mitt Romney for president. 

"I believe he will lift the spirit of the nation and return us to the tradition, to the values of this nation of liberty and democracy. We do not need help or redistribution from anyone," Alba says.

There remains a significant minority of Cuban-American voters like Raoul Martines, who says that they will vote for Obama.
 
"Things were really bad when he took office. It is still bad, but it was much worse before," Martinez says.

Some recent polls have Obama ahead by a small margin among all the Latinos in Florida. This is explained as the number of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida has grown significantly.

The civic group Florida Immigrant Coalition works to help new citizens understand their rights and exercise their votes. Worker Jessenia Fernandez says that most of these new Latino voters overwhelmingly support Obama, in part because he endorses the so-called "Dream Act" to legalize the status of several million undocumented youth.

Juana Sopline de Rojas, from Peru says that immigration reform is the motivating issue for her in this election.
 
"So that they can get out of this, so that they can study. So that Latinos can study and then after they can get their papers, [their legal status]," de Rojas says.

Fernandez is concerned that voters who are undecided about whom they support may not vote at all.

"Those are the people who are not that enthusiastic about this election. They are kind of like "iffy" [not sure]. They are [thinking], 'I do not know if I am going to vote for this person or that person.' But if they already have in their minds that they are going to vote, they already know who they are voting for and they are enthusiastic about it," Fernandez says.

The growing number of non-Cuban Latinos in Florida helps give Democrats an advantage in numbers of registered voters. But most polls either give Romney a slight edge or say the race is too close to call.

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