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US ELECTIONS/ Trivializing the Latino question

LORENZO ALBACETE comments on the possible candidacy of Marco Rubio, a Hispanic from Florida, for Vice-President alongside Mitt Romney, and on how that could affect the Latino vote.

Marco Rubio   (photo by Gage Skidmore) Marco Rubio (photo by Gage Skidmore)

In 2010, on the occasion of his election as Senator from Florida, I wrote a column about Marco Rubio, a state politician of Cuban-American descent who would, I predicted, one day achieve the stature of political celebrity. And so indeed it has happened. Now that the Republican candidate for President of the United States will be Mitt Romney, he will need a running mate to attract voters who disagree with Romney on issues of decisive importance to them. One such issue is immigration policy. The voters are the Latinos, and the Vice-Presidential candidate that would presumably help Romney is Senator Rubio. (Presenting himself as a devout Catholic, Rubio is supposed to calm the fears of the pro-life voters who do not trust Romney and his pro-choice friendly views when he was Governor of Massachusetts.)

Sen. Rubio has been campaigning with Mitt Romney, continuing to raise his national profile, delivering a major foreign policy speech that was interpreted as a tryout for the vice presidential spot on the Romney ticket. It cannot be denied that Rubio is a rising star on the political Right. In 2010, his landslide victory in Florida's Senate race over the once-popular former Gov. Charlie Crist, was one of the reasons Crist left the Republican party. The Tea Party, of course, totally supports Rubio.

Here are some items that according to The Week came to public attention:
In campaign speeches, and on his Senate website, Rubio has described himself as the son of "exiles from Castro's Cuba." But that is not exactly true. His family actually left Cuba for Florida in 1956, while Fidel Castro was still plotting his revolution from Mexico.

Rubio's family history has since been picked through by the media. His grandfather was ordered deported from the USA. According to a book excerpt published by Politico, U.S. authorities wanted to deport his maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia in 1962, but Garcia stayed in the U.S. anyway. The upcoming biography on Rubio by Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia says Garcia's legal status was murky for years — a potentially problematic biographical detail in a political party dominated by conservatives who want to crack down on illegal immigration.