As a Cuban-American writer and journalist, it is my duty to denounce the bigotry of Ted Cruz and Cuban-Americans like him.
As a first-generation Cuban-American, I’ve always searched throughout history and the modern era for Cubans to look up to. In more recent history, there were great writers such as Reynaldo Arenas, a world-renowned poet, novelist, and playwright. We also can’t forget the legendary singer Celia Cruz, whose life Cubans my age were lucky to witness. And looking further back there are revolutionary legends such as Jose Marti who was also a journalist and poet.
When you look at current affairs, some of the most well-known Cubans in America are Jose Canseco, Pitbull, Marco Rubio, and yes, Ted Cruz. Ay Dios Mio, can we at least have another Gloria Estefan? Ugh. Come to think of it, I take that back. Pitbull’s ‘aight. He’s better than Rubio and Cruz put together.
Anyway, as you know, disgraced Cuban Ted Cruz has been in the news quite a bit. Mostly for being a failure to us in Texas. And as a Cuban, I have to speak on this. Not this, him. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz.
Cruz embodies the stereotype people have about Cubans. Particularly, about White looking Cubans. In Miami. That they’re all racist, selfish, greedy, and looking out for no one but themselves. That’s who Ted Cruz is. Because of Cubans like Cruz and Marco Rubio, we’re all stereotyped. They willingly provide comfort to white supremacy, abuse their white privilege, and embrace whiteness as if White America would ever really accept them. But it works for them, right? They’ve had lucrative political careers at the behest of White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) — the founders of white supremacy — who’ve run this country for centuries.
When I write about the fallacies of whiteness declaring that it will never accept any minority, especially if you have even a dollop of melanin, I’m discussing it from the arena of American white supremacy. Surnames, cultural history, skin color are all things that the gatekeepers of whiteness will never fully accept in America as they would in Latin America. Sure, they’ll use white-looking Latinos like Cruz, but they’ll throw his ass under the bus as soon as he’s no longer useful. His life and career could have been positive and meaningful had he taken an anti-oppressive stance.
Instead, Cruz and Rubio took the easy, more profitable road.
They’ve been selling hate and division for a hefty profit. Selling the country and your own people out to white supremacy is easy and lucrative. I’ve said this before, hate is big business, and thanks to tea party conservatives like Cruz, hate has once again been normalized. Ted Cruz is taking sides with the insurrectionists and with Donald Trump out of fear. There’s a sweet irony in watching Republicans cower in fear of the same white supremacists they took sides with.
No doubt Ted Cruz has those same fears.
Cruz has had a relatively abhorrent career. As a tea party candidate, Ted Cruz aligns himself with Libertarianism. His whole career has been about deregulation and anti-federal government policy agendas. He’s also a well-known homophobe, transphobe, xenophobe, and borderline racist. Scratch that, if you provide comfort to white supremacy, you’re a racist. Ted Cruz is a racist just for taking sides with bigots and pushing their agendas.
Did I forget to mention his cowardice?
After Ted Cruz abandoned Texans and went to Cancun he later appeared at the CPAC conference. Less than two weeks after dozens died in a historic freeze, Cruz didn’t just joke about going to Mexico he bragged about it too.
Politicians like Cruz are only concerned with collecting that $174,000 check, watching their investments grow on the stock market, and enjoy the benefit of the best insurance taxpayers can buy. Wouldn’t you retire after two terms too if you were offered that? Any of us would. Imagine. Working for twelve years in your 40s — 50s and just chilling after that.
Makes you want to run for office, doesn’t it?
Once you leave office, there’s a lucrative career just waiting for you. From book deals to high-dollar speaking gigs, to working as a consultant for think-tanks that pay millions. Sounds awesome, right? Well, you already know Cruz has that gig on lock. The idea that bigoted Cubans like Cruz and Rubio will have political influence well into the future is bothersome for the growing number of Cuban progressives like me.
While many would like to think that Cubans like Cruz are a dying breed, I often have to remind myself that he’s only four years older than I am. A Gen-X’er of the worst kind. We, like White people, have to come to terms with the fact that Cubans are passing down bigotry that was brought to the U.S. from the days of exploiting Black people and people of color. Beliefs that grew from the era of slavery on the island. Many landowning Cubans brought those beliefs here and it blended right in with American white supremacy.
It’s on us Cubans to address it.
Looking at Cruz and Rubio gives you an idea of just how big the task is. We’re not going to be able to reach a person like Cruz. Our work is in our own homes, on our streets, at work, at school, everywhere. Our job is to talk to our friends and family in a way the provokes a deeper conversation. We can’t keep letting our people be raised believing what their father taught them as Cruz did. He became all the hate he learned from Papi Rafael. His hateful daddy.
As a first-generation Cuban American, whose first language was Spanish, who grew up in a multi-cultural and multi-racial family, it’s time to shut this hypocrisy down. Watching so many white-looking Cubans demonize asylum-seekers, including newer Cubans, is disgraceful. It speaks to the rampant classism, racism, and xenophobia that once existed on the island.
We can’t let that slide here.
