Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia and Republican opponent Carlos Curbelo disagree on whether more Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba and send more money to relatives on the island.
But that significant policy difference didn’t get much attention until this week, when a pro-Cuba-travel television advertisement began airing in Miami.
The TV spot, launched Monday by the Miami-based liberal-leaning Cuba Now nonprofit, sticks out because of what it isn’t: a slick, highly produced piece bashing Curbelo or Garcia, like most of the others funded by well-heeled outside political groups in the close contest for Florida’s 26th congressional district.
Instead, the ad has a throwback, low-budget feel. Unidentified people speak directly into the camera in Spanish and urge voters to back candidates who support more Cuba travel. Their words are subtitled in English.
It’s a straight so-called “issue” ad. Most ads funded by outside groups technically fall under that category as well, but usually they make clear which candidate they’re supposed to benefit. This one makes no mention of Garcia or Curbelo.
Yet after the two candidates debated in Marathon on Monday evening and were asked about U.S.-Cuba policy, Cuba Now released a statement criticizing Curbelo, who said at the forum that he could not “support any unilateral concessions to an enemy of the United States — in this case, the Cuban government.” The congressional district stretches from Westchester to Key West.