Miami Bay of Pigs veteran featured in new anti-Trump ads paid for by Bloomberg PAC

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MIAMI — The political action committee of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is launching a new set of anti-Trump ads in Spanish to run in Florida, featuring a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba who was captured and imprisoned there for 18 years.

The two ads, which will run in key Florida markets on television and radio through Election Day, spotlight Santiago Morales, a 78-year-old local businessman and member of the Brigade 2506, which endorsed President Donald Trump in 2016, the first time the veteran group has backed a presidential candidate.

Last month, the Brigade announced they were endorsing the president for the second time.

While there are signs that Trump is losing support among Florida seniors, a reliable part of his voter base in 2016, polls have shown he has made inroads among Cuban Americans and other Hispanic groups, particularly in South Florida.

In one of the ads, Morales — who says he considers himself a moderate — talks about his experience as a political prisoner. He details feeling offended by statements made by Trump, reported by The Atlantic, in which multiple sources said he referred to veterans who died in wars as “losers” and “suckers.”

In the other commercial, Morales pushes against the narrative that Biden supporters are socialists.

“Me, like many other Cubans that are voting for the Democrats, are not socialists, or communists,” says Morales in the ad, which is called Somos Patriotas, or We are Patriots.

“Enough with the lies and the manipulations,” he adds.

A recent poll by Florida International University among Cubans in South Florida found that 54% of those who responded said they would vote for Trump, while 25% who said they would vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“It really is … the Republican playbook that they use every four years,” said former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, a long-time friend of Bloomberg who also served as his co-chair during the former New York mayor’s short-lived presidential bid.

“There’s a lot of people that are beginning to step up now because they’re sick and tired of it,” added Diaz.

The ad is also part of a growing effort by Florida Democrats to draw attention to disinformation in Hispanic communities in Miami spread through social media apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, that cast Biden as a communist.

“I sacrificed 20 years of my life fighting against Castrismo and communism, and when I got here, all I did was work, work, work,” said Morales in an interview with the Miami Herald. “I have nothing to fear. The conditions for a communist or socialist revolution don’t exist in this country. This is a capitalist country and has done it well.”

Diaz said the ads, which cost Independence USA PAC nearly $1 million, are part of a $100 million investment that Bloomberg pledged to make in Florida to support Biden’s candidacy.


©2020 Miami Herald