State Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, is running for Congress in Florida’s District 25 against Democrat Joe Garcia. Rivera was first elected to the Florida House in 2002 in District 112, where Hispanics — especially Cubans — make up the majority of voters. So it’s no surprise that American policy toward Cuba has become a hot topic in the Rivera-Garcia race.

In a campaign video Rivera touts job creation as his number one priority, but he is using the Cuban issue to attack Garcia.

Late last week the Naples Daily News reported that

Republican candidate David Rivera has labeled Democratic opponent Joe Garcia as an esbirros, or henchman, of Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, among other harsh claims made in Spanish in a Sept. 3 radio interview with a radio station in Miami.

When confronted by the Daily News in Miami on Thursday, Rivera denied _ twice _ making the remark or ever using such a word in his life. When he was informed the Daily News had a copy of the radio interview, he redirected his attack by labeling Garcia’s supporters as agents of Castro’s regime.

Both Rivera and Garcia have worked with The Cuban American National Foundation.

“Rivera served as a writer and researcher with the Washington D.C. offices of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). While with CANF, Representative Rivera researched and wrote on such issues as human rights, terrorism, political-economy, Soviet-Cuban relations, and international trade,” explains Rivera’s website.

According to, “Joe Garcia has also dedicated himself to the cause of Cuban freedom serving in the 1990’s as the Director of CANF’s Cuban Relief Exodus Program and later as CANF’s Executive Director from 2000 to 2004.”

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