Yes, the Cuba embargo had an impact in Florida's governor's race

Florida had a very close election for governor.  So it's hard to identify "one issue" that re-elected Gov. Scott 48%-47% out of 5.6 million votes cast.

Nevertheless, one issue did not help Mr. Crist – i.e., calling for lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba.  It energized Cuban-Americans, as my friend Jorge Ponce wrote:

In the Florida governor’s race, Democrat Charlie Crist stated his preference for lifting the U.S. embargo, while Republican Rick Scott indicated that he would keep it. To the majority of Cuban-Americans in Florida, home to 70% of the nation’s Cubans, keeping the U.S. embargo against a Communist regime that has oppressed its people for 55 years is an article of faith. With Scott’s victory decided by a 1.4% margin, those who advised Charlie Crist on the U.S. embargo did not help his cause.   

Moreover, U.S. Representative Joe Garcia (Democrat) lost to Carlos Curbelo (Republican). Although Joe Garcia expressed his support for keeping the U.S. embargo, most Cuban-Americans did not believe him because of his efforts to expand travel and remittances to the island. You cannot vacillate on your position regarding the U.S. embargo in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, where Cuban-Americans make up 35% of the electorate. Most Cuban-Americans are thoroughly familiar with the nuances surrounding the U.S. embargo. They cannot be fooled on this one, and they easily recognize and punish politicians who try to dance on both sides of the fence.   

In her new book “Hard Choices,” former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she pushed President Barack Obama to lift or ease the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba. If she decides to join the 2016 presidential race, she better learn from the mistakes made by Charlie Crist and Joe Garcia. That is, if she plans to carry Florida.   

Perhaps, some politicians were fooled by the op-eds and editorials that have appeared recently on the pages of most national newspapers. The authors of these publications claimed that the influence wielded by Cuban-Americans who favored a hard-line on the U.S. embargo was waning, and that the younger Cuban-Americans favored lifting the U.S. sanctions.

These articles and editorials failed to recognize that whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, young or old, most Cuban-Americans refuse to extend a helping hand to a totalitarian regime who continues to be on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

And, in Florida, they have elected three U.S. Representatives and a U.S. Senator, who could be a Presidential candidate in the 2016 election, who support keeping a hard-line on the U.S. embargo issue.

Jorge is referring to those New York Times editorials calling for lifting the embargo.  (We posted about this recently.)

Most Cubans, those born in Cuba like my parents or raised here like me, oppose lifting the embargo because it makes no sense to reward a lawless regime.   

Lifting the embargo, without significant concessions from the Castro regime, makes no sense for the Cuban people.  This is about the Cuban people on the island, not our politics here.   

There is no evidence that lifting the embargo will do a darn thing to bring freedom to Cuba.  However, it will make "Castro Inc." richer, especially when they have access to U.S. export & import credits!

Memo to Mr. Crist and other Democrats in Florida: talk to Cubans in the U.S. about the embargo rather than get your instructions from The New York Times.  

P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.