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Robaina calls Cretul 'un dictador'

State Rep. Julio Robaina of Miami, stripped of his committee chairmanship for crossing Republican leaders on a bill to limit attorney fees, ratcheted up the rhetoric today -- in Spanish -- on Univision Radio's "El Show de Enrique & Joe."

Robaina called House Speaker Larry Cretula "dictator", and when asked if there was discrimination against at work, he replied, "Yes. One hundred percent yes. What they are trying to do is shut up a Latino from Miami-Dade."

Rep. Carlos Lopez-Canteraof Miami added his own two cents on the air: "Julio Robaina is not a man of his word. He said he would do what we said because he wanted to stay in the position. He's a liar!"

More background on the feud: The two have a long and unfriendly relationship (they were seated by each other on the House floor until one of them requested a new seat elsewhere). Robaina beat Lopez-Cantera for his House seat in 2000. Some whisper Lopez-Cantera might run against Robaina for a Senate seat if (a big but possible if) Miguel Diaz de La Portilla doesn't file.

Also, Robaina claimed that it was inappropriate that Lopez-Cantera's mother was seated on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, a comment Lopez-Cantera called "unfortunate." He said his mom is well qualified for the job.

With this as a backdrop, Robaina said Speaker Cretul sent Lopez-Cantera to call and attempt to persuade him to not change the lawyer-fee bill. Robaina said Lopez-Cantera was "rude and offensive."

"No member should talk to another member like that," Robaina said. "He doesn't talk to me for two years, and now he's on the phone threatening me?"

Lopez-Cantera said he's too busy to get in a war of words with Robaina. "It was a lively exchange but it's not something that I am going to allow to distract me from what's truly important," he said. "It's a dead issue."

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