2020 Elections: The Fragility of Our Latin American Countries Should Not Follow Us

Miami BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of The New Yorker

Florida, you’re so predictable it’s nauseating. As someone who resides in Florida, I can say this. I can explain the agony that takes over when you realize the place you call home is a swampy embarrassment. 

I am a “Florida Woman,” but not by choice. My heart’s home is snuggled in between the Andes Mountains in Medellin, Colombia. Unfortunately, the catastrophe brought by America’s beloved Escobar’s, aside from other reasons, drove my family out of the City of Eternal Spring. Now, I must conform to the dense humidity that smothers me most afternoons in Miami, Florida. 

I love Miami. I hate Miami. There’s no in-between. I am not trying to be overdramatic here, but there are no other sentiments left, especially not after how my fellow neighbors behaved in these elections. 

It is a known fact that Miami is composed mainly of those from marginalized communities. We’re talking people from the Latinx and Black communities. So, there’s no surprise why this hellish place appeals to politicians. 

Trump took notice and forced himself unto the vulnerable minds of many Latinx people by manipulating them with fear. 

The Latinx community fears any mention of socialism and communism as much as they fear undercooked beans. This is where Trump’s strategy came for Miami-Dade. 

Trump unfoundedly characterized Biden as a socialist and someone privy to communistic tendencies. It was then that some people in the Latinx community were lured into supporting a man who could care less about their needs. 

The numbers are jaw-dropping. About 30% of Puerto Ricans voted for Trump, whereas about 55% of Cuban-Americans filled in the bubble for their MAGA-chanting leader. 

It is understandable why people might not want to endure the experiences of their former home countries. I am not trying to be insensitive to the situation, especially since I understand the exilic journey firsthand. I get it. Anything similar to a time that has caused anyone trauma will fuel plenty of irrational behavior. 

But did you really want to help someone who has the strictest immigration laws in modern history? Or someone willing to give up an entire territory because it doesn’t make fiscal sense to keep them? Did you really want to support someone who can’t even condemn white supremacy within a few seconds?  Did you forget that we’ve had children in cages around the same grounds where you go buy the famed Knaus Berry cinnamon buns? 

Biden wants to help college students with their tuition; he wants to give more healthcare access and raise the minimum wage. For many, that sounds similar to the handouts the dictators they were once acquainted with. However, it was the lack of education that played against Miami-Dade Trump supporters. 

Regardless of the similarities, the foundation of the U.S. will never mirror that of any of the countries we had to leave. We have a sturdy base envied by the entire world; we uphold our law to democratic values as much as we might disagree with it from time to time. 

The fragility of our Latin American countries should not follow us. The U.S. Constitution is far superior to anything we’ve ever been exposed to. But this is where education comes in. 

If people aren’t willing to educate themselves and the implications of their choices, then we will inevitably continue to see this outcome every four years. A true testament to the significance of a well-rounded education is in the cities that did not turn red. The blue spots in Florida were left for the cities that are known for their universities. That says a lot if you ask me. 

Watching many of these people embrace Trump’s ideologies has left a sour taste in my mouth. 

Driving down the streets of Miami-Dade was cringeworthy as the elections got closer. The cars that sped past me were often decorated with MAGA flags and their own country’s flag. Cuban flags inundated the highway as well as Venezuelan flags. I understand the pride in supporting a candidate, but this felt cult-like. 

Are we electing what’s best for the country, or is the purpose of pleasing a candidate? As much as I’ve tried, I could never understand their reasoning behind their unwavering love for a man who so often demonizes the Latinx community. 

It makes no sense why Miami-Dade or Florida had such a high turnout for Trump votes. The evidence tells us that the Latinx community is not a priority for this administration, especially when it comes to immigration. Imagine, the sole reason we are here is thanks to the flexibility of immigration laws from the past. Yet, some people are trying to block those same opportunities. Talk about basking in newfound privilege. 

There’s no doubt that the United States has afforded my family and me with plenty of opportunities. It’s not to say that it hasn’t been difficult because it’s been insanely challenging to survive in the States as well. Nonetheless, these challenging situations have given me the ability to look at my surroundings with a different set of lenses. 

Trump won my home state, and that’s just the reality of it. Perhaps, Biden could have appealed to the Latinx community more. Or, maybe we shouldn’t allow our neighbors to be bought out so easily. There are so many factors that I can try to dissect, but it isn’t worth it at the moment. 

All I can say is that we need to do more to educate our families and friends. Florida didn’t do enough of it, and we sure as hell can’t afford this type of negligence in the future.