Must-Go-To Event: DITAS 2014

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Political Pasión is a community partner at this year’s Democracy in the Americas Symposium (DITAS 2014).  Ditas brings together More than 500 business leaders, heads of state, prominent scholars, social innovators and leaders of government as they gather in a 2-Day Symposium to discuss ways to bolster the democratic process and create new economic development opportunities for the next generation of leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in the United States.

 Featured speakers include Vinicio Cerezo, Former President of Guatemala; Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera, Former President of Uruguay; Enrique V. Iglesias, Ibero-American Secretary General, and Yoani Sanchez, famous Generation Y Cuban blogger.  In addition, we will be hearing from our local leaders such as, Tomas Regalado, Mayor of the City of Miami, Luigi Boria, Mayor of the City of Doral, Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools and Senator George LeMieux, of the Center of Public Policy .

“Defending and strengthening democracy demands positive action from society as a whole. An event like DITAS allows us to explore ideas in a forum, which can later translate into actions that will improve the democratic process in the Americas,” said Foundation’s Chairman, Jose Zambrano.

The Americas Symposium (DITAS 2014) will take place on November 6-7 at Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami.  The registration fee is $150, including all education panels, networking cocktail and presidents’ luncheon for the 2-day symposium. To register, please visit www.ditas.org.

The Zambrano Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting projects to educate, train and mentor the next generation of leaders of the Americas. For more information on the Zambrano Foundation, please visit www.zambranofoundation.org or Democracy in Americas Symposium (DITAS 2014), please visit www.ditas.org, e-mail communications@zambranofoundation.org, or call 954-980-9453

Every year is always better than the next.  Political Pasión looks forward to seeing you at DITAS 2014!

Florida Gubernatorial Debate in Spanish on Telemundo

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

This November 2014, we will select our next governor of Florida. The candidates are Charlie Crist (www.charliecrist.com ) and Rick Scott (www.rickscottforflorida.com). Both of them have their website in Spanish. Today, October 10, 2014  www.telemundo51.com as well as their stations in Tampa, Orlando, Naples/Ft. Myers and South Florida will be presenting the debate in Spanish at 7:00 p.m.  You will also be able to watch it in English at http://www.nbcmiami.com

I was present at the debate today and want to encourage you to watch it.  You will be able to find clear differences between both candidates on many topics such as the Cuban Embargo and Medical Marijuana.  This is your opportunity listen to both sides and come to a decision of who you would like to vote for.  As Hispanics, we can only make educated decisions by being informed and getting involved.  It does not matter who you vote for, but please get involved and vote!

As you view the debate, you can give your opinion through Twitter by going to @telemundo51 #t51debate

I was able to ask Republican candidate and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Democratic Candidate for Lt. Gov. Anette  Taddeo why it is important for Hispanics to go out and vote.  Please see videos below (Spanish):

The Hispanic Vote: The Largest Minority Voting Bloc in Florida

Hispanic family outside home

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

The most recent voter registration numbers as of July 28, 2014 show that there are 1,705,985 Hispanics registered to vote in Florida in the upcoming elections. 14% of the 11, 807,507 Florida registered voters are Hispanic, making us the largest minority voting bloc in Florida.  We surpassed the African American vote in Florida by 100,000.  However, our numbers are possibly higher due to the fact that the voter registration applications did not start including the term Hispanic until after 1995 on the voting registration application.  In addition, to this day, it is optional to place if you are Hispanic or not.

The five largest counties with registered Hispanics are:

 710,446 in Miami Dade County

190,322 in Broward County

153,387 in Orange County

113,380 in Hillsborough County

81,641 in Palm Beach County

This makes South Florida the most populous area of Hispanic voters in Florida.  In addition, we see why the Hispanic vote is the swing vote for the upcoming 2014 elections.

466,778 Hispanics are Republicans, 652,784 are Democrats and 558,707 have No Party Affiliation. There are only 20,831 registered as Independents.  Due to the differences in cultural, political and social beliefs, it is very difficult to know how Hispanics are going to sway.  The Hispanic vote is one of the few votes that campaigns will need to fight for.

You may ask; why such a large amount of No Party Affiliation?  My theory?  When I was spokeswoman at the Supervisor of Elections office in Broward County, the Voter Education and Outreach team would go to the Naturalization ceremonies to register new citizens.  Many new citizens did not know what it meant to be a Republican or Democrat, so they opted to place No Party Affiliation when they registered.  We live in a society where many Hispanics do not understand the beliefs of the two strongest parties that exist in the United States.  Another theory is that those Hispanics, who do understand the political parties, are tired of promises, pandering and punishment and have changed their affiliation from a specific party to focusing on what a person has to give as a candidate.  Hispanics, even when they are associated with a certain party, vote for the person and not the party.  Although many may not understand what their political views are, they do get brownie points for being charismatic, Hispanic and for being verbal in regards to the issues that matter to Hispanics.  Others just want a candidate that stands up for his or her beliefs.

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Face-Off: The Hispanic Engagement Strategy for the Crist and Scott Campaigns

 

Left to right: Jaime Florez and Omar Khan

Left to right: Jaime Florez and Omar Khan

I have been writing often in reference to the 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaigns. Whichever campaign focuses heavily and strategically on the Hispanic vote, will be the winner of the 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign.   I decided to contact the Crist and Scott campaign and ask them about their campaign’s current Hispanic engagement efforts.  Here is what they had to say:

This is what Jaime Florez, Hispanic Communications Director for the Rick Scott Campaign had to say about their Hispanic engagement:

“This week, Let’s Get to Work will be launching Oportunidad, its first Spanish language TV and digital ad. I cannot recall a previous gubernatorial campaign in Florida where Spanish paid media started this early. The initial $500,000 Spanish media buy, which launches Wednesday, is only the first of many to come that will share with Spanish-speaking Floridians Governor Rick Scott’s record and vision for our state. Still, paid advertisements are just one component of a comprehensive effort in engaging Hispanic voters throughout our state at every level, especially at the grassroots, with a sustained volunteer-to-voter contact.

