It’s no surprise a refugee crisis is starting to build in regards to Venezuela; it is well known that Maduro has been starving his own people to death for some time now, and with the Venezuelan opposition defeated in a humiliating way, there seems to be little real chance for reform.
Venezuelan refugees in Colombia have been a problem for some time, but as the situation grows worse, some are naturally finding their way here given our de facto open borders policy.
Of course, our politicians are eager to take advantage:
The arrival of the Venezuelans echoes an earlier era when Cuban exiles fleeing Fidel Castro’s Communist regime settled in Miami decades ago. Eventually they morphed into Cuban-Americans and organized themselves into a potent economic and political force, particularly for the Republican Party.
Venezuela’s meltdown, and the regime’s Cuban connection—Cuba’s President Raúl Castro remains Mr. Maduro’s closest ally and adviser—have focused the imagination of U.S. politicians of both parties. Many believe Venezuelan-Americans could develop into a powerful and perhaps captive voting bloc.
Mr. Rubio, a Cuban-American, has emerged as the point man in the Trump administration’s Venezuela policy. The Republican senator, who regularly blasts the Maduro government, has brought leading Venezuelan opponents to the White House and successfully pressed for additional sanctions against Venezuelan officials.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Mr. Rubio in July delivered a speech on a privately owned Venezuelan television news channel assailing the corruption of Venezuelan leaders and their allies in the business world, some of whom live in South Florida. These leaders enjoy “ranches in Wellington, mansions in Gables Estates, private planes at local airports,” said Mr. Rubio, referring to wealthy South Florida communities.
Democrats have also taken notice of the new arrivals, hoping to tap a fresh vein of votes and avoid mistakes they made with the Cuban diaspora. In August, Florida’s Democratic Senator Bill Nelson sent a letter to the Trump administration cosigned by another 21 Democratic senators and representatives urging it to grant Venezuelans “Temporary Protected Status” allowing them to stay in the U.S. because returning home would put them in harm’s way.
More recently, he says, Mr. Trump’s hard line against the Maduro regime resonates viscerally with Venezuelan-Americans, though some may be put off by his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“The Republicans are mostly eating the Democrats’ lunch” in their outreach to new arrivals, he says.
The Democrats might want to think again about those Puerto Ricans who are supposedly going to turn Florida blue. We might be facing a tide of Venezuelans who will make the state redder.