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DeSantis won't pay for exploiting migrants — just as Maduro hasn't for expelling them

DeSantisMaduro.png
Matias Delacroix (right), AP
/
AP
REACTIONARY MEETS REVOLUTIONARY Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

They’re indignantly marching against Ron DeSantis in Doral, Florida. They’re criminally investigating him in Bexar County, Texas. They’re boldly suing him in Boston, Massachusetts. They’re sardonically mocking him on Martha’s Vineyard.

Surely, the far-right Florida governor will pay a political price for using Venezuelan migrants as MAGA marionettes in his sneering crusade to own the libs. Right?

Wrong. Equivocado.

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DeSantis will pay as little for pulling those asylum-seekers into his shameless show as Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro has paid for shamelessly pushing them here in the first place. DeSantis and Maduro are cut from the same sophomoric cloth: their sole, sadistic aim in life is triumphantly, fist-bumpingly ramming their respective reactionary and revolutionary dogmas down the world’s throats. And they’re a lot smarter than their respective opponents.

If you needed a reminder, check out the statement that Carlos Vecchio, the ambassador in the U.S. for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, sent out after DeSantis flew almost 50 Venezuelans up to Martha’s Vineyard as a lame stunt to protest undocumented immigration:

“Any undignified treatment of Venezuelan migrants is unacceptable, no matter who commits it. They’re innocent victims of the Maduro dictatorship…which has created the worst humanitarian crisis in South America in the past century…They are refugees and should be treated as such.”

READ MORE: Forgive Nuñez's Freudian slip. She momentarily mistook Cubans for some minority.

The U.S., in case you forgot, recognizes Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president. So a Venezuelan opposition op-ed like that ought to make DeSantis worry about alienating voters in Florida’s ample Venezuelan diaspora. Right?

Wrong. Equivocado.

DeSantis did the math, folks. He knows that former President Donald Trump won Doral – America’s largest Venezuelan enclave — in 2020. He knows that so-called MAGAzuelans make up a burgeoning chunk of Florida’s Venezuelan vote today, because when Trump was president they actually believed he was going to invade Venezuela and shred Maduro’s regime into carne mechada — and they still actually believe he’ll do it if/when he regains the White House.

DeSantis also knows the MAGAzuelans sneer at Guaidó now because he decided to do the realistic thing and resume negotiations with Maduro to hold democratic elections in Venezuela — instead of doing the delusional thing and call for U.S. Marines to storm the beaches at La Guaira. As a result, DeSantis knows full well that Vecchio’s communiqué meant nada to them — and no threat whatsoever to his and his Republican Party’s hold on much of this peninsula’s Venezuelan electorate.

DeSantis knows full well Florida's MAGAzuelans have also embraced the creed of demonizing undocumented immigrants — even those fleeing the socialist dictatorship choking Venezuela.

Miami’s MAGAzuelan media mouths made that astonishingly clear last week as they cheered DeSantis’ political trafficking of vulnerable Venezuelans, including children, to the doorsteps of all those so-called woke, socialista Northeasterners. Carinés Moncada, best known for labeling Black Lives Matter “a Satanic cult” — and then falsely claiming BLM activists were behind the pro-Trump insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 — said acidly on her Actualidad radio show last week that the Martha’s Vineyard "liberals are getting a taste of their own medicine.”

Steroid injection

Moncada is a typical MAGAzuelan who, because she worships Trump for merely messaging a desire to send yanqui troops into Venezuela, has embraced every other MAGA cult creed. That includes demonizing undocumented immigrants — even those fleeing the same socialist dictatorship in Venezuela that Moncada’s ilk insists should be America’s next D-Day landing target. They oughta have a soft spot for at least those refugees. Right?

VenezuelanMigrantChild.jpeg
Ray Ewing
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AP
A Venezuelan migrant child asleep on his mother's shoulder after they and 46 other Venezuelan refugees were flown to Martha's Vineyard last week.

Wrong. Equivocado.

So thinking that DeSantis' Martha’s Vineyard vaudeville is anything but a steroid injection for his re-election bid in Red Florida — and his 2024 presidential drive — seems the sort of snowflake naivete that MAGAland eats for breakfast. It’s a lot like thinking that Maduro’s own contempt for those refugees does anything but endear him to the Marxist and military losers who keep him in power in Venezuela.

Besides, DeSantis has more than just the political calculus on his side; he’s also got the border data backing him. It’s hardly a coincidence that he ordered those migrant-loaded planes to the Northeast on the eve of the announcement that, for the first time, 2 million undocumented migrants have been arrested at the U.S. southern border in one fiscal year.

America’s immigration system is of course wrecked. But fortunately for DeSantis, he — like Maduro — belongs to a political movement that’s not about fixing problems for his nation's good, but exploiting them for his nationalistic gain.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.