We are very excited about the foundation we have laid over the last several months to get to this point. We have a Spanish communication shop providing daily information to the Spanish-language press. Our Hispanic Political Directors have been building a strong network of support within the Hispanic community’s elected officials, civic, faith-based and business leaders. The Spanish website www.rickscottporlaflorida.com will be going live tomorrow, giving voters the option to follow our campaign and receive updates in English or Spanish. On our social media sites, we’ve posted bilingual messages, encouraging followers to communicate in the language of their preference.

Much is said about “Hispanic Outreach” in politics and gauging a campaign’s commitment to secure the Hispanic vote by a set of benchmarks: How much is spent on Spanish paid media? Does the campaign have a Spanish press shop? Is there a Spanish website? Do they have a Hispanic political team? Going by the traditional political checklist, our campaign is months ahead of the Charlie Crist operation in putting into place and executing a campaign that is committed to earning the vote of each Hispanic in Florida. It’s noteworthy that if the Crist team has not been able to maintain an English speaking spokesperson, imagine how long it will take them to hire and keep a Spanish speaking spokesperson? All kidding aside, our campaign is not traditional. From the Governor to our volunteers, this campaign is committed to not just checking a list of benchmarks. We will implement the most robust “Hispanic Outreach” seen yet.

Florida’s diversity provides for a unique campaign approach that is more substantive and goes beyond traditional “outreach” but requires a more in- depth commitment and discipline to build an enlace with the Hispanic community. By continuing to execute this approach we will prove successful in November. More importantly, the ethnic richness of our state strengthens the focus of our campaign, which is ultimately about creating oportunidades for ALL Floridians.”

This is what Omar Khan, Campaign Manager for the Charlie Crist Campaign had to say about their Hispanic engagement:

“We are focused on building a campaign that looks like the people of Florida. One of our first senior staff hires is Hispanic, and we will certainly be communicating with voters through Hispanic media. And just today, we’ve launched www.CharlieCrist.com/Espanol to share Governor Crist’s vision with Florida’s Spanish-speaking community.

But more important than the process of the campaign is policy of the candidate. Governor Crist believes that our state’s diversity is its greatest strength. He believes that we can create more opportunities by lifting all boats: investing in making college more affordable, and putting a laser focus on making Florida the beacon for Latin American trade and tourism, which will create thousands of new job opportunities for small businesses. Governor Crist will create a Florida Trade and Development Representative whose job will be to open doors for Florida businesses to new markets – particularly Latin American – and who will answer directly to the Governor.

This is a significant departure from Governor Scott, who campaigned on bringing an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida, has reduced opportunities for HIspanic students to get an affordable college education, and has made it much harder for people to vote. Charlie Crist believes everyone should be able to live the American Dream here in Florida.”

My thoughts?  If I could give two pieces of advice out to any campaign it is this:

1.  Make sure you are sending out press releases in Spanish to media en Español  and Hispanic community leaders.  Every press release you have in English should be in Spanish also.

2. Invest, invest, invest statewide in placing ads with local community papers in Spanish as they are the gatekeepers of the Hispanic community.  This is the paper that the community picks up to read.  Seeing your ad in these papers sends a message that says: “you matter to me”  Contact me if you would like my opinion on which ones I would use statewide.

Are All Florida Gubernatorial Campaigns Failing to Reach Out to Hispanics?

 

Rick Scott Paella

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

It has been going so well lately for Governor Rick Scott.   As governor, he has finally started appearing in touch with the multicultural Hispanic community that represents Florida.  He stood with the Venezuelan community when they needed someone from the government to show that they cared about the current uproar in their country.  He appointed Cuban-American Carlos Lopez-Cantera as his Lieutenant Governor.  He went to a Paella festival in Miami.  He has stopped the voter purge that many say would affect Hispanics going to the polls.  We Hispanics might as well start calling him “Ricardito Eskot” for his savvy choices in reaching out to the Hispanic community–regardless if they are sincere or not.

Governor Scott has done everything right to attract Hispanics to his campaign. However, due to recent events, the opposition and media believe Scott is hiring people who do not understand the political landscape of Florida and the importance of being sensitive to Hispanic culture. I am referring to the recent incident of former co-finance chairman Mike Fernandez resigning for Rick Scott’s campaign due to his feeling a lack of connection to Hispanic outreach in the Scott campaign. Is the lack of connection towards Hispanics only being felt in Scott’s campaign? I believe it is larger than this, and if you sit down with each campaign and ask them to inform you of the amount of money that they will allocate toward Hispanic engagement and media during the campaign, you will come to the conclusion that even though they point their finger at Scott, sadly, there might be three fingers pointing back at them. How much is each gubernatorial campaign allocating toward Hispanic engagement and Hispanic directed media? Kindly I would like to ask them to show us the numbers. My next concern is the following: why is it so difficult to get in touch with the Scott and Crist campaign?

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Political Pasión Interviews Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez Re: Voting

Yoani Sanchez talks about the importance of voting. In reference to voting, Yoani says that indifference and apathy is leaving in the hands of others what is our responsibility. Sometimes the people who are in power are not the people that we may want in politics. However, the problem is if we all close the door to our house and decide to not to cast a vote, what happens is the same people continue to occupy the same positions. The most important point she made was to please vote, as there are many people like her that live in a country (Cuba) where her vote does not count. Video in Spanish.