A Latino candidate who wants to vindicate the Republican Party
"There is a confusion because they believe that because you are a Latina, you must be a Democrat," Carmen María Montiel, a candidate of Venezuelan origin to Congress in Texas.
Carmen María Montiel is the first Venezuelan candidate to a position in the United States Congress. With a career as a model, anchor and journalist, Montiel - native of Maracaibo (Venezuela) - has been a US citizen for more than a decade.
After having been crowned Miss Venezuela in 1984, Montiel ventured into Venezuelan television for a few years and subsequently immigrated to the United States. Once here, she pursued her journalism studies in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Based in Houston (Texas) since 1991, Montiel has worked for networks such as Telemundo, and in various charitable causes.
On December 11, 2017, the EFE agency reported that Montiel had registered "as a candidate for the House of Representatives for the Republican Party in the 29th District of Texas, of Hispanic and a Democrat majority."
AL DÍA spoke exclusively with the candidate about her political project:
There is a very large propaganda, and I believe that the most important thing in life is to be informed and to know history. First, I’m a capitalist because I’m Venezuelan. I always was. I grew up in a country that was developing; it was not a third world country. We had the most stable democracy in Latin America and a capitalist development that was an example for the region. And to see Venezuela fall into the hands of the left and see what happened ... I could never belong to a leftist party, and the Democratic Party is a leftist party.
I know the history of the United States very well; I studied here, and you have to know the history of the Republican Party. It’s not only the history of a capitalist party but it is the party that ends with slavery. The Democrats didn’t want to end slavery.
The Republican Party is the party that gives the vote to women, which, due to the opposition of the Democratic Party, takes us fifty years to achieve. It is the party that gives the only amnesty that this country has seen, with Ronald Reagan. How can they say that the Republican Party is against Latin Americans or African-Americans or that we are racist? This is the human rights party. We are really the party that has nothing to do with racism. The word "racism" is given to us by the Democratic Party.
The propaganda that has been created around Trump is because he wants to protect the border because he wants to protect us because it is a security problem for the citizens of this country. Because when you arrive at your house, don’t you close the door? That is exactly what he is proposing.
He (Trump) never spoke badly about Mexicans; what happens is that they edited that piece as it suited them, but that day, all he did was praise the Mexicans; he said he had many Mexican employees. But in the same way, then also came those who were criminals. And that happens with all nationalities, with Mexicans, with Salvadorans...
The problem is that we don’t have to generalize, but there is a border problem to defend.
The Democrats create the Ku Klux Klan. Once the freedom is given and the slavery is finished, the Democrats create the KKK because they didn’t agree, so they decided to terrorize the African-Americans. Planned Parenthood is created by the Democrats to end the African-American race, so how can I belong to that party? Besides, it is a left party.
Then there is confusion because they believe that because you are Latina, you must be a Democrat. It's a mistake to label people. I think that rather, the Latinos who come to this country to be Democrats are, as a Salvadoran friend says, "socially confused" because you can’t come escaping from countries that the left has ruined to vote here for leftist parties that are going to take this country in the same direction.
It’s like bringing the problem into your house.
I came to this country as a student and fell in love with this country.
Remember that the Venezuelan constitution that was taken from us was very similar to the American constitution, freedom of expression, for example. As a journalist in Venezuela at the end of the 80s, I knew there were things that you couldn’t say. When I arrived in the United States, I saw true freedom of expression, and it was something that I greatly admired in this country.
But then political correctness began to take away our freedom of expression. And like that, a number of things that have been lost.
We've been losing freedoms, and that's why I'm a Republican.
I decide to run because the situation in Venezuela is already such - and I see where we are going after the last 8 years of Obama - that I said: I have already lost a country, I will not lose another.
I have been in Houston since 1991, and since then I have worked in my district, which has the largest and most important Latino neighborhoods in the city. I have always worked in the district, first as a reporter and news anchor, and then through a private medical practice, of which I still have commercial properties in the district.
I know the district very well and all its needs. It is a district that is next to three very important points that create work and that have suffered under the liberal mandate of regulations, which have paralyzed the economy. Being here for thirty years, I have been able to see how this country has changed and how all these leftist over-regulation (sic) ideas have affected the country.
We are next to an industrial zone where the refineries are located. Due to regulations, a refinery has not been built here since the 70s, so existing refineries are not only working at maximum capacity but also they are a danger, not only because an accident can happen but because they are an environmental hazard.
We are also neighbors to the Port of Houston, which not only needs to be expanded, but there are also important things that can be done as a shipyard to repair boats. The closest one is in Brazil, and that would also be a source of work. Then, revitalize the economy. How? Ending these regulations that have paralyzed the country.
Even though the economy has improved under Trump, still we haven’t seen it here in Houston because all the people who work in energy have been affected; they are still firing the employees, and all that because of the regulations that are of great cost for them. So my plan is to create more and better jobs.
Also, to improve education. My district has about seven cities and there are several school districts; two of which have very good schools but there are others that don’t. So we have to take these two school districts and expand them to the other cities to improve education.
There should be more technical schools especially because the jobs that I am talking about are technical, and there is a great need and there are not enough people prepared for those technical careers. I always say that not everyone has to go to the university, and (technicians) have a very good salary.
Another thing that is very important to us is the security and protection of the border. We are on the border; people do not understand that the problem of the border is one of high crime.
There is infiltration of terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking, which is a serious problem that exists. Houston is the number one city for human trafficking, and Harris County - which occupies Houston and other cities - is number two, and all that has a lot to do with the border. There is a serious problem with the MS-13 in my district, because when these people emigrate, where will they live? In the Latino neighborhoods.
Our population in my district is very concerned about border protection and border security. That is my proposal.
Unfortunately, we are not well represented. 20% of the Congress is female. It should not be like that. I just arrived from Mexico where I met two former representatives who told me that in their country the rule is that it should be 50/50, and it should be like that.
How is it possible that in this country, which is the first world, only 20% of the representatives are women? So it's a big challenge, but this year has been important in that, there are many female candidates, and it's an awakening.
I don’t believe in the famous "Blue Wave".
One of the reasons why people are against Republicans has to do with symbols, because the color of the Republicans is red, and everyone associates it with communism. But that was not our color. The Republican color was blue, but CNN in the 80s reversed the colors.
The other thing that happens is that people come to the country and say "I am pro-democracy, then I must vote for the Democrats" when it has nothing to do with it.
Then the famous "Blue Wave" that they say will win, I don’t think it will happen.
Notice that the president's approval has been rising; when you compare it with Obama's approval at this time, today Trump has more acceptance.
Unfortunately, there are many hidden Republicans. People are afraid. We are practically like in the KKK era: at that time the blacks were terrorized and now are the Republicans.
There are many people who don’t say a thing when going to vote because they are afraid of being attacked.
I usually go door-to-door, and when I go out they tell me they will vote for me, but when I ask them if I can put a yard sign ahead, they say “no, thank you.”
People are going to vote Republican but they don’t want anyone to know that they are Republican. That's where the polls (sic) have been wrong, as they were with President Trump.
My prediction is that they will be wrong again.