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Florida As The Bastion of The Latin American Right

With the resurgence of the left in the region, Florida remains a refuge and a strong option for the Latin American right .

Ron DeSantis talking to Trump

Photo: The White House

LatinAmerican Post | Nicolás Donoso Álvarez

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Leer en español: Florida como el bastión de la derecha latinoamericana

Gustavo Petro's victory was special for several reasons, the former mayor of Bogotá became the first elected left-wing president in the history of Colombia , also the first former guerrilla to reach the House of Nariño and the president with the largest vote in an election that saw record turnout. It should also be noted that Francia Márquez, his running mate, will be the nation's first Afro-descendant vice president. A series of events that signify a before and after in the coffee growing country.

This shocking and resounding victory means that the political map of Latin America is definitely beginning to move to the left. With Petro's victory, from August 7 the left will govern in six South American countries : Chile (Gabriel Boric), Bolivia (Luis Arce), Venezuela (Nicolás Maduro), Argentina (Alberto Fernández), Peru ( Pedro Castillo) and Colombia (Gustavo Petro); while the right leads the destiny of Brazil (Jair Bolsonaro), Uruguay (Luis Lacalle Pou), Ecuador (Guillermo Lasso) and Paraguay (Mario Abdo Benítez).

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And it should be noted that the left could add a seventh country in the presidential elections in Brazil that will take place in October, where Lula Da Silva, according to the latest polls, would have the advantage to face the current president Jair Bolsonaro and could return to preside over one of the most important countries in the entire continent. 

Florida is a bastion for the right and a problem for the Latin American left

But from the left, not everything can be joy, and if there is a territory that has always been elusive for this sector, that is Florida. The state located in the southeastern United States has reappeared on the horizon after the governor and rising star of the Republican Party, Ron DeSantis, pointed out in relation to the victory achieved by Gustavo Petro in Colombia that "I just want to say to the people of Florida that we saw the results of the election in Colombia and we have a large number of Colombo-Americans here in our state who were very concerned about what would happen there. And I think the results of that election are quite problematic for people who believe in freedom in the Western Hemisphere."

This statement is not by chance, since Florida is a true bastion for the Latin American right and a problem for the left . It has been for thousands of Cubans who have decided to leave the island in search of new and better opportunities in recent decades, and also for those Venezuelans who in recent years have decided to leave Venezuela in the face of the complex panorama that that country is going through. country.

According to 2019 data provided by the United States Census Bureau, 1,359,990 Cuban men and women live in the country of 50 states. And according to the Migration Policy Institute, in 2018 Cuba was the seventh largest immigrant group in the US, with more than a million Cubans who have left their island to live in North America. Of that amount, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that 77% of the Cuban population living in the United States does so in Florida (data from 2014-2018) , their preferred destination. 

And every time the left begins to rebound in Latin America, phrases like those of the current governor are heard in Florida, and it is not surprising that he does so with the main mission of reviving the fear that is always present in Venezuelans and Cubans, especially everything with respect to communism and its effects. By reviving this feeling, the Republican Party is strengthening itself in one of the states where it has the most support and also allows its voters to be very attentive in relation to possible scenarios, which for them would probably be that authoritarian regimes spread throughout the world.

Can it be decisive for the 2024 elections in the United States?

Florida is one of the most coveted states in the political world, and since 1996, the president always had to win Florida, a rule that current president Joe Biden managed to break , who, despite losing those 29 electoral votes at the hands of his rival Donald Trump, he managed to win the election in 2020.

But by 2016, the Sunshine State took a turn in favor of the former president, when in an election where Hillary Clinton was the favorite, the Democrat lost Florida by 1.2 points to Donald Trump, which may partly explain her surprise victory six years ago to win in this state that delivers so many electoral votes.

Thus, facing the 2024 elections in the United States, the participation of Floridians may be key to helping the Republicans reach the 270 electoral votes that any candidate for the White House needs to go on to lead the nation . Along these lines, DeSantis's statements go in the direction of sowing fear in his potential future voters regarding the new panorama that is visualized in Latin America to perhaps reap a victory tomorrow.