Joe Biden called dictator Nicholas Maduro a “thug” after Donald Trump said the Democrat will turn Florida into Venezuela as the two candidates fought a bitter war for Latino voters at dueling rallies in the battleground state.
Mr Biden said the president was the “worst possible standard-bearer for democracy” in Cuba and Venezuela, with Russia establishing a major presence in Havana while the Trump administration was deporting immigrants back to autocratic regimes of South America.
“He won’t even grand temporary status for Venezuelans fleeing the oppressive regime of [Venezula president] Maduro, who I’ve met with and he’s a thug,” Mr Biden said.
The appeal to Hispanic voters came as Mr Trump said at a competing rally that Mr Biden stands with socialists and communists, and made a one-sided deal with the Castro-dictatorship while he was vice president.
“I stand with the proud people of Cuba, and Nicaragua, and Venezula in their righteous struggle for freedom,” Mr Trump said.
“The last administration also negotiated the terrible Obama-Biden Santos deal with Colombian drug cartels, surrendering to the narco-terrorists.”
Mr Trump has also suggested Democrats wants to turn Florida into Cuba or Venezuela, while Mr Biden said that the president can’t advocate for democracy and human rights for Latinos when he has embraced autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un
“Cuba is no closer to freedom and democracy today than it was four years ago. In fact there are more political prisoners, and secret police are as brutal as ever. And Russia, once again, is a major presence in Havana,” Mr Biden said.
The two candidates travelled to Florida on Thursday after a new poll from Telemundo showed Mr Biden with a narrow five-point lead ahead of Mr Trump among Hispanic voters in the country’s largest swing state.
Pollster Brad Coker, who conducted the poll, said Cubans, Venezuelans and Colombians were polling in strong support for Mr Trump, while Mr Biden was leading among Puerto Ricans.
“That might be the thing that saves Donald Trump in Florida,” Mr Coker told Politico.
“If Biden is going to flip Florida, he has to at least match Clinton’s numbers among Hispanics and that looks like it’s not going to happen.”
Hillary Clinton received 62 per cent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, which she lost to Donald Trump in 2016.
Mr Biden’s rally in Broward County came after criticisms that the campaign was late in countering Mr Trump’s message that the Democrats were socialists and communists.
At his rally on Thursday, Mr Biden said the failed policies of the Trump administration had left the historic countries of Florida’s Hispanic voters worse than under the Obama administration.
“It’s unconscionable that the Trump administration, says it cares so much, are deporting hundreds of Cubans and Venezuelans back to their dictatorships," Mr Biden said.
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