Armando Perez-Roura, programming director of Radio Mambi, has boasted in the past about the impressive list of Republicans that have appeared on the air with him. He's taken on former Presidential candidates Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain during their last campaigns. But, it seems this week Perez-Roura didn't have time for Herman Cain.
Armando Perez-Roura has made it clear that he chooses his guests very carefully (thus the absence of Democrats on Radio Mambi). Earlier this week, Perez-Roura discussed the Republican Presidential candidates with attorney Armando Lacasa and said he didn't care that Mitt Romney was not as "conservative" as Herman Cain, but Romney stood the best chance at winning the Presidency and that is all that mattered. Cain stood no chance according to Perez-Roura.
Cain arrived to South Florida this past Wednesday making several stops, including the traditional one at Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana (video). According to Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald, Cain didn't seem to have an outlined policy towards Cuba. His only policy remarks about Cuba were basically summed up as "freedom for Cuba now" and "put more pressure on Castro." Questions regarding current US-Cuba policy were ignored. As a result, the Miami Herald posted a video on YouTube revealing the hypocrisy of Cain's criticism against Pres. Obama's "foggy" foreign policy.
At Versailles Restaurant Cain was greeted by several supporters including Cuban exile hard-liners like Luis Conte Agüero and members of Vigilia Mambisa. According to a report by the Spanish news agency EFE, Miguel Saavedra, leader of Vigilia Mambisa, had a complaint about all the past Presidential candidates who have visited Versailles talking about Cuba:
"They have said more or less the same thing, but have done nothing later."
Meaning that no President so far has supported an actual military blockade or invasion of Cuba, like Armando Perez-Roura suggested to Presidential candidate John McCain in 2007. Nevertheless, in video taken by EFE of the gathering at Versailles, members of Vigilia Mambisa still showed their support for Herman Cain by holding up "Cain 2012" signs.
Interestingly, both the written and video report by EFE state that Cain proposed cooperation with Cuban exile leaders to formulate his U.S.-Cuba policy. This is not reported elsewhere, but it makes perfect sense given his apparent ignorance on the issue. (Back in 2007, Mitt Romney made similar remarks about his Cuba policy being influenced by Cuban exiles like Armando Perez-Roura.)
It seems that right before his Versailles stop Herman Cain was a few blocks west at the Radio Mambi radio station. There he was greeted by Armando Perez-Roura, but was not there to be interviewed by him. Instead, Lourdes D'Kendall (Bertot), host of "En Mi Opinion" (In My Opinion) which discusses more local politics, was assigned the duty. D'Kendall describes herself as a "conservative" and has spent past shows explaining how strongly she feels about being a "conservative." An interview with Cain seemed natural, but, strangely, they didn't talk about Cuba.
According to a report by Radio Mambi, posted on their Univision webpage (and based on the above EFE report), Cain and D'Kendall mostly talked about Cain's economic policy and his recent flub concerning a foreign policy question on Libya. (The Cuba policy comment in the Radio Mambi report is actually a quote from his Versailles speech.) The audio provided of the interview also does not include any comments about Cuba.
It's possible that Armando Perez-Roura didn't interview Herman Cain because his sidekick, Ninoska Perez-Castellon, has been on vacation this whole week. But, Perez-Roura could have also denied Cain an interview because he sees Cain as a poor Republican candidate, unqualified to be on his interview list like Thompson, Romney or McCain. Perez-Roura simply doesn't boast about Radio Mambi's impressive guests, he also prides himself at being influential. A king-maker perhaps. But, among the winners. Just like he sees freedom for Cuba right around the corner.
[Photo by Chuny Montaner/Univision, Herman Cain arrives at Radio Mambi with food from Versailles Restaurant and welcomed by programming director Armando Perez-Roura standing behind him.]