WBEZ | David Rivera http://www.wbez.org/tags/david-rivera Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Updates: Cuban dissident released, Payá accident verdict, Rivera loses http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/updates-cuban-dissident-released-pay%C3%A1-accident-verdict-rivera-loses-104098 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/antoniorodiles.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Antonio Rodiles, founder of Cuba's Estado de SATS" /></div><p><strong>Rodiles released&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Antonio Rodiles is an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Rodilesis">odd bird</a>. He&rsquo;s mild-mannered, soft-spoken and nerdy. He wears little John Lennon glasses and looks pained when he speaks. Recently released after 19 days in Cuban detention for &ldquo;resisting arrest,&rdquo; Rodiles said he doesn&rsquo;t know what he was arrested for when he resisted &mdash; because he hasn&rsquo;t bothered <a href="http://babalublog.com/2012/11/cuba-antonio-rodiles-released-by-castro-regime/">to read the complaint</a>.</p><p>So what <em>was</em> Rodiles actually doing when he was arested? He and a few others had gone to Section 21, headquarters for Cuba&rsquo;s fearsome state security, to protest the arrest of a human rights lawyer.</p><p>Like many Cubans, Rodiles once emigrated to the U.S. He studied for a master&rsquo;s degree in mathematics to go with his doctorate in physics, and even taught for a bit at Florida State University.<br /><br />But a few years later, Rodiles did what&rsquo;s rarely done. He went back to Cuba, with a purpose:&nbsp;to promote democratic change. These days, Rodiles is the founder and director of <a href="http://www.estadodesats.com/">Estado de SATS</a>, a group that presents&nbsp;public conversations on a variety of topics affecting civic society. The talks are as public as they can be in Cuba given they lack government affiliation or approval. They&rsquo;re videotaped and passed around hand to hand on memory sticks.&nbsp;<br /><br />For this, Rodiles and his supporters get harassed to no end, and they&rsquo;re not the only ones. According to the Cuban Commission for <a href="http://babalublog.com/2012/11/political-arrests-in-cuba-surpass-5000/">Human Rights and National Reconciliation</a>, a dissident group on the island, there have been more than 5,600 arrests so far this year, 520 in October alone.&nbsp;Most of the detentions are short-term, violent and public;&nbsp;many are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/what-happened-cubas-oswaldo-pay%C3%A1-101228">caught on video</a>, as I&rsquo;ve detailed before.</p><p><strong>Verdict deliverd in&nbsp;Payá crash&nbsp;</strong><br /><br />Last July, I wrote about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/what-happened-cubas-oswaldo-pay%C3%A1-101228">the death of Oswaldo Payá</a>, one of Cuba&rsquo;s most important dissidents, in what appeared to be a suspicious car crash.<br /><br />Payá&rsquo;s wife, Ofelia Acevedo, maintains that the state is responsible for his death. Meanwhile, the Cuban legal system has <a href="http://www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-av-cuba-condena-cuatro-anos-prision-angel-carromero-20121015170436.html">condemned Ángel Carromero</a>, a Spanish native, for manslaughter. Carromero, a youth leader for Spain&rsquo;s conservative Popular Party, was at the wheel when the accident occurred. Though Acevedo said she knows of texts sent by Carromero and a second foreigner in the car alleging that they were being bumped by another vehicle just before the crash, Carromero &mdash; whose Spanish driving record was atrocious &mdash; has insisted in all his media appearances that there was no second car and that he sent no such texts.<br /><br />We&rsquo;ll check back when he gets released, which could be well short of four years, and see if the story changes.<br /><br /><strong>Rivera loses Florida seat&nbsp;</strong><br /><br />God knows there was probably <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/latest-senate-races-romneys-jeep-ad-and-crazy-david-rivera-103613">no crazier congressional race </a>in the whole country this month than in South Florida, where Democrat Joe Garcia took on Republican incumbent David Rivera, Sen. Marco Rubio&rsquo;s best friend. (I&rsquo;m not being hyperbolic &mdash; they&rsquo;re close enough to co-own property.)<br /><br />Garcia finally won, beating Rivera by a comfortable ten-point margin. By the time voters had their say, Rivera was under two different federal investigations and had been slapped for 11 ethics violations during his time in the Florida state legislature. Rivera lost party support and barely had enough cash to finish out the race.<br /><br />But to hear Rivera tell it, none of that mattered. The problem was mostly demographics and a strong showing by the president.</p><p>&quot;I think an analysis of the results demonstrates that the presidential election had a significant impact on several congressional races, including my own,&rdquo; Rivera told the <em>Miami Herald</em>. &ldquo;It makes it <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/07/3086820/changes-in-district-helped-lead.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy">tough for Republicans</a> down ballot to be successful.&rdquo;<br /><br />Though there&rsquo;s already talk of Jeb Bush Jr. running against Garcia in 2014, Rivera isn&rsquo;t going away. There are still those two investigations to be concluded. Ana Alliegro, his campaign manager and cash courier, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600">is still missing</a>.