President Donald Trump is launching his campaign for re-election in Orlando, in central Florida, on Tuesday, an enclave of Puerto Ricans aligned more with Democrats and who do not forgive him for the “disastrous management” he did after the devastation on the island caused by 2017 due to Hurricane Maria.
They wait for the Republican thousands of trumpistas that are expected to fill the Amway Center, with capacity for 20,000 people, judging by the rows that began from Monday, but also protesters who will inflate nearby the already famous giant balloon “Baby Trump” and a reluctant community that sees a “daring” presence.
Trump and the Republicans are “struggling to make it harder for the Puerto Rican brothers and sisters to survive,” Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday at a press conference.
This son of Dominican immigrants said his party will seek to ensure “that Puerto Ricans can live with dignity after María” and that they are counting on them to reach the goal of the Democrats in the state to register “200,000 new voters” before 2020.
One of them, Jimmy Torres, president of Boricua Vota, told Efe that the community leaders of Orlando do not forget the nearly 3,000 deaths left by María.
“The ineptitude of the leaders that Trump named in that tragedy caused the death of thousands of people, which hurts us as if it had been yesterday,” he added.
It is an “insult that Orlando has chosen, because we know that he comes by the Latino vote,” said Puerto Rican activist Zoe Colón, who will participate in protests organized by community and Democratic organizations in Orlando on Tuesday.
“Donald Trump does not have friends from the Puerto Rican community, neither in Florida nor on the island,” Darren Soto, the first Puerto Rican congressman of Puerto Rican origin, who represents District 9, which includes a large part of the electoral Highway I-4 and the city of Orlando.
The Democrat said that his compatriots do not forget “the worst response to a disaster in modern history, with almost 3,000 dead, the longest blackout in modern history” and that “Trump appeared in San Juan after the hurricane to throw paper towels to the victims of this terrible disaster. “
According to a survey released by the Democratic Party, 30% of Puerto Ricans living in the vicinity of I-4, which crosses the center of the state and where about 700,000 displaced persons live on the island due to the economic crisis and hurricanes Maria e Irma of 2017, believes that Trump “has not done enough to help the island.”
It is a community that advances as a political force similar to that established by Cuban exiles in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for decades to support the Republican Party and its policies of punishment for the regime of the late Fidel Castro.
These Puerto Ricans have already surpassed their compatriots in New York with more than 1.3 million in Florida, more than half of them in Hillsborough, Osceola and Orange counties, where Orlando sits and where Democrat Hillary Clinton added three of the nine counties it won, over the state’s 67.
The I-4 corridor, in which half of the total of about 13.5 million registered voters in Florida lives, is key within a decisive state, which can give victory to either Republicans or Democrats.
In 2016, Trump beat the I-4 runner to Clinton by 217,000 votes and lost the rest of the state by about 100,000 and in 2012 the Republican Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by 18,000 votes in the region, and lost the state by about 100,000 , according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Trump campaign hopes to repeat that victory with the help of the predominant white vote of the rural areas of I-4, but will face a more liberal and angry one of Puerto Ricans and African-Americans in the Orlando area.
Torres noted that in the state about 50% of Puerto Ricans are enrolled as Democrats and 30% as Republicans, and that it estimates that 70% of Puerto Ricans who meet the requirements and age to vote in the I-4 corridor and They are registered.
Zoe Colón added that her community is strong in number, but still has the challenge of educating herself electorally on issues such as the importance of registering with a party if they want to vote in the primaries and the number of elections besides the presidential one that can strengthen them at the local level and regional.
The Boricua Vota group, Torres said, aims to ensure that more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans, the “limited” number of votes with which Clinton lost to Trump in Florida, vote “correctly” in 2020.
“We have the numbers to do that”, he emphasized about the attempt to reverse the results of 2016, when Trump took the 29