WAKING UP TO THE OTHER HALF
OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S POLITICAL CONVERSATION

TRENDING TOPIC FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 7TH: The last primary results are in and Hillary Clinton has the necessary delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination to the White House, the first woman to be in that position. We will have more analysis and information in tomorrow’s Que Pasa.


POSSIBLE STRONG MAYOR FOR MIAMI: City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez was on “Al Ritmo de Miami” with Humberto Cortina on Radio Mambi 710 AM, discussing the possibility of having a strong-mayor system in Miami.

Commissioner Suarez explained how the current government system works in the City of Miami and how the mayor’s powers are very limited, leaving some confused about who is in charge and who is responsible. When asked if it was possible for the city to have a strong-mayor system like Miami-Dade County, Suarez said, “the first time I proposed it was in 2010 when I first got to the commission, because I saw the frustrations that comes with our current system. In the years that I have been in the commission, I have seen five different city managers. I believe part of the reason for this is that they don’t know who the boss is, if it is the commission or the mayor. This is very frustrating, not just for the elected officials, but also for the manager as it becomes very difficult to make decisions.” He highlighted that the issues stem from a lack of clarity with the current system and how it also affects residents. “When they see an elected officials, particularly the mayor, and leave meetings with the news that the mayor does not have the power to do anything, most get confused and upset.” Suarez mentioned that before suggesting the change for the city, he did research and found that “60 percent of large municipalities in the United States have a strong mayor. It is not just something in Miami-Dade County or in Hialeah, it is a system we see implemented in big cities across the United States.” Cortina clarified that the proposal is to have a system like in Miami-Dade, where the mayor serves as mayor and manager, managing the day to day at the county and has veto power, but does not vote with the commission. Suarez said, “I think that the City of Miami would benefit from this change. The evidence points towards this being a positive change. Another great advantage of the strong-mayor system is that residents have the ability to consider the actions of the mayor, they have the ability to recall the mayor, which is not something we can do with a city manager.” The commissioner talked about the next steps and how the proposal was analyzed and reviewed by a committee made up of individuals that were selected by the commissioners to study the city’s charter. “It still has to go to the commission for approval, to then go on the ballot for the voters to choose if this is the system they want.” Suarez concluded, “this gives the people more power and makes government more accountable to them.”


THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE: Bernadette Pardo had former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez on her show “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710AM, discussing the presidential race.

Pardo initially asked for Fernandez’s thoughts of the comments made by Donald Trump regarding Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Fernandez said, “as an attorney, what Trump has said is embarrassing. In our system you can ask a judge to recuse himself, but for ideological reasons which affect his or her ability to be impartial. You can’t tell someone that they can’t preside over your case because you don’t have the same political vision or belong to a specific ethnicity. It is like saying that a Jewish judge can’t preside over a case that has to do with Jerusalem or Israel, or that an African American judge can’t preside over a case about civil rights. We can’t do that. This can lead us to a very divided country. It is an insult to Hispanics. I am surprised and it actually affects me when I hear a Hispanic person defending Trump. He has come to the conclusion that Hispanics are another race, that we aren’t necessary part of the US, despite all the evidence we have to the contrary and all we have given to this country.” Fernandez commented, “Trump keeps speaking nonsense, and someone who is running for president shouldn’t say those kinds of things. I ask that voters to use their intelligence and pride to not accept these kinds of insults.” Regarding Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee, he said, “I think it is obvious that Senator Bernie Sanders understands that he is not going to win. Clinton has received 3 million more votes than Sanders in the primaries, she has won more states, and she has more delegates. Sanders claims that he’s going to change the minds of the superdelegates between now and July, but that is not going to happen when Hillary has the support of 60 percent of them.” He continued, “most candidates that come in second place during the primaries usually end up supporting the person who wins. I think he will realize this and after everything Trump has said, he is going to make it clear that he supports Clinton.”


HOW CUBA GOT AROUND THE EMBARGO: Yoly Cuello spoke with Associate Director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University Sebastian Arcos, about how Cuba circumvented the embargo on her show “Noticias del Mediodia” on Caracol 1260AM.

Cuello discussed how the Cuban government used at least 25 companies that were registered around the Caribbean and South America to get around the embargo using the Panama law firm referenced in the Panama Papers (read more here). Arcos said, “in reality this is nothing new, except the identification of the companies with the first and last name, as well as who are the beneficiaries and where the bank accounts are located. We have known this for a very long time. The Castro government has been using Panama as their primary road to ignore the US embargo. We should remember that back in 1981 Panama was referenced as a transit route for Cuban intelligence officials, as well for secret bank accounts.” He explained that Panama and Cuba have always had a friendly relationship. “We should also remember that during the first two decades of the Cuban Revolution, when the embargo was first implemented, the Soviets were sending millions of dollars annually to Cuba. These companies were used simply to outsmart the embargo, and to get to the access points needed for trade with North America. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it became much more necessary to have these companies for the regime to survive.” He ended the conversation stating that it would not be surprising to find the names of very high level Cuban officials in any of the Panama Papers.