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/updates-cuban-dissident-released-pay%C3%A1-accident-verdict-rivera-loses-104098 Latest on senate races, Romney's Jeep ad, and crazy David Rivera http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/latest-senate-races-romneys-jeep-ad-and-crazy-david-rivera-103613 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6633_AP71215204658-scr.jpg" style="height: 427px; width: 620px; " title="Dem senate candidate Richard Carmona campaigns with former President Bill Clinton in Arizona, where the Democrats could have a senate win and help Obama stay in the White House. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)" /></div><p>Things are looking better for the Democrats not just to hold the senate but to actually gain seats since I last <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/democrats-look-hold-senate-easily-102739">checked in</a> on those races in September.<br /><br />All but one of the Democrats I said were safe then continue to improve their numbers.<br /><br />But a number of races I thought were sure bets for the GOP have tightened in the last few weeks. Top among these is in <strong>Indiana</strong>, where the GOP&rsquo;s Richard Mourdock may have shot himself in the foot with his comments about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/mourdock-and-meaning-moderate-103410">God and rapists</a>. Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly--only marginally better on choice--<a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49657291/">leads by ten</a> points in the latest polls.<br /><br />And then there&rsquo;s <strong>Arizona</strong>, where <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/az/arizona_senate_flake_vs_carmona-3005.html">Dem Richard Carmona has climbed up</a> about ten points, made last minute ad buys and has been holding Republican Jeff Flake under 50 percent and within the margin of error in recent polls. The other story in Arizona is that President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are in a <a href="http://www.kpho.com/story/19814639/new-az-poll-dead-heat-in-presidential-race-latino-vote-key">dead heat</a>. Arizona has been counted as a red state in most polls I&rsquo;ve seen, so this could be a real surprise. It only has 11 electoral votes, but that&rsquo;s more than Iowa&rsquo;s 6 and Wisconsin&rsquo;s 10. (And if Obama wins Arizona, he&#39;d better kiss some Latino butt fast.)<br /><br />In <strong>Nebraska</strong>, former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey was being trounced by GOP Deb Fischer by almost 20 points for most of the race, but Kerrey&rsquo;s pulled <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/ne/nebraska_senate_fischer_vs_kerrey-3144.html">within 3 recently</a>--the margin of error--and might pull off an upset. He recently scored an endorsement from former <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/01/former-gop-sen-hagel-backs-democrat-kerrey-in-nebraska-senate-race/">Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel</a>, who&rsquo;s always been a bit of a party maverick, but it could be just what Kerrey needs. Hagel, who represented Nebraska too, is campaigning for Kerrey through the weekend.<br /><br />And the Democratic leaners continue to improve: Tammy Baldwin may yet be first open lesbian in the U.S. Senate, as she <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-31/news/sns-rt-us-usa-campaign-wisconsin-senatebre89u1rw-20121031_1_final-poll-senate-race-presidential-race">leads more comfortably</a> in Wisconsin; Elizabeth Warren is <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/ma/massachusetts_senate_brown_vs_warren-2093.html">ahead in Massachusetts</a>; Chris Murphy is <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/262715-poll-murphy-leads-mcmahon-in-connecticut-senate-race">significantly up</a> in Connecticut ; and&nbsp; Shelley Berkley <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/nv/nevada_senate_heller_vs_berkley-1894.html">remains within the margin of error</a> against Dean Heller in Nevada.<br /><br />Not everything&rsquo;s been rosy for the Dems on the senate campaign trail. In <strong>Ohio</strong>, Sherwood Brown has <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/oh/ohio_senate_mandel_vs_brown-2100.html">lost considerable ground</a> to GOP challenger Josh Mandel but is still up about five points.<br /><br />And though Claire McCaskill should have left Republican Todd behind by now, the Republican Party of <strong>Missouri</strong>, which had abandoned Akin after his &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; comments, just <a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/akin-finds-funding-in-final-days-of-senate-race/">poured $700,000 into the race</a>.<br /><br />In <strong>North Dakota</strong>, GOPer Rick Berg has <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/nd/north_dakota_senate_berg_vs_heitkamp-3212.html">overtaken Dem</a> Heidi Heitkamp by about 5 points.<br /><br />And still up in the air: Democrat Tim Kaine vs. GOPer George Allen in <strong>Virginia</strong>, and the <strong>Montana</strong> match-up between Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Denny Rehberg.<br /><br />But there seems to be no path now for the Republicans to take the senate.</p><p><strong>***</strong></p><p>No one seems to be buying <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/romneys-shameless-last-minute-lie-103545">Romney&rsquo;s Jeep-is-taking-Ohio-jobs-to-China ploy</a>, but he&rsquo;s doubling down.<br /><br />After being called out by Jeep&rsquo;s chief executive with an unequivocal refutation of his recent Ohio ad and a promise to invest $500 million more at the Toledo Jeep plant, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul responded: &ldquo;Their comments don&rsquo;t refute anything in our ad.&rdquo;<br /><br />Which is crazy crap.<br /><br />In the meantime, both New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and conservative financial magazine The Economist have <a href="http://www.politicususa.com/business-community-abandons-romney-bloomberg-economist-endorse-obama.html">endorsed Obama</a>. It&rsquo;s not a very warm endorsement but they <em>loathe</em> Romney precisely because of stuff like the Ohio ad.