Conservative Hispanic Group Targets Joe Garcia
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The Libre Initiative, a conservative Hispanic group, waded into one of the most competitive congressional races in Florida this week, launching efforts in Spanish against U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., for saying “communism works.”
Garcia made that comment during a Google hangout last month. Speaking about immigration, Garcia looked to contrast Democrats and Republicans on the issue.
“When you attract people, you are the dominant culture that people want to emulate and copy what you’re doing because it works,” Garcia said. “And, in America, we are doing a huge disservice to ourselves by not understanding how powerful of a driver in the economy an immigration system that works can be, and continues to be, and by not having an immigration system that works.
“Let me give you an example, the kind of money we’ve poured in,” Garcia added. “So the most dangerous -- sorry, the safest city in America is El Paso, Texas. It happens to be across the border from the most dangerous city in the Americas, which is Juarez, right? And two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico. And of course, the reason is we’ve proved that communism works.
“If you give everybody a good, government job, there’s no crime,” Garcia continued. “But that isn’t what we should be doing on the border. The kind of money we’ve poured into it, and we’re having diminishing returns. So while we’re doing -- we’re spending all of this money here, we have border problems in Puerto Rico. We haven’t been able to set up a system that’s safe there. People are finding alternative routes. The opportunity to get this right and the mistake that Republicans make -- and I say Republicans because it’s Republicans right now -- I’m known to say that Democrats were also possessed by xenophobia in 2008 and particularly after 9/11 and the economic crisis, but today we’re in a much better place as a party. And the problem that Republicans have is that they’re fighting a battle they cannot win.”
With Republicans going on the attack after his comment, Garcia insisted that, since his parents fled the Castro regime in Cuba, he knew the impact of communism and opposed it.
But the Libre Initiative will be running television ads in Spanish over the next three weeks in South Florida, hitting the congressman for his comment and for his record.
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"Mr. Garcia doesn't seem to understand the dangers of higher government spending and excess regulation,” said Daniel Garza, the executive director of the Libre Initiative, on Wednesday. “The costly federal mandates and growing debt that he supports are crushing economic growth, and making it harder for his constituents to find jobs and save for the future.
“It's no surprise, therefore, that he thinks 'communism works' -- that when everyone works for the government, things are perfect,” Garza added. “Many of his constituents fled from precisely this sort of system, and on a daily basis they worry about those who continue to suffer under such an oppressive system. It's time for Congressman Garcia to listen to those who are calling for change."
Garcia’s team fired back on Thursday. Juan Penalosa from the Garcia campaign looked to paint the Libre Initiative as a “tea party group, bankrolled by out-of-state billionaires” which is running “deceptive videos.”
Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, former Miami Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, attorney Lorenzo Palmoares-Starbuck and former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., are running in the Republican primary to challenge Garcia.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.