Al Fox And Ralph Fernandez by Mitch E. Perry08/25/06
In the last week or so, signs have been scattered near roads in Tampa that read, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Give Fidel Castro A Voice in The U.S. Congress - Vote Al FoxÃ¢â‚¬?.
That Al Fox is the one running for the Democratic nomination in HillsboroughÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 11th Congressional District.
Ralph Fernandez is a Tampa attorney and has been involved in Cuban-American activities for the last two decades. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the people behind those negative signs (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?Osama Bin ladenÃ¢â‚¬?)
Al Fox was raised in Ybor City, but then went on to a long career working in Washington in and around Congress. In 1998, Fox founded the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation, a non profit whose goal is to enhance relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Fox is disdainful of the economic sanctions against Cuba, and reapprochament with the Communist nation is clearly the signature issue of his Congressional campaign.
Naturally, he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see eye to eye with Ralph Fernandez (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?truly knows nothing about the issueÃ¢â‚¬?)
And just in case you werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure of his feelings, Fox adds (roll tape#3 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?enrich himselfÃ¢â‚¬?) The two have always been on diametrically opposite sides of the argument about Cuba.
But Ralph Fernandez , who says he likes both Kathy Castor and Les Miller, said he never intended to intervene in FoxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s candidacy because he says he never took it that seriously.
But Fernandez says he heard from many in the Cuban community in Tampa who wanted him to act.
Among the criticisms Fernandez has of Fox is that he says that Fox worked for the apartheid led South African government in the 1980Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s (roll tape#4 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?apartheid government of CubaÃ¢â‚¬?)
Al Fox responds to that charge (roll tape#5 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?to the King CommissionÃ¢â‚¬?)
Fox also sent to WMNF a quote by Malcolm Ferguson, South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ambassador to Mexico. Ferguson said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬?I worked with Al 20 years ago during some of my countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s darkest hours. His integrity, candor and commitment to be a credible voice for the progressive movement in Congress was always appreciatedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.Ã¢â‚¬? He goes on to say that FoxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work with Coretta Scott KingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.spoke volumes about the manner he always tried In a special way to have an impact in ending the apartheid nightmare.Ã¢â‚¬?
But Al Fox also says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s busy with his campaign, and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have too much time to worry about the Ralph FernandezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of the world. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s upset with the local press Ã¢â‚¬â€œ taking exception to what he says is a misquote in FridayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tampa Tribune (roll tape#6 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge differenceÃ¢â‚¬?)
Al Fox will be joined by the 4 other Democrats running for the nomination in the 11th Congressional District, in a radio debate to be held live on the WMNF Evening News next Monday night, beginning at 6:30PM.