Gov. Rick Scott’s Ad Features Shop Owner Convicted Of Human Smuggling Who Endorses Him
A Cuban-born grocery store owner who starred in a Rick Scott Spanish language television campaign ad which touted the Florida governor’s job creation record was convicted on human smuggling charges in St. Maarten just four years ago.
This is reminiscent of 2013 when Satanists held a rally featuring a sign proclaiming “Hail Satan! Hail Rick Scott!” while rallying on the steps of the Florida capitol building.
In the 30-second ad, Maikel Duarte-Torres gives Gov. Rick Scott a hug and he’s featured as a Florida success story.
“Four years ago, the economy was very bad. Rick Scott helped Florida’s economy and you can see the difference. He’s created jobs. That’s why I support Rick Scott. I’m just like him. I’m like the American Dream,” Duarte-Torres said.
The Miami Herald reports:
Gov. Scott, his campaign staff, and the Republican Party of Florida were apparently unaware, however, that Duarte-Torres was arrested on Nov. 14, 2010, in the Caribbean nation for his alleged role in a smuggling ring that attempted to ferry 10 Cuban migrants from St. Maarten to Miami. Duarte-Torres was convicted five months later by a St. Maarten criminal court judge.
He was sentenced to two years in prison, but served just two days because of jail overcrowding on the island, according to Tineka Kampfe, a spokeswoman with the St. Maarten Attorney General’s office. Kampfe told BrowardBulldog.org that Duarte-Torres was allowed to return home to Tampa on the condition he never sets foot in St. Maarten again…
David Custin, a Miami-based political consultant who has worked for Republican candidates running for state and federal office, urged Scott’s campaign and the Republican Party to quickly cut ties with Duarte-Torres and stop running the ad, which began airing in the Miami market on local station America Teve in late July.
“It’s pretty bad to have the governor running an ad with a convicted human trafficker,” Custin said.. “But if his people respond quickly and own up to what happened, then it won’t be as bad as sweeping it under the rug and not dealing with it.”
“The most important thing [in Florida] are jobs,” Duarte-Torres said in the ad. “Let’s continue working toward that.”
But Duarte-Torres was the alleged mastermind of the human smuggling ring busted in St. Maarten.
David Custin explained that it’s unlikely the Republican Party or Scott’s campaign were aware of Duarte-Torres’ conviction. “It’s not a presidential or congressional race that requires a high degree of vetting and research before you use the person in an ad,” Custin said. “They don’t do international background checks on people.”
It’s still funny though.
In contrast, this is Charlie Crist’s new ad, which does feature a criminal-type: Rick Scott.
H/T: My awesome buddy @TomCinmidlife with thanks.