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Billboard comparing Trump to Castro coming down -- to be featured on the side of a truck

Syra Ortiz Blanes and Max Greenwood, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

A billboard that compared former President Donald Trump to the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro is coming down near the Palmetto Expressway.

Now, it’ll be rolling down the road alongside South Florida drivers instead.

The billboard, which went up on Monday, drew backlash from some members of Miami’s Cuban community for likening Trump to a dictator. Critics said the parallel was historically inaccurate and an affront to exiles.

Claude Taylor — the founder of Mad Dog PAC, the political-action committee behind the original billboard — told the Miami Herald the Castro message will be taken down and replaced on Saturday with a new image showing Trump in an orange jumpsuit, a judge’s gavel swinging down opposite to him, with the words “Convicted Felon” towering above the scene.

A jury in New York found Trump guilty last month of 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to a porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair. The former president claims he’s the victim of a political witch hunt, while his critics have seized on the convictions to argue he’s unfit to hold the office that he is trying to regain this year.

The advertisement likening Trump to Castro, meanwhile, will be featured on the side of a box truck that will drive around the Miami area through the weekend, Taylor said. That same truck will then head to Atlanta ahead of the first presidential debate between Trump and President Joe Biden on Thursday, June 27, Taylor said.

“The Castro billboard is coming down, and the convicted-felon billboard is going up,” Taylor said. “And I’ve got a new billboard truck with the same message hitting Miami. It’ll be on the streets tomorrow.”

U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, a Republican from Miami, said in a written statement she had been in touch with Lamar Advertising, the company that owns the billboard space, and that its vice president and general manager for South Florida had notified her they would be removing it “promptly.”

“The truth forces them to adopt this measure. I am glad that they are doing the right thing and showing solidarity with the pain and suffering of the Cuban community in exile,” said Salazar, who is Cuban American.

‘Not on my Loteria card’

 

Not all Hispanic Republicans were angry about the billboard.

“Cubans shutting down the freeway in protest over billboards comparing Trump to Castro wasn’t on my Loteria card but I’m here for all of it!” Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant and co-founder of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, posted on X.

Meanwhile, some Democrats and detractors of the presumptive Republican nominee praised the ad, saying there is a resemblance between Trump and the late Cuban dictator, who brought communism to Cuba in the late 1950s.

“The same bad faith MAGA Cubans losing their minds over this accurate billboard message — citing ‘the offense of comparing Fidel to Trump’ — are the same MAGA hypocrites who were dead silent when MAGA @marcorubio absurdly compared our U.S. justice system to Castro’s regime show trials,” Miami Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi said on X.

He was referring to comments that Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida, made on Fox News comparing Trump’s criminal case to trials of former officials of the government of former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Many of them were then executed by the Castro regime.

The billboard is the latest example of how the politics and histories of Miami’s immigrants are a key part of domestic politics in South Florida. Local and national politicians appealing to Miami’s communities often use words, images and comparisons that are familiar to them. That includes Democrats calling Trump a caudillo — a stereotypical Latin American strongman — or Republicans accusing Biden for being socialist in the style of left-wing Latin American leaders.

On Friday afternoon, Salazar informed her constituents via social media that the advertising company had told her the Castro billboard would be removed at midnight that day.

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©2024 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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