The president of the Hialeah Republican Club — the largest Republican club in Miami-Dade and, perhaps, the state of Florida — endorsed Martha Bueno, an NPA candidate and advocate for legalized marijuana, over GOP State Rep. Anthony Rodriguez in the Miami-Dade Commission District 10 race.
But it was very short-lived. Of course.
Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Martinez, who campaigned for Donald Trump and owns the American Freedom Network, took his endorsement back last week, probably under pressure from Rodriguez people or Republicans.
“I found out she was a libertarian,” Martinez told Ladra. Bueno, former vice chair of the Miami-Dade Libertarian Party and the county’s Community Council 11 zoning board in West Kendall, is running as an NPA. But she still has libertarian ideals and was at the Libertarian National Convention in Reno over the weekend.
“She might be a really nice person. But I don’t really know her. I only met her once and I thought she was Republican,” Martinez said.
“I can’t be endorsing anyone outside the Republican Party.”
But, according to texts between her and the vice president of the club, it is really because she supported the Black Lives Matter movement, which for many older Cubans means supporting Marxism.
“Julio Martinez would appreciate if you removed the ‘endorsement’ and the pictures of him on your social media as he does not consent to that or any type of an endorsement for libertarian or Black Lives Matter marxist org supporter,” he wrote.
But, according to texts between her and Martinez, he did give her his nod — then “changed my opinion.”
“My club is not going to support you,” he told her. “Cambie de opinión.”
Bueno told Ladra the same thing that most people in our generation think: “I support BLM, the movement, like I would support any movement that fights for equality and justice. But I do not support the organization because of its Marxist roots.” We should have a card that says just that to whip out at Versailles when someone gets in your face about your t-shirt.
Bueno is Cuban American and actively posts anti-regime messages on her social media, probably more than any other issue. She started her own organization to send medicine to Cuba and is involved in the SOS Cuba movement.
“I do have a problem with BLM,” Martinez told Ladra. “But that’s not why I decided not to endorse her.”
Martinez met Bueno on May 17 and, she says, he was very enthusiastic about her candidacy. She insists he knew that she was not Republican and was supporting her because he doesn’t like Rodriguez.
“I told him explicitly, ‘Do you understand I am not Republican? I don’t have a party affiliation.’ He understood it,” Bueno said, adding that Martinez was so enthusiastic he wanted to help her.
“He wanted to be my campaign manager,” she told Ladra. “He sold himself, that he had worked for every Republican presidential candidate since Reagan, and he only works with winners.”
She’s not upset about the backtracking. After all, it was a long shot from the get-go. But she says the attacks on social media are a distraction.
“Why can’t we argue on our issues?”
Insiders suspect that Rodriguez and/or Republican Party hardliners didn’t like the posts on Bueno’s social media platforms and pressured Martinez to cambiar de opinion. Bueno said all her contacts on Instagram got a message saying that Martinez was endorsing Rodriguez, not her, and that they had asked her to remove the posts.
When Ladra asked Martinez if he was going to endorse the state rep, Martinez said he might not endorse anyone but Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Besides, it’s not that important, he said. “My endorsement used to be very heavy. Right now, I don’t think it is.”
Well, it sure isn’t now.