The roots of Cruz’s hate come from that which he was taught. Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father is a well-known homophobe and transphobe, among other things. In 2015, Rafael declared that gay people are “going to try and legalize pedophilia,” he previously equated gay people with “sexual predators” in 2013, and after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergfell case legalized gay marriage, the elder Cruz claimed marriage could now be between ”two men and a horse.”
“Let me tell you another two words that are not in Article 1, Section 8: The word ‘marriage’ or the word ‘family,’” Cruz said, arguing that the court had no right to decide this issue in the first place. “That decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 of 2015, where they said that God got it wrong and marriage was not just between one man and a woman, it could be between two men and a horse. But basically, that decision was much more than same-sex marriage, it was, at the heart of it, the destruction, or the attempt to destroy, the traditional family.” (Rafael Cruz, 2018)
After the decision in favor of marriage equality, the younger Cruz followed his daddy’s footsteps saying, “The last 24 hours at the United States Supreme Court were among the darkest hours of our nation.” In another incident, the younger Cruz was being questioned about his homophobia when he deflected into a rant with him saying, “ISIS is executing homosexuals, you want to talk about gay rights?” His disdain for LGBTQ issues is more than obvious and his message to the community is clear. In Ted Cruz’s America, the LGBTQ community is not welcomed.
But the LGBTQ community isn’t the only group not welcomed in Cruz’s America. There are other groups he wants to isolate himself from. One of those is asylum-seeking immigrants of color. The fact that his father is an immigrant makes his hypocritical xenophobia nonsensical (at best). No one ever claimed Ted Cruz was bright despite his Harvard education. People in Washington D.C. despise him. People in his own party loathe him. His home state is furious with him. Frankly, It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.
“Is there something about the left — and I am going to put the media in this category — that is obsessed with sex? ISIS is executing homosexuals — you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals — that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.” (Ted Cruz, 2015)
It’s almost as if there is no need to go further and discuss Cruz’s racism exposing more of who he really is, but you know I’m going to. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t believe systemic racism exists within law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and beyond, his Klan-like rhetoric towards Black Lives Matter speaks volumes.
“I think some of the rhetoric that has been used in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s killing has been inaccurate and harmful. A great many of our colleagues, use the phrase ‘systemic racism’ to suggest that the entire criminal justice system is imbued with racism. I don’t believe that’s accurate.” (Cruz, 2020)
Let us also not forget that his political idol is Jesse Helms, a segregationist Senator who served from 1972 to 2001. Helms, in 1983, was the only Senator to vote against approving Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday. He was a mean-spirited racist and didn’t care who knew it. In 2013, speaking at an event meant to honor Jesse Helms, Cruz said, “The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then. We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” In this same vein, Cruz has gone on to shamelessly and relentlessly target Black Lives Matter.
“If you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the most disturbing things is more than one of their protests have embraced rabid rhetoric, rabid anti-police language, literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers. That is disgraceful.” (Ted Cruz, 2015)
The bottom line is Ted Cruz has always been the guy you see today. Now that he knows he’s retiring for the big lobbyist bucks, he doesn’t give a damn what people think. Which means his true Self will show more than ever. We got a taste of it watching him flee to Mexico and the ensuing ramblings of lunacy at the CPAC conference after he joked about going to Cancun. Dozens of people in Texas died and all he’s really done is make jokes about it.
This is who Ted Cruz is.
Ted Cruz brings shame to Cubans around the world. He perpetuates the stereotype that makes it “somehow acceptable to attack and question the “authenticity” of Cubans [as Latinos],” as Dave Sandoval recently put it in a piece he wrote for Latino Rebels. Cubans are a diverse bunch. In thought and in culture. And like any other group, we are not a monolith. But it’s on us to address the bigotry in our community even if it starts by simply telling old folks that some things aren’t ok to say. Just getting them to stop could have a cascading effect on those around them.
Sometimes it’s just that easy to start making a difference. Every little bit helps.
But it’s not just us. Don’t think we don’t see all you other Latino groups. There aren’t too many Cubans in Texas, know what I mean? And there’s plenty of this type of “Ted Cruz” behavior to go around down there. Look, we all have our issues to address within our own communities and that’s where we need to start if we truly want to make a difference. We start among our own.
This goes for you white folks too. We see you.
Mantyla K. 2018. Rafael Cruz: The Obergefell Decision Said Marriage ‘Could Be Between Two Men And A Horse’: https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/rafael-cruz-the-obergefell-decision-said-marriage-could-be-between-two-men-and-a-horse/
Blanchard B. 2015. In Beaumont, Cruz Spars a Bit. The Texas Tribune: https://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/19/cruz-visits-beaumont-defends-gay-marriage-oppositi/
Behrmann S. 2020. No systemic racism in police, society, say Texas Senators Cruz, Cornyn. The Columbus Dispatch: https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/politics/2020/06/17/no-systemic-racism-in-police-society-say-texas-senators-cruz-cornyn/112775972/
Coleman C. 2015. Ted Cruz Thinks The Black Lives Matter Movement “Literally” Celebrates The Murder Of Police: https://newsone.com/3209875/ted-cruz-black-lives-matter-literally-celebrates-murder-of-police/