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The Miami-Dade Democratic Party endorsed Miami District 3 commission candidate Quinn Smith, an attorney who has provided numerous services to the Chavista dictatorship headed by dictator Nicolás Maduro.
According to DemCast, a partisan group that supports the Democratic Party, “The Miami-Dade Democratic Party has endorsed (Rodney) Quinn Smith for Commissioner, as we look to replace the incumbent Joe Carollo, who has often stifled progress for the city.”
According to the DemCast page, Smith is an Attorney at Law by profession who “has shown his dedication to helping businesses in Miami with his work through the Miami International Arbitration Society, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the American Arbitration Association. He has also demonstrated his commitment to the community and social impact causes. Quinn sits on the boards of the Community Justice Project, Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation, and O, Miami.”
What DemCast omits is that Quinn Smith represented the Chavista dictatorship in Venezuela in many international court cases, including the one involving the appointment of Citgo’s board of directors by Venezuela’s president-in-charge, Juan Guaidó, recognized as head of state by the United States.
Joe Carollo, Quinn’s opponent, is a Cuban-American who is currently the commissioner of District 3 of the city of Miami. The Republican is a long-time Miami politician who served as mayor of Miami from 1996-1997 and 1998-2001.
Carollo was one of the first to denounce Smith’s relationship with the Venezuelan dictatorship by paying for political ads on various Miami radio stations so that the electorate would know part of his political adversary’s past.
“Quinn Smith, a candidate for the Miami commission, has been a defense attorney for the Venezuelan narco-trafficking Chavista dictatorship and its defense ministry in numerous cases,” reads Carollo’s spot against Smith.
How involved is Quinn Smith with Chavismo?
Quinn Smith’s relationship with the Venezuelan regime is quite extensive. The Democratic Party-backed candidate has defended the Chavista dictatorship in at least 15 international arbitration and litigation cases according to his work profile at the law firm GST.
In most of the cases, Smith represented the interests of the Venezuelan regime in cases related to expropriations and the oil sector. According to a Reuters article, the lawyer was the representative of the Chavista tyranny in the case of the board of directors of Citgo Petroleum that was appointed by Juan Guaidó, interim president of Venezuela recognized by the United States.
“The board of Citgo Petroleum appointed by Venezuela’s congress chief was properly seated, a U.S. court ruled, dealing a blow to contested Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to retake control of the Texas-based refiner,” Reuters reviewed the case. “Quinn Smith, an attorney who represented the Maduro appointed board in the court case, did not respond to requests for comment outside normal working hours. Neither PDVSA nor the Venezuelan oil ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.”
Some local Miami media, such as the Miami New Times, have accused candidate Joe Carollo of playing dirty against Smith for linking him to Chavismo, the reality is that the relationship is much broader than just legal representations.
Smith’s profile highlights that he was a participant in the international arbitration involving “Fabrica de Vidrios Los Andes, C.A. and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela, C.A. against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” which was “a case regarding the expropriation of glass manufacturing plants in Los Guayos and Valera”. “
“This is the first and only decision that found that Venezuela revoked its consent to arbitrate upon giving notice pursuant to Article 71,” it continues. “The case was dismissed in its entirety, resulting in a savings of more than USD 1 billion.”
Another case was “Valle Verde Sociedad Financiera S.L. c. Rep. Bolivariana de Venezuela”, a case “regarding the alleged expropriation of a bank in Venezuela. The case was ultimately dismissed with no liability for our client.”
Smith also represented PDVSA and some of the Venezuelan state-owned company’s subsidiaries. El American contacted Quinn Smith for comment on his defense of the Venezuelan regime, although did not receive a response
However, Smith gave statements to the Miami New Times, in an article published on October 19, where the lawyer was asked about his work in the Citgo case and the Democratic candidate argued that, although he understood the concerns, a lawyer cannot be judged by his clients.
“It’s important to keep in mind how this causes concern and I apologize for that,” Smith told Miami New Times. “But people [in Miami] have very dire needs, and what they want is somebody to fight for them.”
The GOP’s complaint against Quinn Smith
The Republican Party in Miami-Dade weighed in Tuesday, October 26, on the Democrats’ endorsement of Quinn Smith.
The GOP, seizing upon Smith’s ties to Chavista socialism, called on residents of the city of Miami to turn their backs on “such dangerous ideology in the November 2nd elections and recognize the errant path Democrats have taken.”
“It has become abundantly clear how the Miami-Dade Democrat Party has openly embraced socialism,” Miami-Dade Republican Party Chairman René García said in a statement.
“As a community built by exiles and refugees who fled the hateful, extremist socialist dictatorships that have destroyed Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, it is insulting how the leaders of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party do not believe that representing Venezuela’s murderous Nicolas Maduro is ‘disqualifying.'”
“Our community will not be lectured by the socialist, fringe Miami-Dade Democratic Party and as Republicans, we look forward to continue obtaining victories up and down the ballot with candidates who reject socialism and the misery that it inflicts everywhere it takes hold,” continued Garcia.
The statement also emphasizes that the Miami-Dade Republican Party opposes an endorsement that it considers offensive and that, in its view, demonstrates the differences between county Republicans, who support liberty, and Democrats, who “move further left into socialism.”