</p><p><strong>***</strong></p><p>Is there a more absurd congressional race than South Florida&rsquo;s match between Republican incumbent David Rivera and Dem Joe Garcia?<br /><br />Rivera, who I&rsquo;ve been following <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/case-against-florida-congressman-rivera-gets-weirder-102693">here</a>, just got slapped with <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/rep-david-rivera-faces-11-florida-ethics-charges/story?id=17555529#.UJPFj2l25ZU">11 ethics violations</a>&nbsp;by a state panel (which includes fellow Republicans). That&rsquo;s on top of an FBI investigation and a federal probe of campaign fund misuse.<br /><br />In the meantime, the stooge he set up to run against Garcia in the primary has <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/10/fishy_david_rivera-linked_cand.php">pleaded the Fifth</a> and will likely cooperate with any and all investigations to stay out of jail.<br /><br />And Ana Alliegro, Rivera&rsquo;s former aide and the stooge&rsquo;s ex-campaign manager, <a href="http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?idx=296943&amp;page=2&amp;cat=&amp;more=">remains missing</a> after skipping her interview with the FBI.</p></p> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 08:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/latest-senate-races-romneys-jeep-ad-and-crazy-david-rivera-103613 Witness missing in case of Rubio's pal Rivera http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600 <p><p>Remember Florida Congressman David Rivera, Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s honest-to-God-no-hyperbole-best-friend? When I <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894">wrote about Rivera</a> last month, several different law enforcement agencies were looking at all sorts of allegations concerning what appears to be a shadow primary campaign that Rivera, a Republican, engineered against&nbsp;Joe Garcia,&nbsp;his Democratic rival in the November election.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP110224067931.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Rep. David Rivera's troubles get weirder. (AP)" />Since then &mdash; and I&#39;m not making this up &mdash; the shadow candidate&#39;s campaign manager, a woman whom Rivera claimed to not know but whose Facebook page was plastered with pictures of the two of them, <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/09/ana_alliegro_central_figure_in.php">has vanished</a>.<br /><br />Ana Alliegro, who ran shadow candidate Justin Sternad&#39;s failed campaign, dropped from sight June 5 after her computer was seized by the FBI. She disappeared on the way to meet investigators after her lawyer engineered a private meeting, to save her from having to testify to a grand jury.</p><p>I know, I know: It sounds crazy. A key witness in the investigation of a congressman is holding out somewhere for God knows what.<br /><br />We know she&#39;s holding out and not dead because she stays in touch with her family. The <em>Miami Herald</em> quotes Alliegro&#39;s mother as saying that she hasn&#39;t heard from her in two weeks. &quot;I know she is resting. We are praying for her.&quot; (The family <a href="http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2012/09/07/1295059/testigo-crucial-en-investigacion.html">has not filed</a> a missing persons report.)<br /><br />Alliegro is alleged to have delivered envelopes stuffed full of cash &mdash; about $40,000 worth&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;for Sternad mailers attacking Garcia (one actually blamed him for the BP oil spill). The investigation concerns whether Rivera was funneling that cash illegally.<br /><br />It now turns out that Alliegro left behind at least<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/21/3014731/fbi-checks-envelopes-used-in-probe.html"> four of the envelopes</a> in which the cash was delivered; the FBI is checking them for fingerprints and handwriting comparison.<br /><br />In the meantime, Rubio&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;who hosted a fundraiser in May for Rivera&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;has stepped back a bit.<br /><br />&quot;I only know what I&#39;ve read in the press. I haven&#39;t had a chance to speak with him since that all came out. I just hope none of it is true. I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt on all these things. I just hope none of it is true,&quot; <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/08/as-fbi-and-questions-swirl-marco-rubio-keeps-distance-from-nixonian-pal-david-rivera.html#storylink=cpy">Rubio said</a> during the Republican National Convention in Tampa last month.<br /><br />Rubio isn&#39;t the only keeping his distance. Mitt Romney ordered a Rivera-free zone during his interview with Univisión at the University of Miami campus last week. Rivera was the only Florida Republican elected official not invited to the studio&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;even though he has been one of Romney&#39;s biggest boosters in South Florida.<br /><br />The Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee is spending more than $1 million to help Garcia get on the air; the GOP equivalent has plans to hep Rivera with exactly <em>nada</em>.<br /><br />Still, you have to admire Rivera&#39;s resilience. Even after all these shenanigans, and in spite of the fact that Rivera was already under a cloud of suspicion when this campaign <em>began</em>, he still maintains <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/250841-garcia-leads-rivera-in-new-fl-26-poll">a six-point lead</a> over Garcia in the most recent polls.</p></p> Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600