US election 2020: Mini red wave in Florida as many Cuban Americans support 'stronger' Trump

·2-min read

On the street in Florida's Little Havana, an elderly man is watching the world go by.

He leans back gently in his chair as Spanish news headlines blare out of a portable radio.

Further along the road, Francisco is selling peanuts.

"Cacahuates," he calls to passing tourists.

In this corner of Miami, Donald Trump has found favour.

"Donald Trump is great," Francisco tells me before breaking into a stream of fast-flowing Spanish about why he's the best leader for the United States.

A flood of support from Latinos here helped push the president to victory in Florida, a must-win state if he wants to hold the White House.

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"I like everything, how he say, how he do, he's a good, good people for the community." says Raul Roderiguez who fled here from Cuba in the 1990s.

"Why don't you like Joe Biden?" I ask

"Joe Biden is too weak," he replies.

It's estimated around 55% of Florida's Cuban American vote went to Donald Trump, sparking a mini red wave.

Politics is a sensitive issue for many residents who settled here in little Havana after escaping communist regimes.

People politely decline our requests for an interview, a friendly barman tells us they're scarred by the past.

At El Cristo restaurant, we meet Jose Santana. His father was Cuban, his mother from El Salvador. His family escaped here when he was three.

"Trump is a little more stronger, a little more stronger view to dictators. He's trying to end communism in countries which are our neighbours like Cuba," he says.

He explains many Cubans initially liked Barack Obama but his move to restore relations with Raul Castro left them deeply unsettled.

Across the street, Jonny 'Big Papa' Carducca is even clearer. "They think that Joe Biden is a socialist," he says.

Donald Trump's false portrayal of Joe Biden as a left-wing extremist has seeped in here, eroding trust in Democrats and sowing doubt in the election process.

"I'd back him to the end," Jonny says when I ask if he would support Trump if he challenges the election results in the Supreme Court.

After all, Trump's his man.

After just a short visit to Little Havana, one thing is clear; a legal challenge by Donald Trump could still spark a popular one.

His base here, and across the country, is unwavering, there's no doubt it's got his back.