Cubans connect with candidates

Photos by Jimena Montemayor

Social issues motivate immigrants

With only a few hours left, people trickled in to cast their vote at the Coral Gables Fire Station.

Maggie Vassilaros, a 61-year-old senior property manager at Taylor & Mathis, waited about 45 minutes to vote for President Barack Obama. Although she’s a Republican, this was the second time she voted for the Democratic Party.

“When I heard the debates, I never felt that Mitt Romney was being very specific as to how he was going to change the economy,” Vassilaros said. “I think he changed his mind quite a few times and that sort of bothered me because I didn’t feel like I could trust what he was saying. I also believe in women’s rights and gay rights and I don’t want somebody telling me what to do with my body.”

Originally from Cuba, Vassilaros now lives in Coral Gables. She said she’s overcome a lot to get to where she and her children are today. Because of this, she feels a bond with Obama because he has also gone through similar struggles.

“I feel President Obama has a connection with the citizens of the country,” Vassilaros said. “I think he’s done a good job in the global arena, and I think the economy’s getting a little bit better. So I want to give him another chance.”

Republican Eugenio Silva, assistant clerk for the polling place at the Coral Gables Fire Station, had a different view. He was passionate about his beliefs and got into a small argument with a democratic student outside the polling site.

He argued that students will not be able to find a job when they get out of college. When his opponent said that social issues affected her more now than economical issues, Silva said it’s shallow to vote for President Obama just so you can get an abortion. Obama doesn’t have to be President in order for someone to get an abortion, he said.

Silva lived in Cuba until he was 20-years old and believes that President Obama will take the United States down the same path that Castro did when he took over Cuba.

“I don’t believe in welfare. I think there has to be certain classes in society,” he said. “If you work hard, you earn money. I don’t want my money to go down to someone who has babies and babies and babies so they can collect welfare.”

More like this: Coral Gables | Election - Miami

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One response to “Cubans connect with candidates”

  1. Wow! As a Cuban-American myself it is great to see both ends of the spectrum during these elections. I can totally see where both sides are coming from and I love how we get the views of both male and female. What’s funny is how the Silva was arguing with a student because during these elections I saw a lot of that going on and think he does make great points. Where I went to vote there was a Cuban-American who said, “This is the land of opportunity, not give me, give me,” so I think him and Silva would’ve gotten along great! Ha ha!