Jun 20, 2014
Earlier today on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, former Congressman and Cuba status quo advocate Lincoln Diaz-Balart attempted to attack this week’s FIU poll showing a majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade support an overhaul of US-Cuba policy. Unfortunately for Diaz-Balart, he only embarrassed himself on national television by repeating retracted reporting and other falsehoods to make his point.
At the top of the interview, Diaz-Balart criticized the poll’s methodology, even though the truth is the methodology for this ongoing poll has been the same since it was first conducted in 1991. In earlier years, Diaz-Balart touted the poll’s findings as proof that the Cuban-American community stood united behind hardline Cuba policy. The community has since moved on, a trend reflected in every poll since that first one, but to no one’s surprise, Diaz-Balart remains stuck in the 20th century.
Diaz Balart moved on to repeat a claim that was retracted by the outlet that originally made it. He pretended the poll both stated that 62% of respondents claimed they were citizens but somehow 90% claimed they were registered to vote. That would be quite a contradiction if it was true, but as the Miami Herald realized, the numbers of those who said they were registered is a subset of the number of those who said they were citizens. A quick look at the poll report shows that, and the Herald quickly retracted the mistake.
Diaz-Balart is also flat-out wrong to say that President Obama has always supported the embargo. While it’s been a while since the President called for an outright lifting of the embargo, he campaigned on reforming U.S.-Cuba policy in 2008, winning record support among Cuban-Americans that year and then again in 2012 after adjusting travel and remittance restrictions. Speaking to Cuban-Americans last November, President Obama rightly called for updating policies that had been in place since he was born, saying the notion they’d still be as effective today in the era of Google and the Internet “doesn’t make sense.”
Why did Lincoln Diaz-Balart resort to distorting the poll and President Obama’s views? As it is for many other fact-fearing defenders of the status quo, the answer is simple: desperation. As Chuck Todd correctly pointed out, this is not just one poll but a growing trend that shows Cuba policy is no longer a third rail. While Diaz-Balart is stuck in the days of the Cold War, the signs are clear that the Cuban-American community, Florida, and the rest of the country have moved on from a failed policy and are ready to head in a new direction.
But on the positive side, we appreciate Diaz-Balart giving a shout out to #CubaNow’s metro ad campaign calling on the President to act. Thanks for the nod, congressman! Hope you got a selfie with the ads. Send it to us and we’ll be happy to post it up on our Twitter feed.