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writing for godot

How communism made some Miami Cubans rich

Written by Alvaro Fernandez   
Thursday, 14 February 2019 11:10

By Alvaro Fernandez

Communism has been very good to a great number of Cubans in Miami. An industry has been created here that sees communism as the foe to be defeated. It enables them to terrorize persons who refute their claims. And it allows them to steal.

They’ve created a system that has legalized and legitimized forms of corruption where money is siphoned from federal, state and local governments, and given to those allowed into this rigged game. That money is then doled out by shady business persons and politicians — parading as upstanding community leaders — who use patriotism and the Cuban flag as a shield to get away with taking what should have gone to those who truly need it. In the process they’ve established control over groveling herds hypnotized by years of propaganda and lies.

They are rewarded with public housing and free lunches provided by the government. Social security checks are often received by many who’ve never worked a day in this country. And yet these folks condemn and detest socialism calling it the devil’s system, unless, I suppose, it benefits them.

And during these decades, they’ve helped build a Miami-Dade County where nearly six out of every 10 households struggle to get by economically.

Puffery and arrogance

Miami Cubans feel important. They feel better than the rest.

They’ve built palaces to prove their greatness; temples that make them feel superior. One such example is The American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora. It’s a taxpayer-funded museum. It received $10 million in public money and has an approved county-funded revenue source of $550,000 a year. It has been opened now for two years and many ask where the money has gone.

The Miami Herald recently wrote: “The gleaming museum building was funded by $10 million in county bonds, but the cash-strapped nonprofit that owns and runs it has put on only a handful of little-publicized exhibits and has been dogged by claims of poor management and complaints that it has stiffed contractors, artists and freelance curators. The museum has also struggled to attract public attention and donations.”

I’ve never been there, but I’ve been told. The building is empty — of people and art.

Why does this happen? The answer: communism.

And consider this…

The United Way of Miami just released its most recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report. It is a report that studies hardworking Miamians who are employed, yet can’t keep up with the rising cost of living. And the figures are staggering. It tell us that 40 percent (four out of every 10) households in this county are having a hard time economically. Add to that the 19 percent who live in abject poverty and the figures add up to nearly six out of 10 households struggling in Miami-Dade.

Yet, we’re giving away money to a museum with no art and one where no one attends. All because of political connections. And it is all part of what made some well-connected Miami Cubans wealthy.

‘Crazy Joe’

There’s the case of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, just another Cuban Miami politician who’s made a living fighting communism. Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen once anointed Carollo “King of the Crazies.” It’s a name that fits him well. Hiaasen also called him a “paranoid fruitcake.”

And although I agree with Hiaasen’s description, there’s more to Carollo than his wild mood swings. Carollo has always been hungry — for power and the money it provides him. Which also makes ‘Crazy Joe’ sly as a fox… Over a 40 year career in Miami, Carollo has mastered the corrupt business of this city’s politics and profited from it.

The wily Carollo has never believed in anything — except what benefits him. As for the ‘Crazy Joe’, in 1986 Carollo feuded with Jorge Mas Canosa, of all people, over a business deal Mas had before the city commission. It led to Mas Canosa challenging Carollo to a duel — yes! a duel… Carollo was asked to choose between swords or guns. He smartly chose water pistols, defusing the situation. Mas never got his deal approved.


Money came first for these two Miamians who got rich because of communism.

As a new (and now recycled) commissioner (he was first elected in 1979 and has been commissioner, mayor, and now commissioner again), Carollo wants to control the money spent in his district. He now wants to wreck a cultural program that has been very successful since 2000 in Miami’s famed Calle 8, Viernes Culturales. The reason, I am convinced, is because he does not have access to the purse strings. So if he can’t benefit (and I will allow you to interpret the words ‘benefit’ when it comes to Carollo), screw the city and its residents.

Another Carollo spat deals with the city’s Anti-Poverty Initiative. It is a program set up by the City of Miami, and in the words of a New Times reporter, Brittany Shammas, the money has been used “to set up college savings accounts for kindergartners, help low-income residents purchase vehicles to get to work, and fund the United Way’s Thanksgiving Drive.”

Carollo now wants control of that money. He has his own ideas of how to help the poor. And in this case, again as reported by Brittany Shamas, “he proposes spending $10,000 on a statue honoring Cuban guerrillas who fought against Fidel Castro and putting $10,000 toward maintenance and improvements at the Brigade 2506 Museum and Library.”

When asked how his initiative would help in combatting poverty, Carollo answered that “education is an aspect of addressing poverty.”

So Joe Carollo wants to take money from struggling families to build a statue to honor Cuban mercenaries. And if Joe doesn’t get his wish, he’ll accuse those who denied him the money of being communists. It’s the system.

But Carollo is just one of many examples.

The truth is that I thought we were nearing the end of this cycle of greed. But it looks like they’ve managed to inject new life into it. The new bogeyman has become Venezuela.

The money they steal, though, those are still our tax dollars. your social media marketing partner
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