Banana Republicans

A Hispanic GOP confab leaves delegates yelling foul

Former chair Fernando Cantu was more acerbic, blaming the hubbub on Vasquez's bruised ego.

"Mr. Vasquez is a sore loser and he's just having a hard time because he lost. What he ought to do is go forward and next time maybe read the instructions and do the forms right.

"Are we supposed to be treated differently because we're Hispanic? We have to fill out forms and follow the rules also. The man's a college graduate from Yale University. You'd think he would have sat down and read the instructions."

Vasquez counters that other delegations were seated even though they submitted outdated membership lists, the very pretext used to oust delegations from Harris and other counties. He also notes that Casanova's own delegation was decertified after the credentials chairman was caught submitting a clearly forged membership application.

Vasquez says the debacle in Corpus is just another example of the boorish, unethical behavior of the RNHA leaders that has led statewide Republican leaders to shun the organization. He notes that no prominent Republican officials attended the convention.

"On the local levels in Texas, Republicans do have good relationships with RNHA chapters," says Vasquez. "It's just at the state level, there just has been this dearth of leadership and professionalism."

Houstonians may soon get to see the organization's warts close-up, at the RNHA's national convention, which is scheduled to start April 25 at a Galleria-area hotel. The group's local problems may be a small sideshow, predicts Vasquez, because Hispanic Republicans are a diverse, sometimes contentious coalition with roots ranging from Mexico to the Caribbean to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America.

"In New York State," he explains by way of example, "you have the Cubans battling each other within the RNHA, with a certain group standing by the anti-Fidel Castro line, and another group saying it's been long enough, we should reopen lines of communication with him.

"From what I understand," he chuckles, "our little battling here in Texas is kinda minor compared to some of the other states'."

If so, the upcoming show promises to be a political version of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation.

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