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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

UAE’s Latin American expats voice support for Hillary Clinton

Coming from the region closest to the US, Latin American expatriates living in the UAE believe the outcome of the elections could directly affect South America, Central America or Caribbean countries.
Jorge Vasconcelos, a Cuban teacher at American International school in Abu Dhabi, says he would have voted for Bernie Sanders if he had the choice. Christopher Pike / The National
Jorge Vasconcelos, a Cuban teacher at American International school in Abu Dhabi, says he would have voted for Bernie Sanders if he had the choice. Christopher Pike / The National

This is the first in a daily series that explores how expats from around the world feel ahead of the US presidential election on November 8. Next, we talk to people from South Asia.

ABU DHABI // Latin American expatriates believe a lot is at stake for their countries in the US presidential election.

They said the outcome could directly affect countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, which are relatively near the United States.

Hillary Clinton is the better choice for US president, according to many expats.

“If it was in my hands I wouldn’t vote for either of them because I don’t believe in either of them,” said Jorge Vasconcelos, a Cuban.

“I’d choose her because there is no other option. I don’t think Trump should be the president.

“I would have voted for Bernie Sanders, so I’d rather go with the Democratic Party because I can’t vote for a misogynistic, anti-­Islamic clown who thinks politics is a reality show.”

Since the 1960s, there have been travel and trade restrictions between Cuba and the US, although these have been eased under the Obama administration.

Mr Vasconcelos believed US-Cuban relations would probably improve under Mrs Clinton.

“If it will be Trump, I don’t think what Obama has done so far will survive,” he said.

“Most Cubans, whether they like Hillary or not, would vote for her because she represents the continuation of all the efforts made so far.”

Ricardo Barreto, a Panamanian musician in Abu Dhabi, said he preferred one of the third-party candidates.

“I don’t think I would vote for either Trump or Hillary. I’d probably go with the Green Party because it has different issues and approaches on how to deal with the problems in the US and abroad,” he said.

Mr Barreto said that Americans had to make more effort in researching their presidential candidates rather than simply watching the work of the mainstream media.

“If people in the US only watch CNN, BBC or Fox News, you will only hear Trump or Clinton,” he said.

“There are other parties that never get coverage and there is merit in understanding their stance. I try to get my news from independent sources to get a better picture and I suggest people do the same.”

Mr Barreto said Mrs Clinton had a chequered history in her dealings with South America, citing her support for elections in Honduras after a military coup, helping to install a government that continues to kill its citizens. He said she also opposed a free-trade bill in her campaign for the US presidency in 2008 that would have made money laundering more difficult. When she became US secretary of state, she changed her mind and supported the bill despite advice that it could exacerbate economic inequality, Mr Barreto said.

Andrea Galindo, a Colombian student at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, said Mrs Clinton was her choice for US president ­because she could not support Mr Trump’s worldview.

“I would vote for Hillary because the other guy is out of his mind,” she said.

“His thoughts are going back to the old America where racism and discrepancy between genders were OK.”

Ms Galindo also said that a strong relationship between the US and Colombia was essential.

“I know that it is important in Colombia to keep trade between the countries safe and to make sure that we get support from both sides to fight the violence,” she said.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

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