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Cuban Exile Makes Moving Speech To RNC — But Florida Dems And Latinos Are Moved To Rebut Him

Miami Cuban exile Maximo Alvarez speaking to the virtual Republican National Convention Monday night.
Miami Cuban exile Maximo Alvarez speaking to the virtual Republican National Convention Monday night.

Trump supporter Maximo Alvarez fled communist oppression six decades ago, but many are asking him why migrants like him are shut out of the U.S. today

A Miami Cuban exile gave a moving speech during Monday night's opening of the virtual Republican National Convention. But Democrats — and many non-Cuban Latinos — immediately had a question for that exile.

Speaking from Washington D.C., Maximo Alvarez told of how he escaped the Cuban Revolution as a teenager in 1961, came to America and founded the Sunshine Gasoline Distributors company in South Florida — based in Doral.

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Fighting back tears, Alvarez echoed President Trump’s warning that if Joe Biden and the Democrats win in November, the U.S. itself faces the “poison pill” of the communism he fled.

“What I was given when I came to this great country of ours: the gift of freedom," Alvarez said. "Right now it is up to us to decide our fate – and to choose freedom over oppression.”

But Democrats, especially in Florida, were quick to rebut Alvarez — and not just his equating Biden with communism. They also argued Trump has denied immigrants fleeing leftist oppression in countries like Venezuela the same welcome to the U.S. that Alvarez enjoyed six decades ago.

“President Trump has refused to grant Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans," said Luisana Perez-Fernandez, a Venezuelan immigrant in Miami and a Florida spokesperson for the Democrats and Biden.

"It’s a double standard to show [Alvarez] — and of course good for him — who could pursue the American dream but unfortunately there are many in our communities right now who are not able to do so.”

Trump supporters argue he’s helping Venezuelans with his efforts to bring down Venezuela’s regime.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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