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How The Castros Are Still Moving The Needle In Miami Elections

A direct mail piece sent to Miami-Dade District 5 voters by Proven Leadership for Miami-Dade County seeks to tie candidate Zoraida Barreiro to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro."

Fidel Castro is dead and brother Raúl is no longer president of Cuba. But communism can still move the needle in Miami campaigns.

Decades after the Cuban revolution spawned an exodus that reshaped South Florida culture and U.S. politics in the Caribbean, political exiles are declining in number in Miami and leftist angst is fading. But it's far from gone. And under the right conditions and in the right neighborhoods, evoking the tyranny of dictators can still be an effective tactic in manipulating votes and undercutting opponents.

Take the special election to claim an open county commission seat representing Little Havana, where former state senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla is ginning up ties between Communist regimes and his closest competitor in order to scrap his way back to relevancy. Using a political committee, he's raised the specter of the Castros and repressive Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in an attempt to win a seat that pays only $6,000 a year but carries enormous political power.

Read more from our news partner, The Miami Herald.