Obama courts Hispanic support using ‘jobs’ pretext, Leaders skeptical

Photo: AP

NEW JERSEY, May 10, 2013 ― President Obama traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica just days before the Cinco de Mayo celebration as part of his “Latin America” and “Jobs” tour, then headed to Texas Thursday morning.

With the Hispanic or Latino demographic category as the largest minority group in the U.S. (about 50,478,000, or 16.5 percent of the population) and the fastest-growing voting bloc, one can understand why the President wants to make nice with this group.

However, leaders in Latin America are skeptical about Obama and his intentions.

For starters, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were involved in operation “Fast and Furious,” which smuggled firearms into Mexico that were used to kill 300 Mexican citizens.

Obama has pledged to improve relations with Latin America, but he showed little interest in the region during his first tem in office.

Finally, Obama has made little progress on immigration reform, an issue extremely important to Hispanic voters.


SEE RELATED: Senator’s candor exposes ugly truth beneath immigration debate


These issues have undercut the robust relationship the U.S. once enjoyed with Mexico, which had then-president Vincente Fox dining with then President George W. Bush on a regular basis.

Former Vice President of Costa Rica Kevin Casas-Zamora told the Washington Examiner that the purpose for Obama’s visit was unclear, and he wasn’t sure what the President was trying to accomplish other than “probably … drumming up support for immigration reform” while others labeled the trip a “photo op.”

Conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh are saying that Obama was there to offer a “read between the lines” kind of speech to agree with Mexican nationals who believe California, Arizona, and New Mexico, should belong to Mexico. Others say the visit seemed to be a campaign stop for a future position as president of the North American Union.

Was Obama trying to set the stage for the proposed North American Union when he said: ”You see the difference between the world as it is and the world as it ought to be; between old attitudes that can stifle progress and the new thinking that allows us to connect and collaborate across cultures. That includes how we think about the relationship between our two nations”?


SEE RELATED: Cinco de Mayo and the French invasion of Mexico


President Obama has repeatedly supported measures to match U.S. regulatory policy with that of our neighbors through the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and his executive order to create a North American Security Perimeter with President Harper of Canada.

Was it strategic for Obama to visit Mexico just before Cinco de Mayo and then visit Texas immediately after? According to a recent PEW research poll: “Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic-origin population in the U.S., accounting for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2012.1 Hispanics of Mexican origin are also a significant portion of the U.S. population, accounting for 11 percent overall.”

When asked to react to the President’s trip and to potential outcomes, Republican National Committee Hispanic Spokesperson Alexandra Franceschi said: “After an underwhelming first 100 days and a rough week in the press, President Obama escaped the conversations about his lack of political potency by jetting off to Latin America. It’s hard to imagine that Hispanics are going to believe that a trip labeled as a ‘photo op’ and a ‘social visit’ by world leaders is going to help get his juice back here at home.”

The Director of Hispanic Affairs at the Democratic National Committee could not be reached for comment.

It’s no secret that Obama and the Democrats, as well as the Republicans, need the Hispanic vote to win the midterm elections in 2014. With many prominent Hispanic politicians siding with the Republican Party, the question remains as to which political party will openly accept the family values, independent entrepreneurialism, and strong sense of faith that Hispanic-Americans hold dear.

This new group of Hispanic voters has indeed become one of the most valuable pieces of political real estate since the introduction of women and African-American voters, and Hispanic voters have every reason to be just as skeptical as the Latin American leaders who expressed confusion, surprise and skepticism for Obama’s renewed interest in Hispanics.

 

About the author: Rich Valdes is a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Administration and marketing professional who has managed projects for government agencies, educational institutions, and entertainment clients; producing high-profile special events for various charities and celebrities. As a frequent contributor to TV, radio, and print media outlets. Rich’s commentary on social issues and popular culture have been featured on Hot 97 FM, CNN Headline News, Telemundo, Univision, HHR and The Washington Times. When not  debating, politics, education, and culture, Rich is a single dad, school board member, and Young Benefactor at VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  Rich attended New York University and is pusuing a Master’s degree at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Rich is raising his two young daughters and caring for his elderly father in the New York City suburb of Bergen County, New Jersey.


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Rich Valdes

Rich Valdes is a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Administration, an award-winning marketing director, and manager who has led staff and projects for various colleges, state policy initiatives, celebrity entertainers, faith based organizations, and non-profit charities. Rich has run small businesses, created strategic messaging campaigns to increase college student enrollment revenue, and produced high-profile public relations events to raise awareness for various brands.

As a frequent  TV, radio, and print media contributor, Rich's commentary on social issues and popular culture have been featured on Hot 97 FM, CNN Headline News, Telemundo, Univision, HHR and Fox/My9. When not  debating, politics, education, and culture, Rich is a single dad, school board member, and Young Benefactor at VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  Rich attended New York University and is pursuing a Master’s degree at Lincoln University while raising his two young daughters and caring for his elderly father in the New York City suburb of Bergen County, New Jersey. 

Follow Rich Valdes on Twitter: @richvaldes

 

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