FATHER RAMON OF THE SANTA RITA CHURCH, DADE CITY. Mark Antokas10/01/04
INTRO: The Hispanic community in Florida has grown by almost half a million people since the 2000 election. That is seventeen percent of the NationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eligible voters. While the well to do Cuban population on the east coast of Florida has in the recent past dominated the political dialog, Working class and farm working Non-Cuban populations through out the state have other needs. Recently, WMNFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark Antokas spoke with a preist in Dade City who works with those in the poorer Latino-American Community.
SCRIPT: Father Ramon, of the Santa Rita Catholic Church in Dade City works with Hispanic migrant workers. Father Ramon, who is Cuban born considers the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission as a bridge between the Latino community and the rest of society. FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hispanic community is no longer dominated by the wealthier Cuban voting block, instead, Mexicans, Puerto-Ricans and Columbians now far out number CubanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Many of FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hispanic workers are of the migrant farm worker community. WMNF asked Father Ramon what issues are important for Latino-Americans in the coming Senate and Presidential elections. He said working conditions for migrants were poor. Roll Tape:
Many HispanicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are of the Catholic faith. Abortion is a very large issue in this country, not only in the Catholic Church, but across all Christian belief. The anti-abortion issue is a centerpiece of the Republican adgenda, but Father Ramon maintains that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about respect for life. Roll Tape:
WMNF caught up with Martinez, the Republican running for the Senate at the lobby of the Tampa Airport Marriot. He defended his assertion that Cuba maintains Ã¢â‚¬Å“Youth Work CampsÃ¢â‚¬? Roll Tape:
WMNF asked Father Ramon whether Mel Martinez would get the Hispanic vote. Roll Tape:
SOCK OUT: Mel Martinez and Betty Castor currently are running neck and neck, with a host of voters yet undecided, Hispanic and otherwise. Latino-American issues are predicted to dominate more and more of the political debate, in Florida and the Nation as the election approaches. This is Mark Antokas for WMNF radio news.