MIAMI – Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday at a Miami meeting with anti-Castro Cuban-Americans praised the Ladies in White dissident group and accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of “closing her eyes” to human rights violations on the communist island.
He acknowledged the Cuban resistance and the Ladies in White, whom he said were mothers, daughters and wives who are subjected to physical and verbal abuse by Cuban government mobs on his visit to Brigade 2506 in Little Havana.
The magnate met at the museum and library of the Veterans Association for the Bay of Pigs invasion – known as Brigade 2506 – with anti-Castro exiles who participated in the failed 1961 attempt to wrest Cuba from the communists.
The survivors of that CIA-planned operation recently endorsed Trump, the first time in 55 years that Brigade 2506 has expressed its support for a U.S. presidential candidate.
At the gathering, attended by about 80 people, the mogul called the Cuban brigade members “heroes” who were committed to the defense of the values of “law and justice.”
Trump fired a broadside at Clinton for “closing her eyes” to human rights violations on the island and sharply criticized President Barack Obama for restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba, although he has not provided the details of any plan of his own for dealing with Havana.
Brigade 2506 president Humberto Diaz-Argüelles told EFE that his backing for Trump is based on the lack of attention paid to his organization by Obama.
“In my 50 years ... in the United States, the presidential candidates have always come to see us to know our opinions (on the Cuban issue),” adding that “Obama has never showed up” in Miami and “established relations with Cuba in exchange for nothing.”
Jorge Garcia Rubio, former vice president of the organization, told EFE that the brigade’s support for Trump is based on his “conservative (profile), of a businessman who has triumphed and is going to eliminate corruption and political maneuvering.”
Trump is on a three-day marathon campaign run through Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, a key state in any candidate’s calculations for how to win the presidency.
An average of recent voter polls, however, shows Clinton with a 3.8-percentage-point lead over the billionaire in Florida, according to RealClearPolitics.