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Miami-Dade's Cuban-American power brokers gather at Belen-Columbus high school football game

The best place to find Miami-Dade’s Cuban-American movers and shakers as the sun set Friday was not a staged ribbon-cutting or a stuffy fundraiser.

It was in the muddied grass parking lots outside Florida International University’s stadium, at dueling tailgates for the annual Belen-Columbus high school football game.

On the Belen side, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, class of ’73, chatted with U.S. Congressional candidate Joe Garcia, class of ’82.

Later, on the Columbus sideline, Cuban American National Foundation and MasTec chairman Jorge Mas, class of ’81, cheered for a touchdown, then turned to shake hands with a fellow booster.

“Politicians tend to be Belen graduates,” Mas teased, “and businessmen tend to be Columbus graduates.”

That passes for trash talk between Miami-Dade’s two Catholic, all-boys private schools.

“We tell them that we’re going to end up representing them when they’re in jail,” Diaz countered. “Or when they’re looking for a job, they’re going to come to us to hire them.”

More here.


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